Where have all the sunspots gone?


I’m writing this after doing an exhaustive search to see what sort of solar activity has occurred lately, and I find there is little to report. With the exception of the briefly increased solar wind from a coronal hole, there is almost no significant solar activity.

The sun has gone quiet. Really quiet.

It is normal for our sun to have quiet periods between solar cycles, but we’ve seen months and months of next to nothing, and the start of Solar cycle 24 seems to have materialized (as first reported here) then abruptly disappeared. The reverse polarity sunspot that signaled the start of cycle 24 on January 4th, dissolved within two days after that.


Of course we’ve known that the sunspot cycle has gone low, which is also to be expected for this period of the cycle. Note that NOAA still has two undecided scenarios for cycle 24 Lower that normal, or higher than normal, as indicated on the graph below:


But the real news is just how quiet the suns magnetic field has been in the past couple of years. From the data provided by NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC) you can see just how little magnetic field activity there has been. I’ve graphed it below:

solar-geomagnetic-Ap Index
click for a larger image

What is most interesting about the Geomagnetic Average Planetary Index graph above is what happened around October 2005. Notice the sharp drop in the magnetic index and the continuance at low levels.

This looks much like a “step function” that I see on GISS surface temperature graphs when a station has been relocated to a cooler measurement environment. In the case of the sun, it appears this indicates that something abruptly “switched off” in the inner workings of the solar dynamo. Note that in the prior months, the magnetic index was ramping up a bit with more activity, then it simply dropped and stayed mostly flat.

We saw a single reversed polarity high latitude sunspot on January 4th, 2008, which would signal the start of a new cycle 24, which was originally predicted to have started last March and expected to peak in 2012. So far the sun doesn’t seem to have restarted its normal upwards climb.

If you have ever studied how the magnetic dynamo of the sun is so incredibly full of entropy, yet has cycles, you’ll understand how it can change states. The sun’s magnetic field is a like a series of twisted and looped rubber bands, mostly because the sun is a fluid gas, which rotates at different rates between the poles and the equator. Since the suns magnetic field is pulled along with the gas, all these twists, bumps, and burps occur in the process as the magnetic field lines get twisted like taffy. You can see more about it in the Babcock model.

I’ve alway’s likened a sunspot to what happens with a rubber band on a toy balsa wood plane. You keep twisting the propeller beyond the normal tightness to get that extra second of thrust and you see the rubber band start to pop out knots. Those knots are like sunspots bursting out of twisted magnetic field lines.

The Babcock model says that the differential rotation of the Sun winds up the magnetic fields of it’s layers during a solar cycle. The magnetic fields will then eventually tangle up to such a degree that they will eventually cause a magnetic break down and the fields will have to struggle to reorganize themselves by bursting up from the surface layers of the Sun. This will cause magnetic North-South pair boundaries (spots) in the photosphere trapping gaseous material that will cool slightly. Thus, when we see sunspots, we are seeing these areas of magnetic field breakdown.


Sunspots are cross connected eruptions of the magnetic field lines, shown in red above. Sometimes they break, spewing tremendous amounts of gas and particles into space. Solar flares and coronal mass ejections (CME’s) are some examples of this process. Sometimes they snap back like rubber bands. The number of sunspots at solar max is a direct indicator of the activity level of the solar dynamo.

Given the current quietness of the sun and it’s magnetic field, combined with the late start to cycle 24 with even possibly a false start, it appears that the sun has slowed it’s internal dynamo to a similar level such as was seen during the Dalton Minimum. One of the things about the Dalton Minimum was that it started with a skipped solar cycle, which also coincided with a very long solar cycle 4 from 1784-1799. The longer our current cycle 23 lasts before we see a true ramp up of cycle 24, the greater chance it seems then that cycle 24 will be a low one.

No wonder there is so much talk recently about global cooling. I certainly hope that’s wrong, because a Dalton type solar minimum would be very bad for our world economy and agriculture. NASA GISS published a release back in 2003 that agrees with the commonly accepted idea that long period trends in solar activity do affect our climate by changing the Total Solar Irradiance (TSI).

Some say it is no coincidence that 2008 has seen a drop in global temperature as indicated by several respected temperature indexes compared to 2007, and that our sun is also quiet and still not kick starting its internal magentic dynamo.


202 thoughts on “Where have all the sunspots gone?

  1. Anthony:

    The first false start to cycle 24 was back in 2006. I do not have the citation at hand, but a ‘reversed’ field spot appeared for a short time back then, predating the Jan. 4 spot by 18 months or so. As you might imagine, the discussion of the sunspot cycles is just as hot (pardon the pun) a topic in Amateur Radio discussions as it is on the GW blogs. Mentions of the Maunder Minimum crop up often, as do occasional mentions of Dalton, and the question of where have our spots gone? dominates the topics.

    REPLY: Yes I recall that now, but the consensus was that one was a fluke. But the one on Jan 4th may be a fluke also. My awareness of the situation is helped by the fact that I’m a Amatuer Radio Operator myself. 73’s

  2. Note that NOAA still has two undecided scenarios for cycle 24 Lower that normal, or higher than normal, as indicated on the graph below:

    Wow, that’s decisive isnt it. I could have made that prediction, and I cost a lot less than NOAA.

  3. Hi Anthony, great write up. I am convinced that we are looking at the return of a Dalton Minimum pattern and started blog it over a year ago at The Dalton Minimum Returns. I was unaware of the sudden drop in the GAPI in October 2005, and will investigate some more. It was my interest in amateur radio that sparked my interest in sun spots and their rise and fall indicating a connection to climate change. 73’s KF6TAR

    REPLY: Russ’ site is worth a visit, I recommend it.

  4. The 2006 occurance was not a Sunspot. Only the magnetograph caught the reverse polarity event. This means that the surface presence of the magnetic disturbance was not strong enough to cause a sunspot. All those who deemed and predicted that cycle 24 would be very active were hoping for this to be the beginning. Regardless the Sun has a mind of its own. Our solar heater shines down on the Earth and laughs at all those who call themselves wise and all those who are ultimately stupid. This means Al Gore, John McCain, Joe Leiberman, Kyoto et. al.

    Our political hacks are so caught up with warming that they are going to be the cause of famine, disease and death in the forthcoming Dalton-Maunder-Sporer minimum. If the solar physicists and other intellegent people who look at the Sun as the source and moderator of climate on Earth are correct then we should be preparing for failed crops, no heating oil, little rain, bitterly cold winters and rampant disease from unhealthy people.

  5. Oh my! Can we do anything? Could we use more solar powered cars? Or maybe fewer solar cells? Maybe we could stop burning oil and coal! That’ll spark the sun right up.

    Maybe we should start a Solar Trading scheme, were there are a certain number of credits available and people or industries that use more than their fair share can simply buy someone else’s share. Yeah. That’ll change everything.

    Maybe we need to start dropping nuclear waste into the sun. Would that help? Or hurt? Maybe we could start dropping AGW alarmists in! Even if that doesn’t spark things up, it would still be a lot of fun :)

  6. I forgot where I read it recently, but the statement towards understanding what influences our climate was simply put as, the Earth is within the climate zone of our Sun. I find that quite powerful but amazing how many overlook this.

    Also I read back more than a decade ago, that there is a thermal lag affect here on Earth based on solar activity which affects our weather, no different than the temperature lag affect we see when daily high temperature occurs a few hours after the Sun peaks in the sky, or a few weeks each winter and summer after the Sun is closest or fartherst from us in our hemisphere.

    Is this correct? If so, should we expect a general cool-down to continue so long as solar activity continues on the trend?

    Great reading here – glad I found this the other day.

  7. Great post, Anthony. You are on fire! Like Russ I’d not seen the Geomagnetic Average Planetary Index graph with the step before, fabulous. Another radio aficionado, Jan Alvestad, has a great blog for following the data, dxlc. There will certainly be a lot of blood on the floor at NASA over the AWOL cycle 24.

  8. Excellent entry Anthony. It continues to mystify me how so many people refuse to belive the sun is in charge of our planet’s climate system. I believe they will be proven very wrong in the next decade or so.

    It’s been a year since NASA released their predictions on #24. Is there any updated predictions based on how quiet the sun has been up to this point? What is the predicted final length of #23? Correct me if I’m wrong, but I do not believe there have been any high latitude sunspots associated with #24 since the one small reversed one last month. Yes/no?

    I too think we’re looking as a Dalton Minimum scenario. With a negative PDO phase….oh my. Add a major volcanic eruption (which, BTW, we haven’t had one for a while, so we’re due) and, well, I think it may be very very difficult to feed 7 billion people.

    As you say, we live in very interesting times….

  9. BTW, the genius of (now deceased) Theodore Landscheidt continues to amaze me. He flat out nailed, decades ago, the decline in solar activity after 1990, a less intense #23, and a steep decline into a Dalton-type minimum activity. Genius…

  10. I live in Western Europe. So far we’ve had a warm winter. We’ve been saved by the warm Golf Stream. But I believe that will not last long very long.

    What I understand and believe is that we have to wait 2 more years before we enter Cycle 24. That will make 4 years with low solar activity compared to the normal 1 year of low activity. There is a 3 year lag time before we start to feel the full affect here on Earth.

    This should lower the Earth’s temperature by 1.5 Centigrade, by 2015-2020. During the last hundred years it have been risen by 0.6-0.7 Centigrade.

    The only good thing about this cold snap is all the pseudo scientists that will get fired.

  11. It is hard for me to fathom how the Global Warming Alarmists ignore the obvious. I am far from being well knowledged on the scientific aspects of global temperatures, but it has always been obvious to me that the sun is our primary source of ‘heat’, duh.

    What scares me most are the seemingly educated scientists (government funded IPCC types) and supposedly thoughtful politicians who so easily accept the Kyoto Protocol precepts. My take on this is a way to tax and spend on a global basis under any pretext necessary to accomplish this.

    This type of reporting when combined with other writings on this subjects are quite educational for the layman, such as myself. It is unfortunate that this type of forum is not broadcast to the general public via the mainstream media. Then those citizens that get their knowledge between Oprah Winfrey and Survivor episodes may start activating areas of their gray matter previously unused.

    Thank you for your excellent article. And the excellent comments as well.

  12. Unfortunately Per, the Warmists will merely change tact. They already have been largely successful in changing the lexicon from global warming to climate change. They’ve already been blaming this year’s cold weather extremes on climate change, again due to human CO2.

    Besides, when they are called on the decline in temperatures likely to follow, they will not miss a beat in saying that no credible scientists ever said temperatures would continue to rise. There is neither any shame, nor honor, among this crowd. All they want is their political outcomes no matter how they are obtained.

  13. Anthony,

    If we believe Svensmark the Sun’s magnetic field has doubled since 1900 so, it’d be really interesting to see the graph on the Sun’s magnetic field strength stretched out to include the full historical data, back to mid-1800’s? If Svensmark is right, the strength and extension of the solar magnetic umbrella is one of the main drivers in warming cycles but, given that the solar flaring activity is decreasing but, the solar magnet field is particularly strong relative to 1900, there may easily be a confluence of multiple factors driving the earth to be slightly out of sync with the historical minimums you’re showing.

    It’d give true perspective to the current situation and it wouldn’t be too hard to get and use the rest of the data since they’ve been collected by the British for 150 years and should be available to the public.

    I’d hate to think that thoughtful commentary like yours fails to show the full time-series associated with this phenomena, it’s not necessary and like Edward Tufte exhorts, let the evidence speak for itself, something that I feel confident that it will support your viewpoint.

  14. I’ve never understood why, when asked what might have an impact on global temperatures, a) evil Western capitalism or b) a gigantic ball of fire hundreds of times larger than our planet itself, people choose “a”. Hasn’t anyone noticed the simple fact that when the sun goes down at night, the temperature drops 30+ degrees immediately? Is that just from all those mean CO2 plants shutting down for the evening?

  15. REPLY to: Joe in San Diego

    The only reason this plot goes back to 1991 is that it comes from satellite data, so no prior data from this data set exists. However, there is a surface based magnetic measurement done by (I think) the UK Royal Naval Observatory, with a parallel measurement done in Australia, which I recall goes back to the 1850’s as compass/navigation aid.

    I’ll see if this 2005 drop shows up in that if I can find the raw data to plot. If anyone knows where to find it, please advise.

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  17. Keep up the good work. It is refreshing to see someone else promoting
    facts and the truth. Don’t let up!

  18. The main premise of the magnetic field theory is that it controls cosmic rays which in turn affect cloud nucleation. Low magnetic field = more cosmic rays = more cloud cover = lower global temperature.

    Since we have gone well over a year now with low solar activity and, according to the graph above, lower magnetic field, is that any global cloud cover data that we can correlate with?

  19. MattN: Could not agree more on Dr. Landscheidt. Even though he may have been a largely self-taught Heliophysicist he had phenomenal instincts unlike some academicians, e.g, Leif Svalgaard, who are his steadfast detractors.
    Ran across a paper by Tsagas(2006) that might point to the second derivative zeroes in solar angular momentum due to barycentric orbit causing a relativistic perturbration by means of the Lorentz force. The transit through the gravitaional well would induce a repulsive force at right angles to the field, i.e., the polar axis, suffcient to stop the gravitational collapse of a black hole.
    The field’s hystereisis would rigidly oppose the imposed deformation due to the transit. DeJager, Versteegh(2004) criticised Landscheidt’s proposal believing it to imply a tidal force as the cause (a change in direction of the angular momentum), but the Dr. did not specifiy the source. I believe the Dr. will be found correct and has more surprises in store.

  20. Golf Stream. Is *that* where all my golf balls end up?

    LOL, Matt. The ones in the stream are pretty easy to retrieve; the ones in the pond and the woods, not so much.

    Great post, Anthony.

  21. Like many of the others, I also believe we are entering a prolonged period of lowered solar activity with will have adverse (read colder) effects on climate. However, the sharp step-function drop in the Geomagnetic Average Planetary Index that started in October 2005 just doesn’t look natural.

    As a Systems Engineer, when I see something like this my first reaction is “bad data”. It’s a hunch but usually correct. Anthony alluded to this sentiment when he compared the plot to that of a relocated temperature station. I’ll try to do some digging into the data provenance. If its real, the implications could be huge.

    REPLY: Jeff, I thought that initially too, and I looked at the source of the Ap data and found this in SWPAC’s header for the dataset they published:

    Source Ap: GeoForschungsZentrum, Postdam, Germany
    Prior to January 1997, Institut fur Geophysik, Gottingen, Germany

    So it didn’t seem like a data source on instrument switch, that I could find. Partial collapse of the geomagnetic fields is a real possibility too.

  22. The only good thing about this cold snap is all the pseudo scientists that will get fired.

    No they won’t. They will say GW was a 90% likelihood and a >10% anomaly occurred. Then they will apply for bonuses for their deep insight. Which they will receive.

    “All they want is their political outcomes no matter how they are obtained.”

    I cannot prove nor disprove that. But I cannot help noting that the ONLY element in this entire debate that has not changed is that it is imperative to curtail economic growth. And that is the ONE thing to which I am unalterably opposed.

    If there IS a serious warming problem and it IS anthropogenic, the only way mankind will have any hope of dealing with it effectively is via yet-to-come advanced technology and a greater abumdance of wealth than we probably have.

    Yes, the Zhukov approach is not the most subtle method, but it is by far the most likely to be effective if needed and will be hugely beneficial even if it is not needed. Zuk was, after all, highly sucessful. A sort of reverse-Pascal argument.

    If there is a problem we need wealth and tech to deal with it. Anti-growth could doom us in the name of saving us.

    “Unfortunately Per, the Warmists will merely change tack. ”


    The hypostasized proof (which avoids the inconvenience of falsifiability) is a primary tool of those who advance the AGW-as-primary theory. That and the pseudo-proof (which does much the same thing). It all amounts to the argument that Everything = X, and that X is proven by X itself.

    Meanwhile: “Cycle 24 where aaaaaaaare you?”

  23. “So it didn’t seem like a data source on instrument switch, that I could find. Partial collapse of the geomagnetic fields is a real possibility too.”

    Surely, an honest-to-God SOLAR scientist should be able to help us here….

  24. I think that the real danger here is our absolute lack of forethought and preparedness for a period of cooling. If there actually was going to be warming, it seems that it would result in a period of agricultural abundance. Warm climatological conditions are good for most things human. Cooling, on the other hand, will result in a period of hardship.

    There is relatively little that needs to be done to respond to warming. Cooling will require a rethinking of crop management or we may see world food shortages and the political and social instability that follows a short step behind. We are selling our economy on the idea of turning our arable land to the task of fuel production, in an effort to reduce the use of petroleum, in the hopes of reducing greenhouse gasses, in the belief that this will stabilize our climate. I do not see anything positive coming out of our current policies.

    I wish that there were more discussion in the media about this topic. We need to educate people on the real possibilities of climate change….not the popular ones.

  25. Wow, it’s just like that Twilight Zone episode, The Midnight Sun . She dreamt the Earth was getting too hot, but it was really getting too cold.

    The poles of fear, the extremes of how the Earth might conceivably be doomed. Minor exercise in the care and feeding of a nightmare, respectfully submitted by all the thermometer-watchers in the Twilight Zone.

  26. Anthony, the following excerpt is from the NASA GISS press release you linked to in the next to last paragraph of your post. Am I reading it wrong, or does it not contradict the main premise of the Alarmists that there is virtually no scientific evidence that the warming of the last century can be attributed to anything other than man-made increases in CO2? Although they do appear to have given themselves an out by noting that “if the trend” (which they say exists) does really for sure, actually exist, then………….. talk about parsing words to cover your bases.

    “Historical records of solar activity indicate that solar radiation has been increasing since the late 19th century. If a trend, comparable to the one found in this study, persisted throughout the 20th century, it would have provided a significant component of the global warming the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports to have occurred over the past 100 years,” he said.

  27. Sorry about the off-topic comment, but I was wondering what the global average temperature curves look like when you throwout the peaks of 98/99.

    The heat that entered the climate then quickly left, suggesting that the greenhouse effect wasn’t very effective in trapping much, if any, of it. Can we set up a filter sytem that only looks at the bottom point of fluctuations in global average temperature? I’d really like to see what that looks like since it should give us a good upper-bound on the amount of warming that could possibly be attibuted to changes in the greenhouse effect.

  28. But how does the lack of sunspots factor into solar forcing of our climate? That’s the real question…. Sunspots are *cool* regions on the sun… and as far as I’ve been able to find out, solar forcing in our atmosphere only changes by about 0.1 W/m2 between solar maximum and solar minimum (http://www.grida.no/climate/ipcc_tar/wg1/244.htm). So it would have changed very little in the last 2-3 years. In any case, this is significantly lower than the about 0.4 W/m2 due to anthropogenic greenhouse gases.

    Also, as far as I’ve been able to tell, climatologists are still very unsure about connections between the Maunder Minimum (1645-1715 AD) and the Little Ice Age in Europe (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Little_Ice_Age).

    REPLY: Sunspots aren’t the driver, but are a proxy indicator for solar activity. If Svensmark is correct, the solar magnetic field modulates the number f cosmic rays incidenatl on the earths upper atmosphere, resulting in cloud condensation nuclei changes, resulting in cloud cover changes, which affect TSI at the surface.

  29. Oh, more food for thought: The effects of CRF are often dismissed because volcanic activity released particulate matter and aerosols during recent luls in solar activity. We know that CRF is associated with ionization that produces clouds, what we haven’t investigate yet is whether similar interaction may result in increased aerosol formation and possibly increased volcanic activity. After all, we do know that ions are precursers to aerosols.

    MODERATOR NOTE: CRF is “Cosmic Ray Flux”

  30. Hi,

    I quote Leif Svalgaard:

    “My favorite definition of solar minimum is when the heliomagnetic current sheet is the flattest. I’m explaining this in the forthcoming ‘notes’ [coming real soon now]. Minimum is at least half a year away, maybe more. This ‘prediction’ will, of course, change as time goes on and we ain’t got the minimum yet.”

  31. Although my earlier comment was humor, I have to say that I actually take this very seriously. I also was unaware of the drop in October 2005, and I find it fascinating… and a bit frightening.

    The way the AGW industry has set themselves up, they’ll probably pat themselves on the back for any cooling, and will convince many people that their sacrifices and hard work are the cause. Of course, the fact that their most dire warming predictions magically line up with the expected results of Cycle 24 has to be complete coincidence, right? How is that going to work when it doesn’t happen?

    What a brilliant time for us to be converting food crops to fuel…

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  33. Does anyone know what Jasper Kirkby, of CERN and CLOUD, presented in a paper to the Royal Scientific Academy of Sweden, yesterday?

  34. Excellent post, Anthony.

    If we do see continued climate cooling and it starts to impact agricultural production then we will return to the regular famines that have dissapeared over the last 30 years.

    The problem will be that the ideology of global warming is so entrenched that steps mitigate food supply problems won’t be taken because this would be an admission that the steps taken to mitigate GW were wrong, and as a result food supply problems will be worse than they would be otherwise.

    For example, India is currently developing more heat tolerant strains of wheat in preparation for the anticipated warming. But this has been a winter of record cold across the wheat growing areas of northern India.


    The temps over the next few weeks will determine how good the wheat harvest is. If the cold weather continues, we will see the impact on food supply in a couple of months.

    This quote from a couple of days ago,

    “We will be able to achieve the expected production level of wheat but this will be subject to the temperatures in February and March,” Farm Secretary P.K. Mishra told Reuters in an interview.


  35. Gore et al care less about AGW than about resource control. They will just switch tack if we go into a colder regime and state that we must save resources to prevent people from dying from cold and starvation. Of course they will be the ones with their great knowledge and foresight to make the decisions of how those resources will be allocated. Remember the movie “The Day After Tomorrow”? Gore will use that as an example of why he is still right. Damn the science or facts.

  36. Kim, it looks like a review of the historical data, etc. Re: What we already know.

    I don’t think they have done any experimenting yet.

  37. Andrew, I’m in the dark, too. I know he presented, and there is a brief abstract in the announcement of the presentation, but I also presume he has the latest from the CLOUD studies.

  38. Anthony, many thanks for a simple yet comprehensive explanation of the Sun’s rubber-band-like magnetic fields. As an avid balsa-wood-plane flyer about, oh, a half-century ago, I instantly ‘got’ the sense of how a magnetically-paired sunspot would break out of the sphere. I’d never had that understanding before. Keep up the good work.

    REPLY: My pleasure, being on TV explaining how the weather works has helped me here.

  39. This is much worse than I had been led to believe. Humans and their naughty industrializations have not only destroyed the earth, but now we learn that they have even slowed down the sun! The U.N. must be given authority to tax everyone on earth before it is too late. And students should not be forced to pay back their college loans if they are studying the crises of global warming.

  40. Let me get this straight. CO2 is a heat sink (traps heat) so that any radiant heat that reaches the earth surface is trapped and can’t escape the surface. Now if this is true the CO2 does not cause heat but just acts as an insulator to a point of saturation at which time it reaches it’s maximum amount of trapping. If I understand this correctly CO2 doesnt make any heat just acts as a trap. Now the Sun is the source of the radiation that causes the heat and the amount of radiation from the sun fluctuates from time to time called cycles. These cycles are not always equal. Now during a minimum the sun magnetic field collapses and allows more cosmic rays to penetrate to the surface of the earth causing more clouds. I have noticed by looking at clouds that the top where the sun contacts them looks white and I would assume reflects some portion of the radiation thus reducing the amount of radiation reaching the surface of the earth there by reducing the heating effect of the sun on the surface. I would also think that the higher the tops of the clouds are the more effective would be the cooling effect due to being above the majority of the heat trapping CO2.

    I think if the above is correct that we very well might be going into a cooling time. I think I will start to preserve my own home grown food stocks to prepare.

    I only hope that I haven’t confused myself trying to express my thoughts.


  41. Crosspatch,

    I got a chuckle from this comment following the article about the Chevy Volt that you linked to:

    everyone no’s that global warming is real. co2 levels have dramatically increased since the industrial revolution. we know that co2 increases temperature: just look at venus. how can you say that global warming isn’t real?

    BTW, you might remember me as “Retired Spook” at AJ’s. I got lured to this blog by a comment you made last spring.

  42. Kim/Aaron,

    Get Svensmark and Calder’s book “The Chilling Stars” and they describe the Cloud experiment (and it’s predecessor experiment – SKY) and put both into the theoretical framework of cosmic rays, the suns magnetic field (include the ‘bubble’ created by the solar wind and solar flares) and their influence on cloud formation and its cooling effects. I really think it’s a must-read if you want to understand and not just assert that these global warming advocates are way off base. The research is on-going and CLOUD is scheduled to come on-line in (I think) 2010. It’s a good read and not just hype.

  43. Joe in San Diego: A good advice!

    AW: I think NASA and Hansen don’t admit the comic ray cloud connection, at least not it’s full implications on the climate. TSI I think is defined as the solar irradiance in space (satellite measured), and therefor the cloud effect isn’t included. IPCC also means that many sunspots (when the sun is in its active phase) lower the impact from solar radiation, which is also true, but the main cooling effect when the sun is inactiv (and have no magnentic sunstorms to shield the earth from cosmic rays) is the increased and large cover of cooling clouds (clouds at low altitude, increasing the aldebo).

    IPCC and Hansen tries to avoid the comsic ray cloud theory. I guess it’s because it’s too powerful and “CO2-harming”. ;)

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  45. Magnus, that’s the point of my recommendation of the book, in addition to some fairly obvious problems with the CO2 theory of global warming Svensmark points out that there is a strange inverse relationship between temperatures in the Antarctic and core samples in Greenland (a proxy for the rest of the earth), an anomaly that is not conducive to accepting CO2 as a driver of global warming due to the uniform mixing of CO2 in the atmosphere.

    Though there are naysayers of the cosmic ray/cloud cover connections to global temperature swings, many of Svensmark’s data sources and quoted research supporting his claim appear to support THAT certain clouds are a big factor in reflecting solar radiation and, therefore reducing temperatures (anyone in Seattle will attest to this fact, sunny days are warm… cloudy are cooler… the sun keeps shining for both types of days. )

    His research experiment in, first SKY and (to come) CLOUD, are designed to more completely understand the cloud creation mechanism of cosmic rays…

    A starting point of his research was that we know that cloud CHAMBERS have been in use for decades and that high energy particles (a substitute for cosmic rays) have always been known to create clouds.

    What we don’t know enough of (and hence the reason for the CLOUD experiments) is how do cosmic rays affect a large system like our atmosphere when the only data they’ve seen to date have to do with a small, non-representative cloud chambers.

    IPCC and the global warming crowd, according to Svensmark, considers clouds as effects but, Svensmark’s research leads him to consider them the CAUSE of global temperature swings and, the cloud theory explains the Antarctic anomaly; some of those swings have been more severe than most of us can imagine! Occum’s razor would tend to cut in favor of Svensmark more so than the GW crowd.

    All things being equal, solar minimums (due to a reduced magnetic umbrella) lead to increased penetration of cosmic rays to the cloud formation layer of the atmosphere and cloud cover increases. Solar normals or maximums lead to an increased solar magnetic umbrella and hence fewer clouds and global temperature increases.

    Sunspots are part of the story but it’s more interesting than just sunspots so, the book, “The Chilling Stars” is worth reading… almost better than a mystery novel for those that read these postings. Sunspots, the sun’s magnetic field strength and SME’s, cosmic rays, traveling through the universe… quite literally, the only thing simple about the global warming discussion are the minds of most of the ‘scientists’ and other players that keep drowning out thoughtful discussion.

    I once had a work associate who had the noisiest mind I’ve ever been around… every time he talked I felt like I was in a raging gale and I couldn’t think while he was talking! The only thing to do was to get out of the storm and find thoughtful people, contain the damage from the ‘storm’ and then get to the business of real understanding. Svensmark is trying to do that, he’s worth reading. We can’t stop the ‘storm’ but, when it blows over we might be able to pick up the things we were able to protect, the knowledge we’re able to acquire and get on to the business of living.

    Sorry for the long diatribe!

  46. Can anyone explain this?

    “Could not agree more on Dr. Landscheidt. Even though he may have been a largely self-taught Heliophysicist he had phenomenal instincts unlike some academicians, e.g, Leif Svalgaard, who are his steadfast detractors.
    Ran across a paper by Tsagas(2006) that might point to the second derivative zeroes in solar angular momentum due to barycentric orbit causing a relativistic perturbration by means of the Lorentz force. The transit through the gravitaional well would induce a repulsive force at right angles to the field, i.e., the polar axis, suffcient to stop the gravitational collapse of a black hole.
    The field’s hystereisis would rigidly oppose the imposed deformation due to the transit. DeJager, Versteegh(2004) criticised Landscheidt’s proposal believing it to imply a tidal force as the cause (a change in direction of the angular momentum), but the Dr. did not specifiy the source. I believe the Dr. will be found correct and has more surprises in store.”

  47. To Per Strandberg,
    If Theodor Landscheidt’ s assertions in 1999, Extrema in Sunspot Cycle Linked to Sun’s Motion, are correct and the next “Sixteenth Part” (SP) of the 178.8 Year Solar Retrograde Motion (RSI) is to happen in 2012.5 then the minima of Cycle 23 should have already happened, however the delay means that the SP looks to be switching to the Solar Minima and that would mean that Cycle 23 should last until 2010.6 at the EARLIEST!. That makes for a 16 year Sunspot cycles. Nothing like that has happened since 1790! According to this paper of the deceased professor, GRHS, we are in for 4 to 5 very weak sunspot cycles. Not like the Dalton minima but like the Maunder Minima!

  48. Pingback: Timothy Birdnow » The Weakening Sun and Solar Credits

  49. Note to David A, Connolley has gone, but the melody of his effect on Wikipedia lingers on.

  50. Gary Gulrud

    Thanks for the responses.

    I have some questions related to understanding how the relativistic perturbration works within Landscheidt theories.

    Theodor Landscheidt focused on the negitive extrema of dT/dt not the zero value. Does the relativistic perturbration by means of the Lorentz force at zero dT/dt result in a negitive extrema of dT/dt as the barycenter transits through the gravitaional well?

    The field’s hystereisis would rigidly oppose the imposed deformation due to the transit?? Which field?

  51. Historically, earth temperature is a product of solar output/sunspot cycles and CO2 is a trailing indicator. This is primarily due to offgassing from the warmer ocean. A tremendous amount of CO2 flows into and out of the oceans on a daily basis, far more than all the anthropomorphic CO2 production. When the oceans are cold, relatively speaking, they retain their CO2.

    When the oceans warm due to greater solar output, CO2 is released. The global warming nonsense comes from confusing cause and effect. CO2 is now high due to the recent warm period, and not the other way around.

    As the solar activity falls there will be increased cooling and increased retention of CO2 in the oceans. You may confidently await the fall of atmospheric CO2 as long as the cooling continues.

    The global warming conspiracy is a socialist fraud, but we know that. All socialist schemes are criminal, and defy physical laws and common sense.

    The energy equation desperately requires solution, but on economic grounds. Socialist fraud just confuses the issue and makes the solution more difficult.

  52. Edward: I tried to improve my post with one at Carl’s site. Dr. Landscheidt’s interest in the torque I take to have been provisional, conjectural but you are correct the negative extrema where d2/dt = 0 is the point of departure, for whatever it might be worth.

  53. Pingback: Where have all the sunspots gone? « Putipuf’s Weblog

  54. Aren’t we in danger of distracting ourselves from the principle causes of global weather dynamics by arguing about 2nd order effects like hystereisis when, in fact, the possible 1st order effects like cloud cover, its variability and causes can possibly explain 70-80% of the temperature swings seen over 1000’s and hundreds of 1000’s years.

    It seems to me that winning this or any other conflict requires a judicious choice of battles that give us both strategic and tactical advantages. Heaven knows, I’m can be as nerdy and anyone but quibbling about the 20-30% of the drivers of GW, while fun, only diverts attention and action on those key drivers that will (possibly) win the GW battle sooner.

    Here’s how I see it, clouds are clearly important to how much solar energy is received (nobody would disagree that there’s a 10-30 degree difference on sunny vs. cloudy days), it’s reasonable to expect that global cloud cover, of the temperature affecting kind, can vary some percentage (say 20-30%) AND we have a CAUSAL mechanism for cloud formation (like cosmic rays) AND we have a mediating mechanism (like the solar magnetic umbrella then, strategically, it’d make sense to fight THAT battle, win it and watch the opposition collapse.

    These other battles, while we might win them, are, I believe, gives the GW people a chance to use the “bumping the enemy” technique of fighting (slightly similar arguments designed to forestall killing blows.) We run the risk of arguing in the margins and losing the battle.

    It seems me, though we all like the intellectual battle but, we should pick our battles carefully or we run the risk of having strategy and tactics used against us such that we lose the battle. Svensmark’s cosmic ray theory can give us enough of a strategic advantage in this battle that we can quickly strike a killing blow to the GW crowd, quickly and decisively.

    Intellectual battles are fun but I think arguing about 2nd order effects plays into GW crowd’s hand… not the best idea at this time.

    That said, Anthony’s work is exemplary but, to win this battle it seems to me that we need to put it in context of a winnable battle plan, it’s a start but, I believe it needs to be integrated into a more robust battle plan.

    Again, sorry for the really long response.

  55. If its true that we are facing a drop in solar output, arent we going to be very grateful for our blanket of methane/ co2 etc -and could we not allow some extra heat into our planetary system by regulating the amount of reflective emissions from aircraft that are currently causing ‘global dimming’? I suppose that would require the human race to grow up, stop arguing and start cooperating- a long shot but not impossible…
    After all, ‘we humans’ could be an attempt ‘Gaia’ style (by the planet) to manage the global climate and avoid another pesky ice-age to the benefit of the entire biosphere!

  56. “No wonder there is so much talk recently about global cooling. I certainly hope that’s wrong, because a Dalton type solar minimum would be very bad for our world economy and agriculture. NASA GISS published a release back in 2003 that agrees with the commonly accepted idea that long period trends in solar activity do affect our climate by changing the Total Solar Irradiance (TSI).

    I found out today the Energy Information Adminstration is projecting an increase in cooling days this summer which will decrease peak electricity demand, bucking previous demand forecasts.


    Consumption. Summer 2008 cooling degree-days are projected to be about 10 percent lower than they were last year. Less demand for power to run air conditioners is therefore projected, lowering growth in residential electricity sales. Total electricity consumption is expected to grow by only 0.4 percent in 2008, then return to a growth rate of 1.6 percent in 2009 (U.S. Total Electricity Consumption). [eia http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/steo/pub/contents.html#Electricity_Markets ]

  57. David:
    Google “Reply to Lockwood and Frolich” and a PDF will come up. Svensmark and Christensen rebut there. Essentially, the correlation does not follow surface temperature, but does correlate to troposphere and near surface ocean tempertures. Raises doubts about the surface temp. readings. The also follow further on and remove the effects from El Nino, North Atlantic Oscillation and volcanic aerosols. They also talk about how the using the running mean of 8 – 13 years essentially carries forward or rather delays the pictorial representations of temperature changes.

  58. Svenmark’s lack of a correlation with surface temperatures “raises doubts about the surface temp. readings.” That’s not a very scientific conclusion. Sure, it raised doubts assuming his theory is correct. Except it’s this very theory he’s trying to verify, so it equally raised doubts about his theory.

    When I read their reply, on top of their previous work, they seem to be going to more and more complications to keep their theory alive. Not impressive.

    So, assuming CO2 lags temperature, and assuming we’ve entered a period of cooling here in the last… 8 years, how soon should we see a decline in atmospheric CO2 content? It keeps going up, if you’ve noticed.

  59. David:
    Here’s a good rebuttal of Lockwood & Frolich: http://www.warwickhughes.com/blog/?p=131

    “PMOD…assumes that the published TSI satellite data are wrong and that they need several additional corrections.”

    So basically, the olny way they can make the solar activity fit their hypothesis is to invent an adjustment to make it not correlate.

  60. MattN,

    So basically, the only way they can make the solar activity fit their hypothesis is to invent an adjustment to make it not correlate.

    I doubt that L & F are the first (or last) to resort to such intellectual dishonesty. Unfortunately, it appears to happen on both sides of the discussion, which is sad for the many curious but unscientifically-minded people who simply want the truth. That’s what I love about this blog and people like you who post in a civil and informing way — no name calling, just simply pointing out “here’s a good rebuttal…..”. Thanks.

    The thing so many involved in this debate/discussion tend to overlook is that it’s not a debate like how best to cook a turkey or which photo- editing software is the best; it’s about whether or not there’s a global problem that is of such a catastrophic nature that it requires immediate, drastic and incredibly expensive measures by humanity. Decisions like that need to be made based on something a little more concrete than a so-called “consensus” of scientists or an IPCC assessment that contains the words “might” and “maybe” in disproportionate numbers.

  61. So, assuming CO2 lags temperature, and assuming we’ve entered a period of cooling here in the last… 8 years, how soon should we see a decline in atmospheric CO2 content? It keeps going up, if you’ve noticed.

    David, if that really bothers you, here is a potential solution.

  62. From what I’ve read about Svensmark and Christiansen, I think they would agree with you; it is an unproven theory. They are confident in it, but they understand theory needs to match empirical evidence. Hence they are beginning to study it in depth. The studies will be steps in determining the level of contribution it makes. Note: I’m not ready to jump on the cosmic ray is everything theory, just like I don’t believe CO2 is either. I’m confident it will turn out to be a significant contributing factor but to the level some people espouse, I’m not there. If I were to guess at a primary factor, the mass and specific heat of the oceans suggest they are the largest contributor to short relatively short term variances. Layman’s take though. I don’t profess to be on the cutting edge of studies. I just want to learn and Anthony does an excellent job of providing that opportunity. I was just pointing out their response.

    The points you raise help confirm my sentiments. The study of our complex climate system is in its infancy. CO2 does continue to go up. Why? Excellent question. Are humans contributing to it? I would suspect so. Are humans contributing to it to the level espoused by the IPCC and the likes of Al Gore? I don’t think so. It’s too steady a climb for me to accept that. Joe D’Aleo did an excellent post here asking that very question. Raised a lot of issues. I can confidently say it isn’t settled.

    In addition, CO2 seems to be going up and from a heat retention stand point, who cares? We’re adding more plant food. As Richard Lindzen says, we already achieved roughly 60 – 70% of the heat gains caused by a doubling of CO2. Again, my personal take on what we are seeing with this step down in the earth’s heat storage is the positive feedback, runaway temp. scenarios confidence level is becoming lower and lower. Would you not agree, if CO2 doubles and the runaway temp. scenarios are not realized, the chances of actually realizing it become extremely low? After all, if we add more beyond the 550 ppm, we don’t retain much additional heat. Where’s the spark to ignite the fire? There may be other reasons to argue for reducing the amount of plant food into the air, but I’m not considering those in this post.

    Anyway, food for thought. If you want to ask me questions, I’m more than happy to respond. Just be prepared for the “I don’t know” response because I’m not afraid to admit my ignorance. If you take a negative, defensive stance, I’ll just ignore it.

  63. Surface waters have only cooled lately, where the CO2 ingasses. I don’t think it is inconceivable we’ll see the CO2curve flatten or turn downward. Remember, human activity probably has warped the natural curve.

    Minimum already? Not everyone agrees.

  64. John, why do you say slow march upward when it isn’t. And the panic won’t be in the skeptical crowd.

  65. Mike wrote:
    > CO2 does continue to go up. Why? Excellent
    > question. Are humans contributing to it?
    > I would suspect so. Are humans contributing
    > to it to the level espoused by the IPCC and
    > the likes of Al Gore? I don’t think so. It’s
    > too steady a climb for me
    > to accept that.

    Too steady a climb? That’s the whole point. Look at the consumption of almost any fossil fuel resource on the planet — wood, oil, gas, coal, electricity production — they have all been going steadily up for decades. They are all known to produce CO2. So why do you doubt that the CO2 emission increase is primarily manmade?

    > Would you not agree, if CO2 doubles and the runaway
    > temp. scenarios are not realized, the chances of
    > actually realizing it become extremely low?

    *Runaway* temperatures? No. No one really knows at what point runaway temperatures — ie nonlinearity — enters the climate system. In any case, temperature lags CO2 in greenhouse scenarios, so it would be quite some time — second half of 21 century, perhaps — until we could conclude that. By then it will be far too late.

  66. Stan Needham wrote:
    > David, if that really bothers you, here is a potential solution.

    Individual actions will not save the planet, because too few people will make them. We need a comprehensive cutback.

    REPLY: And there’s no proof that a ‘comprehensive cutback” will have any effect either. It’s Pascals wager.

  67. kim wrote:
    > I don’t think it is inconceivable we’ll see the
    > CO2curve flatten or turn downward.

    Do you (or anyone) have a calculation or theory telling us about *when* this should happen?

  68. so it would be quite some time — second half of 21 century, perhaps — until we could conclude that. By then it will be far too late.

    Too late for what, David? Do you honestly think that the way we produce energy will not have evolved substantially well before the mid-point of this century? There is a lot of really cool stuff coming down the alternative energy pike right now.

    And there’s no proof that a ‘comprehensive cutback” will have any effect either.

    It will have an effect alright, Anthony. The effect will be a mass redistribution of wealth.

  69. Kim, Leif Svalgaard posted on CA that he believes the rate of change of CO2 has decreased.

    I suspect as the Oceans cool this to be true

  70. Thanks, Bob. I was wracking my brains. geology.geosciencesworld.org/cgi/content/abstract/33/1/33 has a paper showing CO2 rising and falling with temperature over the last 1200 years. Since there wasn’t a variable source of CO2 then, presumably, the temp change was more likely causal to the CO2 change, and the sun causal to the temp change by an as yet to be determined mechanism. I am speculating.

  71. “I suspect as the Oceans cool this to be true”

    The current skinny on this as I unsderstand it (Thanks to Fredinand) is that the ocean releases only 10 ppmv per 1 degree K of warming (the reverse effect also being true). Not a heck of a lot. Enough to make it 100 ppmv since the last mondo ice age. (Of course there is variance, diminishing returns, etc., but it’s mionr and I leave that up to the non-linear types.)

    The Amateur postcard-version of Atmospheric Carbon accumulation:

    The bottom line is that Industry is kicking out 6.3 Bil. Metric Tons Carbon intothe atmosphere, which spits out 3.2 BMTC of that (part of a much larger CO2 exchange crowd) into the other sinks (Land, Ocean) and c. 3.1BMTC gets added to the Atmosphere each year.

    For perspective, there’s c. 730 to 760 BMTC in the Atmospheric sink, depending on whose figures you buy.)

  72. “It will have an effect alright, Anthony. The effect will be a mass redistribution of wealth.”

    Yes. And worse than that, it will result in an even greater mass destructon of both wealth and wealth creation.

    If there is a problem (which I doubt, but will concede the possibility) we are going to need a heck of a lot of tech and a heck of a lot of wealth we don’t yet have in order to deal effectively. This is not a time to slam on the brakes. it is a time to drive through, with especial caution, yes, but WITHOUT slowing down.

    It would be a crime against reason, humanity, and liberalism to curtail production.

  73. Joe in San Diego: I agree totally with you, and my little comment there was for Antohny Watts (“AW:”).

    The sunspot connection (which should be a magnetic sun wind connection, or?) is hugely important for not at least climate shifts in the interglacier periods, but it’s not the only and single cause.

    I don’t consider CO2 to have more effect then a background effect of more than one or a few tenth of a degree, but pattern in the oceans and other things is also affecting at least short term (remember El Nino), and we must also believe that the Milankovitch cycles makes the world icy and put it in a state of higher aldebo (something like a positive feedback into another state/”state of balance”). The way into the coming ise age will be about en 0.5 degree C decline per millenium, and with some descent warmth periods and some little ice ages, both triggered by planetarian orbit cycles and the sun activity, where the latter is a strong and important factor!

    But a big thing in the AGW hypothesis I think is at least wwo things. First how much antropogenic CO2 in the atmosphere that we humans has caused, and how much that is caused by warmer seas due to a warmer climate the last few hundred years? Second how much CO2 the oceans without harm can swallow.

    I think/hope this AGW hype dies withot too much harm from political enforcements on the economics. I think there is plenty of oil left for us. Maybe three times as much than we’ve have burned until now. But now we have burned 1000 Gt CO2 (the atmosphere cnsists of 3000 GT CO2), so can the sea without problem swallow some extra 2000 Gt CO2? We shall never without any proof be alarmistic about an environment issue, but it would be fine to research this I think. The problem may be that immediately scintist will be alarmistic about “threats” to get more money… Again.

  74. “Historically, earth temperature is a product of solar output/sunspot cycles and CO2 is a trailing indicator. This is primarily due to offgassing from the warmer ocean.”

    I’ve been hearing that one can tell the amount of fossil fuel burn CO2 based on the relationship of two isotopes in CO2, # 12 and #13. Does anyone here have graph or data that shows this in *any* way? Can’t seem to locate this.

    I’m asking because we’re talking about ocean sinks and so on. These must function like “last in first out.” Depending on how long CO2 is claimed to last — assume the oceans are warming, wouldn’t they release the CO2 they took up during the industrial revolution, the 40’s, and so on?

    If so then the 12/13 ratio isn’t telling us the *current* rate of human contribution, but the SUM of human contribution for whatever the claimed half life of CO2 is supposed to be. Seems this could be important depending on what the ratios are and what the claim is.

    Obviously I’m not the first to notice/ask, so does anyone here know where the relevant info is found? There’s probably a FAQ that answers silly queries like this one.


  75. Mr Watts:
    I am so impressed and proud of you for creating this great website.
    All I want is intellectual honesty in this issue, and you are providing a great service. I rate you up there with Brian Lamb.
    Now, “one” of my theories of GW and an increase in surface temp is what I would call the “WalMart” effect.
    Ever been on a black, asphalt WalMart” parking lot, ANY time of the year?

    REPLY: Thank you. Scientists at the University of Arizona are doing an unintentional experiment on measuring the WalMart effect, see it here:


  76. David:
    Why do I doubt . . . ?

    I say too steady because the growth in human CO2 output has been exponential. The number I recall off the top of my head, I read about 4-6 months ago, a tad over 1300% since 2003. With the rampant increase in output, I would think the increase would have accelerated beyond the 1.1 ppm per year recorded. Suggests to me there is a steady state, medium to long term influence which does not follow humans activity. When looking at the Mauna Loa charts, there seems to be a slight movement from linear to exponential, but that’s a visual on my part so take that for what it is. Ultimately, what humans put up is so small as compared to ol’ mother nature, you are probably correct in that it would be very hard to detect the exponential growth effect of human output.

    Regarding the runaway scenarios, obviously I don’t believe it will happen. However, there is always the chance I’m wrong. What I am saying is since we are roughly 50% of the way to pretty much the maximum heat retention atmopheric CO2 can achieve, the chances of that hypothesis coming true are dropping. It is, afterall, a hypothesis, not supported anywhere in the earth’s climate history. Whether it was 60 billion years ago, or 800 years ago, (I believe the MWP was a world wide event, but it is inconsequential as to whether it was or not), or whenever, the earth has been warmer, has had more atmospheric CO2, life managed and it cooled down enough to get glaciers over where my house is today.

    Anyway, it’s late and with 3 girls under 6, they don’t care if I was up until midnight. The allowed out of bed at 7 a.m. rule is strictly followed and I’m going to pay for this. I often have to beat them back to their room at 6:30. They’re sneaky ones and their mom is not exactly a morning person. Pretty much useless in fact. Have a good one. Probably won’t be back on until Monday.

  77. I’m afraid that there is insufficient time left to prevent global catastrophe. Svensmark ( http://www.dsri.dk/~hsv/ ) points out a leverage factor that explains how minor chnages in solar irradiance can be related to major changes in insolation.

    If Landscheidt is correct, and I think he is, mass starvation is only a decade away.

  78. With solar input driving climate the news that sunspot activity and magnetic activity are decreasing is a worry for food production. It is lucky that crops for fual can be converted to food, if they actually grow. Increased atmospheric CO2 would help, 700ppmv giving, on average, a 40% increas in growth and cropping with reduced water use.
    CO2 is not the pollutant that the enviro alarmists shout about. To my mind. as a geologist, it is the most inportant gas in the atmosphere in that without it life as we know it would be impossible. No CO2, no photosynthesizing plants. Since water vapour is the most active so called greenhouse gas, up to 95% of all activity in that area, then CO2 has no real greenhouse action.
    The Medieval warm Period had CO2 levels of 250 ppmv or so but temperatures warm enough to grow grape vines in northern England. Impossible today. All other data shows that CO2 has no climate driving action. It is a pity that the truth is not accepted by all.

  79. “If Landscheidt is correct, and I think he is, mass starvation is only a decade away.”

    I think that man can rise to almost any occasion. Warming or cooling. As it is, we pay out farmer scads of money NOT to grow food. That means there is a considerable bounce.

    But if a cooling sets in, there will be hardship, and the poor will suffer. Whenever wealth is destroyed or not created, people die.

    But consider that man not only weathered the Little Ice Age, but he progressed at a rate slow compared with today but faster than at any time previously. We are much more powerful and much more in control of the forces of nature than we were five hundred years ago, and wonderful progress is occurring at an amazing and still accelerating pace. It is quite possible (if not inevitable) that we will transcend these mere blips which seem today to be insurmountable obstacles.

    REPLY: Evan, there’s only one thing we can’t overcome: massive grinding ice sheets.

  80. “Evan, there’s only one thing we can’t overcome: massive grinding ice sheets.”

    True. Those we have to sidestep.

    “Through the strength and up to the weakness.”

    If we havew a LIA-type situation, we can deal. If it’s a major ice age, that might be a different kettle of fish.

  81. The only solution I can think of if the most dire predictions come true. Is to start tax solar use. Massive taxes on solar panels, sun bathing and such. Also I think we should get in place a solar offset trade. To me redusing my solar footprint is more of a moral issue than anything else…

  82. Since CO2 is a trailing indicator of global (ocean) temperatures, and may not drop right away with global cooling, agricultural productivity show stay up for a few years as the glaciers reverse direction.

    But when Canadian winter wheat fails, the rice crop in India fails, and sundry other crops express their displeasure at gloomy, damp weather, surplus land will not help.

    Please don’t be so insular in your outlook. China, to mention one big consumer, has very little extra crop land. Ditto Europe with out major land reform.

    It has been estimated (source?) that much of the miraculous increase in corn productivity per acre in the 20th century was CO2-based, not totally genetics.

    There is a (fiction) book called “The end of the world as we know it ( http://teotwawki.net/index.html ) that describes the carrying capacity of the earth. When peak oil at least plateaus, the coming negative phase of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation will be enough to cause massive starvation.

    Short of oil, crops unprepared for climate cooling, limited land resources, water shortages— the estimated carrying capacity of the earth has variously estimated as between 2 and 5 billion. The upper limit depends on good science, continued civilization, and international trade and cooperation. The lower figure is equated with breakdown in civilization, many small wars, not necessarily nuclear, and general failure of society.

    I am inclined to think the best manual for understanding what to do during 20-30 years of Global Cooling is Jared Diamond’s “How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed.” See http://www.energybulletin.net/3782.html

  83. Hey, maybe this is too simplistic of an approach to this whole discussion but I’d like to suggest a game modeled after, say downhill slalom. It’s a little more complex than a straight linear downhill competition because the competitors would have to traverse horizontally (or even vertically) on the hill but, the game goes like this.

    We have multiple starting gates depending on the major model arguing for ascendancy. Currently, we have, at least, the ‘Greenhouse Gases’ and the ‘Cosmic Ray’ teams, more can be added as new full featured models enter the game. Like on the downhill slalom, we lay out the hill with gates representing the major, real, structural model components that must be accounted for by each model. All models must consist of sufficient time-spans to account for the historical period stretching back through, say, 100 million years.

    Each model’s gates get added into the course and must be traversed by each team. A gate can be model-wise eliminated IF the component is eliminated by theory, e.g. the ‘Cosmic Ray’ team would not be required to navigate to, and go through, the CO2 gate since that structural component is not part of its structural equations as it’s an effect and not a cause. Reasons for elimination of a gate for a team would have to be accepted by a panel of competent, impartial judges; an example of the reasons for elimination is a claimed model component is a trailing indicator (i.e. an effect.)

    The addition of a structural component to a model, i.e. gate, can be challenged by any participant in the game; referees, teams, etc. Reasons for permitting a challenge would include non-structural model relevancy, i.e. the ‘gate’ is not relevant to the integrity of the teams ‘model’, has trivial model impact and has been inserted only to force the opposing team(s) to traverse horizontally and pass through their opposing team’s gates. Let’s face it, this is a game of strategy and tactics so, this rule levels the playing field.

    Major causal factors, our gates, like the Antarctic Temperature Anomaly, once posited and entered onto the course must be traversed by a team once the gate is placed onto the course. The vertical placement of the gates for each model is arranged on the hill based on their position in each team’s structural model, each team must agree on the positioning of their ‘gates.’ All gates must fit within the designated course length so, depending on the placement of the gates by each team, this would necessitate, possibly, a ‘run’ by one team having to work back uphill to traverse an active gate on the other active gates on the ‘course’.

    Like downhill, teams are disqualified on that run if they miss a gate. Each run is scored with the scoring system focusing on ‘parsimony’, ‘elegance of model’, ‘style’, etc. The scoring system is mutually agreed to by all teams. Since we’re trying to get at ‘truth’ cost is only marginally important and it’s emotionally destabilizing and will not be allowed as a gate on the ‘course.’ Like-wise, immediate action based claims of immediate, impending doom are not allowed as a gate since, after all, this is only a game, right?

    To ‘win’ a team must: 1) complete the course without disqualification, 2) have a passing score and, 3) ALL the competing teams are either disqualified or forced to withdraw by the judges due to model deficiencies. Multiple ‘races’ are scheduled and non-competition related bickering and attacking are prohibited and disqualification of a team can occur based on rules of sportsmanship (call this the ‘Tonya Harding’ rule.) ‘Races’ are scheduled to occur every 6 months or so and results pushed into the PR machines of the world.

    After each ‘race’ if a winner can not be declared the next ‘race’ will be scheduled, each team goes back and licks its wounds (read, fix model/data insufficiencies) and they then get in shape and train for the next race. Each race will be automatically scheduled every six months after the completion of the preceding race unless the judges suggest, and teams concur, to postpone the next race, no more than one race can be skipped (we don’t want the public to lose track of the fact that a real competition is taking place.)

    Simple this game might appear but, it has a serious decision tree and gaming components to it that might be fun to see battled out in the world of public opinion. If implemented in a, say, on-line game, it might have a viral component to it. I’d say it definitely needs to be an open source game so that new players can be added but, it’d be fun, and I think useful, to see this hit the world. As with Seabiscuit, the favorite will probably NOT agree to the competition immediately but, two factors are in the games favor. It can be created WITHOUT their participation and if PR’d probably force them to the competition and then games can begin.

    Each team has a captain that decides on: the final team structural model, course negotiations including placement of gates on the course, gate challenges, etc. Each ‘team’ is allowed unlimited support off the course and only the captain and his 10 or 12 team members are allowed to be on the course during game day. I’d assume that Anthony would be on the ‘Cosmic Ray’ team since his sunspots, their presence or absence is part of those structural equations but, anyone can join or create any team they desire. Teams (i.e. models) that are deemed not full-featured enough may be disqualified and team members are then free to join another team. A supporting team member may work with multiple teams as they work out the compatibility of their contribution to each team’s model. Calving off of team members to form a new team is allowed after each competition and the new team can insert their own gate set based on the rules stated above.

    So, I sketched this ‘game’ out in one sitting so it’s probably somewhat flawed but the general flow of it seems good and the re-framing of this ‘competition’ seems mandatory.

  84. Joe in San Diego,

    I presume you are being “tongue-in cheek”- or at least I hope so.

    There is a problem with your gaming. First, Global ??? is not a game.

    Secondly, depending on your reliance on the Diety, someone already knows which player will win. The game is “fixed.”

    Thirdly, while you are playing the game, precious time is being lost.

    As an aside, your comment “The scoring system is mutually agreed to by all teams” is an impossibility. Witness McIntyre and McKitrick vs Mann (Hockey stick debacle).

    My concern is the 100s of billions of $ being spent on Kyoto, warm-weather genetics, and carbon-trading are needed NOW for irigation systems, African and Brazial infrastructure and transportation. Farmland in George or Alabama might be a good buy also. Crop failures could come as early as 2017, and some say last intermitantly until 2040 or 2050. Yikes!

  85. Climate science is dynamic, continually marching on in the Skeptics camp, while the AGW camp is forever in stasis, stuck with a long-discredited hypothesis propped up only by hype and politics. How do you do battle with lies and ignorance? Simply by telling the truth continually, regardless of the consequences. The truth will win in the end, but it could get messy in the meantime.

  86. Engineer,

    Not really tongue-in-cheek…

    Thing is, time is money (literally!) as we go down the GW path, billions or trillions of $$ will be spent, arguing with these guys will play into their hands as the public are already in their camp due to their emotional, apocalyptic tack.

    Neither of these groups will listen to intellectual arguments at this time, their emotional positions will preclude this change. Joel Barker talks about the fact that to give up and old paradigm for a new one involves not just thinking that the new path is better but includes heavy weight on the discomfort/discomfort factor, they’ll continue in their given path (much like lemmings) because they’re scared to death to turn away and take a new one!

    We can’t change that dynamic no matter how much we want to, it’ll take a few years to make that pivot operation take place and we’re kidding ourselves if we think it’ll happen overnight. Money will be spent… maybe a lot, but it’ll keep GETTING spent until we can affect a pivot in the current death march.

    To re-emphasize, we can not win these early battles, they’re lost and money WILL BE SPENT. The conceptual errors of the GWers will not be realized and corrected till they are either proved unequivocally wrong by a quick turn in temperature or, the world commits to their no-growth, ill-advised spending plans and… after the trillions of $$s get spent and, HEY, WADDAYA KNOW, NOTHING’S CHANGING!

    I wouldn’t bet on either of these occurring without an untold squandering of the world’s wealth and the reduction of the future generation’s wealth creating ability. I’d have never had bet that the people at Jonestown would have done what they did but, they did it anyway! I’m as optimistic as anyone but I think we need to argue from what is, whether we agree with it or not, group delusions and their effect may be un-rational but, given that people DO THOSE THINGS we should be able to factor those human-factors into our thinking.

    As Issac Asimov posited in “Foundation”, that at some point in an intellectual decline the question THAT one will occur becomes moot, the only issue then becomes what are the: depth, duration and cost of the ‘dark ages’ and how can WE control those factors. I’d argue that we are past that point of stopping this in its tracks and the only thing we CAN control is those three factors of how deep, how long and at what cost will the human race have to pay?

    In the game, IF they won’t play right away then we basically are in control of both sides of the game creation, rules and gate locations and we get to set up the rules. If they agree to the game with the idea of undermining the hunt for the truth then we still have the on-line game approach and, again, we control the development of the game rules.

    In either one of the scenarios where we can develop a true, rational set of rules and gates then, at some point in the future we get to push RATIONAL rules into the discussion, either through their acquiescing to a mature game or by running the games via OUR rules and using the same PR mechanisms THEY use to gradually turn the discussion in our favor. Seems like a no-lose proposition to me!

    Well, like I said, the game was sketched in one sitting… I think our basic disagreement is whether we have time… I think we see the current state of the CURRENT game differently. You think we can arrest this path with little or no cost, I believe that we can ONLY control the depth of the damage that we will have to pay.

    I think that the game approach is a path but, I think that we haven’t even agreed on the current game conditions, I believe that the game currently being played of arguing intellectual points is non-viable on our part and as we dither away playing THEIR game we will encounter defeat after defeat because we are arguing facts and the other players are playing to emotions.

    Honestly, everyone needs to decide their own path but, going off to a noble defeat is just not in me… not everyone, maybe no one agrees with me but, this is out there so, do with it what you feel best.

  87. uh… that didn’t enter well..

    The — DISCOMFORT/DISCOMFORT factor — should rather read the — COMFORT/DISCOMFORT factor– … my apologies.

  88. Engineer,

    One last thing, whether it’s true or not, I believe that painting an apocalyptic picture of crop failures in 2017 or beyond (though this might be true) is playing the same (to me) unacceptable game as the GW crowd and I believe we need to stay above that level. Serious cooling may in fact hit at those times and serious impacts felt but, I think the style with which we win this battle will determine much about the promise of our future and the future of science, both of which I believe are being seriously endangered by the tone and tenor of current debate.

    It may not be intuitively obvious WHY we need to avoid this but, I really think that once that future comes that we will see, with hindsight, that the avoidance of the wrong rules of engagement proved to be a wise decision. We DO need to win but not if a casualty of the battle strategy choice is destroys the very thing we’re fighting for!

  89. We will fight them in the coffee shops, we will fight them in the op-eds, we will fight them in the blogs, we will never give up.

  90. Joe in San Diego,

    I totally agree. In the kind of debate ongoing, unproven speculation hurts one’s argument as much as clear error. It might be more to the point to show the kind of agricultural failures seen during the little ice age. However, there is no comparison between the genetically diverse, small-farm crops of 1710 an today’s mono-culture signle strain. I see too much speculation in that attempt to present “real fact.”

    Better to hold off and let the climate speak for it’s self for a few years.

  91. It’s true that arguing with a committed AGWer is pointless. For them anyway, the debate really IS over. The people who do need to hear the truth are the general public, many of whom are either agnostics on the issue, or who simply believe it because that is pretty much all they hear day in and day out. I was in that latter group myself up until a little over a year ago.
    The biggest weakness in the whole AGW hypothesis is in C02. They need C02 (which they cleverly call “carbon”) to be considered pollution, rising at an “alarming” rate, and creating a runaway greenhouse effect, melting the ice caps, killing polar bears, and creating all sorts of climate disasters. C02 is their achilles heel, and that is where they must be hit hard, and continually.

  92. Now, the audience has departed and the theater has quieted so I think the time has come for me to exit this stage and move on…

    Anthony, I hope I have not distracted from your purpose with this page and I appreciate whoever has been doing the moderation, thanks to you both or, if Anthony IS both, thanks for a well moderated page.

    I’ll check this spot again but I will probably say goodbye.

    REPLY: one and the same, but no need to say goodbye. Stick around, plenty of other interesting things here.

  93. Bruce C.:

    “It’s true that arguing with a committed AGWer is pointless. For them anyway, the debate really IS over.”

    Tell me it has not come to that. Any scientific theory (on either side) must be falsifiable.

    kim: Never say die, unless and until the science says so.

    Engineer: What you say is what I fear. We in the developed countries will have it (relatively) easy. But I shudder to think of the cost in human life to the poor of this world. I can match emotions with anyone on the AGW side of the debate. For I know so well how when wealth is wasted or destroyed (or never created), the poor suffer and die needlessly. (My field of study will not permit me the convenient comfort of escape from that terrible knowledge.)

  94. Oh, yes, EJ, I’ll follow the science. Right now it says the earth is cooling and the effect of carbon dioxide to warm the earth has been exaggerated.

  95. “Tell me it has not come to that. Any scientific theory (on either side) must be falsifiable.” Unfortunately, it has. Because AGW isn’t about science. It’s more like a religion. The people who argue for AGW are completely irrational, and yes, hysterical. You can’t prove anything to them because they aren’t even thinking clearly. However, you can certainly combat what they say to a wider audience.

  96. Bruce Cobb,

    OK, I lied a little… I couldn’t resist responding

    You said “…However, you can certainly combat what they say to a wider audience.”

    I’d say the secret is (and my point above is)

    WHICH data channel would that be?

    All things being equal it may work using the ‘facts and evidence’ data channel, maybe but, whilst you urgently send communications over THAT channel the GWers use the ‘hysteria and fear’ data channel to drown out your message.

    They have a much bigger data conduit with MUCH bigger carrying capacity with wider distribution and as we trickle ‘TRUTH’ out of our channel they position their minions on each distribution point and undermine both the delivery person and message at each entry point into the the world’s stage.

  97. they position their minions on each distribution point and undermine both the delivery person and message at each entry point into the the world’s stage.

    Joe, as Anthony notes in his most recent post, “nature will be the final arbiter”. When the temperature starts going down, as, in fact, it may already have, no amount of spin is going to drown that out.

  98. Anyone want to place bets as to what Feb 2008 global temperatures will end up being?

    I would say another cold month on planet Earth maybe 0.05degrees warmer then Jan 2008

  99. Stan, one can only hope that the temperature would go down… it’d make this battle simpler!

    I believe though there are two issues that might lead to disappointment on our side.

    First, is that nature won’t necessarily cooperate with us and conveniently give us that cold snap we’d like. As I asked in an earlier posting, even though the sun appears to be entering a quiet phase right now and it appears (based on Anthony’s magnetic field strength graph from above) his data goes back to 1991 yet we know that since 1900 the sun’s magnetic field has doubled in strength. Low solar activity + Unusually strong base field strength produces… WHAT result? Nobody’s answered that question yet so, I think the jury’s out on that one and, though it might happen, I wouldn’t bet my whole game plan on it! Our best case scenario is to we get an IMMEDIATE temperature reversal and (given our luck to date) my betting is that (if it happens soon) it’ll happen somewhere out in the next few years NOT this year! Would that it would be so but, I wouldn’t put too many eggs in THAT basket!

    As Svensmark and Calder said in their book, it’s too early in our stage of understanding for ANY prediction to be offered, (even one that we desperately want and need!)

    Second, even IF temperatures show a pronounced cooling, I’d wager that this group hysteria and fear will prove to be a game condition that will persist for 5-15 years depending on how effectively the GW can mount defensive actions. To date, they’ve proved to be resourceful beyond belief, using techniques that shows a certain level of desperation but, they are arguably holding their own quite effectively.

    During that 5-15 years a tremendous amount of the world’s wealth will be squandered because you just can NOT turn a ship of this size on a dime and avoid the costs associated with the current path.

    Put reasons 1) and 2) together and, if I were making probabilistic estimates, I’d put the chances of 1) mother nature cooperating and 2) GWers playing a out-of-character game role a pretty low (<20%)

    Thing is, we control NEITHER of these factors so we’re only guessing here but, good strategist/tacticians have uncanny abilities to be way more right than wrong based on effective use of their own use of forcing and attractor functions. I’m not sure we have the strategic/tactical abilities to obtain the lower probability outcomes right now, hence my expectations for a prolonged battle.

    So, me being a belts and suspenders kind of person, I’d say that it’s still ‘game on’ until this full dynamic plays out. We have to play this out on THEIR chosen field of battle, with THEIR rules and with THEIR referees UNTIL we affect a change in the game!

  100. I am on the fence. If the climate begins warming again in a convincing fashion, not just the GISSTEMP, but satellite too, and Sol goes into some kind of Dalton or Maunder Minimum, I will have to re-assess my skepticism. Right now a lot of chips are being put on the table on red or black, and I can appreciate wanting to cover 0 and 00, but if the UK Met has it right, and warming begins again in ’09, the skeptical side will have taken a possibly fatal hit, and deservedly so, but if cooling persists, I can’t imagine that their discipline can hold. The ‘0’/’00’ case? (Roulette analogy) is that we get a cooling and a corker of a volcano.

  101. The best part of sitting on the fence should be the ability to see both ways. This them-vs-us breaks down into argumentun ad hominum (“you’re wrong because I don’t like you!”) which accomplishes nothing. This thread mostly avoids that error–I hope.

    To anticpate the arguments pro and con global warming, it may help us to rehash some of the facts. Antarctica has had more ice surface area lately than any time since satelite surveillance started around 1979 – http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/current.anom.south.jpg (There’s a lot of data on this site. Edit out the folders after /IMAGES/ and browse around.

    As it starts to cool, AGW-proponents tend to say that it’s caused by Global Warming and CO2. If we have some severe cooling, one argument will be melting of Greenland (which may NOT be melting…) is diluting the thermohaline deep water formation areas, slowing the ocean thermal conveyor. While this might cool the heck out of Denmark and Scotland, it should stor MORE heat nearer the equator. So you can see how this scenario could be blamed for droughts and high temperatures in Africa.

    The problem with slowing the thermohaline circulation is it takes a whole big lake of water – like Lake Missoula, which formed the Columbian River Basis and likely caused the cooling of the Younger Dryas period 13,200 years ago. Glacial melt water comfined for years, and released over a short period.

    On the side of Global Cooling is the fact (as someone mentioned) that the Pacific Decadal Oscillation is overdue for the cold phase and may be doing it’s thing now see- http://jisao.washington.edu/pdo/

    I could go on and on, but many of you know these things. I think a good drive in the countryside might cool us off. Browse this site provided by the friendly Association of British Drivers – http://www.abd.org.uk/climate_change_truths.htm

  102. “(which may NOT be melting…) ”

    From what I can dope out, Greenland is melting faster than normal–and at the same time accumulating faster than normal. Shedding a bit around the edges from a mild warming, but accumulating in the middle because of increased precip.

    (And then there’s the issue of that newly discovered hot spot under the eastern side.)

    “As it starts to cool, AGW-proponents tend to say that it’s caused by Global Warming and CO2.”

    Hypsotasized proof. [Everything = X] Pseudo-proof. [X (i.e., Everything) Proves X]. Prevalent proof [50 million Frenchmen can’t be wrong].

    It’s nice to have all your bases covered. Avoids all that twaddle about falsification.

    “Pacific Decadal Oscillation is overdue for the cold phase”

    Well, it’s a 20-30 year half-phase. And it went on the razzle 28 years ago . . .

    It’s also suggested that the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation may be winding down, but it’s a biggish cycle and they don’t seem to have a handle on its schedule from what I could dig up.

    If some or all of that is so, we’ll find out soon enough (and we may be in the market for bedwarmers).

    (BTW, Rev, good explanation.)

  103. Randy Washburn, can you explain this post a little. I don’t quite understand it. Particularly the “Sixteen Part” part…..

    “If Theodor Landscheidt’ s assertions in 1999, Extrema in Sunspot Cycle Linked to Sun’s Motion, are correct and the next “Sixteenth Part” (SP) of the 178.8 Year Solar Retrograde Motion (RSI) is to happen in 2012.5 then the minima of Cycle 23 should have already happened, however the delay means that the SP looks to be switching to the Solar Minima and that would mean that Cycle 23 should last until 2010.6 at the EARLIEST!. That makes for a (14) year Sunspot cycles. Nothing like that has happened since 1790! According to this paper of the deceased professor, GRHS, we are in for 4 to 5 very weak sunspot cycles. Not like the Dalton minima but like the Maunder Minima!”

  104. Evan:
    ““It’s true that arguing with a committed AGWer is pointless. For them anyway, the debate really IS over.”

    Tell me it has not come to that. Any scientific theory (on either side) must be falsifiable.”

    Sadly, I think it has, particularly for the True Believers ™. I’ve had one tell me “Even if we’re wrong, it’s the right thing to do.” How the heck do you counter that?

    Now, falsifiability. This is important because THEY KEEP CHANGING THE CRITERIA. For example: http://www.ucsusa.org/global_warming/science/early-warning-signs-of-global-warming-arctic-and-antarctic-warming.html

    “Although there is some variability among models, most projections indicate that increased CO2 concentrations will lead to a polar warming that is greater than the global average, with more warming over land than sea and the maximum warming occurring in winter (Kattenberg et al., 1996). ”

    That seems pretty clear to me. The poles (both of them) should be warming greater than the rest of the planet. They are exatly half right. The arctic has warmed, but Antarcica has cooled. Furthermore, Kattenberg claims that there will be more warming over land than sea. There’s plenty of land in Antarctica that is not warming (95% of it actually) but the True Believers only ever point to the 5% that is warming (Penninsula). And then 10 years later claim here: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2008/02/antarctica-is-cold

    that a cooling Antarctica does not go against their models.

    They’ve changed the falsification criteria. And they will continue to do so.

    How do you counter that?

  105. MattN,

    I’ve said it before, people that visit this site and their ilk are playing the wrong game here. We believe that it’s ‘facts and evidence’ data channel that will serve as the conduit to truth and victory yet the GWers use the ‘hysteria and fear’ data channel to drown out your message.

    They must be sitting back in their chairs and chuckling and, in the (paraphrased) words of a great politician (whether you like his politics or not) “Its the hysteria and fear, stupid!”

    I don’t know how to argue facts into the kind of emotionally changed game condition that has been created and get, well, any rational response. Fact is, they MUST panic in their condition… if you plug on hole with intellectual argument, a student of human nature would EXPECT them to abandon the current delusion and pick up another one. It’s the proverbial seven-headed hydra!

    We really need to get THAT or we’ll continue to wonder why things aren’t going right… so, “IT’S THE GAME, STUPID!” (I really hate using those words so, pardon my bluntness.)

    We’re playing the wrong GAME and it’d be somewhat funny if it weren’t for the fact that getting IT weren’t so danged important!

    Jim Rohn said in one of his talks that we need to stop expecting people to be what they’re not… mockers MUST mock, cheaters MUST cheat, …! It’s OK for them to do what they do the GWers are the ‘hysteria and fear’ people, they’ll do THAT, we’re not going to change what they are and what they do.

    We don’t have to agree that what they do is right, just that they are what they are! We can’t expect them to be different than they are, we just need to be good enough to recognize WHAT they are and design effective strategies to combat them. So far, after 15+ plus years and more countries becoming forced into the delusion (Australia is the latest I think) we might suspect our current approach isn’t working.

    Maybe we just have to do more and do it better but, insanity has been defined as doing the same thing and expecting different outcomes! So far, I’d say we’re manifesting early (maybe late) signs of that affliction.

    This may not be a SATISFYING answer but, I believe it’s a fair assessment of the current game condition.

  106. I’ve had one tell me “Even if we’re wrong, it’s the right thing to do.” How the heck do you counter that?

    By bringing up Pascal. Ehrich made the same argument. The answer is that it is NOT the right thing to do. Do a reverse-Pascal on them: Destruction, waste, and noncreation of wealth will kill far more millions than Global Warming at its worst ever could, and will leave us relatively poor and backward, thus incapable of dealing with the proplem if it actually turns out to be real.


    Yes, I’ve noticed that.

    “How do you counter that?”

    Jocularity. (With an assist from Fischer’s Fallacies.)

  107. Like it or not, this is war. It isn’t one that the skeptics started or wanted. The AGW behemoth uses lies, personal attacks and smears, threats to occupation, censorship, and self-righteousness, among other things to force their beliefs onto humanity. So far, they’ve been extremely successful. Many, for various reasons, be they political, occupational, or monetary have jumped onto that bandwagon, and it is a huge, lumbering one. Woe betide any misfortunate skeptic who jumps in its path.
    I believe the key to stopping that bandwagon lies with the public. Climate science continues on, and it is fascinating, and much of it further disproves AGW. But, as far as the public is concerned, it’s just more noise, and too complex. AGW is drummed into them continually by the media (although that appears to be changing somewhat now). They need to hear the truth, and it needs to be kept simple. C02 doesn’t cause climate change. It’s the sun.
    Write letters to the editor (that’s what I do), congressmen, talk to people about it (might want to feel them out, first, though). Whatever you can do. Silence is deadly to truth.
    And, keep up the good work, Anthony!


    In all fairness, both sides have constantly moved the goal posts. When I first became fascinated with the GW issue back in the late 90’s, Skeptics, for the most part, thought the whole issue was a bunch of hooey (some still do). This fairly quickly evolved into, “OK, we acknowledge that the temperature has risen about a degree in the last century, but that’s still no big deal, and there’s no concrete evidence that man has contributed in any significant way.” The next step for we Skeptics was to trumpet the potential benefits of GW. Finally, a couple years ago, Skeptics began asking Warmists, “OK, let’s assume you’re right — what do you suggest we do to solve the problem?” I get the distinct impression that, when we got to that point, the Warmists decided that, while they weren’t actually losing the debate, their lack of reality-based solutions would be exposed, and the debate itself might just go away, and thus they moved the goal posts to “global climate change”. That’s a oversimplification, but the issue has clearly evolved.

    I figure if we can just keep the debate going long enough, nature will settle it. Personally, I think it’s a shame that anyone on either side views it as a win-lose situation. Clearly Anthony doesn’t, and that’s what I love about this forum.

  109. Stan, I disagree. It might be true for most about the changing criteria, but I went straight to “not so sure” and “even so, so what” back in the 90s when we had to study this in HS biology.

    And, Joe in SanDiego, I’d much rather be wrong than cold. Luckily I don’t expect much opportunity to be wasted. We’ll stick to the feel good, pretty stuff that doesn’t really harm or help. We’ll leave all that carbon offsetting to the experts: Hollywood Celebrities and excentric billionares. One nice thing about those people who don’t change is that they won’t put up with actual costs, not for long.

  110. people that visit this site and their ilk

    FYI it should be “people WHO visit this site”.

    I am not an ILK!

  111. “Its the hysteria and fear, stupid!” Yes, and the very basis of those emotions is ignorance. Combat the ignorance, however you can.

  112. 15 day with no activity. The last sunspot over 2 weeks ago was so small I have difficulty really calling it one. It lasted little more than a day and was a low latitude spot associated with cycle #23. There has been no high latitude activity (cycle #24) since the small reversed one appeared last month. Solar flux has flatlined at ~70.


  113. Pingback: Random Nuclear Strikes » Sunspots Like Rubber Bands

  114. Most of the east coast of Australia is on track to have the coldest February on record. In past summers we have seen temps up to 50d c and this year we barely get around 30 often hovering in mid to low 20s. Often people say oh its la nina but when its hot then why dont they say oh its el nino instead of global warming, global warming. Theres another solar cycle 24 prediction meeting due in March – if we keep going on with this blank sun it will be fascinating to see what they say. We live in interesting times.

  115. my only question is very short term in nature
    what will the direction of sun spots be from
    MARCH 6 TH 2008 TO AUG 6TH 2008
    pretty up front thinking . as for the global warming debate
    my thoughts are this , when everyone in the masses believe
    something to be true then most likely they ( the masses )
    are all wrong , hence global warming is a lie
    and global cooling is the next direction .
    and from what ive read on the subject the data supports
    the same thinking .
    so ill go back to my question at the top of the page

  116. “it will be fascinating to see what they say”. Oh, probably something to the effect of, “yeah, we knew that”, and “climate chaos” blah, blah, blah; and of course, we’ll likely get an upward spike in temp., and they’ll say “see, it’s the C02, we told you”. In short, they will continue to lie and spout their C02 pseudo-science, even as the temps continue their downward trend.

  117. They are already away at a gallop, Bruce. (25/02)
    Have read: Lack of solar activity for 5 years. This will mask the heating effects of bad-man CO2 for that period, gving us an unexpected opportunity to get ahead so that when the sun becomes active again…
    All bases covered. Carbon offset business protected. Moral highground still well above sea level. Let’s party!

  118. And if a large, heavy ash-type volcano eruption occured in concert to the solar inactiviey? The cooling rate would accelerate rapidly.

  119. The brainstorming going on here is absolutely fabulous. What if’s are just the thing we need in our current climate of blinder science.

    So here is a what if:

    What if we are looking at the wrong side of the peaks? Cosmic rays bombard earth during MINIMUMS (ie cosmic ray peaks are up while ssn peaks are down). Cosmic rays destroy ozone. Ozone is our greenhouse roof. Without the roof, we cool off. hmmmm?

  120. If the sudden drop in 2005 is not an artifact we are being bombarded with cosmic rays and our ozone is likely getting thin if the theory holds true. Could be why I am sleeping under a winter pile of blankets in April because our blanket in the sky is now just a thin sheet.

    1. Can we change the geomagnetic data into anomaly data?

    2. Then can we do the same thing with cosmic ray measures reaching earth?

    3. Finally can we find ozone data and do the same thing to it?

    4. Then can we put the temperature anomaly data together with 1, 2, and 3 and show all on the same graph?

  121. The problem is that NASA and the solar physics community do not know what causes the Sun’s “internal magnetic dynamo,” nor the cycle of magnetic storms that appear at the solar surface.

    Despite all the fictitious details that they told us about distant stars, NASA and the solar physics community do not understand even the most basic features of the only star close enough for them to study in detail – the Sun.


    That is why this unholy alliance of federal bureaucrats and “group-think” physicists hope you will believe that Earth’s heat source does not control Earth’s climate.

  122. Mr Watts:

    It is now a few more months since this article, and still seems to be very little sunspot activity. I check for them daily and haven’t heard any more about the apparent lull from the media.

    I did see a little spot a week or so ago. Now – nothing.

    What’s up?


    REPLY: Try clicking on the main page link “Home” to keep abreast of new articles.

  123. This is an interesting step back :O

    U.N. IPCC scales back climate change report

    Pete Chagnon – OneNewsNow – 4/8/2008 10:45:00 AM
    Marc Morano, a spokesperson from the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee minority staff, says the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is scaling back on its previous dire predictions of catastrophic climate change.

    The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee (EPW) says that with each successive report from the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), there is less cause for alarm than previously thought. Morano points out that in the recent 2007 report, man’s alleged impact on “global warming” was scaled back by 25 percent while ocean-level rise was also reduced.

    According to Morano, this is the 13th year that rapid warming has been predicted and advertised in the media by Al Gore and the U.N., but it has failed to occur. “So at some point, they’re getting worried — and now you have record winter in the Northern Hemisphere and record winter in the Southern Hemisphere, [as well as] global cooling to the extent from 2007 to 2008 that was rather significant and surprised a lot of scientists,” Morano contends.

    He also says the U.N. is realizing and acknowledging that there is continually less cause for alarm on the subject.

    “And now you have a cooling …. [But] NASA scientist James Hansen [is] trying to say ‘well, warming will resume soon, but this is just [a] natural factor [with] the ocean circulation,’ but the fact of the matter is the head of the U.N. [IPCC] Rajendra Pachauri came out recently and said we have to investigate this apparent temperature plateau,” Morano notes.

    The Senate committee staff member contends Al Gore is currently trying to sidestep the issue.

  124. I recommend reading an article in the March 2005 issue of the Scientific American called “How did humans First Alter Global Climate?”.

    Although the ideas in the article have been termed controversial they do give you a good feeling about the unexpected benefits of global warming. Also the article emphasizes the long term cycles related to earth wobble, incident solar radiation changes and variations in CO2 levels. I especially like the graph on page 53, suggesting what might happen to global temperatures when we stop burning fossil fuels (they plummet).

    To some extent this article also explains why climatologists thought global cooling was more likely back in the 60s and 70s and then changed to worrying about global warm. I have heard this used to make the argument that climatologists have no idea what they are talking about and thus scientist should not be trusted. Probably unfair but an effective NERF (not easily refutable) comment.

    Generally, I think you have to be very tempered when criticizing peer reviewed material. It is very likely that we are causing global warming. However, it is also likely that global cooling can occur and this is at least as concerning.

    In a bigger sense, I wonder if we ought consider the possibility that we are actually, albeit accidentally, involved in climate control. That in itself, carries enormous social responsibility, as your ‘good’ weather will someone else’s ‘bad’ weather. However, we might all be able to get behind that idea

    Having frozen in the winter in the UK when I was young; I can tell you without reservation that the perfect winter temperatures and the 95% humidity at 95oF for 3 summer months that I experience in Texas, is an enormous improvement.

    Yours hoping we will soon return to an age of reason rather than one of belief.

  125. To some extent this article also explains why climatologists thought global cooling was more likely back in the 60s and 70s and then changed to worrying about global warm. I have heard this used to make the argument that climatologists have no idea what they are talking about and thus scientist should not be trusted. Probably unfair but an effective NERF (not easily refutable) comment.

    This is largely the fault of scientists themselves, and science programs. They tend to speak in absolutes when they really have only a small percentage of certainty. As I’ve mentioned before, you’ll see scientists on documentaries saying Venus is an example of a runaway greenhouse effect. Sorry, but we know very little about Venus, and absolutely nothing about it’s history. But you’ll hear them say these things with certainty.

    So it’s not that they don’t have any idea what they’re talking about, but they need to show some humility when it comes to uncertainty.

  126. I think there is definitely financial / establishment incentive to follow the preferred or current scientific thinking. However, a well trained scientist will always be skeptical and tend toward proving the null hypothesis and experimental reproducibility. But I do understand that even a scientist, at some level, will worry about his or her well being and family, before science.

    I also think a problem occurs when a scientist uses the general media to put forward ideas. Whilst this is an improvement for the purposes of general discussion, the normal cyclic process of correction and review is short circuited to some degree. Scientific humility would go a long way to help this process along with the media avoiding sensationalism for profit (unlikely I think).

    So, if we are going to discuss complex issues in the general media, (an idea I skeptically support) then we need to ensure that we “the public” have the tools to consider the scientific issues at hand. A healthy skepticism and the ability to consider all sources with some degree of rationality are needed.

    I would be very happy to see a course at school titled something like “Logic and Skepticism – ain’t nothing to sniff at!” At the very least this may help people to distinguish propaganda and invective from scientific theory. Another aspect here is to instill the idea that theories do change and that they are not immutable.

    Having said all that I am reminded of a comment by Douglas Adams “Man is so amazingly primitive that he still thinks that digital watches are a pretty neat thing”

    On a subject more specific to this blog; have you heard if the predictions for cycle 24 are going to be “officially” lowered? I ask because the predictions I have seen said that June was the extreme end for the start of the high count prediction.

  127. Pingback: JustAskMrKnowItAll.com » Where have all the sunspots gone?

  128. It’s one thing to discuss the relative low sunspot activity and have a general opinion that time will be the ultimate decider, but all you global warming deniers are ignorant…I’ve really had it with all of you. Here is a quote from NASA…”The year 2007 tied for second warmest in the period of instrumental data, behind the record warmth of 2005, in the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) analysis. 2007 tied 1998, which had leapt a remarkable 0.2°C above the prior record with the help of the “El Niño of the century”. The unusual warmth in 2007 is noteworthy because it occurs at a time when solar irradiance is at a minimum and the equatorial Pacific Ocean is in the cool phase of its natural El Niño-La Niña cycle. ”

    Hello…that was last year…what global cooling?

    There will always be places that will experience record low temperatures and winter annomalies but that is expected if you have any knowledge of true climate change…. “2008 was the warmest March on record over land surfaces of the world and the second warmest overall worldwide”…that was this year. People who don’t understand glabal warming and climate change need to shut up.We will never solve the problems we face if the uninformed believe the ignorant…and they do!

    This is Global Warming not OMG it snowed in Paris or last week was the coldest days I have expeinced where I live…If you think like that hang out all over the US where they are currently experiencing record heat and that is in many places but that is not the whole story…again…Global Warming.

    With all that said, the sun could definately cause global cooling because it is our source of heat but until there is more evidence and more time we should live with the truth of today and the history of the last 100 or so years which have been well documented. Global warming is not a belief if is based on the facts and is most likely caused by humans because as far as we know nature doesn’t work in the range of hundereds of years (normally) but thousands and millions of years.

    I do find the lack of sunspot activity interesting and will continue to follow the news because I am Interested in the effects it has on current climate change…maybe it will cool things down…which would be good because here in Houston it has been in the mid 90’s since the end of April and will probably continue till October…I would welcome some true global cooling.

  129. Just wondering Kevin if Houston is so hot because of all the hot air you’ve been blowing. The Earth is cooling in my part of the world and there’s no doubt about that. I dont need someone to tell me what’s happening when i can just look out the window.

  130. I fully believe that we are affecting the sun. The increased use of solar panels being the cause of the problem. The enviromentalists are the ones that are causing the problem by inducing a negative feedback loop due to the conversion of the suns energy thus insuring less for everyone around. Way to go greenies. Ole’ Sol is not happy. We must have sacrifice, al gore, step up to the plate, you are causing this global catastrophe. What an inconvient boob.

  131. Not only solar panels! The RF output, generated by the multi-millions cellphone, radar, radio and TV broadcasts, is heating up out atmosphere. And probably the solar corona! This phenomonem might be Partially counteracted by the shadows of earth orbiting objects.
    My first visit. Very interesting, very informative. Thanks to all.
    Globalwarming *Gulibility^2 = $$$
    where $$$ = Al Gore’s bank account.

  132. Shoot, I live in the Southern US, and I’ve been turning off my AC overnight. I don’t turn it back on until about noon. I just open the windows and let the cool air in. Granted, it was a bit stuffy the past 3 or 4 days, but it’s raining again now. It’s very cool outside. I turned off the AC again. The environmentalists should all shout with glee.

    It’s freaking July! It’s supposed to be mid to upper 90’s, at least compared to summers past. We’ve got watermelons being sold off the highway, that means summer is in full swing. I don’t need a scientist or NASA or some suck-ass politician to tell me the weather. It’s noticeably cooler. Everyone is talking about it here in my small town. We’re all cracking jokes about “global warming.” Nobody believes in it anymore. We’re mostly country folk. We believe what we see and feel, not what people a thousand miles away say, especially when those people are getting billions of dollars to do “research.”

    “Global Warming” is a cult created by the wealthy. Ever notice how the lower members of this cult are filled with bile? How they quote other people, other statistics, but offer nothing original? And the people they quote are government shills or people on the government payroll (is that redundant?) They have nothing of their own to offer, so they just bully and shout and try to belittle anyone sheepish enough to listen.

    “Global Warming” is a hoax to bring about a global tax. Mark my words, if the cooling period continues the tax will become about something else, possibly even “Global Icing” or “Global Pollution.” I’m just a hick in a small town, but I read and research. There is absolutely a push for global government and a system of global taxation. Do a little research on your own, look and see who’s pushing for it. The extrememly wealthy and powerful. I don’t pretend some massive secret cabal that involves aliens or other such nonsense. It’s about the same thing as always – money and power and control. Same garbage that’s been going on since the dawn.

    Oh, and for the record, I am 100% interested in humans cleaning up their filth. We have really made a mess on this planet. I will not argue that. I get sick to my stomach at the litter and the waste, the poisoning and the rampant destruction. I do not doubt that industrial emissions effect our environment. I just don’t buy into the “Global Warming” hysteria. I don’t trust shallow evil men like Al Gore (I am NOT a Republican!) I’m much more concerned with the current genetic corruption of our food supplies, cross species experimentation, and war. And the current (massive) cooling trend and lack of sunspots is quite alarming.

  133. Pingback: Where to go to learn about global warming « Fabius Maximus

  134. “We understand nothing of the works of God unless we take it as a principle
    that He wishes to blind some and to enlighten others.[7]” Pascal (from wikipedia)


  135. “It is not certain that everything is uncertain.” Pascal (from wikipedia)

    I think I like this guy.

  136. C02 is all about the oceans and its ability to absorb it… Currently it’s at its max… The sun dose cool down and currently we are trapping heat with the C02…. So it dose not look good no mater how you peal your banana…

    Pump more C02 you kill the ocean and the earth friezes stop CO2 with 0 sunspots earth cools down and we freeze… but what’s the best path….

  137. Ok…putting all political ideology and scientific doctrine aside. My 1/2 acre of fingerling potatoes in Philadelphia Pa, turned off 16 days early. None of the usual factors explained the sudden completion of my potato crop. Suddenly, from July 25th on, it seemed we were 3-5 weeks later in the season. Looking for answers, I went to NOAA and learned all about solar cycles and the fact that we are in a deep extended minimum. I am not into commodities futures or speculating gas or oil, I just want to know what to expect for the 2009 growing season, (can’t eat gas or oil). All the talk about a Dalton minimum and ’18&frozen to death’ might be fun for all you anti-global warming geeks, ( I am one of those reformed Christian land stewardship type organic farmers who does’t give a rip about global warming), but all this talk is making me nervous. Tell me, do I plant tomatoes or carrots and parsnips next in 2009.

  138. It’s highly unlikely that sun spots or lack thereof are to blame for your shorter than average growing season. I would be looking to other factors such as rainfall, mean temperatures and average daily sunlight. These metrics will be driven by normal localised variations in climate. If potatoes stop growing all around the world then I would start to worry but as I type there doesn’t seem to be any evidence of that.

    FWIW, here in Sydney Australia we are experiencing a cool and quite extended winter and snow has been falling to low levels in the SE. This weather has been driven by strong high pressure systems in the southern ocean. We would normally experience alternating cycles of cool southerly fronts and warm temperate northerlies, but this winter there’s been virtually no northerly winds and that’s allowed cool southern ocean air to move further north than is usually the case. I also note that the southern vortex has been weaker than usual this winter and that’s been one of the drivers of variations in pressure systems and their movements. Because the polar cyclones have not been whizzing around the Antarctic perimeter it’s allowed longer periods of time for the Antarctic anticyclones to link up with the mid latitude HP cells and draw cold polar air from continental Antarctica across the southern ocean amd into mid latitude regions of Australia. It will be interesting to see if this pattern repeats itself next winter and if something similar is seen in the northern hemisphere’s winter later this year. There’s no doubt that the polar vortex is an important driver of mid latitude climate but this is one area that’s not yet fully understood.

  139. Sunspot cycle 24 is different from the last 7 cycles. An excellent article which can be found at http://users.telenet.be/j.janssens/Spotless/Spotless.html based on SIDC data shows why. The evidence since May when the paper was published supports their analysis. So the Noaa guy is wrong that this cycle is unusual but there is no evidence that this is a new maunder minimum… we would need data up to 2011 at least to make a judgement on this.

  140. We concur with Jeff Corbin’s observation on a diminished growing season. We are located about 150 miles WSW of his location and we too noticed a rapid decline in our tomato plant growth and an early maturity of the fruits although their size remained small. It appeared to us that the growing season jumped from early August to mid September (based upon our experience here of past growing seasons). Up until that point (early August) we’ve had moderate temps for summer (daytime 25-35c), more than average rainfall, and average sunlight for that growing period. – Very odd and we are wondering if this has been observed in other locales distant from our location (eastern WV).
    If so, is diminished sunspot activity an additional possible factor?

  141. Pingback: Global weather madness - Yamaha FZ6 Forums - International FZ6 Motorcycle Community Forum

  142. Are we in for global cooling because of lack of sunspots? Here’s my theory — The sky is falling! Are you all prophets? Just like those who think that global warming will destroy this earth, you are also spouting the same ideas except in reverse.

    The sun will probably get its spots back but when it decides to do so, not based on predictions from whomever.

    What bothers me most about those who do not believe in global warming is that there is this attitude that it is okay to continue to destroy the earth, it’s okay to pollute it, run amok with its resources. Whether you believe in global warming or not, our responsibility on this earth is to live in harmony with the earth, not to use or abuse it.

  143. Pingback: third world county » A Quote for Today

  144. I’m just what you call an amateur astronomer. I was looking forward to working with some new equipment to photograph the expected sunspot activity for this new cycle and just happen to have captured the only activity thus far. Out of curiosity this morning I decided to see what being discussed about the lack of activity and run upon this site and the opening discussion.

    I’m glad that the world is still full of people and intellect who are in tune with their environment regardless of what you believe. Given our political reality, this is refreshing. Important science has basically been ignored over the last 8 years and that in itself is a tragedy. With all the technological improvements we’ve seen in the last 50 years, our discussions in the 21st century are dominated by dinosaur fat. 73’s wd5ewx

  145. The Minimum solar Cycle 24 has arrived ,and the Sun seems Quiet down,and the Sunspots are fading away,but we often still see the Aurora Borealis sometime in a while,but it sparks by the Corona Holes that blows by the Gusty Solar winds,but they will not show on the Quiet sundisk,I think that why the reason why is the sun has the conveyor Belt is slowing it down,which is means that we are into Solar Minimum Cycle 24,and also the weather climate we may get much colder winter months,and In my Understandings are the Glacial Ice age caused by the Mauna solar minimum…not like in 2001 we had great big solar activity Lots of sunspots and the Summer month were so hot and muggy,and winter months were too warm not much Ice we had few years after the following years after 2001,2002,2003,2004,2005.until2006,the winter months gotten colder, but last winter we had good colder winter months due to the solar Minimum Cycle 24 has arriving,but this year’s winter will be bitterly colder down to -40 to -60 in the northern hemisphere…..,so if anyone want to chat here is my msn addy is nwood_3.0l@hotmail.com

  146. another thing is the Gas Emission may be the havoc,but it is true too many people burning fosil coal oil,but the Global warming do not come from the Gas Emission,it something as to do the Solar Minimum Solar Cycle 24 is play the role,in the north the Ice Cap is seems refreezing again,but not before long do not last again ,when there is another solar Maximum is coming not until maybe in 2013..or later few decades

  147. Solar activity does not necessarily contradict the existence of human-caused global warming. I suspect we are entering a solar minimum but, because of the momentum of global warming, we won’t begin to experience the first really bad winters for another two decades or so.

    I had planned to buy a solar telescope but have put off that purchase until (or if) the first substantial sunspots appear. Paying $500 to $1,500 for an Ha scope is not worth it if I only see prominences but no sunspots.

  148. I attended a NASA conference today, which announced that the solar winds (solar output) are at an all time record low level. While NASA would not allow themselves to be pinned down to saying that the long solar cycle 23 will lead to global cooling (NASA predicted a record sized cycle 24) they hinted that this would be the case. Our sun is a variable sun, and in the past longer cycles have led to cooling (but we are not sure about his one, we are learning every day)…..
    Solar cycle 23 is now 12.4 years long and is likely to be 13 years or longer. There were no sunspots (well maybe one) in August, the first time this has been the case since 1913. Solar cycle 24 is barely starting, Solar winds are at the record low. All indicators the sun radiation is greatly reduced. Solar cycle 23 will be a very long one, cycle 24 when it gets started is likely to be very weak.

    The solar cycle which predated the Dalton Minimum, a period of great cooling between 1796 and 1830 was 13.6 years long so we dont have too much further to go to reach that point.

    I went to Capitol Hill last week and met with 4 Congressmen and/or their staff. All they could talk about was puting in a Carbon cap-and-trade system next year ‘which will raise hundreds of billions of dollars every year”. We cant afford this, especially when based on false information, that CO2 causes the warming we experienced up to 1998.

    I started a climate change website, wwwisthereglobalcooling.com I guess as part of my frustration

  149. Hey guys — did you notice the new sunspot earlier this week?


    This image provided by NASA’s Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) shows a new sunspot, upper right, which after many weeks of a blank sun with no sunspots and very few sunspots this entire year, emerged Sept. 23, 2008. This new spot has both the magnetic orientation and the high-latitude position of a sunspot belonging to the new solar cycle, Cycle 24. (AP Photo/NASA/ESA)

  150. I’m not real up on these things, but I have a question. Katrina hit Aug 29, 2005, less than a month before the magnetic drop off of the sun, according to the graph.

    Is there a relationship? Like the moon affects the tides?


    Reply – No. – Dee Norris

  151. Where is this subspot now? why NASA keeps euforic about that little sunspot which they anounced as the beginning of this stormy cycle 24? Cycle 24 will be very little. Why no-one admits that no-one don’t know nothing about our sun and nature…

  152. New details emerge about Neolithic age in Alps.

    Scientists say some of the prehistoric finds made in the Swiss Alps over the past few years are 1,000 years older than Austria’s sensational “Ötzi the Iceman”.

    Archaeologists said in Bern on Thursday that the oldest of the organic materials uncovered on the Schnidejoch pass date back to 4,500 BC.
    Key to climate change
    What fascinates scientists about the age of the finds is that they correspond to times when climate specialists have already calculated the Earth was going through an especially warm period, caused by fluctuations in the orbital pattern of the Earth in relation to the Sun.
    At these times, historians now speculate, the high mountain regions became accessible to humans.

    Archaeologists needed time to investigate the area

    For Martin Grosjean, a climatologist at Berne University, the Schnidejoch has become a mine of information on changes in the Earth’s climate.



  153. Interesting comments. So, we now have a good excuse to keep on burning coal, using petroleum, cutting forests? Folks, all of these resources are finite in the long run and whether it is hot or cold, we are still going to have to come up with some other fuel sources. If we get a reprieve from global warning because of a “lttle ice age” we are just going to have to work that much harder to come up with survival strategies. Crowing about how Scientists will be fired, shot, etc. sure doesn’t help solve the potential of mass starvation due to crop failure if we are indeed entering a minimum. The data is so contradictory that frankly, no one can predict what will happen. We indeed live in the sun’s climate zone (I like that concept-makes us humble), but I know that the rest of humanity simply cannot live at the standard consumption rate of most of the people on this blog. So before you fire up that SUV or take that jet trip, just know that you are probably the last generation that can do so without limitation. Enjoy! (Kinda sucks for your kids/grandkids though).

  154. Unfortunately, we seem to be on the verge of an ominous development. Those sunspots that were recorded from 10/12 to 10/18 were anemic in relation to a normal episode of sunspot activity. Since then the sun’s surface has been a tranquil sea.

    The limited trend history that we must rely on cannot reveal a reasonable probability of anything. But consensus suggests that if activity does not begin to accelrate in the coming weeks and months, cycle 24 is not likely to fall in the norm.

    Any experts willing to speculate here? I know this is guess work. But I am wondering what parameters of time and activity would allow one to form a scheme of possible scenarios.

  155. Thank you, Leif. Those articles were very informative.

    A few hours after I posted, Sunspot 1007 appeared. Something is better than nothing.

  156. Some talk about Human contributions of CO2.
    Yet all the cattle in the world contribute how much CO2 ????

  157. Engineer said:
    But when Canadian winter wheat fails, the rice crop in India fails, and sundry other crops express their displeasure at gloomy, damp weather, surplus land will not help.

    Please don’t be so insular in your outlook. China, to mention one big consumer, has very little extra crop land. Ditto Europe with out major land reform.
    end quote

    While this is true, it’s a transitory effect (unless ice sheets…). Farmers are familiar with adapting to temperature and weather changes. It does often take a failure or two for them to get with the program, but the techniques are well known. (I grew up in farm country…)

    Examples? Buckwheat is often grown as a ‘catch crop’ when the main crop fails due to cold or rain issues. There are lots of ‘catch crops’. When the failures persist for a couple of years, the ‘catch crop’ becomes the first and dominant crop. Barley grows in colder climates than does wheat, so you shift to Barley (less bread, more beer!!!). Cotton takes forever to grow and high heat, so we swap some cotton land for other crops that need less heat and grow faster. (Lentils can be very fast! I had some mature in about 40 days…)

    There will always be the marginal edge where barley was grown and now what do you do? But most of the crop areas just start growing what was grown about 100 miles more north last season. Even if it’s an “1800 and froze to death” you can cope. Fava beans and Peas in summer instead of Pintos. Kale and Cabbages instead of Tomatoes and Squash. Potatoes instead of Wheat (done in Europe during the Dalton Minimum, except in France where they decided to have a revolution rather than give up bread…)

    Kale, for example, can grow with light snow. And why do you think they are called “Snow Peas”? Maybe not full snow, but resistant to cold compared to other legumes.

    Yeah, it would be hell to pay, but not the end of humanity. Biggest losers would be the cows, chickens, and pigs since we would eat them and then eat what would have been used for their feed. I don’t look forward to the idea of a potatoes, cabbage, and peas diet, but frankly my ancestors did fine on it. It takes 10 pounds of grain to get one pound of beef. Instead of a 1 lb / day of beef even if we had a 10:1 reduction of grain production you would get 1 lb of grain. Ever try to eat a pound of barley? Cooked it’s about 4 lbs and very filling…

    The biggest issue would be seed availability on a sudden demand basis. That’s why I have a few glass jars of cold weather seeds in my freezer. (Seeds, in a glass jar and frozen, will keep for many years to decades. I’ve grown out 16 year old lentils and decade old corn.)

    The places that will have issues will be those like China where they are already using all the tricks of short cycle plants and pushing weather limits with crop selections, and don’t eat much meat. The only real hope for them is that some hot dry areas might become cool / wet enough to grow crops.

    Does anyone have any information on solar minima and reversals of deserts? We hear a lot about the cold in Europe but was there a hot spot that became nicer? Did N. Africa grow more wheat during the prior minima?

    Given that we still are very low sunspots, my prior slightly paranoid seed saving program is starting to look more like a prudent garden program…

  158. “And now you have a cooling …. [But] NASA scientist James Hansen [is] trying to say ‘well, warming will resume soon”… the head of the U.N. [IPCC] Rajendra Pachauri came out recently and said we have to investigate this apparent temperature plateau,” Morano notes.

    So dramatic cooling is a plateau? Sheesh.

    BTW, no sunspots again today. Maybe in December…

  159. Liz said: What bothers me most about those who do not believe in global warming is that there is this attitude that it is okay to continue to destroy the earth, it’s okay to pollute it, run amok with its resources.
    end quote.

    Um, no. Many of us are more from the Lundborg style. I am a past member of or supporter of Friends of the Earth, Sierra Club, and Greenpeace. My support ended when they became rabid political hacks rather than reasonable stewards. I am of Amish extraction (2 generations back) and still hold to the love of land and sanctity of the Earth. I just think that destroying our economy and technology base to support the power grab of a deceitful minority who are busy using deliberate lies is a bad thing.

    So no, Liz, I do not support any attempt to run amok with resources, especially the attempt by Gore et. al. to steal the wealth of the world for their own political agenda.

    From the TMI bucket: I recycle and shop at Whole Foods with reusable bags. I drive a 1980 car (reduce, reuse, …) on biodiesel. I prefer to eat organic. I grow many of my own vegetables. I preserve heirloom seeds against the genetic damage that GMOs represent. My dream lifestyle would be a small (10 acre?) farm in a benign climate area that was completely self sufficient. I want to retire to an Earthship. I support rapid expansion of solar, wind, and alternative energy strategies (i.e. biomass and coal to liquids) but don’t think we ought to kill the coal and oil companies BEFORE we have the alternatives built. I am not a Republican (reg. Independent). I’ve used several recreational drugs in the past (California child of the ’60s-’70s… fond memories…) and my idea of a good time is minimal impact camping in the redwoods with a camera.

    Hardly an earth destroying monster. (Though I do use a computer – but it’s a Mac!)

    The fact is that the AGW theory is a religious mythology and is going to do great damage to the poor and disadvantaged of the world. THAT is why I’m against it. No stereotypes need apply…

  160. From Chris Nerland (19:32:44) :
    … So, we now have a good excuse to keep on burning coal, using petroleum, cutting forests? Folks, all of these resources are finite in the long run and whether it is hot or cold, we are still going to have to come up with some other fuel sources…. I know that the rest of humanity simply cannot live at the standard consumption rate of most of the people on this blog. So before you fire up that SUV or take that jet trip, just know that you are probably the last generation that can do so without limitation.
    End quote.

    Um, no. Forests are sustainable and there is no energy shortage. There never has been and there never will be. There is a shortage of dirt cheap motor fuel, that’s all. Energy can be used to fix most other ‘shortages’ so having unlimited energy means everyone can have a decent lifestyle. In Japan, they have demonstrated a polymer extraction of Uranium at economical prices from sea water. The quantity needed to run the whole planet is less than erodes into the ocean each year. We run out of energy when we run out of planet. Don’t like nukes? The U.S. can be powered by a roughly 100 x 100 mile chunk of solar, or wind, etc. as well. They just are not economical when oil is at $40/bbl. All invented already. All shown to work. Demonstrated profitable at about $80/bbl oil.

    There need not be any water shortage either. Google “Earthship” for my favorite example. Also look at the number of desalinization plants being built world wide and in California (a new energy recovery device was invented that makes it cheaper to desalinize than put a dam in the mountains here…) We run out of fresh water when we run out of ocean.

    With water and power I can grow much more food than I need in a green house (again, see an Earthship for examples of water / waste recycle).

    Please put the coolaid down and realize the the best thing we can do for our planet is to put out a helping, technological, hand to everyone and raise them to our standard of living. That leads to fewer births and less environmental stress. Poverty results in environmental destruction via desperation (see Africa, many examples.)

    The best way to have that helping hand is to preserve and advance our society and economy and THAT is what the AGW religion is trying to destroy.

    I can only hope that the again zero sunspots means we get cold THIS cycle and don’t have to wait another dozen years to block the AGW agenda.

  161. I don’t know… turning China into a billion person heavy footprint, versus the bicycle riding rural/agricultural giant they once were definitely adds to the degradation of the planet. If this global modernization can be done while also encouraging greatly recycling, organic growing of food… the impact would be significantly reduced.

    As for the sunspots, looks like it could be a much smaller cycle than normal. Time will tell. Already, much of the US has had much below normal temperatures for much of 2008.

  162. What is “normal”? As for growing my own food (A very good idea), like to know how I can do that in a rented apartment.

    Well said E.M.Smith. Unfortunately, reason has left the debate.

  163. WHM (05:01:06) :
    I don’t know… turning China into a billion person heavy footprint, versus the bicycle riding rural/agricultural giant they once were definitely adds to the degradation of the planet.

    “History doesn’t repeat, but it rhymes” China will not follow a US model, it will be a China model. Probably more like Europe. Lots of high rise buildings with good electric public transport (trains). This degrades the planet less, not more. (A billion people with a good sewage system living in a dense urban area is better than that same billion emptying chamber pots over the countryside …)

    As a side note: People are one of the worst ways to turn sunlight into motion available. Take the soybeans that person has to eat to pedal the bike and extract the oil. Put it in a small (1/4 hp?) diesel on that bike. You now use LESS land to drive the bike and get to work 4 times as fast… Use wind, solar, or even nuclear electric to charge an electric bike and you use even LESS land and resources… Economics is full of such non-intuitive effects. What *looks* green is often not the best solution.

    As agricultural intensity increases, less land is needed and more can be set aside for parks. That’s not a projecting, it’s the history of what HAS happened every time it’s been done. Using a nuke for lighting and heat means you are not chopping down every scrap of wood for cooking (as is done in Africa, Madagascar, and parts of Asia including parts of China). The degree of destruction of habitat in that “agricultural giant they once were” is so astounding as to make one want to cry. The nostalgic rural dream is not really very pretty under the surface.

    If this global modernization can be done while also encouraging greatly recycling, organic growing of food… the impact would be significantly reduced.

    Organic, or not, is orthogonal to the benefit. While I like organic, the fact is that putting synthetic nitrate on a crop is no different than using horse pee. Hydroponic / aeroponic / grow rooms have less impact on the planet than an open land organic farm planted on what was a rain forest last month…

    Recycle is a natural function of the relative costs of new production vs recycle and it always increases as costs to mine or harvest increase. It’s essentially implied in high growth for China. But realize that nothing mined goes away. All the copper we’ve ever mined and used is still on the planet. At some point we may want to go mine the old landfills, but we don’t need to now. It just doesn’t matter yet.

    Basically, it doesn’t matter if I use “night soil” to fertilize or sewage plant sludge, as long as both are free of diseases and heavy metals / synthetic toxics. (“night soil” is common in China. They empty the chamber pot on the place where they plant next months lunch… but it’s “organic”. It also is far more of a health risk than treated pig poo from a pig grow room.)

    Pat (03:10:01) :
    As for growing my own food (A very good idea), like to know how I can do that in a rented apartment.

    Not everyone needs to do growing in the home. If you want to you can, but in a limited way and with some money / resources bought. Mostly I was talking about us as a society. A commercial greenhouse for your food.

    At present, there are several resorts where many of the vegetables are grown with hydroponics in greenhouses (in some cases due to weather, in others due to being a desert island and needing to maximize use of water and soil). An easily seen version of this is at Disney World in Florida. You can take a back room tour of the hydroponics dome. The vegetables (and fish from the aquaculture exhibit) are served at the Disney resorts…

    If you want a small scale at home, you can buy an herb garden from Bed Bath & Beyond that is, I think, aeroponic in nature. I’ve grown other things, including tomatoes and, um, er, herbals ;-) under lights indoors or on an apartment patio. Dirt really helps for home gardening, though.

    The major point is not you as an individual being self sufficient, it is that for many folks the lettuce they have as a salad and the pork roast or chicken cordon bleu with it was likely grown in a greenhouse or grow room, not on open dirt. Hydroponic salad greens are far more common than most folks realize. Ditto tomatoes. We are already moving away from dirt as a limiting resource. The same thing can be done with wheat, corn, even palm trees (yes, Disney has hydroponic palm trees. Stunning.)

    We, as a technological society, are not limited by the available acreage of the planet and, most importantly, we do not need to chop down rain forests to eat. In 3rd world countries in poverty (with organic farming…) they do.

    Well said E.M.Smith. Unfortunately, reason has left the debate.

    Thanks. I like to hope that reason can be cultured as well ;-)

  164. A great eye opening page guys. Will oil run out? Sure it will (eventually). Is dependence on foreign oil a real national security threat? Absolutely. Does that mean we should immediately istitute a crippling tax on fossil fuels in an futile attempt to magically develop ‘alternative’, ‘renewable’ (what’s renewable about solar or wind anyway? How do we ‘renew’ it exactly?) energy sources that are simply not ready and won’t be for decades? The short sightedness of these GW alarmists is itself alarming. But the real problem is that the hysteria has become so all pervasive that REAL problems like say a prolonged sunspot minimum with a possible attendant little ice age, or the nauseating state of our lakes, rivers, streams and oceans or maybe a massive honey bee die off goes unnoticed amid the ‘do something, anything now’ screaming about GW. Sadly when both candidates for president are GW nutters, it seems there is no hope…maybe I’ll start building my bunker. Thanks for the excellent info guys…hopefully somebody in power will read it.

  165. ok where is the middle of this road?

    to say we effect climate none is just as stupid as saying we are the only thing affecting it. think about it its simple we may not be the only cause but to say we are too small to do that is just as dumb. i guess all those fish we have taken from the sea are just dying off by them selves? no we ate them. see there is a giant system we screwed up. just remember one simple thing every thing everyone does effects something. remove a negative or positive integer from any balanced equation and its no longer balanced no matter how small it is. you can call me a nutter all you want just remember in the short time we have been growing we have killed off just as many animals as an ice age.

    and look at the lakes and streams like mark said we did that.
    according to some we did the bees in too (or just made it worse like we do very often.)

    let me get my fire suit and extiguisher ready for the following flames that are sure to come.

  166. I think we are due for another Mass Extinction, not of animals either. Rather, population reduction of us. I suspect that this occurs at certain intervals on earth. Cycles, like 2012 and pole reversals, only with solar storms that will radiate earth with particles that will kill most of the planet. At least, it is my gut feeling, and is Never wrong.

  167. Pingback: Life in 3D » We all knew this was coming

  168. I have just arrived at this discussion ‘table’. I am a converted biologist/palaeontologist and now disbelieving the ‘Warmists’ as do some of my associates. I have been very impressed with many of the serious and erudite contributions and I am so glad that there are some ‘brains’ out there! The sun’s activity issue is convincing me that the ‘Warmists’ are wrong. Like me, in the past, they seem not to have considered that the sun’s influence on the planet’s climate is a most important factor- has this been a mental block or am I [and them] just being ‘thick’? I have always been very wary of the importance placed on ‘man’s’ contribution towards global warming [now climate change!] on the grounds that experiment after experiment have shown that the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is the main limiting factor in the process of photosynthesis on which the planet’s [our] food sources depend. Increase in carbon dioxide = increase in photosynthesis [carbon fixation] = increase in plant growth = increase in food production/growth in green plants = less starvation [if food production is handled correctly!]. Simplistic-yes! However,to be brief: Why are we being bombarded with Government perpetrated Warmist disinformation? Perhaps it is something to do with energy source conservation? There are limitations on the longevity of fossil fuels and their increased usage, so perhaps the vehicle being used to conserve fossil fuel sources is raising the false spectre of the dangers of global warming-the bandwagon progresses and can be stopped only when the real truth emerges. Keep up the good work!

  169. With a very deep solar minimum/terribly low sunspot activity, and measurements showing a dimming in solar irradiance. I also note that Nasa was surprised at the size of the reduction in the transition between the ionosphere and space which was far lower than expected (the transition is controlled in part by the amount of extreme ultraviolet energy emitted by the Sun):


  170. One of the things that amazes me is the number of periods of completely spotless days over 20 consecutive days in the transition from Cycle 23 to Cycle 24. Over the last 18months there are 8 periods of greater than 20 spotless days. That’s 8 out of approximately 75 periods for the last 160 years in the last 18 months.
    See website below.

    DON G.

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