The Solar to Global Warming Connection – A short essay

My good friend Jim Goodridge, former state climatologist for California, came to visit yesterday to offer some help on my upcoming trip, as well as to talk shop a bit about the state of affairs on climate change.

He had previously authored a paper that I had hoped to present on his behalf at ICCC, but unfortunately it got excluded from the schedule by an omission. Yesterday he decided to rework that paper to bring out it’s strongest point.

One of the best and simplest ways of seeing the solar connection is to look at accumulated departure. Here is Jim’s essay on the subject:

Solar – Global Warming Connection

Jim Goodridge

State Climatologist (Retired)

jdgoodridge – (at) – sbcglobal dot net

March 22, 2008

Solar irradiance has been monitored from satellites for three sunspot cycles. The sunspot numbers and solar irradiance were shown to be highly correlated. Since sunspot numbers have been increasing since 1935 the irradiance must also be increasing.

The sun was once considered to be constant in its output, hence the term “Solar Constant”. Recent observations suggest that the sun is a variable star. Observations of solar irradiance have been made with great precision from orbiting satellites since about 1978. These observations are from Wikipeda:

They clearly indicate that the solar irradiance varies with the historic sunspot numbers:


Click for a larger graph


Click for a larger graph:

Using this relationship, 307 years of solar irradiance is easily inferred.

Sunspot numbers since 1700 were plotted as accumulated departure from average in order to compare them with weather variables. The sunspot number index indicates a declining trend for the 1700 to 1935 period and an increase from 1935 to 2008. The eleven-year cycle is clearly visible.


An increase in sunspot activity, and by inference, irradiance since 1935 is plainly indicated.

Moderators note: And I want to also call attention to these graphs, which shows the change in solar irradiance since 1611 and Geomagnetic activity over the last 150 years:

Graph courtesy of Steve Milloy, click for larger image in new window


Clearly, solar geomagnetic activity has been on the rise. There will be more interesting posts on sunpots coming in the next week or two, stay tuned -Anthony

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Jeff Alberts
March 22, 2008 8:36 am

The graph showing sunspot numbers doesn’t seem to show any correlation to Earth’s surface temp. Example, numbers were very low in the 1930s when we know it was very warm, and high up until the last year or so when it was warmer. The numbers are also relatively high during the period of the LIA…

March 22, 2008 8:37 am

Already there are scientists who say we are entering a cooling phase.
The late Theodor Landscheidt predicted a LIA by 2030, meaning cooling should be starting by now. Dr Landscheidt had been correct with many of his predictions. Much of the climate is driven by solar activity, which often occurs in cycles. Cycles allow things to be predicted.

March 22, 2008 8:38 am

Just looking at the 3 cycles shown above, all the plotted indices track very closely until the most recent period. For this one, the trends are there, but the coupling is looser, especially for the Solar Flare Index, which is significantly lower. Based on more cycles, is this a significant variation?

March 22, 2008 9:08 am

AGWscoffer: I am less interested in what some “weather prophet” might have said in the past than I am in seeing the the current reality is accurately measured and presented to interested parties.
We seem to have a basic disconnect at the moment over the simple basic question if it is currently warming or cooling. Some will point to surface records and claim that 2006 was the hottest year since the founding of hell. Others will point to the satellite record and say that it has been cooling since 1998.
The problem is that no matter what anyone’s personal agenda, you can find data to validate the position. The data are all over the place.

March 22, 2008 9:13 am

Never mind the obvious weather noise, just look at those 100 year warming trends. Recognize the argument?

March 22, 2008 9:14 am

Svalgaard refers to that as “dogma”.

March 22, 2008 9:25 am

Actually according to the sunspot data the earths temperature should have been in a plateau since 1950 rather than 1998. Something must have caused a cooling dip in that period and masked the warming. I’ve got it: sulphate aerosols. Thank God for the clean air act, we could have been in a new ice age. Speculation is such fun! All I need is to wrap it up in trendy Bayesian statistics to disguise the guesswork and stick a catastrophe on the end. Now let me see….. aha the Chinese emissions. If these cheeky 3rd world nations keep insisting on trying to becoming affluent like us, their aerosol emissions are going to plunge us into a new ice age. Get me Revkin on the phone.

March 22, 2008 9:36 am

Sunspot records in the past likely under counted because there a many small and/or shortlived spots that may have been missed by observers in the past.

March 22, 2008 11:26 am

If one is expecting a correlation between temperature and the cumulative solar radiation, than one should also found the solar cycle signal in the derivative of the temperature. I looked for it, and there is a (low amplitude) frequency in the signal of the derivative of the temperature that is equal to the frequency of the solar cycle.

March 22, 2008 12:08 pm

Fascinating times, Anthony!
While it is too early to state exactly what is happening, IT IS TOO EARLY TO STATE EXACTLY WHAT IS HAPPENING!!! ( Just a subtle, redundant message to James Hansen and the usual suspects in the IPCC bureau.)
This would be a good time for scientists to start being scientists again, and for politicians to step back and let the science work itself out. We need more and better data. We need better hypotheses and models–ones that are preferably falsifiable, this time.

john F.
March 22, 2008 12:21 pm

I cannot understand that Sunspot “accumulated departure from average” graph, it shows lower values of the entire timeseries during the ’30, while sun activity increased in that period (and global temperature too), furthermore that values are lower than during the LIA, so what’s the utility of compute that?

Bill Illis
March 22, 2008 1:08 pm

I like the accumulated departure chart but it seems to me there has to be a time limit to it. It should only be the last 20 years or some other limited period rather than the entire period. The period chosen should also be based on a real physical explanation rather than chosen at random – the ocean stores the sun’s accumulated energy over a period of 20 years only etc. I don’t know what that period would be.

March 22, 2008 1:16 pm

The second and third graphs show no real trend in irradiance since 1950, whereas temperatures have increased (according to e.g. GISS). This seems surprising if irradiance is the cause of the warming.
If accumulated sun-spot numbers is relevant, what is the explanation for an accumulative effect on the climate rather than an instantaneous one? In other words why is figure 3 more relevant than figure 2?

March 22, 2008 1:20 pm

sorry, should have been second and fourth

March 22, 2008 1:31 pm

John F. I think the “accumulated departure from average” records the difference in the observed number of sunspots since 1700 and the expected number of sunspots since 1700 (assuming 49.9 per year). The graph going up just means that there has been a period where there are more sunspots than average, but it DOES NOT mean that the number of sunspots (and therefore the TSI) has been increasing over that period.

March 22, 2008 1:39 pm

Clearly, solar geomagnetic activity has been on the rise. There will be more interesting posts on sunpots coming in the next week or two, stay tuned -Anthony

It is certain that there is a correlation between climate and the sun, whether it is through radiation at light/heat wavelengths, ionising radiation, or even magnetic fields. Shouldn’t we be asking: What is the driving force? How do we quantify it? Can we use it to predict future climate?
Could it be that magnetism is the key? Take a look at the following link, maybe there is a mechanism relating Earth’s magnetic field to climate?
Of course it could be that Earth’s magnetic field is being affected by climate change 😉

Kristen Byrnes
March 22, 2008 2:45 pm

The 4th graph “Solar Irradiance 1611 – 2001” is by Judith Lean and she has since retracted that graph.
REPLY: I have not seen a retraction, can you point me to t?

March 22, 2008 4:37 pm

The rationale to plot the accumulated departure from average of the solar spots is the following:
– the number of solar spots is (postulated to be) proportional to solar irradiance
solar irradiance=k1*n_spots
– heat content of the planet surface is (postulated to be) proportional to temperature
– a simple model of the Earth system could be that the variation of the heat content of Earth is proportional to the solar irradiance
d(Heat)/dt=k3*solar irradiance
this gives:
dT/dt=k*solar spots
By integration one gets:
T=k*(acumulated solar spots)
or by other words, the heat content of Earth expressed by its temperature is proportional to the acumulated solar irradiance expressed by the acumulated number of solar spots.
Of course, this model is an aproximation. An obvious problem is that negative feedback effects should avoid a constant increase of temperature in reponse to solar irradiance.
REPLY: Thanks, I was waiting for Jim Goodridge to respond, but this worrks just as well.

Steven Karlstedt
March 22, 2008 4:52 pm

As a backyard biologist, I have been watching few dozen of this years acorns growing up from this season’s “mast event”. Any thoughts of linking the wisdom of the trees to the lack of sunspots?
REPLY: yes I made a post on it last fall
see this:
Of course, people thought I was “nuts” for saying anythign about it. 😉

March 22, 2008 5:15 pm

Kristen Byrnes: The IPCC used the Lean graph in their Figure 2.17.
The lower end of the gray range is the graph shown above.

Mike M.
March 22, 2008 5:20 pm

If I understand Joe D’Aleo correctly it’s not just the change in sunspots but how the oceans deal with the heat. The strawman argument used by the Alarmists is that there is no immediate effect on temps correlating with changes in sunspot activity. Correct me if I’m wrong but don’t the oceans take up to decades to redistribute the heat from the changes in albedo? And aren’t the stronger ocean cycles like the PDO and AMO the most likely arbiters of the planet’s temps
Somebody help a civilian out here! 🙂

Bill in Vigo
March 22, 2008 5:38 pm

I am not a scientist but I notice that at the spring equinox the temperature is much cooler than it was at the fall equinox. That said it would seem that the temperature lags the amount of solar radiance striking the earth at any particular time. Seasonal change may not be revelant but is an example of how the solar activity might effect the climate but that the climate might lag the solar activity by some time. Possibly by years. As the oceans warm or cool and how they store the heat or release it due to currents and phases. I wonder how long it takes the ocean to cool enough to effect land temperatures after the solar activity reduces. Also how long it takes for the oceans to warm enough to effect land temperatures after the activity increases.
I think this is an area that needs more study. I am not sure that we are being told the whole story about what is known about the effects of the sun.
I hope this makes sense as I am partially venting.
Anthony you may snip as desired

March 22, 2008 6:12 pm

I guess there is a coronal hole causing some flux in the geomagnetic field, off and on. Nothing big being predicted for the next month.
27-day Space Weather Outlook Table
# Issued 2008 Mar 18
# UTC Radio Flux Planetary Largest
# Date 10.7 cm A Index Kp Index
2008 Mar 19 70 5 2
2008 Mar 20 70 5 2
2008 Mar 21 70 5 2
2008 Mar 22 70 5 2
2008 Mar 23 70 5 2
2008 Mar 24 70 5 2
2008 Mar 25 70 10 3
2008 Mar 26 70 20 5
2008 Mar 27 70 25 5
2008 Mar 28 70 20 5
2008 Mar 29 70 8 3
2008 Mar 30 70 5 2
2008 Mar 31 70 5 2
2008 Apr 01 70 5 2
2008 Apr 02 70 5 2
2008 Apr 03 70 5 2
2008 Apr 04 70 15 4
2008 Apr 05 70 25 5
2008 Apr 06 70 15 4
2008 Apr 07 70 10 3
2008 Apr 08 70 15 4
2008 Apr 09 70 15 4
2008 Apr 10 70 12 3
2008 Apr 11 70 10 3
2008 Apr 12 70 5 2
2008 Apr 13 70 5 2
2008 Apr 14 70 5 2

David S
March 22, 2008 6:19 pm

Al Gore’s Powerpoint presentation shows a strong correlation between temperature and CO2. But the problem is that the cause and effect relationship is backward; the temperature change preceeds the CO2 change. So CO2 can’t be causing the warming.
The problem with the sunspot data is that it doesn’t seem to correlate with the temperature data. In these graphs temperature is not even shown for comparison. When I plot sunspot numbers and temperature for the last 100 years there just doesn’t seem to be a relationship. Maybe I’m doing something wrong, but I just don’t see the connection. So for the time being I remain a skeptic on both theories.

March 22, 2008 6:40 pm

“Duffy: “Can you tell us about NASA’s Aqua satellite, because I understand some of the data we’re now getting is quite important in our understanding of how climate works?”
Marohasy: “That’s right. The satellite was only launched in 2002 and it enabled the collection of data, not just on temperature but also on cloud formation and water vapour. What all the climate models suggest is that, when you’ve got warming from additional carbon dioxide, this will result in increased water vapour, so you’re going to get a positive feedback. That’s what the models have been indicating. What this great data from the NASA Aqua satellite … (is) actually showing is just the opposite, that with a little bit of warming, weather processes are compensating, so they’re actually limiting the greenhouse effect and you’re getting a negative rather than a positive feedback.”
Duffy: “The climate is actually, in one way anyway, more robust than was assumed in the climate models?”
Marohasy: “That’s right … These findings actually aren’t being disputed by the meteorological community. They’re having trouble digesting the findings, they’re acknowledging the findings, they’re acknowledging that the data from NASA’s Aqua satellite is not how the models predict, and I think they’re about to recognise that the models really do need to be overhauled and that when they are overhauled they will probably show greatly reduced future warming projected as a consequence of carbon dioxide.”
Duffy: “From what you’re saying, it sounds like the implications of this could beconsiderable …”
Marohasy: “That’s right, very much so. The policy implications are enormous. The meteorological community at the moment is really just coming to terms with the output from this NASA Aqua satellite and (climate scientist) Roy Spencer’s interpretation of them. His work is published, his work is accepted, but I think people are still in shock at this point.” ”,25197,23411799-7583,00.html

Kristen Byrnes
March 22, 2008 7:21 pm

Try here, her new stuff is on page 13 and 14:
But let me warn you, this only concerns Irradiance, and I’m not sure if they are only talking about the visible and IR part of the spectrum. Foukal 2006 only dealt with luminosity and he was clear that his work did not include other factors that are listed in his abstract. There is also the cloud and cosmic ray stuff.
You guys also might consider that there are many things involved; exagerated temperature record, not just artificial warming of the present (such as bad temperature stations that you and I are well aware of, bad adjustments, and UHI) but also artificial cooling of the past. There are of course the oceans and the failure of climatologists to treat cold upwelling ocean water during La Nina (and other ocean situations like PDO) as a negative forcing as well as the opposite for El Nino.
So when you look for what has caused the warming, you might look for many things with small values rather than one thing with a large value. A tenth here and there as well as a few 100ths here and there can add up to the .77 degrees of warming in the past 150 years real fast.

March 22, 2008 7:58 pm

Ref Graph #4:
For those with an interest in the visual arts, pls look at the graph for the period 1600-1700. All Dutch School [Rembrant, Vermeer, etc.] paintings one way or the other tell you “warm” was not the norm.
For those interested in the history of war: look up 1812 in the graph. Some 800,000 of Napoleon’s soldiers would tell you from their graves that the plains West of Moscow were not the place to be that year. If in doubt, pull out the appropriate Beethoven..
Solar minima anyone?

March 22, 2008 8:36 pm

“The policy implications are enormous. The meteorological community at the moment is really just coming to terms”
The leaves blow cross the long black road
To the darkened skies in its rage,
But the white bird just sits in her cage, unknown.
White bird must fly or she will die.
White bird dreams of the aspen tree
With their dying leaves turning gold,
But the white bird just sits in her cage growing old.
White bird must fly or she will die,
White bird must fly or she will die.
The sunsets come, the sunsets go,
The clouds float by, and the earth turns slow . . .

Kristen Byrnes
March 22, 2008 8:59 pm

Re: tetris,
That’s the Dalton Minimum, a few years later it combined with Mt Tambora to create the year without a summer.

Roger Carr
March 22, 2008 9:42 pm

May I sneak this little ray of sunshine, aka hope, in here, Anthony?

With catastrophe off the agenda, for most people the fog of millennial gloom will lift, at least until attention turns to the prospect of the next ice age. Among the better educated, the sceptical cast of mind that is the basis of empiricism will once again be back in fashion. The delusion that by recycling and catching public transport we can help save the planet will quickly come to be seen for the childish nonsense it was all along.

Climate facts to warm to
Christopher Pearson | March 22, 2008
The Australian,25197,23411799-7583,00.html

March 23, 2008 2:17 am

JM2, thanks for the explanation, the thing that still seems missing is the heat loss from the Earth which I would expect to also be proportional to its temperature. So the DE shoudl be more like
dT/dt=k1*solar spots – k2*T
That is partially modelled by accumulated difference in sunspots from the average, assuming that the losses are constant and that the average sunspot level is representative of some equilibrium condition.
As it happens figure 3 doesn’t seem that well correllated with e.g. GISS surface temperature (it suggests cooling between 1870 and 1940 and warming from 1940 to 2007) wheras the temperature time series has warming from 1900-2007 with a plateau from 1940 to about 1970. Perhaps a less simplistic model would give a better explanation of the observed data?

Alan Chappell
March 23, 2008 4:27 am

Flux Report from Louisxiv
Flux Density Values in sfu for 2300 on 2008.03.22
Julian Day No. 2454548
Carrington Rotation No. 2068,115
Observed Flux Density 0069.4
Flux Density Adjusted for 1 AU. 0068.9
URSI Serries D Flux Adjustment X 0.9 0062.0

Tom in Florida
March 23, 2008 5:02 am

When looking for a correlation between solar irradiance and temperature, I do not see any references to obital precession, axis tilt etc. Or is the time frame used too small for these other criteria to make a difference?

March 23, 2008 6:04 am

To keep the record straight, I don’t believe in climate prophets who base their predictions on “visions” or junk theories. Landscheidt made some predictions that turned out to be correct. What’s so surprising about that?
1. We know the sun is a major driver of the climate.
2. We know that the sun is not constant.
3. We know much solar activity occurs in cycles, e.g. Hale, Gleissberg, etc.
4. Thus this allows us to predict climate (warming/cooling) here on earth.
I’m not into conspiracies…
but I believe The AGW Proponents, the masterminds of this hoax, knew about these solar cycles a long time ago, and used them to launch their swindle. I think back in the early 80s, AGW proponents had foreseen, based on solar science, the warming peiod we are now in. But rather than telling the public about solar cycles, they decided to blame it all on human activity. They made it the ideal instrument to drive their socialist agenda. Margret Thatcher, in her attempt to break the power of the coal miners, simply played into their hands.
Maybe this warming period is ending sooner than they had hoped, and time has run out for these swindlers. Cooling may have started, and their hoax is about to end.
Who knows? By now they are probably rewriting the script to: “Global Cooling – the unanticipated result of human activity.”
If we see lots of AGW proponents jumping ship, it may mean cooling is on the way.

March 23, 2008 7:33 am

Tom in Florida:
I believe we are at a peak.

Eric S.
March 23, 2008 7:47 am

Isn’t ‘average’ a rolling target? How do the data plot on a graph of total numbers? And, as someone uplist from here, how do today’s counting techniques compare to those used in centuries past?

martin j
March 23, 2008 7:52 am

AGWScoffer| There is a truth in your claim that Margaret T gave support AGW bandwagon as a way of justifying opposition to the UK’s coal industry and a way of supporting the nuclear industry. It backfired horribly.

March 23, 2008 9:46 am

Or is the time frame used too small for these other criteria to make a difference?
The time frame is kind of small for Milankovitch Cycles. (We are at the peak of the warm phase, however.)

Alan Chappell
March 23, 2008 1:02 pm

AGWscofer Wrote;
“I don’t believe in climate prophets who base their predictions or ‘visions’ or junk theories./I’m not into conspiracies”
With reserve I think broadly speaking you have a opinion that many may agree with.
I would like to add my 2 cents worth, the original thought is something that is very, very elusive, theories are slowly built they don’t just happen, most are discarded for one reason or another, but many times ten ‘junk’ theories might be the bases of an acceptable one, reading a good cross section of what is posted on the Internet there are a lot of junk theories on different subjects that have in there murky background, substance.
There are several that could explain for example, why in the Hells Creek area of North Dakota fossils of crocodiles, have been found under glacier tracks. (and today not a climate for crocodiles) Northern Siberia was once semi tropical, Mammoths, horses, and buffalo’s roamed Alaska, New Zealand, before the late coming Maori’s ate most of them, had a race of peaceful fair skinned mainly redheaded people, (from where?) how has human DNA traveled the world in ancient civilizations ( thousands of years) why is there so many stories of floods in primitive cultures, all created by Hollywood ? We have to study, and when facts are not available some times proof starts with a junk theory, because then people trying to disprove the junk theory, find the real answer, if there was a history of the world, what we know about it today would not complete the first word. The biggest problem in all the sciences, is to speak out, it just does not happen, the main steam, is not into ideas that do not conform, even if there is no answer to the problem it is better to remain quite about that theory that you read on the internet than to be ridiculed behind your back.

Alan D. McIntire
March 23, 2008 1:38 pm

Sunspot activity is related only to closed magnetic fields. Total geomagnetic activity may be a better indicator of climate effects than sunspot number alone:
which brings up a second speculation. I know that earth’s
magnetic field has been weakening lately, and that we’re due for a magnetic pole switch in the next few millennia. Would
changes in earth’s magnetic field have any effect on cloud production from cosmic rays?- A. McIntire
REPLY: Total geomagnetic activity may be a better indicator of climate effects than sunspot number alone.” Yes thats EXACTLY what I’ve been getting at.

Terry S
March 23, 2008 3:26 pm

I’ve just seen a documentary called “Saved by the Sun”. In it they theorize 3 ways the Sun might affect climate. They are as follows:
1. UV light: An increase in this causes an increase in ozone which, because its a GHG causes an increase in temperature.
2. Solar Wind: Increases in the solar wind causes more disruption to the normal east-west airflow causing warm air to flow towards the poles and vice versa. The net result being less heat is radiated into space resulting in global temp increase.
3. Magnetic field: Cosmic rays seed clouds so increases in magnetic field of the Sun decreases the amount of cosmic rays hitting the earth and therefore decreases the cloud cover and hence increases the temperature.
Now you might think that the program was proposing that recent warming wasn’t entirely due to CO2, but you would be wrong.
Throughout the program any reference to the Sun’s activity affecting climate was restricted entirely to the “historical climate” and not “recent climate”.
No reference whatever was made as to whether the Sun’s recent activity was high, low or average.
No reference was made as to whether predictions of the Sun’s future activity would be low, high or average
One of the last voice over quotes was:

Man made GHGs are warming our planet, but could large changes in the Sun’s magnetic activity also be an important factor in the future? If there is a crash then global warming may be slower than expected, potentially saving parts of the globe from flood and famine. Despite this possibility many believe that carbon emissions would still need to be cut.

This was immediately followed by a scientist (cant remember his name) stating the following:

We need to still continue with that because when the sun finishes going through its 100 year period of low activity we are going to be right back where we started with a vengence
So it seems that if we are in for a period of low activity then we still have to cripple our economies to cut down on those pesky carbon emissions.

Terry S
March 23, 2008 3:29 pm

Oops, forgot to close the blockquote after “…started with a vengence”. That last sentence is mine not the scientist’s

Mike D
March 23, 2008 6:06 pm

If the sun does go through a 100 year period of low activity it would probably take at least that long or longer to get back to where we are now climate wise

Roger Carr
March 23, 2008 6:11 pm

Bad URL to Climate facts to warm to.
Sorry; try this:,25197,23411799-7583,00.html

Rob R
March 23, 2008 8:33 pm

Alan Chappell
You said “Mammoths, horses, and buffalo’s roamed Alaska, New Zealand, before the late coming Maori’s ate most of them”.
This is is little wide of the mark. There have never been any Mammoth’s in New Zealand. Horses only arrived with European colonisation in the last 200 years. NZ has no native land based mammals larger than several species of small Bats. This was the case before and after the arrival of the Maori, except for the rats and dogs? they bought with them.
Down here we do have seals, one of the primary motivations for initial European colonisation.
The Maori exterminated a number of species of very large flightless birds (Moa some of which were larger than the Ostrich).
Rob R

Drew Latta
March 23, 2008 8:46 pm

<blockquote cite =”G.J.M. Versteegh. Solar Forcing of Climate 2: Evidence From the Past. Space Science Reviews (2005) 120:243-286″>
“Few but well dated studies indicate an early, almost instantaneous, climatic deterioration in response to periods with rapidly decreasing solar activity.”
I found this in the referenced review paper laying out some of the results of studies that look at past climate and possible solar variability links.
The author also mentions a website that looks like a good source of info, although it was recently put down via a denial of service attack, looking through some of their broken webpages, I see promise. They look to be doing an amateur science collaboration for CO2 fertilization of plant growth. The website is
I’m doing the reading preparing a paper for a class. If I find anything else interesting I’ll try to post.

Alan Chappell
March 24, 2008 2:26 am

Reply to Robert R,.
Perhaps your reading problem is that New Zealand is upside down, please turn and check,it’s just 9 or 10 posts above, I wrote;
Mammoths, horses and buffalo’s roamed Alaska, ( comma) New Zealand, ( comer ) before the late coming Maori ate most of them, ( comma ) had a race of peaceful fair skinned mainly redhead people, ( comma )
Oxford Dictionary, “quote” comma (noun) the punctuation mark indicating a slight pause or break between parts of a sentence, or separating words or figures in a list.

March 24, 2008 3:46 am

The latest news about climate change is so alarming (the right wing would say alarmist) as to make many people want to plant their aching heads in the sand. Some scientists using advanced computer models now argue that if we want to stop the Earth from warming, the amount of carbon we should be emitting is … none. None? As in, zero? As in, shutting down the global industrial economy? After all, global energy demand is expected to accelerate until at least 2020. Yet attempts even to slow the rate of increase of carbon emissions have paralyzed world politics for more than a decade.

March 24, 2008 5:41 am

Damn, makes the people who erroneosly spam “no increasing solar trend 1950s,” as if that were very relevant, look like sodding mongaloid parrots.

David S
March 24, 2008 7:53 am

We all know that a correlation does not prove a cause and effect. However, I think a correlation is one of the things you need to prove a cause and effect. If you have a graph of solar activity and a graph of the earth’s temperature anomoly and the two bear no resemblence to each other then you are going to have a hard time proving that solar activity drives the earth’s temperature changes.
How about overlaying the temperature anomoly on the graph of the solar activity, or sunspot number, or magnetism or whatever variable is perceived to be the temperature driver.

March 24, 2008 9:15 am

I don’t think there’s a direct correlation between temperature and solar activity. Instead, the solar activity seems to drive ENSO and PDO, which drive temperature in turn. It wouldn’t hurt to look at some of Landscheidt’s work. AFIK, it’s only available on the web here (in no particular order):
There may be more but I’ll stop there.
REPLY: I agree, the oceans are the biggest heatsink we have.

Jeff Alberts
March 24, 2008 10:03 am

The Maori exterminated a number of species of very large flightless birds (Moa some of which were larger than the Ostrich).

And here I thought native peoples were so “at one” with nature…

March 24, 2008 10:18 am

Except maybe when my ancestors used to set forest fires in order to stampede entire herds off cliffs.
In a way they were “at one with nature”. I suppose. They recognized it for the deadly enemy it was.

March 24, 2008 10:20 am

It was a “Tragedy of the Commons” sort of relationship. (I.e., if you don’t own it, you trash it.)

March 24, 2008 11:29 am

In the middle of cycle 23, it appears there was some sort of destructive interference, perhaps a phase shift / distortion. Interesting how that was about 18 – 24 months prior to the unusual magnetic “shift” event in 2005. There was a lesser version of it in the midst of Cycle 22, and little to none in the midst of Cycle 21. Almost like a beat frequency.

rob r
March 24, 2008 1:52 pm

Alan Chappell,
I find your prose somewhat difficult to decipher. So sorry if I misinterpretted what you were trying to say.
Nevertheless I still wonder where you get your information. Who were this race of fair-skinned people that the Maori consumed? This is news to me and I suspect news to everyone else who lives in NZ. There was a long and rich history of warfare and canabilism among the various Maori Iwi (Tribes) over hundreds of years, but as far as I am aware there was never a fair-skinned redhead race in NZ, apart from a subset of the late comming Europeans, one or two of whom could have been eaten.
By the way this upside down thingy is a Northern Hemisphere originated convention. In actual fact we read and write the same way up as everyone else. Further, there is no particular reason to consider North to be at the top and South at the bottom.
Rob R

March 24, 2008 7:42 pm

David S, the problem with correlating such variables is that there isn’t one single “thing” driving temperatures. Solar is in there. GHG’s are in there. ENSO, Volcanoes, land-use, and on and on. No one correlation is impressive.

March 25, 2008 12:27 am

Now an embarassing question, which will surely expose me as the amateur that I am.
Could someone tell please me how one knows these are Cycle 23 spots?

Alan Chappell
March 25, 2008 7:00 am

Rob R.
A very good book written in 2003 by a Prof. of History at ( NZ ) Massey University ,”The Quest for Origins” by Prof. Michael King may give you some enlightenment. A visit to the Auckland Museum and on the second floor in the ancient New Zealand section you may also find some enlightenment,
I would say that the Bluff Oysters ( for those that don’t know 4-5 to a Kg. ) and mussels have to be the best in the world .

March 25, 2008 7:29 am

Could someone tell please me how one knows these are Cycle 23 spots?
They are North-South polarity (as opposed to South-North) and are equatorial, not polar.
(Also from a crass amateur, reading off the “Solar Postcard”. )

March 25, 2008 3:32 pm

I’ve been away Evan. Have you done anything with your post cards?

March 25, 2008 8:02 pm

Yes. I’m setting it all up in Word Outline.
The four uber-categories so far are:
Basic Scientific Factors
Climate History
Measurements, Adjustments, Equipment
The History of the Debate
Each category has a number of subcategories, and so on.
Cycles (Carbon, Water, etc.)
With drilldown in each category (and a link library).

March 25, 2008 8:11 pm

Evan Jones (20:36:25) : The leaves blow cross the long black road…
I believe this is the first time I’ve heard the band It’s a Beautiful Day quoted on a climate science site. I suppose it makes sense though.
Be that as it may, I think I need some guidance. I’m wondering how we’re supposed to interpret that “Accumulated Departure from Average” graph. Isn’t it supposed to imply some kind of long-term inertia for solar irradiance? If so, how are we supposed to interpret the “global cooling” meme? Or are we just supposed not to notice the two arguments are inconsistent with each other? Alternatively, are we just supposed to assume that anything goes, and it doesn’t matter if one argument makes sense with another or not?

ulrich Lobsiger
March 26, 2008 3:14 am

to Kristen,
I have checked out your web site “ponder the Maunder” – amazing! Are your school and your peers on side?
Keep up the great work,

March 26, 2008 6:49 pm

Andrew writes:
“David S, the problem with correlating such variables is that there isn’t one single “thing” driving temperatures. Solar is in there. GHG’s are in there. ENSO, Volcanoes, land-use, and on and on. No one correlation is impressive.”
Then we have cycles that are variable as well.
Solar cycles,ENSO cycles,GHG cyclic changes,Albedo cycles,Yes even land-use changes are cyclic.
Cycles that overlap makes it harder to sort out.To know how much does what in driving the changes in climate trends.

Pamela Gray
March 27, 2008 7:02 am

I believe this to be a simple basic science problem that can be fairly well examined and reasonably explained. Using the kiss principle is our first choice. Given that temperature data maybe suspect, it is what we have at the moment. Multi-variable analysis then determines correlation factors to temperature change, using single variable data as well as combined variable data. This all important first step, at the very least, exposes which variables time well with temperature change and on down the list of variables. Even if the timing is the exact opposite (when one is on the other is off kind of relationship that can occur with cause and effect cycles) a correlation analysis will uncover this. Following that tried and true step, cause and effect comes into play. Some will be easy. Certainly earth’s temperature cannot be causing sun spots to come and go. And if temperature change has occurred on nearby planetary bodies (Mars, Tritan, etc) that is in step with our own temperature change, once again, we cannot say that CO2 levels here on earth cause planet X, with no atmosphere whatsoever, to also experience a similar heat wave.
If in the end, sunspots, or a combination of sun factors, or a combination of any of the variables, pops up as the leading correlation, it is standard science to place that correlation on the leading edge of the theory, at least until some other analysis demonstrates that something else is happening.
Science used to fly by the dials when in a fog. It has taken its eyes off the instruments and is trying to see out the window.

Andrew W
March 28, 2008 5:59 am

Alan Chappell
Not wishing to distract from the topic but:
‘The Quest For Origins’ (2003) was written by Kerry Howe, Michael King wrote ‘The Penguin History of New Zealand’ (2003).
Both authors are/were (King was killed in a car accident in 2004) reputable historians and are dismissive of the claims you make.

Gary Gulrud
March 28, 2008 6:21 am

An information theorist, possibly Shannon, once opined that if a chimp were set down at a typewriter and randomly hit keys he would eventually tap out the Complete Works of Shakespeare in roughly 2^26 keystrokes.
The time required, irrelevant to the theorist’s purpose, would be vastly greater than the current age of the universe.
Everyone of us has a work of genius within, but our life may well run to its end without.

Pamela Gray
March 28, 2008 9:56 am

hmmmm. Might it also be that the sunspots counted during that “flat to slightly decreasing span” had greater magnitude “flares” thus increasing total sun output anyway? Maybe the number of sunspots has a correlation to the magnitude of flares but a better measure would be the number of sunspots with greater magnitude flares coming from them.

March 28, 2008 10:08 am

A couple of questions.
Just out of curiosity, do you still believe that “One of the best and simplest ways of seeing the solar connection is to look at accumulated departure”?
I would take that to mean that you think there’s some meaningful connection between climate change and solar variability … and that Goodridge’s plot of “accumulated departure” shows this causal relationship.
The problem is that the 20th century rise in Goodridge’s plot seems to lag the early 20th C rise in temperature by a couple of decades. So if one insisted on claiming causation, rather than just correlation, you seem to be suggesting that global warming causes sunspots.
REPLY: John, I haven’t looked at it beyond what was originally posted and reading a couple of comments critical of it. So I have not formed any new opinions of the use of the technique. It may turn out to be flawed, it may be useful.
As to “…you think there’s some meaningful connection between climate change and solar variability…” I general terms, yes I do. See part2 of the essay Basil and I are posting in the next day or so.

Gary Gulrud
March 28, 2008 3:18 pm

Anthony and J:
IMHO, sunspots are not a strong proxy for solar activity. The most optimistic R^2 value I seem to recall is 0.74 which in physics is not good (in biology it would be phenomenal).
For that matter our highly idealized measures of TSI are little better.
Note that warming took off in the late 20’s ahead of large SSN maxima reaching levels not yet approached, in 1936 for NH, 1941 for SH.
The UV and charged particle fluences preceded sunspots in spiking in my non-expert estimation, just as UV and radio crashed beginning in 2005 while sunspots were still peaking.
Go to the swpc ftp directory and compare May thru Sept. 1996 with 2007.
As weak as causation might appear for solar it blows CO2 away.
For the picky, PDO and AMO went positive in synchrony late 1920’s and would gain primacy for the ’30’s warming, statistically for what they’re worth.
At this point graphs of ‘solar activity’ are useful for pattern recognition and little more.

Pamela Gray
March 28, 2008 4:08 pm

hmmmm. What if PDO and AMO share some connectivity to solar action? The gravity of the moon certainly affects tides. The rotation of the earth certainly has oceanic affects. The tilt of the earth has seasonal effects on the oceans. Why wouldn’t the (gravitational pull of the?) sun have some kind of effect on that deep ocean current? What if, like asteroid and planet orbits, all these things cycle into proximity to one another every once in a long while? What if the loooonnnngggg term CO2 levels (they have a short natural cycle and possibly a longer natural cycle tied to PDO/AMO, and maybe even a VERY long cycle between major time spans) simply reveal this once in a blue moon synchrony of lunar, oceanic and solar cycles?
We know that CO2 levels have been much higher. What happened to the much greater CO2 levels in the far distant past? Did the solar minimums coincide with these other cycles back then to cool the planet and rid it of CO2? Will it happen again?
Patterns are used by every scientist I have ever met in looking for cause and effect, including the global warmers. Often times, these patterns lead to even more patterns. What if a better pattern has been found between temperature and something other than CO2? Wouldn’t science dictate serious consideration of this new information?
I think this issue is ripe for the 3 year old asking, “Why?” over and over again till the thing is fully explained.

March 28, 2008 5:51 pm

An information theorist, possibly Shannon, once opined that if a chimp were set down at a typewriter and randomly hit keys he would eventually tap out the Complete Works of Shakespeare in roughly 2^26 keystrokes.
As some wit recently put it:
The internet: I billion typewriters, 1 billion monkeys, still no Shakespeare.

Gary Gulrud
March 30, 2008 4:08 am

PG: I found your conjecture that CO2 partial pressure should begin to drop, flatten or curtail its rate of growth during the decades of cooling ahead.
This dovetails with your hint that it is a very poor proxy, as Spencer noted, natural fluence is 24000 times the anthropogenic contribution. The earth’s termites produce upto 20 times man’s input.
10Be is a far better proxy for solar activity as it immediately forms comparatively inert oxides with Mg, Al, Si, etc. and precipitates out of the atmosphere.
AGW even gets ocean chemistry wrong. CO2 is the buffering system! Woods Hole has shown that CO2 approached 3000ppm during the fecund Cenozoic and corals survived moving seamlessly from amorphous to crystalline carbonates.
Science is an iterative process which AGW hoped to freeze in place.

April 24, 2008 6:50 pm

[…] Motl, Ph.D. Theoretical Physicist, Harvard) Surface Warming And The Solar Cycle (Science Daily) The Solar to Global Warming Connection (Jim Goodridge, Retired State Climatologist) The Sun Also Warms (Sallie Baliunas, Ph.D. […]

John A. Jauregui
May 2, 2008 1:04 am

To put the whole Climate Change issue into perspective vis-a-vis the Peak Oil Crisis, everyone needs to ask themselves, their associates, all sitting elected officials and those seeking office, especially the office of President of the United States, “What is more threatening in both the long and short terms, a beneficial 1 degree F rise in average world temperatures over the past 100 years, or a 1 percent decline in world oil production over the last 100 weeks – with steepening declines forecast? Furthermore, can our economy better deal with declining fuel inventories in an environment of persistent warming, or in an environment of declining average temperatures over the next several decades, the most likely scenario given the highly reliable solar inertial motion (SIM) model forecasts of climate change?” Solar cycle # 24 will tell the tale. The problem is not AGW. The real problem is the end of cyclical warming coincident with the onset of Peak Oil.

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