Back-testing the Solar – Sea Level Relationship

Guest post by David Archibald

This is a little bit amusing. In February, I had a post on the solar – sea level relationship which quantified the sea level fall to come to the end of Solar Cycle 25:

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/02/03/quantifying-sea-level-fall/

The site “Skeptical Science” has to date carried two pieces in response to that February post: http://www.skepticalscience.com/Why_David_Archibald_is_wrong_about_solar_sea_level.html

and http://www.skepticalscience.com/Why_David_Archibald_is_wrong_about_solar_sea_level_1B.html

My February post was 624 words and 6 figures. The Skeptical Science responses to date total 3,446 words and 17 figures. The relationship I found between solar activity and sea level is 0.045 mm per unit of annual sunspot number. The threshold between rising and falling seal level is a sunspot amplitude of 40. Below 40, sea level falls. Above that, it rises.

So let’s apply that relationship to the know sunspot record back to the beginning of the Maunder Minimum and see what it tells us. This is the result:

clip_image002

Figure 1: Back-tested Sea Level from 1645

The figure shows sea level falling through the Maunder Minimum due to the lack of sunspots and then fluctuating in a band about 60 mm wide before increasing rapidly from 1934. It then shows sea level peaking in 2003 before declining 40 mm to 2040.

That is pretty much in agreement with the data from the last 150 years, as per this figure combining coastal tide gauge records to 2001 and the satellite record thereafter:

image

Figure 2: Sea Level Rise 1850 with a Projection 2040

The glaciers started retreating in 1859, with sea level responding with a rise of 1 mm per annum up to 1930. There was an inflection point in 1930 with the rate of sea level rise almost doubling to 1.9 mm per annum. Sea level also stopped rising from 2003. So the back-tested model and the sea level record are in agreement for at least the last 150 years.

Jevrejeva et al (http://www.psmsl.org/products/reconstructions/2008GL033611.pdf) reconstructed sea level back to 1700:

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Figure 3: Global Mean Sea Level Reconstruction since 1700

This longer term reconstruction shows the rise of sea level once the glaciers started retreating. It also shows the acceleration of sea level rise from the early 1930s. As Solanki noted in 2004, the Sun was more active in the second half of the 20th Century than at any time in the previous 8,000 years: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Newsroom/view.php?id=25538 A sea level response to that would be expected.

In summary, the sea level trend fluctuations driven by the internal variability of the ocean-atmosphere coupled system were overprinted by higher solar activity from 1933 to 2003. The period of best fit within that, from 1948 to 1987, has allowed the solar component of sea level rise to be elucidated.

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136 Responses to Back-testing the Solar – Sea Level Relationship

  1. As Solanki noted in 2004, the Sun was more active in the second half of the 20th Century than at any time in the previous 8,000 years
    That was very likely not the case at all: http://www.leif.org/research/The%20long-term%20variation%20of%20solar%20activity.pdf

  2. vukcevic says:

    Not certain about sea levels, but the North Atlantic currents variability appear to have solar connection:
    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/CET-NAP-SSN.htm

  3. Ed, Mr. Jones says:

    I skimmed one of the two responses. Valid arguments appear to be raised. A response to the response would be responsible. haha

  4. Interstellar Bill says:

    “Can we please stop looking at actual data
    and only pay attention to Gore’s movie of Florida drowning?
    We all know that sea level will start galloping up any day now,
    and it will be too late when it does, so we have to act now, now, now.!”

    As sea level continues to decline, those Warmista screams will get even shriller.
    They were hoping to decarbonize us before that so they could take credit for the drop.

  5. Richard Sharpe says:

    The threshold between rising and falling seal level is a sunspot amplitude of 40.

    It’s worse than we thought. Those poor seals.

  6. RobW says:

    Can someone please expalin how in an La Nina year the global heat energy of the oceans is rising. Is this another example of data adjustments?

  7. wayne says:

    Dr. Archibald, I think your approach in the ‘balance point’ in solar activity as indicated by sunspots has merit to be investigated further. E.M.Smith left this link on a previous post… http://www.geomag.bgs.ac.uk/images/image022.jpg which may correlate even better than merely the sunspot count. Three years ago I did a limited amount of investigation on such a balance point in the sunspot count in relation to global temperatures, not sea level, and came up with a figure of about 47 as the zero point. It’s hard to ignore this relationship for I also found it never seems to fail as far as data is available.

    Will keep following your work on this subject.

  8. stevefitzpatrick says:

    There are at least four components which impacted sea level in the last 150 years: glacial melt, thermal expansion (ocean heat accumulation), reservoir volume increase, and ground water pumping. Reservoir increases and groundwater pumping appear to have mostly canceled each other out.

    Ocean water expansion does not take place due to sunspots, it takes place warming… which is propagated downward from the surface by ‘eddy mixing’. Glaciers melt because of warming, sometimes combined with less winter snowfall.

    So it sounds like you are suggesting that a change in the number of sunspots explains all of the observed warming since the little ice age, and with it the observed rise in sea level. It is reasonable that changes in solar activity make some contribution (heck, measured solar intensity and spectrum both change with solar activity!). But I would caution that correlation is not causation. The measured ocean heat content has continued to rise (not stopped!), albeit at a slower rate than pre-2003, but the measured heat content continues to increase, especially for 0-2000 meters depth (http://www.nodc.noaa.gov/OC5/3M_HEAT_CONTENT/). The measured mass of Greenland ice and Antarctic peninsula ice continue to decline. The measured rate of sea level rise has slowed since 2004, but it is still increasing (http://sealevel.colorado.edu/).
    .
    Let me make a simple prediction: Sea level in 10 years time will for certain be higher than today; almost certainly somewhere between 20 and 35 mm higher.

  9. Ian H says:

    Sorry mate, but I’m very skeptical about your claims here. Correlation doth not causation imply. The skeptical science articles make some good points.

  10. Mike H says:

    Suggestion. A post by Leif on the basics of Sun Measurement. i.e. what indicators and metrics are used and the basic meaning behind them. I for one, get so many different opinions on whether or not the sun has been active or not. I’m sure it would come down to which measurements are being used, start point, etc. etc. If it’s already been done, I would truly appreciate being pointed to it.
    Cheers

    [REPLY: for the thoughts of Dr. Svalgaard, try here. -REP]

  11. Jim says:

    Leif Svalgaard says:
    April 22, 2012 at 7:22 am

    Leif, this is very interesting. The last bout of sea level rise began in 1850. I know that because I just watched a video on it.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lks2hh6LGsE

    The presenter could not say why it began in 1850 rather than 1950 or so when man-GHGs were ramping up. I think you just supplied the answer!

  12. Paul Westhaver says:

    David,

    How does one derive the annual sun spot number? What is the time resolution of the dataset?

    P

  13. Owen in Ga says:

    @Ian Correlation does not mean causation unless a good operating model of the why it works can be figured out. Then it doesn’t prove anything until all possible results are tested and if the model fails even one test, it is wrong. I’d say a “the sun turned up the boiler so the system responded” model makes more sense as the dominant factor in climate than “a trace back recruited a bunch of friends and burned up the planet” model. Not to say the trace gas might have some SMALL role, just that it isn’t likely dominant.

  14. stevefitzpatrick says:

    RobW,

    Ocean heat content normally increases a bit due to La Nina and decreases a bit due to el Nino. Changes in globally averaged temperatures due to ENSO are more due to a redistribution of heat than a large net change in heat. During la Nina easterly winds in the tropical pacific are stronger and push warm surface water toward the west (deepening the West Pacific warm pool). This exposes colder water in the Eastern Pacific, which does not lose heat to space as rapidly (because it is cooler), and less heat is transported to higher latitudes, which means it becomes a bit cooler on average. Less loss of heat to space means heat is on net accumulating. In the el Nino phase, the easterly winds drop, and some of the accumulated (deep) warm water in the West Pacific warm pool dissipates, leading to a warmer average surface temperature for the tropical Pacific, especially in the Eastern Pacific, and more heat loss to space…. as well as more transport of warmth from the tropics to higher latitudes. So el Nino leads to slightly higher globally averaged surface temperatures, and a little higher loss of heat to space. The migration of this heat over time can be seen clearly in the following graphic from RSS, where each strong el Nino shows up as a ‘(‘ shaped pattern in temperature anomaly:
    http://www.ssmi.com/data/msu/graphics/tlt/plots/MSU_AMSU_Channel_TLT_Time_Lat_v03_3.png
    The el Nino warmth starts close to the equator, but slowly (months) migrates to higher latitudes.

  15. pochas says:

    Ian H says:
    April 22, 2012 at 8:40 am

    “Correlation doth not causation imply”

    True, but without correlation nothing else matters.

  16. Ron Manley says:

    Your argument would carry more weight if you plotted all simulated and observed records on the same chart. By eyeball, your back-testing shows an increase from 1975 to the present of 160mm. The Jevrejeva reord shows an increase over the same period of about 300 mm. Your second graph shows an increase from 1870 to 1930 of 50mm. The Jevrejeva figures show an increase of closer to 100mm.

  17. commieBob says:

    stevefitzpatrick
    You are extrapolating but you may be right.

    The glaciers started retreating in 1859 …

    Presumably we have to get back to the temperatures of 1858 before the glaciers stop melting. Does anyone think it will have cooled that much in the next ten years? Not as far as I can tell. So, how about a counter bet: The glaciers will have stopped melting fifty years from now.

  18. Camburn says:

    Would be interesting to read the Skeptical Science posts, but I am not allowed there so hard to know if any critique by them is valid.

  19. Paul Westhaver says:
    April 22, 2012 at 9:26 am
    How does one derive the annual sun spot number?
    http://www.leif.org/research/SSN/Clette1.pdf
    What is the time resolution of the dataset?
    one number per day. the annual sunspot number is the average of all days of the year.

  20. ferd berple says:

    One if the great mistakes in modern science is the quest to explain “why”. History shows that “why” is at best temporary in science. “Why” is better left to religion and philosophy.

    Why does a dog chase a rabbit? Why does the rabbit run? Does the rabbit run because the dog is chasing it, or does the dog chase the rabbit because the rabbit is running?

    In the end the “why” is really not very important. What is important is this: Will the dog catch the rabbit? The ability to predict that answer is the basis of science. It is what gives science value.

    Now, we might try and predict the outcome by studying the dog and rabbit in great detail, and to simulate their motion in computers, and get a completely useless result.

    On the other hand, we might count the number of cloudy days in the previous year and find that it provides a very accurate prediction. Why? Well, maybe the number of cloudy days determines vegetation and fat rabbits run slower than lean ones. Or maybe the number of parasites increases in cloudy weather which slows the rabbits in the next season. Or maybe we will never find the reason, or we will think we have found the reason, but we will be wrong.

    Why does it matter? If the count of the number of clouds provides an accurate prediction of how likely the dog is to catch the rabbit, that is the value to science.

  21. Bill Tuttle says:

    Interstellar Bill says:
    April 22, 2012 at 7:55 am
    As sea level continues to decline, those Warmista screams will get even shriller.
    They were hoping to decarbonize us before that so they could take credit for the drop.

    Too late. The Won took credit for that in 2007.

  22. ferd berple says:
    April 22, 2012 at 10:18 am
    One if the great mistakes in modern science is the quest to explain “why”.
    The ‘why’ is important for understanding.

    Why does a dog chase a rabbit?
    The dog is hungry and needs to eat
    Why does the rabbit run?
    It does not like to be eaten

  23. rgbatduke says:

    As Solanki noted in 2004, the Sun was more active in the second half of the 20th Century than at any time in the previous 8,000 years
    That was very likely not the case at all: http://www.leif.org/research/The%20long-term%20variation%20of%20solar%20activity.pdf

    Your case for some fraction of the SSN increase being the result of alterations in the methods of counting is fairly compelling, although I would still worry about the error bars on your proposed corrections (and some of the inconsistencies that you acknowledge). However, all of these corrections apply at most to the sunspot record, and really only to a relatively short century timescale of the sunspot record — over a longer timescale the sunspot records span multiple humans, methods, tools and are difficult to compare to contemporary records on a quantitative basis, are they not?

    I’m curious, though, how you extend the conclusion that the 20th century was exceptional in solar activity back over the entire Holocene. Isn’t most of that conclusion derived from completely independent proxies, in particular radioactive proxies? Again, there is a lot of literature and having started to read my way through a lot of the older literature (and observing your name repeatedly as a cited reference:-) I’m certain that you are far more familiar with this literature than I, but the review by Ushokin (2008) has some radioactive proxy derived figures that — if they are reliable, which I am not equipped to judge — fairly unambiguously suggest that the 20th century was indeed exceptional over the Holocene. See e.g. Figure 14 or Figure 17. Is this junk science? If so, how do we know — what is wrong with the reconstructions?

    In any event, it is not clear what relevance a correction to the smoothed sunspot number in the 20th century has to the radioactive proxy record on a millennial scale. Of course the 20th century itself is a serious problem in many ways. As noted in the article, a variety of factors from extensive nuclear testing in the late 50s through early 70s (much of it atmospheric) to the release of C_14 depleted carbon into the atmospheric cycle from the burning of aged-out fossil fuels (Suess effect) which is itself confounded by the further release of aged out CO_2 from oceanic stores by global warming. The Be record in that sense seems to be somewhat less easily confounded, but even there we don’t necessarily know what is going on.

    Looking at Ushokin and your talk, I remain unconvinced that the level of solar activity in the late 20th century was not unusual over a millennial time scale, although you have certainly cast some doubt on the issue. If nothing else, we live in “interesting times” (possibly in the sense of the Chinese curse). Whether or not the late 20th century was a millennial-scale peak in solar activity in terms of any or all measures of solar activity (where SSN is just one, and as I think you note, not really the best one to use as a proxy in part because it is subject to a fair bit of quantitative or subjective interpretation and hence variation), solar activity is now far down from whatever kind of peak that it was, and promises to go down further still. We are thus at a critical point in theories that attempt to connect solar activity to global climate in contrast to CO_2. If global temperatures hold or decrease in the teeth of inexorably increasing CO_2, it will at the very least be yet another compelling coincidence between secular climate changes and secular changes in solar activity by any or all measures.

    We need not be too concerned that such coincidences fail, in and of themselves, to be strongly predictive in either forecast or hindcast, because anybody who thinks that global climate can be explained by simple/logistic one-parameter models is so obviously mistaken that they shouldn’t at this point be taken seriously in the debate. Climate variation is clearly multivariate in its functional form, with non-Markovian effects from a broad range of time scales. So it is entirely plausible that climate is driven directly and indirectly by solar state but that the effect is only strong when other modulators are in the right state or phase (e.g. the decadal oscillations, oceanic state, whatever).

    Climate is a hard problem. I was reading the Google Books copy of Solar Variability, Weather and Climate (1982) and was struck by the fact that — 30 years after this review was written — almost nothing has changed. Well, one thing has changed — the book as far as I can tell mentions “CO_2″ no more than two times in all of its pages as a possibly significant driver of global climate. But in particular, all of the open questions it cites are still open questions. There are compelling coincidences between solar state and climate, but few of them stand up over very long time scales and all of them are difficult to explain because the problem is multivariate with many negative feedbacks!

    There was a lovely paragraph in one of the articles where it was pointed out that in many winters, a heavy snowfall can blanket a geologically signficant fraction of e.g. North America, greatly increasing its albedo. Yet, instead of reflecting enough heat to trigger a return to ice age conditions, negative feedbacks almost instantly kick in, the snow melts, and things return to “normal”. For better or worse, physics addresses the time scale of right now — the sun kicks out a CME and it affects things now (where “now” is on a timescale of hours, days). Snow falls. Hurricanes loom. Magnetic fields shift. Solar constant varies. Albedo bounces up and down as clouds form an ice forms or melts. All of the feedbacks tend to minimize these influences — they change things for a day, a week, but after a month or more the climate system has “forgotten” them due to damping.

    Or has it? Somehow there is long time scale modulation that influences climate, where tiny changes in some driver(s) in the multivariate system shifts the climate trajectory around. Simple descriptions fail because the changes are nonlinear and coupled; it isn’t “this”, it is “this, and this, and that, and the other thing too”, and not just now but ten years ago, twenty years ago, fifty or five hundred years ago that contribute.

    I continue to be baffled by the really long time scale variability in the Earth’s climate. Is the current ice age (the one that started 3 million years ago) caused by real solar variability, the helium burning cycle that can drop solar output “suddenly” (by geological time standards) and then only slowly build it up again? What causes the bistability between regression to warm phase behavior from the newly dominant cold phase? (Not what MODULATES this bistability, what is its CAUSE.)

    Many questions, few answers, and even modern physics aided with satellites and advanced instrumentation cannot overcome the curse of short baselines of truly accurate observations, decades to predict centuries and millennia and million year variations.

    rgb

  24. SasjaL says:

    Having recently been on holiday down in Portugal (I was flying … :) ) and enjoyed the most of their surroundings.

    Thought I could get away climate nonsense, even got to realize something that AGW-proponents may be difficult to explain.

    I was on the south coast of the Algarve area and was entranced by the beach area I was staying at. I took several hour-long walks on the beach, as I lived close by. The first thing I pondered, most of which are unrelated to AGW but not completely, was that the sand by the water contains a very large amount of shell fragments. The idea that came up: “If a handful of sand is made up almost half of shell fragments, how much there is for the entire shoreline?” (About 6 km / 9.6 miles long …) I felt suddenly very small …

    Further into the land, I marveled at what a lot of fine pebbles lying on the ground. (The occasional shell fragments were here too …) This is, however, typically after the coastlines, the problem was that this was not at sea level … Ran to my hotel room to pick up my GPS and found that I discovered these little round stones about 48 m / 157 ft above sea level. Then measured by the water and got there -2 m / -6.5 ft at low tide and later 4 m / 13.1 ft at the river. So we have a difference of about 50 m / 164 ft ( +/- tolerance of 12 satellites). Now I felt even smaller than preceding discovery, when I looked out over the Atlantic and realized the amount of water required … Now, this area was not affected by the last ice age, so any significant land elevation can’t be the question. Nor because of continental drift, as the distance between America and Europe increases.

    Is 2-8 m /6.5-26 ft sea level rise, because of (fictional) melting of ice, a real problem?

  25. Kaboom says:

    Isn’t there a tax that we could all pay, which would regulate the number of sunspots?

  26. stevefitzpatrick, the only sea level rise coming from satellite data is the adjustments. No one with a brain trusts satellite data anymore.

  27. SasjaL says:

    Ooops!
    “Then measured by the water and got there -2 m / -6.5 ft at low tide and later 4 m / 13.1 ft at the river.” should be “Then measured by the water and got there -2 m / -6.5 ft at low tide and later 4 m / 13.1 ft at high tide.”

  28. Hansel Seuss says:

    Scientists are curious to determine whether WUWT’s moderators actively delete references to contrasting points-of-view.

    [REPLY: Why should that question even occur to a knowledgeable scientist? -REP]

    REPLY: And, why should I care what a person [Hansel Seuss] who has a fake name, a fake IP, and a fake email have to say? If you have something important to challenge me on, have the courage to put your name on it. Otherwise your opinion and fakery is worthless to me – Anthony

    [Reply: As a sporadic moderator, I can tell you that I was given NO direction to delete any contrasting point of view. ( In fact, contrasting points of view increase readership and are to be encouraged). I was given guidance to snip certain offensive language, dampen insulting behaviour and attacks, and not judge based on my evaluation of the technical merit of the argument, only on the "tone" and language used in the delivery. So, no, I do not "actively delete" much of anything other than foul language and attack language. There are some (short list) of posters who are banned from time to time due to repeated infraction of the guide lines; but that's about it. -ModE ]

  29. Doug Proctor says:

    stevefitzpatrick says:
    April 22, 2012 at 9:31 am

    Thanks for the explanation of how El Nino raises the global temperatures.

    Energy in, energy out: how much it bunches up in the middle is how warm it gets. Where it shifts around is how one area has a hot spike while another has a cold spike. Unfortunately, Hansen, Gore et al have made people thing that one hot spike a hot world makes.

  30. P. Solar says:

    Interesting, I think the second graph from the paper is more informative.
    http://i42.tinypic.com/2lsbjtu.png

    rate of change plot shows clearly the cyclic nature plus the longer term rise. The authors fit a linear slope to the rate of change (ie they assume constant acceleration). They seem to discount longer term cyclic variation without saying why.

    Rate of change in sea level reflects a power term, ie “forcings”.

    Compare to the middle panel of this plot showing the rate of change of temperature:
    http://curryja.files.wordpress.com/2012/03/icoads_monthly_adj0_40-triple1.png
    http://judithcurry.com/2012/03/15/on-the-adjustments-to-the-hadsst3-data-set-2/

    Similar peaks but much less long term rise.

    The beginning of their graph seems a lot flatter than the linear rise that could be drawn and the latest bump seems spent despite its only having got to about the average of the 60y cycles.

    My reading of that would be either diminishing amplitude or a longer term rise that is flattening out. The earlier flat period would argue in that sense too, though it’s far from clear.

    The other thing I’m dubious of is this is all underpinned by the famous GAIA [sic] adjustment for mantle rebound. That is grossly speculative since based on computer models and some estimate for the viscosity of rock ! Error bars please.

    Now that adjustment is supposed to account for land rising and ocean basins sinking and hence it gets added to sea level. It’s interesting that the temperature record is similar but much flatter.

    This is the first study I’ve seen that allows such a comparison and suggests a touch too much GAIA getting into the “corrections” , yet again.

    Still, it’s a very good study and they seem to be doing serious work and do say in two places that their projection is on the assumption that whatever caused the rise continues in the same way.

  31. Robertvdl says:

    If anyone knows anything about this subject it must be Dr. Nils-Axel Morner.In 2010 he hoped that by 2012 people would see the truth and that the field data would show that the IPCC is lying about almost everything. We know the true story, the story that we live in a corrupt world. In a world where only corrupt people succeed. These people will never admit that they are/were wrong and give there gained power back. They control the propaganda.I’m afraid it will end in a bloody fight because it has nothing to do with climate and everything with blind power.

    Sea Level Basics
    http://itsrainmakingtime.com/2010/nilsaxelmorner/

  32. stevefitzpatrick says:

    commieBob,
    “The glaciers will have stopped melting fifty years from now.”
    I’ll be long dead, so it’s not a very interesting bet. BTW, I wasn’t offering a bet, I was making a prediction. ” Glaciers not melting” means temperatures falling by ~0.8C on average compared to today, and much more than that at high latitudes. That is only possible if there is essentially NO sensitivity to GHG forcing. We are not going to have to wait ’till the glaciers stop melting, we need only see low sunspots and a substantial fall in average temperatures over a couple of decades (say, a fall near 0.1C per decade). If you are young enough to be around in 20 or so years, I hope you will remember my prediction: it ain’t gonna happen. :-)

  33. P. Solar says:

    Stevefitzpatrick says: The measured mass of Greenland ice and Antarctic peninsula ice continue to decline. The measured rate of sea level rise has slowed since 2004, but it is still increasing

    Nobody has “measured” the ice mass. All techniques depend on estimates of mantle rebound. (GRACE satellites can not tell the difference between ice mass and land mass so their gravity measurements get… adjusted. )

    Measured sea level also gets adjusted for land rising which is based on mantle rebound measurements.

    Mean sea level also gets adjusted for ocean basins deepening. Now, no one has even measured that, again is speculation based on computer models of mantle rebound. The official MSL is now hovering mystically above the ocean surface and is getting higher each year. The so-called GAIA adjustment. ;)

    Ocean heat content , based on temperatures measured to withing 0.0005 degrees accuracy, right. Any honest error estimate makes that data totally unhelpful in drawing any conclusions, though that will improve with time.come back in a couple of decades.

  34. stevefitzpatrick says:

    sunshinehours1,
    “the only sea level rise coming from satellite data is the adjustments.”

    References and data showing that is the case? The satellites don’t seem terribly out of line with tide gauges (although the tidal gauge data set has more noise than the satellite data), so some references showing that both tide gauges and the satellites are wrong would seem to be called for if you are making that claim.

    “No one with a brain trusts satellite data anymore.”
    Accusing people of having no brain is neither constructive nor convincing. Measurement data, combined with a reasoned analysis, is more convincing than insults every time.

  35. tallbloke says:

    It’s good to see this type of analysis being further developed to indices like sea level. I derived a similar average sunspot number of around 40 for the ocean equilibrium value from an empirical study a couple of years ago, and performed the same cumulative count integration as done by David Archibald here.

    I considered the result in terms of it being a proxy for ocean heat content rather than sea level, but the sea level more or less follows from the OHC anyway, considering water expands as it warms.

    http://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2010/07/21/nailing-the-solar-activity-global-temperature-divergence-lie/

  36. Willis Eschenbach says:

    David, thanks for your contribution. I must confess I hadn’t read your previous posts. But I must admit, I busted out laughing when I got to this claim in your previous work:

    The relationship [of Lake Victoria water levels] with solar activity broke down in the 1930’s and resumed in the 1970’s. There was also a very rapid rise in the 1960’s. Taking out the period of the solar relationship breakdown and detrending the data from 1968, this is what the relationship looks like (data courtesy of Dr Peter Mason):

    Gosh … so you are saying that if we remove the parts of the record where your claimed relationship doesn’t hold, that your claimed relationship holds quite well. There’s a surprise …

    I was again surprised when I came to this graph of yours on a previous post:

    Regarding that graph, you say

    The correlation is striking

    Well … no. I fear that the correlation is actually quite poor, but our human desire to see patterns over-rides that lack of correlation. This is the problem with eyeballing and “wiggle matching”, we see patterns where none exist.

    In fact, the R^2 of your two graphed lines is a meager, pathetic 0.1, and is not statistically significant (p is slightly greater than 0.05).

    You could improve your arguments greatly by doing a few things. The first is to actually calculate and report the R^2 of your claimed relationships (including the adjustment for autocorrelation), rather than just eyeballing it and claiming a “striking” correlation where only a very weak correlation exists.

    The second is to cite your sources. For example, in Figure 2 you say there are “coastal tide gauge records to 2001 and the satellite record” … which coastal tide gauge records? Which satellite record? With or without the inverted barometer correction?

    The third is to explain your choices. For example, the satellite record started in 1992, but you are using “”coastal tide gauge records to 2001 and the satellite record”. Why did you use tide gauge records up to 2001? What did you do during the overlap? Why have you chosen to splice two very disparate record sets (satellite and tide gauges)?

    The fourth is to show your work and include your units.

    For example, you say:

    The relationship I found between solar activity and sea level is 0.045 mm per unit of annual sunspot number. The threshold between rising and falling seal level is a sunspot amplitude of 40. Below 40, sea level falls. Above that, it rises.

    I don’t understand that. It appears to say that

    SLA (mm) = (SSN - 40) * 0.045 (mm/SSN) 

    where SLA is the sea level anomaly in millimetres and SSN is the sunspot number. The problem is that the equation reduces to

    SLA mm = SSN * 0.045 mm/SSN - 1.8 mm

    But if that’s the case, the sea level would never rise, it would just go up and down with the sunspot number. So there’s a problem with either the units or with your description.

    I’m not trying to discourage you, David, I’m trying to encourage you to look at and investigate this scientifically.

    My best to you,

    w.

  37. Michael Palmer says:

    ferd berple says:
    April 22, 2012 at 10:18 am

    One if the great mistakes in modern science is the quest to explain “why”. History shows that “why” is at best temporary in science. “Why” is better left to religion and philosophy.

    Why does a dog chase a rabbit? Why does the rabbit run? Does the rabbit run because the dog is chasing it, or does the dog chase the rabbit because the rabbit is running?

    In the end the “why” is really not very important. What is important is this: Will the dog catch the rabbit? The ability to predict that answer is the basis of science. It is what gives science value.

    The first question I would like to ask you is: If science made a mistake by asking “why”, what damage did it cause?

    Would science have progressed faster, or further, or in an altogether more exalted and wholesome fashion, had scientists not asked this question? If that is your position, you need to provide more compelling reasons than a rabbit chase.

    If, on the other hand, you admit that science did rather well all the same, then your objections to the question that, according to you, should be better left to philosophy or religion, are themselves philosophical, and again would need to be substantiated in order to be taken seriously.

    If you have had a chance to interact with any three year old kids, you will have observed that the human mind will just not stop asking “why”. Can we acknowledge that asking “why” evolved because it served us humans well, just like their light-footedness served dogs and rabbits well? If asking “why” has served us well as part of common sense, then, why, precisely, is it such a grave mistake in science?

    What constitutes a satisfactory answer to a question “why”? A demonstration of how to predict the observed phenomenon from existing, accepted knowledge. Asking “why” therefore promotes parsimony – if we can work out something from existing knowledge, we don’t have to burden our memory with amorphous, solitary bits of information. It encourages us to test and evaluate the predictive power of our knowledge – can we come up with a satisfactory, consistent explanation, or can’t we, or would we even have predicted a different outcome? If the latter, what part of our knowledge needs changing? Even if it may seem idle now, one day our life may depend on that improved predictive power.

  38. vukcevic says:

    There may be a good natural reason for breakdown in the late 1940’s, there is a similar discontinuity between the NAO and the AMO. I have provided some initial ideas here:
    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/theAMO-NAO.htm
    fully documented explanation to follow in part II.

  39. tallbloke says:

    Willis, you are correct that David’s description is inadequate. He has. I believe, followed the procedure I used in 2009.

    That is:
    Work out the ocean equilibrium equivalent in SSN. This is around SSN=40, and also happens to be the average SSN over the length of the sunspot record from 1749 (SIDC).
    Then make a cumulative total departing from this value, which in effect performs the integration.
    i.e. if the first monthly value is 40, and the second is 46 the index goes up by 6. If the next monthly SSN value is 30, the running total drops by 10 to 36.

    The assumption underlying the procedure is that the cumulative total mimics the retention of solar energy input by the ocean, as an approximation of OHC (or sea level).

    Since we don’t have long term accurate records of any of these quantities, getting too hung up on R^2 values probably isn’t worth the candle, but as a rough wiggle match where inflection points more or less coincide, it has some qualitative value in helping inform judgements as to how likely it is that solar variation is the dominant process, via whichever amplification caused by cloud cover, ozone levels, latitudinal shifting of climate zones etc you tend to give weight to.

  40. Jim says:

    Willis Eschenbach says:
    April 22, 2012 at 12:15 pm
    Willis, given the fact that the climate is chaotic, I’m not sure it is reasonable to expect a correlation between a given solar parameter and the rate of change of sea level rise. Other actors will still be at work – like your beloved clouds for instance.

  41. stevefitzpatrick says:

    P. Solar,

    The applied glacial rebound adjustment for sea level is ~+0.3 mm per year, much less than the measured rise. I agree that it would be better if published values for sea level rise always included a clear explanation that the rate of rise relative to the average shoreline will always be 0.3 mm/year lower due to the rebound adjustment.

    But rebound is real. Rebound has be directly measured in lots of places, and is especially easy to measure where thick glaciers were present ~18,000 years ago. The upward movement in these regions was directly measured more than 200 years ago; no need for computer modeling. Direct observation of glacial rebound took place in the 18th century (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Post-glacial_rebound#Discovery). Glacial rebound was reasonably well understood and broadly accepted long before “global warming” ever became a political issue (http://www.cr.nps.gov/history/online_books/geology/publications/pp/754a/). Modeling takes into account the reality that the physical volume of the Earth is not subject to significant change; if land is measurably rising in some places, it must be falling elsewhere to maintain constant volume, and also takes into account the measured rebound rates in formerly glaciated regions. The rate of rebound near Hudson Bay in Canada is still ~12.5 mm per year…. easily measured by looking at how Hudson Bay’s shoreline changes over relatively short periods (https://www.dmr.nd.gov/ndgs/ndnotes/Rebound/Glacial%20Rebound.htm). Glacial rebound is nothing new, and in no way the result of global warming research.

    With respect to rebound interfering with mass based measurements (like GRACE satellite measurements): Based on multiple GPS altitude sensors mounted on land (not ice), different parts of coastal Greenland show quite different rates of uplift; parts of western Greenland are actually falling, while on average Greenland is rising modestly (~1.5 mm per year, more or less). Applying GPS based altitude measurements to correct for rebound sounds reasonable to me. GRACE based mass loss in Greenland does have considerable uncertainty, but the measured mass change appears consistently much larger than the rebound adjustment.

    Argo measures changes which are considerably larger than 0.0005C, at least in the upper 700 meters. But that aside, the individual profile measurements are (of course) much more noisy than required to measure very small temperature changes. However, many thousands of measurements are more accurate on average, and can show very small changes in average temperature profiles. Argo data shows a consistent seasonal pattern of heat content (the seasonal pattern is often removed from the data so that the longer term trend is easier to see). Were Argo actually so terribly inaccurate, a consistent seasonal pattern would seem impossible to find in the data. The Argo measurements were preceded by decades of temperature profile measurements, most taken long before global warming was ever an issue. The main motivation for taking many thousands of temperature profiles was to characterize how military sonar waves would be influenced by the temperature (and so density) profile. There is no reason to believe that temperature profile data from the 1950′s, 60′s, and 70′s was somehow compromised by a desired outcome.

  42. stevefitzpatrick says: There are at least four components which impacted sea level in the last 150 years: glacial melt, thermal expansion (ocean heat accumulation), reservoir volume increase, and ground water pumping.

    Don’t forget hydroisostasy, the ongoing subsidence of the ocean floor due to the added water weight post the continental icesheets melting.

  43. DocMartyn says:

    I used a CUMSUM analysis of the detrended satellite measurements, I find that the rate of increases falls in mid-2007 and crashes in fall-2010.

    http://i179.photobucket.com/albums/w318/DocMartyn/sealevel.jpg

    Could you tell me where you got your txt file for the long tide gauge record from?

  44. tallbloke says:

    Given that David has used the same cumulative technique i developed in 2009, I’m wondering if he has yet connected the dots and realized that the deep drops in temperature he has been forecasting on the basis of a deep solar minimum need to be revisited in the light of realisation that solar energy is retained and released from the ocean on long time scales. As such, it provides a buffer against the Sun being quiet for a few cycles.

    Winter air temperatures are likely to be low, but I doubt annual average land surface temperatures will be as deeply affected as he previously forecast. Mind you, quite a lot of the Can/Am border is a long way from the ocean…

  45. P. Solar says:

    I’ve just taken a close look at the rate of change from the paper linked in the article.
    http://i39.tinypic.com/jqss1z.png

    I’ve measured the peaks and troughs on the graph and marked the midpoint of each rise and fall and joined all the peaks and all the troughs.

    The midpoints and the peaks are definitely turn down. It should be noted that the rate of change on the graph is still positive Acceleration is

    One interesting point is how straight the base line is, there are three lines there but they are indistinguishable. That base line slope is about 0.9mm/year/century and is steeper than the slope of the midpoints and the peaks, so I think their value is a bit high. It also seems that linear acceleration is already dramatically reduced, so the assumption that the same thing will go on for the next 100 years seems unlikely.

    Now mantle rebound will be a fixed rate of change on this timescale and that is a very straight line so I’m going to try to find out how much of that slope is due to hypothetical rebound values.

  46. rgbatduke says:
    April 22, 2012 at 10:34 am
    over a longer timescale the sunspot records span multiple humans, methods, tools and are difficult to compare to contemporary records on a quantitative basis, are they not?
    Solar activity also causes ultraviolet emission which in turn creates our ionosphere. The daily rotation of the Earth means that the ionosphere is heating during the day and not during the night. This sets up an electric current whose magnetic effect we can measure on the ground. This effect was discovered way back in 1722 and can be used to calibrate the sunspot number independently of observers, instruments, etc., see e.g. http://www.leif.org/research/Rudolf%20Wolf%20Was%20Right.pdf
    I’m curious, though, how you extend the conclusion that the 20th century was exceptional in solar activity back over the entire Holocene.
    I was trying to say it was NOT exceptional.
    Is this junk science? If so, how do we know — what is wrong with the reconstructions?
    The recent sunspot record is used to calibrate the radionuclide proxies so any problem with the recent data feeds into the reconstructions. This is such an important problem that I’m convening a workshop in a couple of weeks to study this: http://www.leif.org/research/Svalgaard_ISSI_Proposal_Base.pdf
    The cosmic ray experts also disagree as to what the proxies show, e.g. http://www.leif.org/EOS/muscheler07qsr.pdf

  47. stevefitzpatrick says:

    Mike Dubrasich,

    I am aware of how glacial rebound (and ocean floor fall) influence sea level. It is accounted for by a ~0.3mm/yr adjustment. Still, “at least four components” would seem consistent with the existence of Earths accommodation of changing mass distribution.

  48. The cosmic ray experts also disagree as to what the proxies show, e.g. http://www.leif.org/EOS/muscheler07qsr.pdf

  49. Philip Bradley says:

    rgbatduke says:

    There was a lovely paragraph in one of the articles where it was pointed out that in many winters, a heavy snowfall can blanket a geologically signficant fraction of e.g. North America, greatly increasing its albedo. Yet, instead of reflecting enough heat to trigger a return to ice age conditions, negative feedbacks almost instantly kick in, the snow melts, and things return to “normal”.

    In a system dominated by rapid negative feedbacks, it is a puzzle as to how the climate changes at all. Yet we know the MWP and LIA occurred.

    FWIIW, the conclusion I came to was that climate change on a decade to millenium scale occurs through the water based feedbacks themselves. Specifically, factors that affect the phase changes of water, aerosols, particulates and GCRs. They operate by changing surface and planetary albedo (clouds) and the speed of the hydrological cycle.

  50. Alvin says:

    @Leif
    How does the rabbit know it does not like to be eaten? I am sure it has no prior experience of being eaten. I would postulate that rabbit simply recognizes the immanent threat from another animal that is not a rabbit.

    The dog? It just chases anything.

  51. Alvin says:
    April 22, 2012 at 2:24 pm
    How does the rabbit know it does not like to be eaten?
    Evolution working its magic. The rabbits that do not run get eaten and leave fewer [or no] descendants.

    The dog? It just chases anything.
    Hoping to catch its food.

  52. Alvin says:

    @Leif – Sunspot meeting to be shared at ICCC7?

  53. P. Solar says:

    stevefitzpatrick says: The applied glacial rebound adjustment for sea level is ~+0.3 mm per year, much less than the measured rise.

    No that is just the adjustment for the deepening of the oceanic basins. The land correction to tidal gauges is a separate adjustment.

    >>
    The rate of rebound near Hudson Bay in Canada is still ~12.5 mm per year…. easily measured by looking at how Hudson Bay’s shoreline changes over relatively short periods
    >>

    That’s fine if you have 12.5mm/a , you can see it clearly but you can not measure an effect using the shore line and then use it to correct the sea level! Circular reasoning. So although the “idea” of mantle rebound is fairly well accepted, this does not provide a way to measure it.

    And while it may be possible to estimate land rises of the order of several feet per century the result is not going to be accurate the nearest mm which is what is needed to adjust a coastal tide gauge. It seems indemic in all areas touched by climate now to either totally ignore the uncertainly or to provide estimates which would cause howls of laughter in serious science or engineering. The claimed argo accuracy is a prime example. The idea that 10,000 temps in different places entitles you to divide the uncertainty by 100 is based on the fallacy that you have 10,000 measurements of the same quantity.

    Whoever does that is either incompetent or a lier (or both).

    >>
    The main motivation for taking many thousands of temperature profiles was to characterize how military sonar waves would be influenced by the temperature (and so density) profile. There is no reason to believe that temperature profile data from the 1950′s, 60′s, and 70′s was somehow compromised by a desired outcome.
    >>
    So the data may be sufficiently accurate to make an adjustment to sonar propagation , that does not mean that they are sufficiently precise in temperature or coverage characterise the global heat content at 0.1C level. In reality the uncertainty is greater than the effect.

  54. Alvin says:
    April 22, 2012 at 2:41 pm
    @Leif – Sunspot meeting to be shared at ICCC7?
    Our workshop takes place during the same days 21-25 May in Brussels, Belgium, so I guess not.

  55. P. Solar says:

    https://www.dmr.nd.gov/ndgs/ndnotes/Rebound/Glacial%20Rebound.htm
    >>
    Brevik concluded that the tilt of the Herman strandline, when combined with the effects of the Lake Agassiz sediments, represents crustal depression of between 95 and 350 meters, figures which correspond to ice-thickness values of 280 to 1,040 meters, respectively. He therefore concluded that the actual ice thickness along the North Dakota-Minnesota border must have been somewhere between the two extremes that he calculated.
    >>

    That illustrates my point quite nicely . These values for mantle rebound are ball park, back of envelope numbers. And the guy got a master’s degree for that work so we have to think that’s about best that can be done.

  56. LazTeenager says:

    Correlation is not causation as usual.

    The correlation also seems to breakdown just prior to 1800. A peak in the sunspots meets a dip in the sealevel.

  57. LazTeenager says:

    RobW says:
    April 22, 2012 at 8:23 am
    Can someone please expalin how in an La Nina year the global heat energy of the oceans is rising. Is this another example of data adjustments?
    —————
    Could it be because the warm surface waters have sunk and the cold deep waters have risen to the surface? Therefore more heat has been transferred to the deeps while the air temperature has cooled.

  58. Steven Mosher says:

    why why matters.

    I drop a ball from various altitudes on the earth. I see how long it takes. I fit a curve to these points. I don’t ask why. I dont break it down into “causes” . I dont have an accounting of gravity or understanding of it and I dont understand drag. I just have a curve that “works”

    Can this predict how fast this ball will fall on earth? yup. Now, however, I try to generalize.
    Can I use this “understanding” to predict how fast a giant flat plate will fall, an object with different drag? not very well. Can I use this “understanding” to predict how fast the same ball will
    fall on the moon? nope. Why not? well because I have not understood the general law that underlies the phenomena that I can fit with a curve. I havent understood it with laws that hold over all space and time. Can I use my empirical model of ball falling on earth to send a rocket to the moon. Ask Harrison Schmidt.

  59. Steven Mosher says:

    The dog? It just chases anything.
    Hoping to catch its food

    ####
    cars are not food as some dogs find out

  60. Lew Skannen says:

    I was going to ask SS whether they were planning on applying the same scrutiny to Manns tree ring analysis but I realised that there was no chance of my comment being published.

  61. LazTeenager says:

    SasjaL says
    Is 2-8 m /6.5-26 ft sea level rise, because of (fictional) melting of ice, a real problem?
    ———-
    I consider sea level rise the comedy aspect of global warming. I live well above sea level.

    But then again if you live in Venice or Bangkok or any other low lying city you may not. The time scales are very long so people will move. But a large amount of our cultural heritage will be obliterated.

  62. Steven Mosher says:

    Willis
    ‘You could improve your arguments greatly by doing a few things. The first is to actually calculate and report the R^2 of your claimed relationships (including the adjustment for autocorrelation), rather than just eyeballing it and claiming a “striking” correlation where only a very weak correlation exists.

    The second is to cite your sources. For example, in Figure 2 you say there are “coastal tide gauge records to 2001 and the satellite record” … which coastal tide gauge records? Which satellite record? With or without the inverted barometer correction?”

    I’d go further. I’d say that WUWT should set a standard for blog articles. No data, no code, no post allowed.

    All of the analytical choices that david made should be subject to quick audit. which series was selected, how were they merged, what happens if we make other equally rational decisions.. in short is the answer robust with respect to analyst choices.. Or not.

  63. LazTeenager says:

    And I forgot to mentioning agricultural deltas. E.g. The nile delta and places like Bangladesh.

  64. LazTeenager says:

    P.Solar says
    Nobody has “measured” the ice mass. All techniques depend on estimates of mantle rebound. (GRACE satellites can not tell the difference between ice mass and land mass so their gravity measurements get… adjusted. )
    ———-
    Yes buut they can pick up mass changes. Unless you want to claim that rock is disappearing you woudl need to attribute that to ice loss.

  65. DirkH says:

    LazTeenager says:
    April 22, 2012 at 3:21 pm
    “RobW says:
    April 22, 2012 at 8:23 am
    Can someone please expalin how in an La Nina year the global heat energy of the oceans is rising. Is this another example of data adjustments?
    —————
    Could it be because the warm surface waters have sunk and the cold deep waters have risen to the surface? Therefore more heat has been transferred to the deeps while the air temperature has cooled.”

    Yeah sure. Also, Global Warming will make water flow uphill.

  66. Gail Combs says:

    Leif Svalgaard says:
    April 22, 2012 at 2:38 pm

    ….The dog? It just chases anything.
    Hoping to catch its food.
    __________________
    Unless it is a retriever. Then it catches and dumps the live rabbits, rats and very annoyed woodchucks on your feet, or if you are really unlucky on your bed. (YUCK)

  67. David Archibald says:

    Willis Eschenbach says:
    April 22, 2012 at 12:15 pm
    Willis, the only reason I get to publish anything on WUWT at all is that I am filling a vacuum. The work I have done here should have been done by the good and the great years ago. But they are still thrashing around in the weeds instead of looking to the stars, and one star in particular, our beloved Sun. I am very happy with this backtesting piece because it has nailed why sea level took off with a gallop from about 1930.

    Anyone who is dismayed by the deficiencies in my work can displace it by doing better work and getting it into print before I do. So, viewed from that angle, the problem of this piece entering the public domain is not my fault, it is the fault of those who could have and should have done better work but failed to do so. So, look into your own hearts, those who hold to high levels of public discourse, the deficiencies of this piece are purely your own.

    Let’s go back to that 1930s inflection point in the rate of sea level rise. It has been sitting in the data record for at least 50 years. Nobody was in the least bit curious as to why it was there. “Why was it a sharp inflection instead of a gentle curve” would have been a good question to ask. It took me and a simple model using sunspot numbers to find out why that inflection point exists. That in turn implies that the Sun had a big role in the climate of the second half of the 20th Century. I am happy, happy, happy to have done my bit to push back the darkness.

  68. dp says:

    LazTeenager says:
    April 22, 2012 at 3:36 pm

    And I forgot to mentioning agricultural deltas. E.g. The nile delta and places like Bangladesh.

    Delta regions exist because rivers empty into seas. That relationship exists for all expected levels of the sea.

  69. stevefitzpatrick says:

    P. Solar,
    “The idea that 10,000 temps in different places entitles you to divide the uncertainty by 100 is based on the fallacy that you have 10,000 measurements of the same quantity.”

    “Whoever does that is either incompetent or a lier (or both).”

    You would do better to stay away from insults; it reflects very poorly on you. I have worked in research and as a technical consultant for almost 40 years. I assure you I am neither technically incompetent nor a liar. I said nothing about how the uncertainty falls with increasing measurements. I said only that it most certainly does fall with increasing numbers of measurements.

    The thing that is most interesting about the thermocline is that it is surprisingly similar over considerable distances, because movement of water along constant density lines is thousands of times (or even tens of thousands of times) faster than vertical transport (that is, perpendicular to the density gradient), so there is a reasonable argument to be made that shifts in the average profile (if that average come from a reasonable geographical sample) gives a pretty good estimate of changes in heat content. The uncertainty in the average temperature of the 0-700 meter level is not anywhere close to 0.1C. But more than the actual observations, the existing shape of the thermocline (an almost exponential fall in temperature with depth except at high latitudes) means that the measured warming of the surface of the ocean ought to (logically) lead to gradual heat accumulation via eddy driven diffusion down the thermocline. Which is why the Argo system was developed in the first place. The estimates of ocean heat accumulation will only become better as Argo accumulates more data. It is only fully in operation since ~2004 after all. Argo generates better quality data than most anything else in climate science, and estimates of OHC change will only improve. Argo represents the best way to constrain the credible range of climate sensitivity to GHG forcing.

    “That’s fine if you have 12.5mm/a , you can see it clearly but you can not measure an effect using the shore line and then use it to correct the sea level! Circular reasoning. So although the “idea” of mantle rebound is fairly well accepted, this does not provide a way to measure it.”

    You seem to have missed the point of my comment completely. I was trying to point out that measured changes in land altitude demonstrate very clearly the local magnitude of glacial rebound some 10,000 years after the ice melted. If the land is rising at about ~10 mm per year relative to sea level, and your globally averaged tide gauges say the sea level is increasing ~2 mm per year, then you can be pretty sure the land is rising about 12 mm per year. That is useful information if you are trying to understand how the Earth actually reacts to changing surface mass distribution. Is there some uncertainty around Hudson bay? Sure, but it is not huge. If you don’t like comparing to sea level, then you can put fixed GPS receivers on the ground and measure the local rate of rise independent of the ocean. The “models” of glacial rebound have been tested against exactly that kind of reasonably solid measurement, which is why I find them to be credible. Is the overall isostatic correction to sea level of 0.3 mm/yr absolutely certain? Heck no! It might be 0.2 mm or 0.4 mm. But there is no reason to believe it should be -0.5mm/yr, nor 0.8mm per year.

    There are in fact lots of things in climate science which are very poorly known (or essentially unknown), like aerosol effects (direct and indirect), and net cloud amplification (negative or positive). There are some things that are reasonably well known (like GHG forcing levels), and some that fall between those two extremes, like measured ocean heat content and the influence of oceanic pseudocycles. Declaring that we know essentially nothing about sea level rise, ocean heat content, or glacial rebound is not accurate.

  70. P. Solar says:

    RobW says:
    April 22, 2012 at 8:23 am
    Can someone please expalin how in an La Nina year the global heat energy of the oceans is rising. Is this another example of data adjustments?

    If you think La Nina = cold , it seems paradoxical, but you have not thought about it. La Nina is cold for surface temps, it does not mean cold for the bulk of the ocean.

    A cold ocean surface means less evaporation, less radiative loss ie less heat going out that usual. This will not reduce the amount of heat absorbed so there is a net warming. OHC goes up. The opposite is the case for El Nino, it is a cooling event precisely because the surface is hotter.

    This shows how ocean currents can actually cause planetary warming and cooling rather than just being “internal” variations of the system.

  71. Mike Maxwell says:

    Where do the numbers behind the graph in fig 1 come from? In particular the numbers for the years 1646-1726.

  72. P. Solar says:

    stevefitzpatrick says:
    April 22, 2012 at 4:36 pm
    >>
    P. Solar,
    “The idea that 10,000 temps in different places entitles you to divide the uncertainty by 100 is based on the fallacy that you have 10,000 measurements of the same quantity.”

    “Whoever does that is either incompetent or a lier (or both).”

    You would do better to stay away from insults; it reflects very poorly on you. I have worked in research and as a technical consultant for almost 40 years. I assure you I am neither technically incompetent nor a liar.
    >>

    Steve, you did not say measurement uncertainties could be divided by 100 so my comment was not aimed at you. Don’t take it personally. Neither was I questioning your competence, You seem very knowledgeable.

    However, you seem to credit argo with a degree of accuracy that may make it relevant to a meaningful assessment of OHC. That is why I brought up the spurious claims of accuracy that are quite simply dishonest coming from anyone with a scientific training.

  73. P. Solar says:

    “Argo generates better quality data than most anything else in climate science,”
    yes the individual instruments are very good.

    “…and estimates of OHC change will only improve. ” Truism, does not say anything about the current state of play.

    “Argo represents the best way to constrain the credible range of climate sensitivity to GHG forcing. ”

    Only if you attribute a fantastic value for the measurement uncertainty. I think Argo is very interesting and will surely advance our knowledge of the oceans in coming decades.But the spacial and temporal coverage is wide of the mark to provide OHC to within an accuracy sufficient to tell us about GHG forcing.

  74. edbarbar says:

    @Leif Svalgaard:

    So it seems there are “adjustments” to the measurements. See, now I need to know whether you are a warmist, luke warmist, or denier before I can even begin to trust your slides (especially since they seem to lack lots of information, and I’m finding it increasingly hard to care).

    I think from now on I will give greater trust to warmist studies that demonstrate “surprises” in their understanding of AGW (not in the “Oh, it’s going to get a a lot warmer than we thought”), because even after spending large amounts of time trying to understand “adjusted” data, etc., I am in no better position than when I started to know whether the “adjustments” are valid or not.

    See what happens when science is abused?

  75. TomT says:

    The last part of the chart looks like an upside down hockey stick. Then I see that you used different measurement before 2001 than after, and I am reminded of another hockey stick graph that used the same “trick”.

  76. Geoff Sharp says:

    If thermal expansion and world temps are a major factor in sea level rise why are we not seeing a dip in the rate rise during the period of the last neg PDO 1945-1975 which also experienced a low sunspot cycle?

  77. markx says:

    LazTeenager says:April 22, 2012 at 3:36 pm

    “And I forgot to mentioning agricultural deltas. E.g. The nile delta and places like Bangladesh.”

    It makes sense that river deltas will perfectly keep pace with gradual sea rise, as long as upriver conditions have not drastically changed.

  78. Alex C says:

    @Mike Maxwell: there were very few (if any) sunspots observed during the Maunder Minimum, so surely that dip in sea level is due to that and the relationship David chose.

    David: I am curious as to (a) why you continue to use the 0.045 figure without addressing my points on using the whole dataset and using a proper regression (Part 1B of my series covers this), (b) why your reconstruction shows slightly falling sea level prior to 1930 but your own tidal-gauge-based reconstruction (Figure 2) shows a continual increase, albeit slightly slower than recent, and (c) if you can comment at all on other reconstructions based off of proxies, such as by Kemp et al 2011 in PNAS, which doesn’t show a Maunder response as yours does:
    http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2011/06/13/1015619108.full.pdf

  79. markx says:

    An apparent correlation with sunspot activity would seem to explain little. In biological sciences an r^2 of 0.55 would spark some interest and perhaps prompt some further research. However, according to Alex C’s work at Skeptical Science the use of an extended time series lowers the r^2 to 0.12.

    By the way, for once, the two Skeptical Science articles on this are well written, and the discussion is sensible. I susually find it a frustrating place, but in this case is certainly worth a read.

  80. Mike Maxwell says:

    @Alex C: I’m asking where the sea level data comes from, not what the relationship is between the sea level measurements and sunspots. No citations are given. According to fig 1, the difference in sea level between 1646 and 1726 is on the order of 10cm (about 4 inches). Given the noise due to tides, waves, and so forth, that seems a very high accuracy to have measured the global sea level, or even the sea level in Great Britain (for example) back then.

  81. Alex C says:

    @markx: Thanks :-)

    @Mike Maxwell: I think that it is an artificial reconstruction based on sunspot data and the linear relationship David derived in his previous post (which I still contest, but anyway) – the sunspot data is available in Part 1 of my series, and what I did to replicate his figure is plot the monthly data in Excel and relate sea level (L) to sunspots (S) by L = (40-S)*0.045, to emulate David’s figures. I then used a trapezoidal Reimann sum (crude integration) to estimate the sea level, from the sea level rise. I haven’t uploaded the figure online but it matches Archibald’s well enough visually.

    As to data prior to when that sunspot record starts though (my graph only goes until ~1750), I’m not sure where you might find that. I suppose Google might help, I haven’t looked into that yet because until this point it hasn’t interested me.

  82. Alex C says:

    Argh, L = (S-40)*0.045. Sorry about the typo.

  83. Willis Eschenbach says:

    Jim says:
    April 22, 2012 at 1:01 pm

    Willis, given the fact that the climate is chaotic, I’m not sure it is reasonable to expect a correlation between a given solar parameter and the rate of change of sea level rise. Other actors will still be at work – like your beloved clouds for instance.

    I expect nothing. It is David Archibald who has claimed there is a correlation.

    w.

  84. Lief, I suggest your experience with dogs is zero. Some time ago our dog -a Samoyd, had gone in the paddock to round up some sheep. It must have startled a rabbit which ran. The dog caught up with it in 20 m jumped on it and killed. It was not interested in eating it. Recently, in our backyard we had a tree snake sunning itself. Our two dogs (a poodle & border collie) had no interest and I was able to pick up the snake and move it into the bush. The next day the snake was back but it moved and one of the dogs (probably the poodle) jumped on it and killed it. Many animals and have developed camouflage and learnt not to move.
    Maybe you know something about solar radiation but you seem to have preconceived ideas. Maybe, your understanding is much less than you think.

  85. Willis Eschenbach says:

    LazTeenager says:
    April 22, 2012 at 3:36 pm

    And I forgot to mentioning agricultural deltas. E.g. The nile delta and places like Bangladesh.

    Well, once again you’ve proven that you’re not following the story. The land area of Bangladesh in increasing, not decreasing … but then you were never one to let facts get in your way.

    “”Bangladesh – New data shows that Bangladesh’s landmass is increasing, contradicting forecasts that the South Asian nation will be under the waves by the end of the century, experts say.

    Scientists from the Dhaka-based Center for Environment and Geographic Information Services (CEGIS) have studied 32 years of satellite images and say Bangladesh’s landmass has increased by 20 square kilometres (eight square miles) annually.

    Maminul Haque Sarker, head of the department at the government-owned centre that looks at boundary changes, said sediment which travelled down the big Himalayan rivers the Ganges and the Brahmaputra — had caused the landmass to increase.

    The [IPCC] says 20 million Bangladeshis will become environmental refugees by 2050 and the country will lose some 30 per cent of its food production

    Director of the US-based NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, professor James Hansen, paints an even grimmer picture, predicting the entire country could be under water by the end of the century.

    But Sarker said that while rising sea levels and river erosion were both claiming land in Bangladesh, many climate experts had failed to take into account new land being formed from the river sediment.

    “Satellite images dating back to 1973 and old maps earlier than that show some 1,000 square kilometres of land have raised from the sea,” Sarker said.””

    So you’ve foolishly believed Hansen and the IPCC, and now you have to pay the price.

    w.

    PS—BTW, why did you take the “y” out of your old alias, “LazyTeenager”? Are you slowly getting less lazy? Because if so, I’d advise you to use your new-found energy to Google some of your claims before embarrassing yourself with things like your howler above about Bangladesh.

    Which of your claims should you check? Well, a good rule of thumb would be, the more you believe it, the less likely it is to be true …

  86. Martin457 says:

    The idiot in the corner still, for some reason or another, thinks plate techtonics or ‘mantle rebound’ or whatever still plays a factor in sea level. No doubt the solar panel that is our oceans will collect some energy.

    Animals are mostly instinctual.

  87. cementafriend says:
    April 22, 2012 at 7:32 pm
    Leif, I suggest your experience with dogs is zero.
    You did not catch that my response was tongue-in-cheek. To underscore the absurdity of the original comment referring to dogs and decrying the ‘why’. The ‘why’ is why we do science. Without the ‘why’ we have nothing. Now, the ‘why’ may eventually be replaced by a better ‘why’. That is what we call progress. In the meantime, the old ‘why’ would have served us well. Even allowing us to find the better ‘why’.

  88. Willis Eschenbach says:

    David Archibald says:
    April 22, 2012 at 4:06 pm

    Willis, the only reason I get to publish anything on WUWT at all is that I am filling a vacuum. The work I have done here should have been done by the good and the great years ago. But they are still thrashing around in the weeds instead of looking to the stars, and one star in particular, our beloved Sun. I am very happy with this backtesting piece because it has nailed why sea level took off with a gallop from about 1930.

    Anyone who is dismayed by the deficiencies in my work can displace it by doing better work and getting it into print before I do.

    That’s the most pathetic excuse for bad work I’ve heard in a long while. Man up and do work that you are proud of, don’t settle for producing un-cited, un-calculated, un-falsifiable non-science just because you find no one else working in the area you are exploring. (And while you are doing that, you might consider other possible reasons why no one is currently working along your lines. It may not be because we’re all idiots except you …)

    You go on to say:

    Let’s go back to that 1930s inflection point in the rate of sea level rise. It has been sitting in the data record for at least 50 years. Nobody was in the least bit curious as to why it was there. “Why was it a sharp inflection instead of a gentle curve” would have been a good question to ask. It took me and a simple model using sunspot numbers to find out why that inflection point exists. That in turn implies that the Sun had a big role in the climate of the second half of the 20th Century. I am happy, happy, happy to have done my bit to push back the darkness.

    Oh, my goodness, another victim of testosterone poisoning … hubris is not your friend, David. Wait until others recognize your brilliance, and then say “Aw, shucks, it was nothing”. Claiming that you’ve brilliantly solved the problems no one else has even noticed doesn’t look good.

    Back to the science. We don’t really have very good figures on the 1930′s sea level, not a whole lot of stations have un-interrupted long-term records covering that time. Another problem is exactly how to put the individual stations together. Then there’s the question of land subsidence and how it should be treated. As a result, different investigators get different answers. Heck, even the same investigators have gotten different answers at different times. Here’s the estimate of Jevrejeva from 2006 …

    I’m not sure what you are calling the “1930s inflection point in the rate of sea level rise”. To me it seems the rate of sea level rise (lower panel) is high in about 1880, drops until about 1910, and then rises pretty evenly after that … so where is this “sharp inflection point” in 1930 you are all on about discovering and explaining?

    w.

    PS—Your piece has not “nailed” anything. You have made un-verifiable and more importantly un-falsifiable claims, and now you have excused the shoddiness of your work with the excuse that the “good and the great” haven’t worked on the question … as if that makes any difference.

    PPS—Here’s Jevrejeva’s analysis of the sea level by oceanic basin (op. cit.) …

    What does your whiz-bang model say about this? Where is your vaunted “1930′s inflection point”? How come the Sun makes one basin rise and another fall in 1930? To misquote Shakespeare,

    There are more variables in sea level, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.

  89. David Archibald says:

    tallbloke says:
    April 22, 2012 at 11:51 am
    Agreed, Tallbloke. My breakover point is 40 but it is very likely to be able to get to a more precise figure than that. The average sunspot number from 1700 to 1933 was 43, and from 1993 to 2003, the average sunspot number was 74.5.

    Going back to that Solanki, Usoskin et al paper of 2004, the average sunspot number over the last 11,400 years is 28.7. Over the last 8,000 years it has averaged 25.6. Quoting that paper, the average sunspot number of 75 since 1940 is 2.85 standard deviations from the 11,400 year average. The point of all this is that sea level settles at an equilibrium with sunspot number, otherwise it would be continually going up or down.

    If the average sunspot number from 1700 to 1933 was 43, and sea level was just slopping about over that period, then the breakover number is going to be close to 43. It is only the 70 year burst at 2.85 standard deviations that enabled us to quantify the relationship with sunspot number.

  90. Willis Eschenbach says:
    April 22, 2012 at 8:21 pm
    we’re all idiots except you
    Willis, there are many Einsteins pushing their stuff on this blog…

  91. David Archibald says:
    April 22, 2012 at 8:25 pm
    Going back to that Solanki, Usoskin et al paper of 2004, the average sunspot number over the last 11,400 years is 28.7. Over the last 8,000 years it has averaged 25.6.
    As long as you use numbers like that that very likely are simply wrong, it will only decrease interest in whatever brilliant research you think you are doing. Study this paper carefully:
    http://www.leif.org/EOS/muscheler05nat_nature04045.pdf
    “The reconstruction by Solanki et al. implies generally less solar forcing during the past millennium than in the second part of the twentieth century, whereas our reconstruction indicates that solar activity around AD 1150 and 1600 and in the late eighteenth century was probably comparable to the recent satellite-based observations. In any case, as noted by Solanki et al., solar activity reconstructions tell us that only a minor fraction of the recent global warming can be explained by the variable Sun.”
    Or this one: http://www.leif.org/EOS/muscheler07qsr.pdf
    “However, as the mean value during the last 55 yr was reached or exceeded several times during the past 1000 yr the current level of solar activity can be regarded as relatively common”
    Or http://www.leif.org/EOS/2009GL038004-Berggren.pdf
    “ice core 10Be reflects solar Schwabe cycle variations, and continued 10Be variability suggests cyclic solar activity throughout the Maunder and Spoerer grand solar activity minima. Recent 10Be values are low; however, they do not indicate unusually high recent solar activity compared to the last 600 years.”

    One of your ‘papers’ was once dubbed the ‘worst sun-climate paper ever’. This here one comes close.

  92. David Archibald says:

    Willis Eschenbach says:
    April 22, 2012 at 12:15 pm
    Who’s a grumpy Willis this morning? But you started out laughing. I am afraid that the Lake Victoria observation was not an original observation of mine. I was using the data and methodology provided by an eminent hydrologist. This is a link to his figure:
    http://www.waterpowermagazine.com/graphic.asp?sc=2058304&seq=3

  93. F. Ross says:


    Steven Mosher says:
    April 22, 2012 at 3:27 pm

    The dog? It just chases anything.
    Hoping to catch its food

    ####
    cars are not food as some dogs find out

    @Leif
    …and frisbees or sticks, tennis balls, rocks, etc. Pretty sure most dogs realize these items are not food. Some dogs seem just to like to “play” and/or get some exercise.

  94. Willis Eschenbach says:

    David Archibald says:
    April 22, 2012 at 8:45 pm

    Willis Eschenbach says:
    April 22, 2012 at 12:15 pm
    Who’s a grumpy Willis this morning? But you started out laughing. I am afraid that the Lake Victoria observation was not an original observation of mine. I was using the data and methodology provided by an eminent hydrologist. This is a link to his figure:
    http://www.waterpowermagazine.com/graphic.asp?sc=2058304&seq=3

    Anecdote masquerading as science on WUWT always makes me grumpy, David, no surprise there.

    So let’s see about your claim regarding Lake Victoria. It was in your own words, and it was your own claim, regarding your own graph, in your own post … but once it is questioned, suddenly you have nothing to do with it, you wash your hands of it, it’s someone else’s entirely …

    I don’t care if the data came from God himself, David. If you remove the data that doesn’t fit your theory, you can’t claim success because your theory fits the rest of your data. But that’s exactly what you’ve done. You say:

    The relationship with solar activity broke down in the 1930’s and resumed in the 1970’s. There was also a very rapid rise in the 1960’s. Taking out the period of the solar relationship breakdown and detrending the data from 1968, this is what the relationship looks like (data courtesy of Dr Peter Mason) … There is no doubt about the relationship between solar activity and the level of Lake Victoria …

    You delete all of the data that doesn’t fit, throwing out a full forty percent of the entire dataset, and then you blithely declare that there is “no doubt” about the relationship? … sorry, David, but that dog won’t hunt.

    w.

  95. James Allison says:

    Leif Svalgaard says:
    April 22, 2012 at 2:38 pm
    Alvin says:
    April 22, 2012 at 2:24 pm
    How does the rabbit know it does not like to be eaten?
    Evolution working its magic. The rabbits that do not run get eaten and leave fewer [or no] descendants.

    The dog? It just chases anything.
    Hoping to catch its food.

    ————————————————
    My dog chases cats only for the pure joy of the chase. Is that a good example of evolution?

  96. markx says:

    Willis Eschenbach says: April 22, 2012 at 11:43 pm

    “You delete all of the data that doesn’t fit, …and then declare that there is “no doubt” about the relationship? …

    sorry, David, but that dog won’t hunt.

    And thus, Willis neatly ties up both threads of this debate!

  97. Ian H says:

    > My dog chases cats only for the pure joy of the chase. Is that a good example of evolution?

    Dogs no longer live in the wild. Dogs must now please humans to survive. Perhaps dogs chase cats because people expect them to.

  98. prjindigo says:

    I think here we have a problem not in the correlation from spot to mm but in the concept of an accurate correlation between sunspot number and total solar flux. Thank you, Lief, for the article on the offset in SSN reporting. I see where it could change the number presented but I don’t see where it would change the science presented.

    So the question as to whether the sunspot actualization is a direct result or mechanical correlary of total solar radiation as opposed to a result of a separate interaction that happens to nearly correlate to total solar radiation is again raised. TMK this question has yet to be accurately answered and again drops us into a “belief” zone. The only thing we’ve proven so far about sunspots is they are a form of “noise” generated by the sun’s existence. They seem to be a system that releases energy at a higher rate than “normal” much like a heat-point in a pan of boiling water will produce a stream of bubbles. Quite a large sum of money has been spent in developing data streams of additional inputs to the earth’s magnothermal environment in the last few decades. With these new sources I believe we can begin measuring the ACTUAL interaction of the energy to the planet without having to resort to counting.

    To those who are concerned about any inaccuracies in the counting of sunspots allow me to point out that there can be a very high consensus of accuracy in almost any qualitative deduction when training and explaination are involved. One need only to look at art history and humanities education to find that people CAN learn to be on precisely the same page as to qualitative deduction. We do it here on the internet literally by wrote.

    To those of you who decided to (or neurotically reacted with) inaccurate allegory I would like to reply that you’ve not taken into account the color and hair length of either the vegitation OR the rabbits. Please present a more reasoned example next time!

  99. prjindigo says:
    April 23, 2012 at 7:00 am
    Quite a large sum of money has been spent in developing data streams of additional inputs to the earth’s magnothermal environment in the last few decades. With these new sources I believe we can begin measuring the ACTUAL interaction of the energy to the planet without having to resort to counting.
    Check out: http://www.leif.org/research/POES%20Power%20and%20IHV.pdf

  100. MarkW says:

    “The threshold between rising and falling seal level is a sunspot amplitude of 40.”

    Would that be Leopard Seals, Harbor Seals, or Seals of Approval?

  101. Myrrh says:

    One Saluki/Greyhound who deigned to live with us used to race deer across the fields for fun, no other critters around to match his speed. He certainly knew how to take them down, he’d spent considerable effort practising on me until he’d perfected the technique – I hadn’t realised what he was doing until he was successful – a quick imperceptible touch with his shoulder behind my knee and I dropped like a stone, sprawled on the grass. He thought it very funny as he lay down facing me waiting for me to recover.. :)

  102. Crispin back in Waterloo says:

    @P Solar

    “In reality the uncertainty is greater than the effect.”

    I am not sure how you will fare bringing real science and engineering into the climate discussion. You will see the occasional call for error bars and if they were put on the charts, a debate would ensue about which ones to show. It could be a calculation of a 95% confidence band, or 90%, or anything else that made things look more accurate than they really are.

    People want their work to appear to be precise and accurate. Often climate work is neither. Claims for precision often far outstrip the instrument, as I feel you pointed out.

    Claims for demonstrated effects that are well inside the experimental error bars are a dime a dozen: witmess the outrageous forecasts of future climate based on computer modelling.

  103. Crispin back in Waterloo says:

    @Leif

    Your presentation http://www.leif.org/research/Rudolf%20Wolf%20Was%20Right.pdf on the lack of variation of TSI seems to be contradicted by the paper on your site http://www.leif.org/EOS/muscheler07qsr.pdf which says in the conclusion.

    “Regardless of these uncertainties, the cosmogenic radionuclide records indicate that the current solar activity is relatively high compared to the period before 1950 AD. However, as the mean value during the last 55 yr was reached or exceeded several times during the past 1000 yr
    the current level of solar activity can be regarded as relatively common.”

    The quibble remaining is that perhaps there has been a lot of variation in the level of solar activity but not accompanied by changes in TSI. Is that your position? It seems to me the purpose of the former link is to show that there is no long term trend in TSI and further that the solar activity in the late 20th century was not unusual, even relative to the early 20th century, as shown in your slide 14. It that correct? The lengthy paper on 10Be deposition and the 14C proxy used to affirm it holds to a different conclusion. The 10Be record shows an unusually active sun in the late 20th centruy, with even higher periods of activity 1000 years ago.

    I felt the statement early on this topic that the sun was ‘more active than it had been in 8000 years’ is a mis-reporting of the more accurate, “The sun has recently been more active that is has been for 80% of the past 8000 years.” which is quite a different claim.

    I have seen the claim several times with variations on the % value given, but all between 80%and 90%. From what I can see, it is not possible to reconcile the claim that the sun has recently been pretty much the same as it was for centuries, with the 10Be record.

    Perhaps I am misreading the main claims in your Wolf Was Right presentation.

  104. Crispin back in Waterloo says:
    April 23, 2012 at 9:02 am
    The quibble remaining is that perhaps there has been a lot of variation in the level of solar activity but not accompanied by changes in TSI. Is that your position?
    The Muscheler 2005 paper in Nature states: “our reconstruction indicates that solar activity around AD 1150 and 1600 and in the late eighteenth century was probably comparable to the recent satel-
    lite-based observations.”
    There are now mounting evidence that the 10Be data has to treated with some caution as the relationship with solar activity is not so simple as first thought. For example, the deposition of 10Be depends on atmospheric circulation and thus climate [danger of circular reasoning here!]. Also the calibration of the data in terms of solar activity is model dependent and the Group Sunspot Number has been used for that, but the Group sunspot number is not really all that good: http://www.leif.org/research/What-is-Wrong-with-GSN.pdf
    the situation is so dire that the experts involved in both the cosmic rays and solar activity will assemble next month for two workshops to try to see what can be done: http://www.leif.org/research/Svalgaard_ISSI_Proposal_Base.pdf and http://ssnworkshop.wikia.com/wiki/Home
    The direct observations of sunspots, geomagnetic activity, and aurorae the past three hundreds years are believed to give a truer picture than the indirect cosmic ray proxies. But eventually we’ll learn how to calibrate the cosmic rays proxies and arrive at time series that we can use with confidence.

  105. rgbatduke says:

    I’m not trying to discourage you, David, I’m trying to encourage you to look at and investigate this scientifically.

    To add to this, you are repeating a mistake that was made long, long ago, and that has long since been addressed in the literature. The problem with solar coincidence is that single factor solar correlation that works consistently over long time periods is fairly rare in the climate game. Monsoons, droughts, and so on correlate, but the correlation isn’t perfect or persistent, which means that it could either be noise (no real correlation) or multifactorial — TWO things have to be right for the causal signal to resolve, not just one.

    It is the curse of regression. There are good ways and bad ways to look for predictive relationships. For single or independent multiple variables with expected logistic or gaussian sorts of dependences, regression is peachy — given lots of data and low N (number of variables). For general nonlinear multivariable dependences that aren’t “simple”, regression sucks and parametric methods suck. All of this is well known in predictive modeling on complex landscapes or in computational pattern recognition (same thing).

    The bad thing about THIS is that humans are pretty good at understanding “smoking causes cancer”. Don’t smoke, lower your risk. They aren’t as good at understanding “mothballs are harmless unless you have sickle cell anemia or parents of mediterranean descent and are older than 34 years of age — and male”. Where part of that isn’t even just made up. Nor is at as easy to accumulate the data to make the latter inference. And this is still a simple inference compared to inferences concerning patterns in a chaotic turbulent system.

    So you could be right. The data could contain a compelling correlation — but absolutely not as a single-factor cause, and you haven’t identified the other important dimension that would permit the correlation to be observed or the causality — maybe — to be inferred.

    rgb

  106. rgbatduke says:

    I’m curious, though, how you extend the conclusion that the 20th century was exceptional in solar activity back over the entire Holocene.
    I was trying to say it was NOT exceptional.
    Is this junk science? If so, how do we know — what is wrong with the reconstructions?
    The recent sunspot record is used to calibrate the radionuclide proxies so any problem with the recent data feeds into the reconstructions. This is such an important problem that I’m convening a workshop in a couple of weeks to study this: http://www.leif.org/research/Svalgaard_ISSI_Proposal_Base.pdf
    The cosmic ray experts also disagree as to what the proxies show, e.g. http://www.leif.org/EOS/muscheler07qsr.pdf

    Yes, I understand/understood, but the radionuclide proxies are at the very least proxies for themselves, are they not? One can argue about what they mean in units of sunspot number, but how can one argue about what they mean in terms of themselves?

    As you say, the sun has significant surface magnetic activity during Maunder minima, but that doesn’t mean that its major multipoles are similarly active. From your own data, it appears that they are not — that as solar activity in the form of sunspots diminishes, the dipole field strength at peak appears to be diminishing.

    The Bravo paper I posted on another thread indicates that the surface magnetic field is completely dominated by high-order multipoles, so a diminishment of the background major multipoles associated with the interior dynamo would not necessarily mean that surface magnetic activity would cease or that a filamentary corona would not be visible during a Maunder minimum. It is the major (low order) multipoles, however, that reflect the interior state, and it is their field that dominates the far field. So it is entirely reasonable to believe that during a Maunder minimum, the bulk solar magnetic field in the vicinity of the Earth could be very seriously reduced even though highly structured surface magnetism on the Sun might be maintained.

    rgb

  107. rgbatduke says:
    April 23, 2012 at 9:41 am
    Yes, I understand/understood, but the radionuclide proxies are at the very least proxies for themselves, are they not? One can argue about what they mean in units of sunspot number, but how can one argue about what they mean in terms of themselves?
    Yes, of course, but they are the result of convolving production and deposition, each of which again depends on several factors [e.g. the Earth's magnetic field and Atmospheric circulation].

    So it is entirely reasonable to believe that during a Maunder minimum, the bulk solar magnetic field in the vicinity of the Earth could be very seriously reduced even though highly structured surface magnetism on the Sun might be maintained.
    The cosmic ray modulation depends on the magnetic field in interplanetary space [e.g. near the Earth], so since the cosmic ray modulation was still present during the Maunder Minimum we [at least I] believe that the interplanetary [and hence low-order solar] field was not severely reduced. Data sometimes trumps reason.

  108. Crispin back in Waterloo says:

    Thanks Leif “But eventually we’ll learn how to calibrate the cosmic rays proxies and arrive at time series that we can use with confidence.”

    I agree with rgbatduke that the 10Be are without interpretation a proxy for themselves. The simplest and most direct, useful thing they have to say is that 10Be is inversely corellated with temperature. Blaming the weather for 10Be deposition rates is going to rank in my books alongside ‘the MWP was a local event” explanation of higher temperatures 800 years ago.

    I believe 10Be is what set people in motion looking for ‘why’ re the temps. There is a pretty good chart of thsoe two going back 530m years as I recall, plus CO2. The 10Be led to the cosmic rays which led to the heliosphere and the spiral currents flowing in it which led to the solar connection which led to the cyclical nature of it which led to the observations that the planetary gravitational sum also matched some of the cycles observed in the sun, and the rest is blogs as you know.

    The SSN is far less direct a forecast of temperature, however I find myself convinced that the SC length is so well correlated with the temps immediately following that it deserves a status similar to the 10Be:Temp relationship for the very reason you cite: data trumps reason(ing) [or 'explaining' as some are wont to do].

  109. Crispin back in Waterloo says:
    April 23, 2012 at 12:44 pm
    Blaming the weather for 10Be deposition rates is going to rank in my books alongside ‘the MWP was a local event” explanation of higher temperatures 800 years ago.
    This is not ‘blaming’, but an established fact. Most of the 10Be is created elsewhere and then brought to the polar regions by atmospheric circulation and precipitation.

    and the spiral currents flowing in it which led to the solar connection which led to the cyclical nature of it which led to the observations that the planetary gravitational sum also matched some of the cycles observed in the sun, and the rest is blogs as you know.
    The 10Be is caused by cosmic rays that do not follow the spiral [as they are much too energetic], and the planets have nothing to do with 10Be.

    The SSN is far less direct a forecast of temperature, however I find myself convinced that the SC length is so well correlated with the temps immediately following
    You may believe that, but it is not the case.

  110. Geoff Sharp says:

    Some valid comments by rgb and Crispin.

    Two important points raised, when considering climate or the temperature record it is foolish to see solar forcing as the be all and end all that needs to match with precision. The PDO and other factors perhaps playing an even larger role outside of grand minima events. Also the necessity of recognizing the importance of maintaining the isotope records. When matching 14C and 10Be it can be seen both records are in good agreement when overlaid.

    http://tinyurl.com/2dg9u22/?q=node/51

    In time other markers will be recognized that show the isotope records are correct over the short term, but perhaps begins to stray around 5000 years BP.

  111. Geoff Sharp says:
    April 23, 2012 at 5:51 pm
    In time other markers will be recognized that show the isotope records are correct over the short term

    Hardly. compare
    http://arxiv.org/abs/1004.2675
    “We have compared the yearly production rates of 10Be by cosmic rays in the Earths polar atmosphere over the last 50-70 years with 10Be measurements from two separate ice cores in Greenland. These ice cores provide measurements of the annual 10Be concentration and 10Be flux levels during this time. The scatter in the ice core yearly data vs. the production data is larger than the average solar 11 year production variations that are being measured. The cross correlation coefficients between the yearly 10Be production and the ice core 10Be measurements for this time period are <0.4 in all comparisons between ice core data and 10Be production, including 10Be concentrations, 10Be fluxes and in comparing the two separate ice core measurements. In fact, the cross correlation between the two ice core measurements, which should be measuring the same source, is the lowest of all, only ~0.2. These values for the correlation coefficient are all indicative of a "poor" correlation. The regression line slopes for the best fit lines between the 10Be production and the 10Be measurements used in the cross correlation analysis are all in the range 0.4-0.6. This is a particular problem for historical projections of solar activity based on ice core measurements which assume a 1:1 correspondence. We have made other tests of the correspondence between the 10Be predictions and the ice core measurements which lead to the same conclusion, namely that other influences on the ice core measurements, as large as or larger than the production changes themselves, are occurring. These influences could be climatic or instrumentally based. We suggest new ice core measurements that might help in defining more clearly what these influences are and-if possible-to correct for them."

    http://arxiv.org/abs/1003.4989:
    Using new calculations of 10Be production in the Earths atmosphere which are based on direct measurements of the 11-year solar modulation effects on galactic cosmic rays and spacecraft measurements of the cosmic ray energy spectrum, we have calculated the yearly average production of 10Be in the Earths atmosphere by galactic and solar cosmic rays since 1939. During the last six 11-year cycles the average amplitude of these production changes is 36%. These predictions are compared with measurements of 10Be concentration in polar ice cores in both the Northern and Southern hemisphere over the same time period. We find a large scatter between the predicted and measured yearly average data sets and a low cross correlation ~0.30. Also the normalized regression line slope between 10Be production changes and 10Be concentration changes is found to be only 0.4-0.6; much less than the value of 1.0 expected for a simple proportionality between these quantities, as is typically used for historical projections of the relationship between 10Be concentration and solar activity. The distribution of yearly averages in the 10Be concentration level in the data from the Dye-3 ice core in Greenland for the time period 1939-1985, contains a "spike" of high concentration one year averages which is not seen in the production calculations. These and other features suggest that galactic cosmic ray intensity changes which affect the production of 10Be in the Earths atmosphere are not the sole source of the 10Be concentration changes and confirm the importance of other effects, for example local and regional climatic effects, which could be of the same magnitude as the 10Be production changes.

  112. Geoff Sharp says:

    14C and 10Be are in good agreement, two different deposition methods that form a proxy record that should not be compared to sunspot activity precisley.The outstanding outcome is there is no flat floor, that no doubt you will attempt to hammer down.

    My mention of short term accuracy applies to the carbon dating aspect.

  113. Geoff Sharp says:
    April 23, 2012 at 7:20 pm
    14C and 10Be are in good agreement, two different deposition methods that form a proxy record that should not be compared to sunspot activity precisely.
    Not even the 10Be records agree among themselves as the two links I provided show [did you even read them]. Nevertheless, the 14C and 10Be do have much in common [slide 6 of http://www.leif.org/research/The%20long-term%20variation%20of%20solar%20activity.pdf ] with the exception of recent data. The main point is that there is no support for the Grand Modern Maximum in the 10Be record as you can see for yourself on the slide, by comparing the 10Be and Usoskin records.

    The outstanding outcome is there is no flat floor, that no doubt you will attempt to hammer down.
    There is growing suspicion that the deep dips at grand minima are not correct [the reconstructions often yield unphysical negative values, see http://www.leif.org/research/HMF-B-Steinhilber.png ]. This is what we’ll examine at our workshop in May and try to see where the error in the reconstruction of the low values comes from – my own hunch is that the error stems from the [wrong] assumption that the heliosphere is spherically symmetric at low solar activity; we shall see.

  114. Geoff Sharp says:
    April 23, 2012 at 7:20 pm
    The outstanding outcome is there is no flat floor, that no doubt you will attempt to hammer down.
    Here is the agenda for this sub-topic at our ISSI workshop:
    Reconstructions based on Cosmic Rays:
    Beer, McCracken, Steinhilber, Usoskin (devil’s advocates: Lockwood, Solanki, Cliver):
    (1) 11-yr modulation during the Maunder Minimum: What does the modulation look
    like if no filtering is applied? Was modulation strong or weak during this period in
    relation to the Spoerer minimum and later periods such as the Dalton minimum,
    the Gleissberg minimum around 1900 or the recent period of high activity? Is
    there any evidence for a 22-yr cycle (e.g., Jokipii in the Sun in Time (1991) and
    Hiroko Miyahara at a recent IAU Symposium in Argentina)? How did solar wind
    B vary at high time resolution? The auroral record (Siscoe, 1980) indicates a
    diminution of solar activity during the MM. Do you see evidence for this in the
    cosmogenic nuclide data?
    (2) Dip in B centered on 1895: How consistent is the ice core (i.e., seen in both
    hemispheres? multiple cores?) evidence for this depression? Is the dip
    supported by geomagnetic data? By sunspot number data? Could Krakatoa
    have contributed?
    (3) Drop outs to B ~ 0 nT beginning with the Spoerer Minimum: Supported by 14C?
    Observed in multiple 10Be cores? Time scale of drop-outs? Contribution from
    volcanos?
    (4) Comparison of Caballero-Lopez (2004), McCracken (2007), and Steinhilber et
    al. (2010). Evolution of time series. Consideration of the sensitivity of the B
    reconstructions to the local interstellar spectrum (LIS) used.
    ——
    Take note of the people involved.

  115. Geoff Sharp says:

    Leif Svalgaard says:
    April 23, 2012 at 8:03 pm

    The main point is that there is no support for the Grand Modern Maximum in the 10Be record as you can see for yourself on the slide, by comparing the 10Be and Usoskin records.

    While not agreeing with all of your points I do agree that Solanki/Usoskin are over the top with their modern reconstruction. SC19 would most likely get close to a solar ceiling that has the capacity to repeat every 172 years but see the level of grand minima during an epoch as the restrictive component. In that respect we did have a very good run in the last 200 years.

    http://tinyurl.com/2dg9u22/images/powerwave3.png

  116. Geoff Sharp says:

    Leif Svalgaard says:
    April 23, 2012 at 9:29 pm

    Take note of the people involved.

    Definately some talent involved, but perhaps missing those that might contribute with alternative views.

  117. Geoff Sharp says:

    Leif Svalgaard says:
    April 23, 2012 at 9:29 pm

    Speaking of Usoskin, did you see the Vaquero paper that he and 2 others contributed to that show the Maunder Minimum started earlier than the established date. More sunspot records found suggesting 1610 as the start point. This now agrees with the 14C record and with Carl’s graph.

    http://iopscience.iop.org/2041-8205/731/2/L24/fulltext/apjl_731_2_24.text.html#apjl386754r35

    Thanks to Ian Wilson for the link.

  118. Geoff Sharp says:
    April 23, 2012 at 9:48 pm
    Definitely some talent involved, but perhaps missing those that might contribute with alternative views.
    We are talking science here. Alternate views are like alternate medicine. They are alternate because they are not sound.

    Geoff Sharp says:
    April 24, 2012 at 1:48 am
    Speaking of Usoskin, did you see the Vaquero paper that he and 2 others contributed to that show the Maunder Minimum started earlier than the established date. More sunspot records found suggesting 1610 as the start point.
    more like 1617.

  119. rgbatduke says:

    Yes, of course, but they are the result of convolving production and deposition, each of which again depends on several factors [e.g. the Earth's magnetic field and Atmospheric circulation].

    Right, but then one either has to make an assumption of maximum ignorance (a.k.a. “all things being equal”) and assume that on average they vary with solar activity because that is what they are observed to do on average now or one has to systematically try to identify and correct for those factors. For times in the remote past especially, I would think that the former would be a lot safer than the latter. This makes the conclusion uncertain but not unsound, does it not, much like the (your) next paragraph which makes inferences on very similar evidence.

    Doesn’t radiometric carbon dating depend on similar assumptions, ones that aren’t always correct but that usually work pretty well, except when relatively rare confounding events occur? I mean, one has to make one’s best guess given the data and wrap the ignorance up into the error estimate as honestly as possible. But error estimates seem anathema in climate research, which is very strange as it seems to prevent a reasonable person from assessing whether or not a supposed “fit” or “trend” should be taken seriously.

    The cosmic ray modulation depends on the magnetic field in interplanetary space [e.g. near the Earth], so since the cosmic ray modulation was still present during the Maunder Minimum we [at least I] believe that the interplanetary [and hence low-order solar] field was not severely reduced. Data sometimes trumps reason.

    Since my personal goal is education more than argument, I would like to understand this. Your own graph here:

    http://www.leif.org/research/Solar-Polar-Fields-1966-now.png

    (also on Anthony’s solar reference page) shows the amplitude of the polar field of the sun diminishing strongly over the last three solar cycles. This is presumably directly proportional to the magnetic dipole moment that should be far-field dominant out at Earth orbit. At the same time, the SSN — by any counting method or formula — has diminished in a way that to my untrained eye appears to be very strongly correlated with this dipolar field strength, with the current magnetic field weak, the current SSN for the cycle low, with a clear downward trend in umbral field intensity. Neutron counts (also on the solar reference page) show a less strong and somewhat geographically correlated countervariance with the field strength and SSN, one that if I recall correctly actually goes back longer than the satellite era.

    If we assume that observations of the Maunder minimum were correct, and that sunspot counts were indeed extremely low — perhaps not “zero” by modern telescope-driven standards but low enough to be completely remarkable, much lower than any other solar era for which we have historical records — then would we not expect the principle field components to be similarly low? I’m trying to understand your reasoning here — SSN seems to be a very sound proxy for dipolar field strength (and I would bet for quadrupole as well) at least over the cycles for which we have good data. As you say, proxy-inferred cosmic ray modulation is less reliable because proxy deposition can depend on geomagnetic field and weather, and the latter at least might well be different during a “little ice age” (where sure, this does make untangling cause and effect more difficult). Given a choice between the two, I’d certainly trust the former (SSN-dipole) more than the latter (inferred cosmic ray counts 400 years ago) in part because I find the former easier to understand.

    Surely something was very unusual about the Sun during the Maunder minimum — something very unusual seems to have happened to the turbulence and other factors that give rise to sunspots.

    So why precisely do you doubt this? I have no doubt myself that you have excellent reasons, perhaps reasons and graphs I am unaware of entirely, but I would certainly like to learn of them if you don’t mind teaching me. In particular I would like to know why you reject the simple SSN-dipole strength correlation apparent in the era of modern instrumentation and what you think the dipole/quadrupole moments of the magnetic field of the Sun looked like during the cycles of the Maunder minimum.

    rgb

  120. rgbatduke says:

    We are talking science here. Alternate views are like alternate medicine. They are alternate because they are not sound.

    Begging to differ, but as a scientific philosopher I must. First of all, not all alternative medicine is unsound. My wife is a physician, and absolutely compulsive about double blind data supported therapy, but she openly acknowledges that a lot of so called “alternative medicine” survives double blind analysis — while a lot does not. Sadly, precisely the same things is true of non-alternative medicine. I presume you are familiar with the recent study published in Science, I believe, where a pharmaceutical company set out to reproduce published results in cancer therapy preliminary to launching an effort to develop a new drug and was unable to reproduce 47 out of 53 peer-reviewed, published results.

    Second, the research phase of science openly encourages alternative views, iconoclastic views, wild surmises, crazy talk, and so on — although it is (or should be) all modulated with a certain degree of common sense and eventually subjected to the rigorous process of experimental validation plus critical examination for consistency with the greater body of experimentally validated scientific belief (e.g. the laws of physics to the extent that we believe them). During this phase Ockham’s Razor (also known as maximum entropy) is very important, as is the notion of burden of proof. It isn’t that alternative views are not sound, it is that they have not yet been shown to be sound, that until they are simple pictures are the best, and that the burden of proof is ultimately on the author of the alternative theory or hypothesis to demonstrate both empirical and theoretical consistency (and ideally, that the new explanation has greater explanatory power). If we do not admit iconoclastic alternative views we miss things like quantum mechanics or relativity theory or any of the other scientific revolutions that (for a while) had scant empirical support and seemed to violate both common sense and the consistency requirement.

    Don’t get me wrong, I spend a lot of my time pointing out that the climate does not violate the second law of thermodynamics and so on as well. There are plenty of unsound hypotheses. However, even then the best I can say is that they seem unsound to me and, if the author of the hypothesis wishes to convince me, the burden of proof is entirely on them to build a perpetual motion machine and completely explain how it works or whatever (or indicate why their climate theory does not permit the construction of a perpetual motion machine).

    rgb

  121. rgbatduke says:
    April 24, 2012 at 6:26 am
    Right, but then one either has to make an assumption of maximum ignorance (a.k.a. “all things being equal”) and assume that on average they vary with solar activity because that is what they are observed to do on average now or one has to systematically try to identify and correct for those factors. For times in the remote past especially, I would think that the former would be a lot safer than the latter.
    We are a bit more ambitious as we want to [and think we can, eventually] understand the whole chain and calculate what the effects should be. You might call that the principle of maximum knowledge.

    Your own graph here:
    http://www.leif.org/research/Solar-Polar-Fields-1966-now.png

    If we assume that observations of the Maunder minimum were correct, and that sunspot counts were indeed extremely low — perhaps not “zero” by modern telescope-driven standards but low enough to be completely remarkable, much lower than any other solar era for which we have historical records — then would we not expect the principle field components to be similarly low?
    I actually think not necessarily. It is quite possible that the magnetic field was still present [the cosmic ray modulation shows it was] but that the sunspots were too small or too weak to be seen. We may have a similar situation arising today with the so-called Livingston & Penn effect.

    As you say, proxy-inferred cosmic ray modulation is less reliable because proxy deposition can depend on geomagnetic field and weather
    That would be true for the general level of the cosmic rays, but I was referring to the clear solar cycle modulation observed which is an unmistakably, relative effect on top of the overall trend.

    but I would certainly like to learn of them if you don’t mind teaching me. In particular I would like to know why you reject the simple SSN-dipole strength correlation apparent in the era of modern instrumentation and what you think the dipole/quadrupole moments of the magnetic field of the Sun looked like during the cycles of the Maunder minimum.
    I do not reject the notion that solar activity is very nicely related to the dipole strength. In fact, I originated that idea back in 1978, and fully expect it to hold at all times. My working hypothesis is that the dynamo was working normally during the Maunder Minimum, but that the process that compacts the magnetic field into visible sunspots was not effective enough during the MM. The observations by Livingston & Penn indicate that a similar loss of efficiency is beginning to operate recently. This is open to observational testing and will play out in a few years from now.

  122. rgbatduke says:
    April 24, 2012 at 6:41 am
    Second, the research phase of science openly encourages alternative views, iconoclastic views, wild surmises, crazy talk, and so on
    All generalization has problems. I was referring specifically to the alternate views championed by Geoff and others which are not science-based, reject known laws of nature, advocate astrology or unknown forces – new physics, and the like. Another cornerstone of science is falsification, which seems to me is also rejected by ‘the alternatives’. At our workshop I fully expect some of the views held be abandoned [as they cannot all be correct where they differ]. I very much doubt that any of the ‘alternative views’ would be abandoned when exposed to the harsh light of real science.

  123. rgbatduke says:

    At our workshop I fully expect some of the views held be abandoned [as they cannot all be correct where they differ]. I very much doubt that any of the ‘alternative views’ would be abandoned when exposed to the harsh light of real science.

    No argument here, as I said, I encounter a lot of the same thing. Please feel free to bop me upside the head if I depart from the path of reason in your field as I certainly expect that you know it a hell of a lot better than I do, although my knowledge of physics and the underlying math is adequate for me to understand it.

    rgb

  124. rgbatduke says:
    April 24, 2012 at 8:20 am
    Please feel free to bop me upside the head if I depart from the path of reason in your field as I certainly expect that you know it a hell of a lot better than I do
    Although most of the ‘alternatives’ claim I know almost nothing… :-)

  125. rgbatduke says:

    Yeah, but I actually look back at the literature, and note that you’ve been working in the field at least since about the same time I graduated from Duke as an undergrad. Looking at some OF that literature, it seems highly unlikely that you are an idiot (although idiocy is not entirely unknown among the ranks of Ph.D. qualified physicists, see Mann, Michael as a possible example). Therefore if you don’t know a hell of a lot more than I do, and if your knowledge (universally correct or not) is not reasonably well founded, there is a serious problem with the Universe. Q.E.D.

    I, OTOH, am entirely capable of being a flake in solar science, because I don’t know enough.

    I will say that theory of knowledge suggests that it is sometimes good for flakes or outsiders to look in and ask to have things explained or challenge explanations, because in optimization theory it is always too easy to sit complacent on a local hilltop and note that all pathways away from the peak lead (locally) downhill. This can make it difficult to see a slope up to a much higher peak (better global explanation) that might be a far jump across an intervening valley away. So hopefully you will be tolerant of my mistakes (while by all means correcting them) in the off chance that I might have some sort of insight that my very naivety still permits but that is less likely to those that thing in well-established ways.

    Presuming I have time to even get to where I can make even a naive hypothesis. I’m only insanely busy with my own stuff as it is (which is largely predictive modeling, Monte Carlo, teaching, and random numbers) although as I said I do know a fair bit about multipoles and E&M in general and a smattering of astronomy and astrophysics.

    rgb

  126. Gail Combs says:

    LazTeenager says: @ April 22, 2012 at 3:33 pm
    But then again if you live in Venice or Bangkok or any other low lying city you may not. The time scales are very long so people will move. But a large amount of our cultural heritage will be obliterated.
    ____________________________
    A lot of our heritage has been bombed, burned and otherwise destroyed. The plates of Congressman Lindbergh’s books were destroyed by US Government agents for example. (So much for free speech)

    6 Real Sunken Cities

    The lost city of Mahabalipuram (drowned)

    Egypt’s lost pyramids: Spied from space by satellite, 17 tombs buried by sands of time

    EGYPTIANS ARE SLOWLY UNCOVERING ANCIENT CITY BURIED UNDER SAND’

    More telling still

    Continent-continent collision pushed up the Appalachians far higher than the present-day Rockies. They were so high that 300 million years of erosion has still not leveled the Appalachians…. Even before this, in Permian time, collision was closing a large ocean that was even bigger than the Pacific at one time. This Tethys ocean floor was accreted onto the North American continent and into a mountain range of which only a few hills remain today. Yet this mountain range must have towered over the continent in its day. The traces of its remains are the Wichita and Arbuckle Mountains of Oklahoma and the Quachitas of Arkansas….
    http://www.ldeo.columbia.edu/res/pi/4d4/planet/Planet_Earth_Topic_4.pdf

    It is hubris to think mankind can actually stay the winds of time.

  127. Gail Combs says:

    edbarbar says: @ April 22, 2012 at 6:02 pm

    See what happens when science is abused?
    ______________________________________
    Now that should be the quote of the week. Politics should not become part of science and “Peer-review” should at least weed out papers that make idiotic claims to accuracy. When I was in college we were taught about significant figures and at least a little something about statistics. Now people are tossed packaged statistical programs and are not even taught the difference between Attribute or Discrete data and Continuous data.

    This looks like a good blog on Quantifying the error in the central limit theorem
    I especially like this quote since it applies to climate models.

    The standard folklore about chaotic systems is that they are unpredictable. They lead to out-of-control dinosaur parks and out-of-work meteorologists. …

    Classical … chaotic systems are not in any sense intrinsically random or unpredictable. They merely possess extreme sensitivity to ignorance. Any initial uncertainty in our knowledge of a chaotic system’s state is rapidly amplified in time. John D. Cook

  128. Gail Combs says:

    OOPs, my link to John D Cook’s quote did not work http://www.johndcook.com/blog/

  129. rgbatduke says:
    April 24, 2012 at 9:48 am
    I’m only insanely busy with my own stuff as it is (which is largely predictive modeling, Monte Carlo, teaching, and random numbers)
    Then you might be interested in this chapter of my book about a certain computer:
    My definition of a random number: it is a number that I can compute but that you cannot.
    http://www.leif.org/AS400/mlp022.doc

  130. Crispin back in Waterloo says:

    @Leif

    Thanks for the correction: “The 10Be is caused by cosmic rays that do not follow the spiral [as they are much too energetic], and the planets have nothing to do with 10Be.”

    I was surprised to see all the references to 10Be are for ice cores. What I read before was about 10Be in the ground and trees and so on. Are the deposition rates in the trees and soil the same as those in polar ice cores? Surely not?

    The charts at http://members.shaw.ca/sch25/FOS/Climate_Change_Science.html (search for 10Be and it takes you to them) show the chart from Svensmark 2007 with El Nino, the North Atlantic Oscillation, volcanic aerosols and a linear trend of 0.14 Celsius/decade removed. It is not specifically stated that the 10Be were derived from ice cores but the inverse correlation with temperature is strong, to say the least. I am not sure what Beer, J. and Joos, C. F. (1994): “10Be as an indicator of solar variability and climate” had to say because I can’t find it. You know them, no doubt. There are no shortage of claims for 10Be to be a reliable indicator of solar activity. The upcoming conference is certainly an interesting-looking event. I will watch for the outcomes.

    What seems to fit the least is the idea that swirling winds are creating an uneven deposit of 10Be that is not an indicator of 10Be formation by cosmic rays. There are just so many charts people have drawn showing a clear relationship. They are all over the place. Are they all produced by circular argument?

    I will try to keep up on the alternative hypotheses. As with the medical variety, I have time for alternative medical approaches because I have been malpracticed upon so many times by the those claiming to posses the ‘right way’, the way of consensus. It seems neither science nor medicine should be practised by consensus (the latter not necessarily being rooted in the former).

  131. Crispin back in Waterloo says:
    April 24, 2012 at 6:20 pm
    I was surprised to see all the references to 10Be are for ice cores. What I read before was about 10Be in the ground and trees and so on. Are the deposition rates in the trees and soil the same as those in polar ice cores? Surely not?
    Trees and soil are not ‘stable’ archives, but ice is and ice cores go back a million years.

    I am not sure what Beer, J. and Joos, C. F. (1994): “10Be as an indicator of solar variability and climate” had to say because I can’t find it. You know them, no doubt. There are no shortage of claims for 10Be to be a reliable indicator of solar activity.
    That was what was thought a decade ago. Today we are not so sure.

    Are they all produced by circular argument?
    Perhaps willful thinking :-)

    It seems neither science nor medicine should be practised by consensus (the latter not necessarily being rooted in the former).
    At least in science, consensus often signals widespread agreement that a theory fits the data we have so far. [it may still be wrong, but it is the best one we have]. Consensus among experts means that those scientists have become convinced by the argument and the data.

  132. Crispin back in Waterloo says:

    I found Usoskin’s “A History of Solar Activity over Millennia” (2008?) with its spectacular 31 page bibliography and some excellent charts. In his Figure 4 he notes, “Figure 4:
    Schematic representation of 14C (left) and 10Be (right) production chains. The flux of cosmic rays impinging on the Earth is affected by both heliospheric modulation and geomagnetic field changes. The climate may affect the redistribution of the isotopes between different reservoirs. Dashed line denotes a possible influence of solar activity on climate.”

    His Figure 15 shows the very good correlation between 10Be and Sun spot numbers. If sun spots are an indicator of solar activity then there it is reasonable to use 10Be as a proxy for solar activity, certainly at large scale resolution. Is this seriously in error?

  133. Crispin back in Waterloo says:
    April 24, 2012 at 7:06 pm
    If sun spots are an indicator of solar activity then there it is reasonable to use 10Be as a proxy for solar activity, certainly at large scale resolution. Is this seriously in error?
    Unfortunately yes. On slide 6 of http://www.leif.org/research/The%20long-term%20variation%20of%20solar%20activity.pdf you can see how the top [Usoskin] curve which is the sunspot record record grafted onto the 14C curve [which is close to the 10Be curve] does not match at the right hand edge. the main problem is that Usoskin uses the Group Sunspot Number which is wrongly calibrated, see http://www.leif.org/research/What-is-Wrong-with-GSN.pdf
    Next month all experts on this will meet in Berne, Switzerland to discuss the various problem and try to decide [if we can] what the facts are: http://www.leif.org/research/Svalgaard_ISSI_Proposal_Base.pdf

  134. Crispin back in Waterloo says:

    @Leif

    I have just returned from an IWA/ISO meeting at the Hague where ‘the experts’ met to try to hammer out an International Working Agreement (which cannot be edited after the fact, unfortunately). The insurmountable problem was that prior collaboration between three groups had stacked the panel with the intention to have their research methods and understandings become the only way that facts can be viewed. They don’t get half-close to tacking chart lines together and worrying about calibration errors. It seemed to be more about naked ambition. I hope you don’t face the same problem – or create one. In the end the IWA resolved nothing and the chaos continues.

    Your slide 6 on solar activity shows good correlation between14C and 10Be. Your slide 40 shows a clear ramping of the heliospheric strength with a 1/2 cycle length of about 85 years from 1890 to 1975. The statement that there has been no recent grand solar maximum is looking a bit like a quibble. OK it is not all that grand, but there clearly is a sustained early rise and late wane during the 20th century. If the Earth has anything like a hysteresis of 20-30 years the temperature response has been ‘expectable’ if not ‘immediate’.

    What seems to me to be a waste of breath is endless yawning arguments about TSI as being some measure of solar influence. Surely by now it is obvious AGW warmists, trying to sell CO2 as the driver of terrestrial temperature, are clutching at the (negative proof) of the TSI straw? If your SSN correction (change of multiplier) is bang-on, if your reanalysis of HMF(B) is informative, if you locate a GCR burster in 1892, there is still a strong indication that solar activity and the size of the heliosphere, and therefore the modulation of GCR and 10Be, is correlated with it.

    My bottom line is that the correlation of HMF(B), 10Be and temperature (with well known and well characterised causes in the case of 10Be) is a heck of a lot better than CO2 and temperature, on just about any scale, going back millennia. I am just as sure you are going to win your argument about how to count the SSN as I am that CO2 alarmists are going to lose their case claiming that human emissions of CO2 are causing ‘climate disruption’.

    Have fun in Berne. Good coffee there.

  135. Crispin back in Waterloo says:
    April 25, 2012 at 3:11 am
    The statement that there has been no recent grand solar maximum is looking a bit like a quibble. OK it is not all that grand, but there clearly is a sustained early rise and late wane during the 20th century.
    As there also were in the 19th and the 18th.

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