Scientists not sure why Sun 'continues to be dead'

The sun today. There appears to be an emerging Cycle 23 spot

at the left, but still no new Cycle 24 spots. Click for large image

That’s never a good sign. Below is an excerpt from an article in Science Daily that ponders the question:

Excerpt: The sun has been laying low for the past couple of years, producing no sunspots and giving a break to satellites. That’s good news for people who scramble when space weather interferes with their technology, but it became a point of discussion for the scientists who attended an international solar conference at Montana State University. Approximately 100 scientists from Europe, Asia, Latin America, Africa and North America gathered June 1-6 to talk about “Solar Variability, Earth’s Climate and the Space Environment.”

The scientists said periods of inactivity are normal for the sun, but this period has gone on longer than usual. “It continues to be dead,” said Saku Tsuneta with the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, program manager for the Hinode solar mission. […] The last cycle reached its peak in 2001 and is believed to be just ending now, Longcope said. The next cycle is just beginning and is expected to reach its peak sometime around 2012. Today’s sun, however, is as inactive as it was two years ago, and scientists aren’t sure why. “It’s a dead face,” Tsuneta said of the sun’s appearance.

Tsuneta said solar physicists aren’t like weather forecasters; They can’t predict the future. They do have the ability to observe, however, and they have observed a longer-than-normal period of solar inactivity. In the past, they observed that the sun once went 50 years without producing sunspots. That period, from approximately 1650 to 1700, occurred during the middle of a little ice age on Earth that lasted from as early as the mid-15th century to as late as the mid-19th century.

I’m never encouraged when a solar scientist describes the face of the sun as “dead”.


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June 10, 2008 8:31 am

There’s a new Tiny Tim spot today. Looks from its latitude that it might be an “old cycle” spot but I didn’t check the polarity.

June 10, 2008 8:53 am

Indeed, that was a rather startling way to phrase it.

June 10, 2008 8:54 am

“The sun today, no spots”
Actually, there are a couple of sunspots in the active region that has just appeared on the eastern limb… They are however, “old” cycle.
REPLY: You are correct. The first photo I looked at was spotless, and now there are, so I amended the caption

June 10, 2008 8:55 am

I just glanced at it, crosspatch, and assumed (yeah, I know what that means) that it was old cycle, too, because of its position.

June 10, 2008 9:02 am

It appears to be losing strength tho as time goes on, not sure it will survive too long.

June 10, 2008 9:04 am

I’m sure the AGW crowd will model it and proclaim the science to be ‘settled’ in short order.

June 10, 2008 9:08 am

Using the words dead and sun in the same sentence, with one referring to the other, along with “Scientists not sure why” doesn’t sound like a happy thing, Anthony. Yet it should be a good thing. Less solar irradiance means less oceanic and atmospheric heating, which should allow temperatures to drop. Temperatures are dropping? How’s that for coincidence? It’ll be interesting to see if oceanic lag keeps the global temperature on a decreasing trend when the new solar cycle finally kicks in and TSI starts to rise again.

Mike Ward
June 10, 2008 9:09 am

Rush Limbaugh leads show with Aspen skiing story and the “dead” sun surface story. Hummmm, wonder Watt site he’s reading from?

June 10, 2008 9:28 am

I believe the current theory is roughly a two year lag in solar activity to ocean heat response. This fits very nicely with Dr Svensmark’s Cloud Theory in that he proposes the changes to the suns magnetic field take about 2 years to reach the edge of the solar atmosphere and start to change the number of GCR’s that control cloud formation. Lower activity permits more GCR, creates more CCN, creates more clouds, creates oceanic cooling, etc. Since solar activity seems to have dropped off a cliff (in a very nice step function) in late 2005, that seems to make his theory more promising.

June 10, 2008 9:32 am

We know so little about the sun and how it works, who’s to say that it isn’t just feeling bloated and will soon belch out the largest CME this side of the milky way on Dec 21, 2012 decimating the earth . . . Maybe I should win a Nobel prize for ‘spreading disinformation and panicking the public on non-issues’; wouldn’t be the first one.

Jeff Alberts
June 10, 2008 9:54 am

Tsuneta said solar physicists aren’t like weather forecasters; They can’t predict the future.

ROTFL! Weather forecasters can’t predict the future either. It’s a best guess, and is often (mostly) wrong, especially the farther out you go.

Bill Illis
June 10, 2008 10:12 am

Total Solar Irradiance has declined to levels well below those reached at the bottom of the last two solar cycles.
TSI is currently 0.3 w/m2 lower than the bottom of the last two cycles compared to the total change of 1.0 w/m2 over the entire cycle so the Sun is definitely cooling off. 0.3 w/m2 isn’t alot but is enough to influence earth’s temperature somewhat.
Up-to-date smoothed TSI data from PMOD at the link – Note: the SORCE solar irradiance instrument doesn’t show this additional decline at the current time.

Gary Plyler
June 10, 2008 10:22 am

Don’t worry about panicking anyone with your big CME from the sun alarm. There is little if any way for politicians to rationalize controlling the collective behavior of us little people to change solar cycle progression. Unless, of course, they can come up with a consensus.

Jim B
June 10, 2008 10:25 am

Is anyone else having problems getting on Nasa’a site? I just keep getting a timed out error?

June 10, 2008 10:37 am

“Scientists not sure why Sun ‘continues to be dead”
Those scientists who subscribe to the religious tenets espoused by the IPCC would probably say that the cause is anthropomorphic. A computer model – including an appropriately placed hockey stick curve – to “prove” this is being developed as we speak. The solution to the problem of too few sunspots has been proposed by a Mr Albert Gore from Tennessee and involves the reduction of the West to abject pre-industrial poverty.

Pierre Gosselin
June 10, 2008 11:08 am

“That period, from approximately 1650 to 1700, occurred during the middle of a little ice age on Earth that lasted from as early as the mid-15th century to as late as the mid-19th century”
I think here they are suggesting that the inactive sun during this period was not the cause of the LIA.

June 10, 2008 11:22 am

Given the recent turn of weather, we could use a bit of this mini ice age ha.

Richard Patton
June 10, 2008 11:36 am

Sorry, costumesupercenter, I personally am tired of getting March weather in June.

June 10, 2008 11:39 am

Weather tis nobler and not.
Some like it cold.
Some like it hot.

June 10, 2008 11:45 am

Is anyone else having problems getting on Nasa’a site? I just keep getting a timed out error?
It’s dead, Jim.
(sorry, I just couldn’t resist :D)
I’m not having any issues, myself.
REPLY: Which URL? – Anthony

June 10, 2008 11:46 am

The difference between cycle 23 and 24 spots is detectable in their magnetic polarity, as sunspot polarity reverses every cycle. There have been a few, but very few, cycle 24 spots to date, leading experts to decide that we actually are in the initial part of cycle 24. At this point NOAA forecasts are for either a relatively rapid increase in sunspots to a peak in late 2011, or a slower increase to a significantly lower peak in mid-2012. It will be interesting to see how it goes.
As for the Little Ice Age, coincidence with low sunspot numbers is not proof. Weren’t there some earthly events such as volcano activity that could account for the LIA?

Frederick Davies
June 10, 2008 11:51 am

“Tsuneta said solar physicists aren’t like weather forecasters; They can’t predict the future.”
The climatologists can’t either, but that has not stopped them!

June 10, 2008 11:58 am

“Weren’t there some earthly events such as volcano activity that could account for the LIA?”
There is some speculation that volcanic activity during the LIA was fairly high. However, the LIA began around 1320-1350 and lasted until 1850. The beginning of the LIA preceeded the Maunder and Sporer Minimums, and there just wasn’t enough volcanic activity to cause such a long term cooling.
There is a 400 year Gliessberg Cycle (200 years per 1/2 cycle). The last negative Gleissberg Cycle ended around 1820. The Maunder and Dalton Minimums occured during the last negative Gleissberg Cycle.
It appears that solar variation definitely enchanced the strength if not the length of time of the LIA, but it probably wasn’t the cause.

Leon Brozyna
June 10, 2008 12:00 pm

Been watching with rapt fascination as this latest SC23 spot emerged from the sun’s far side, just as the previous SC23 spot faded away. The way this cycle keeps on hanging on {it just keeps on going and going and going…}, it may portend a cooling climate and lend credence to the theory that the planets affect the sun’s activity which in turn affects the earth’s climate, a truly inconvenient truth. Personally, I’d prefer it if it would keep on warming. A shorter, milder Winter would be most welcome.

June 10, 2008 12:00 pm

Which URL? – Anthony
I poked around the main URL and tried a few clicks, all worked. Then grabbed this one from your resources page & no issues there, either.
Unless there’s a specific one Jim couldn’t access, it appears to be up & running.
REPLY: Works for me, probably a net routing issue for his location.

June 10, 2008 12:05 pm

Here’s a little something that you may find slightly interesting. Our organisation conducted an online survey regarding the climate change views of the Finnish citizens and the Finnish MPs. Not too surprisingly, there are some major differences between them. The people remain considerably sceptical but the elected officials are almost unanimous in their support for the warmist agenda. See the press release in English here. Unfortunately the full 45 page survey report is only available in Finnish.

June 10, 2008 12:07 pm

Just as coincidence of CO2 levels and temp does not constitute proof either. There is, however, ‘coincidence’ of cold temps and other solar minumums as well (Dalton), which tends to lend some strength to the casual hypothesis.

June 10, 2008 12:17 pm

Well, if the Sun is indeed dead, we can safely assume it died of natural causes.
I get up each morning and dust off my wits
Open the paper and read the obits
If I’m not there I know I’m not dead
So I eat a good breakfast and go back to bed.
Pete Seeger

Gary Gulrud
June 10, 2008 12:37 pm

The current obsessive interest on the part of academics in the Scwabe cycle is related to its comparative brevity; successful preditions can influence the bottom line before the pipeline runs dry.
On average, we see the current behavior every 180 years; that part is not baffling.
The problem is making a model sufficiently predictive and accurate in those forecasts that we can generate a revenue stream. Like Al’s? Well, they ‘re allowed to dream, aren’t they.

June 10, 2008 12:52 pm

Why is there such a large difference between the Total Solar Irradiance values from PMOD and those from SORCE?

Bruce Cobb
June 10, 2008 1:02 pm

Well, if the Sun is indeed dead, we can safely assume it died of natural causes.
No no it’s not dead, it’s, it’s restin’! Remarkable star, our G2V is, idn’it, ay? Beautiful corona!
Sorry, couldn’t resist.

June 10, 2008 1:07 pm

As this is a Cycle 23 spot it is clear sign that solar minimum is still very much undefined, and it means cycle 23 is now more than 12 years old. Observe that long cycles are correlated with low solar activity in the follwing cycle, so the probability of a very quiet cycle 24 is increasing.
It is interesting that the NOAA cycle 24 prediction panel has gone quiet as well, nothing new since April 2007…?
If the hypothesis of solar barycentric motion has any value, it actually predicts that we are entering into a period of disordered solar orbital motion, similar to what we had during the Maunder and Dalton minima…

June 10, 2008 1:25 pm

Solar flux at 65. Lowest I’ve ever seen.

June 10, 2008 1:33 pm

Bill: I was under the impression the lag was around 5 years, though I have nothing to back that up with in hand. I’ve also read a few studies where it’s up in the range of multiple decades for SST and could be measured in centuries to millennia for OHC. Doesn’t sound like a point about which anyone has a close grasp.
Bill Illis: A while back I spliced annual ACRIM and PMOD TSI data onto the end of Lean et al 2000. You have to go way back in order for there to be lower TSI values than the one PMOD is presently showing, which is one of the major problems with it.

Don B
June 10, 2008 2:16 pm

Re: Carsten Arnholm’s comment:
Charvatova wrote this in 1999, predicting quieter future cycles, and conditions similar to Maunder and Dalton minima for the 1985-2040 period.

Richard deSousa
June 10, 2008 2:17 pm

Is there a coorelation between the sunspots and the oceans’ warm and cold cycles? It seems oddly coincidental that the PDO and the AMO have turned negative just about the time the sunspot cycle became spotless. I’m thinking the oceans are huge solar cells and store more or less energy depending upon the sunspot cycles.

June 10, 2008 2:21 pm

If the solar diameter has not changed, a change in solar irradiation now must reflect something that happened about 100,000 years ago inside the sun as to the best of my knowledge, that is about how long it takes photons from the sun’s core to reach the surface.
What I am curious about but don’t have either the knowledge or the resources with the information handy is if magnetic observations at the surface and beyond reflect current activity inside the sun or also experience a “propagation delay” of the same sort that radiation does.
By this I mean to recall the drop that Anthony noted in 2005 in a graph of some solar magnetic activity and if it may or may not correlate to observed reduction in solar radiation in the link given in the comments above or if they are simply coincidence.
A change in solar diameter, though, could result (I think) in a change in brightness without a change in the total number of photons. You would simply see more or less photons per area of solar surface. Solar diameter would be a function of radiation pressure from the core pushing against gravity. Since we know that the sun is somewhat variable, I would expect the diameter to be somewhat variable as well.
So, did something happen 100,000 years ago inside the sun that we are just now seeing? Does magnetic “information” propagate quickly or does it also take a while to work its way out?

June 10, 2008 2:26 pm

About 15 years ago I found what appeared to be a relationship between the solar cycle and the opposition and conjunction cycle of Jupiter and Saturn. Using the 300 years of available spot data (see link below) it appeared to me that the two cycles ran in phase for about 100 years (7 to 9 cycles) after which two long solar cycles would place the two cycles back in phase. Based on the data it appeared that a long cycle was due and could be expected soon. If this association is real we could expect a maximum around 2014-15 followed by another long cycle with a peak near 2027-28.
data available at:

June 10, 2008 2:41 pm

TimPoser: Look up Drew Shindell’s 2001 NASA/GISS study of the Little Ice Age. Although the variable reduction in TSI of the Maunder Minimum may be contested Shindell shows a demonstrable link between a lack of sunspots and the Little Ice Age. The question is how much less air-heating UV (yes, ultraviolet) radiation hits the atmosphere from sunspot faculae. IAC, Sindell’s old study showed that a modest decrease in global temperatures would have caused intense regional effects in the relatively pristine atmosphere of the 17th Century, a -0.3 to -0.4 degrC drop in avg. global temperatures lead to decreased intermeridional and interzonal ocean air currents that warmed continental interiors during winter.
So either you can anticipate a modest trimming of an ongoing warm period or mitigation of future warming, depending on your beliefs. Do I anticipate a severe cooling trend? No. A moderate one? Yes, enough to offset half of the global warming of the past 150 years.
Bill Illis: I’ve read elsewhere the average TSI has fallen 0.33 w/m-2 (-0.1 degr. Celsius) since the early 1990’s. Even Lief’s colleagues anticipate another -0.2 degr. C.).
That brings us just below a -1.0 w/m-2 drop in TSI by 2020.

June 10, 2008 3:01 pm

I agree and that’s why you cannot find a correlation between TSI ect with temps. Increased irradiance absorbed by oceans but affected by circulation, wind etc over 10’s, 100 or 1000’s of years (absolute guess) then heat released anywhere.. poles equator whatever. To say that solar activity has no effect on climate is a bit ludicrous as some top notch scientist’s still hang on to

June 10, 2008 3:06 pm

I find this paragraph from the NOAA prediction article especially interesting:
“One disagreement among the current panel members centers on the importance of magnetic fields around the Sun’s poles as the previous cycle decays. End-cycle polar fields are the bedrock of the approach predicting a weak Cycle 24. The strong-cycle forecasters place more importance on other precursors extending over a several-cycle history. Another clue will be whether Cycle 24 sunspots appear by mid 2008. If not, the strong-cycle group might change their forecast.”
So, March 2008 was obviously way to early. But here it is mid-2008…and there have been 3 Cycle 24 spots, albeit all very small. With minima likely still months away, is the strong-cycle group still holding strong?

June 10, 2008 3:08 pm

“Why is there such a large difference between the Total Solar Irradiance values from PMOD and those from SORCE?”
Leif Svalgaard, in a thread at climateaudit said it was due to differences in instrumentation. The TSI values don’t match, but the change in value for both is quite precise. IOW, the change in TSI value is what counts, not the absolute.

June 10, 2008 3:09 pm

It is of no significance at this stage that cycle 23 sunspots continue. What is important is that cycle 24 sunspots have gone AWOL.
Each day that passes without more cycle 24 sunspots makes a Maunder or Dalton minimum more likely. And this is by no means the worst case scenario. It is entirely possible that absent sunspots over multiple solar cycles is what sends us into an ice age.

June 10, 2008 3:19 pm

Crosspatch: there is evidence that the sun rotated more slowly during the Maunder minimum: (Vaquero J.M., Sánchez-bajo F., Gallego M.C. (2002). “A Measure of the Solar Rotation During the Maunder Minimum”. Solar Physics 207 (2): 219. doi:10.1023/A:1016262813525).
The only reasonable explanation for this is that the sun expanded.

June 10, 2008 3:22 pm

[…] I know this will have limited interest out there, but when someone says that the sun “continues to be dead,” it tends to catch my eye!  Hat tip to Anthony Watts of the “Watts Up WIth That?” blog, who does a good job of reporting on stuff like this.  Here’s his post with the explanation of what in the world I am talking about: “Scientists not sure why Sun ‘continues to be dead’“. […]

June 10, 2008 3:24 pm

“As for the Little Ice Age, coincidence with low sunspot numbers is not proof. Weren’t there some earthly events such as volcano activity that could account for the LIA?”
Another interesting theory for the start of the Little Ice Age, which started in 1350, is that it was caused by the Black Death in Europe. Between 1347 and 1352, between 1/3 and 1/2 of the population was wiped out (over 25,000,000 souls). Less people working the land meant much of the farmland became reforested with a consequent reduction in atmospheric CO2 as the carbon was ‘locked’ into all this new timber.
As I said, interesting little theory…

June 10, 2008 3:41 pm

Mike K,
Interesting theory, but doesn’t CO2 follow temperature by ~400 years, not lead it?

June 10, 2008 3:54 pm

In his book; ‘The Great Famine’ Prof. William Chester Jordan says the the Little Ice Age started in 1315 with a terrible cold and wet summer that crashed W. Europe’s agriculture which stayed crashed as the next six summers were equally cold and wet. Halfway through, many of the draft animals died. That is why 1315 to 1322 is called the ‘Great Famine” by commentators of that time who were familiar with famine. The winters were also much colder than previously which made clear that clothes and houses were inadequate for the new climate. That Anthropogenic Global Cooling from the Black Death needs to go in the ‘Dust Bin of History’ next to AGW and honest Marxist Socialism.

June 10, 2008 3:56 pm

Mike K-
Interesting…but that’s a big reach.
First of all, CO2 wouldn’t suddenly be drastically reduced because millions died. It would take many years for the land to become “reforested”…and I highly doubt there is even solid proof of how that happened. Assuming it did happen, though, the affects of regrowth and subsequent CO2 loss, and then subsequent cooling (theoretically) would take decades at the very least. But the world, or at least Europe, had already been cooling by that time.
And all that is assuming that there was enough farmland going unworked to become reforested, enough to make a huge dent on CO2…considering we are just talking about Europe and the population was much lower back then anyway, I highly doubt the effects would be so great.
There is actually more evidence that the plague may have been linked to the cooling, rather than the other way around.

June 10, 2008 4:01 pm

I’m just waiting for Al Gore and James Hansen to blame the dead sun on global warming.

June 10, 2008 4:08 pm

“First of all, CO2 wouldn’t suddenly be drastically reduced because millions died. It would take many years for the land to become “reforested””
And it would only be a net CO2 sponge while the forest was becoming established. Once that is complete, the forest becomes CO2 neutral with about as much new biomass growing in a year as dies and decays, releasing the CO2 back into the air. A fully mature old growth forest is in balance and is not a net CO2 absorber.

June 10, 2008 4:16 pm

“Another interesting theory for the start of the Little Ice Age, which started in 1350, is that it was caused by the Black Death in Europe.”
From my recent reading it went something like this:
A colder, wetter climate resulted in wheat crop failures and increase in the consumption of rye. The weather also caused a greater incidence of ergot in the rye which both rodents and people ate. The ergot caused depression of the immune system and deaths of its own along with various mass hysterias which compounded the problem already facing them by famine but the link to ergot wouldn’t be discovered until centuries later. With the people’s immune systems hammered by the ergot and the rodents dying from it, the fleas were forced to find a new host.
The casualty rate for Black Death is in direct proportion to the conditions that cause ergot … cold/wet. Warmer, dryer areas didn’t get hit by the epidemic and people who didn’t eat rye had lower death rates.

June 10, 2008 4:38 pm

Bruce, this AGW is an ex AGW.

June 10, 2008 5:14 pm

Has anyone thought to blame man-made greenhouse gases?

June 10, 2008 5:25 pm

I’m waiting for Al Gore to start selling magnetic credits and telling us we must give up all electromagnetic equipment so that the sun will once again produce sunspots.

Bill Illis
June 10, 2008 6:14 pm

We shouldn’t be all triumphant over a cooling Sun. It could easily change tomorrow.
And “cooling” should be thought of as in up to 0.5C drop in the average temp on Earth as in not very much. Because that would be enough to affect crop and food production which needs to increase at 1.5% to 2.0% per year to keep up with population increases (which it has since the LIA ended except for the 1930s and the mid-1970s).
But what it will signify is that the Sun is not a never-changing-monolith and it does have longer than 11 or 22 year cycles and more variation over time. Solar changes could, thus, explain much of the temperature changes over the recent past and, hence, CO2 is not the main driver of the climate as the global climate model developers have forced down our throats.
But we don’t want any Dalton and Maunder Minimums. The TSI data shown above, however, hints that we might be heading that way if the Sun doesn’t wake up soon.

June 10, 2008 6:22 pm

I can explain why the sun might have no spots using the anthropic principle. Ya see, if the sun did not behave as the sun behaves then intelligent life might not be possible here and thus we would not be here to observe that the sun does not behave as the sun behaves. Thus the sun might have no spots because we are here to observe that the sun has no spots.
Or in summary, we is because we be.

Fernando Mafili ( in Brazil)
June 10, 2008 6:30 pm

TSI is a problem
Sun spot is another problem.
There is no reasonable explanation for variation of TSI
There is no reasonable explanation for variation in sunspot. (activity e number)
TSI = f (sunspot) ???????….( not yet)
climatology undoubtedly influence ….. no mechanism acceptable.

June 10, 2008 6:35 pm

correction: they isn’t cause we be.

June 10, 2008 7:35 pm

Are the glaciers growing again … yet? Or will they begin to return soon?
I don’t care if climate change is man-influenced or not, particularly, but I sure hope it doesn’t change for the worse.

June 10, 2008 7:41 pm

Bill Illis:
TSI has decreased since the early 1990’s by -0.33 w/m-2 (-0.1 degrC). The various metrics of solar magnetism & sunspot group movement are all down. Historically the sun hasn’t “dimmed” to this degree in the past 180 years. So when astrophysicists start predicting a long-term dimming cycle they have reason to do so. I’d be surprised that it could perk right back up when the sunspot group motion indicates a very low cycle in 2020.
Astrophysicists are reasonably predicting another -0.1 degrC to -0.2 degrC effect by 2020 — if -0.2 degrC that’d come to nearly -1.0 w/m-2 since 1995. Who knows? The seas may already be showing an effect in missing heat, drawing the famous comment from Kevin Trenberth of NCAR.
See above comment re: the LIttle Ice Age study by Drew Shindell @ NASA/GISS in 2001. A causal link was established between the Maunder Minimum and the LIA. The cause is the change in air-warming ultraviolet radiation from the lack of sunspot faculae.
Please everyone, I don’t wanna sound like a broken record. The data & studies are there & are solid & they’ll help debunk a great many alarmist arguments.

June 10, 2008 7:42 pm

The glaciers have been growing in Antarctica.
The ice loss in the Arctic has been mostly due to soot, nearly 90% of it. see my blog

June 10, 2008 8:20 pm

“Are the glaciers growing again … yet?”
The left and right arms of the Mount St. Helens glacier have finally touched for the first time since it erupted.
This is from 30 May. You can see the large glacier on the right and the smaller arm on the left just starting to touch. You can see a lot more pictures by going to and hit the Mt. St. Helens Volcanic Advisory link and then follow the “Current Photos … ” link.

June 10, 2008 8:22 pm

oops, I must have messed up that link to the picture but you can find it by following the breadcrumbs I mentioned in the previous posting. It is in the “Crater Glacier” group of photos.

June 10, 2008 8:51 pm

It’s only the last couple years, but it seems that glaciers in parts of the Rockies and Cascades in the western U.S. are starting to make a comeback.

June 10, 2008 9:05 pm

Man can no more drastically change global climate than the Sun can change its spots.

June 10, 2008 10:04 pm

The statement of 90% of Arctic sea ice loss being due to accidental soot pollution from such low latitudes as India and China is absurd. Arctic sea ice change is due to solar cycles, ocean temperatures and currents, wind patterns (Arctic Oscillation), and changes in cloud cover. Soot pollution used to be outrageous decades ago in the U.S., Europe, and Russia, latitudes more able to affect Arctic conditions, but they have since subsided. Look at these pages:
I do not dispute the physics of the albedo affect, or the appearance of soot in the Arctic (although photographic evidence is weak), and I support your postition for the control of real pollution, but be careful what you state from assumptions and words of two scientists who (I am not criticizing them) work for alarmist SCRIPPS who say the same B.S. as James Hansen in their climate studies.

June 10, 2008 10:14 pm

Your assumption that 90% of the Arctic sea ice loss is due to accidental soot pollution from India and China is absurd. I support your position of controlling REAL pollution, but sea ice is controlled by solar cycles, ocean temperatures and currents, wind patterns, and changes in cloud cover. The fact that sea ice in the Arctic is declining but the sea ice in the Antarctic is increasing is due to soot and haze differences does not have solid scientific evidence to lean on. Sea ice anomalies in the Arctic were postive in the early 80s but negative in the Antarctic at the same time. The Northern Hemisphere always see more dramatic climate changes than the Southern Hemisphere because it has more land. Temperatures in the early 1900s were very cold and soot was very high in the Arcitc according to ScienceDaily. I do not deny the physics of the albedo effect.

June 11, 2008 12:06 am

Crosspatch: While ergotism was certainly a serious problem during the Middle ages, the information about the Black Death on your link is nonsensical. Norther Norway and Sweden not affected? A third (at least) of the population died! It is true that children were specially hard hit by the Black Death, but this mostly applied to the later outbreaks (e. g. in 1360 and 1370), when most adults had already lived through the “big one” and so were fairly resistant. That the population did not recover until the 1500’s is not surprising since plague came back periodically all through the 1300’s and 1400’s.

June 11, 2008 12:21 am

[Tsuneta said solar physicists aren’t like weather forecasters; They can’t predict the future. They do have the ability to observe, however….]
LOL….. Do I detect a mischievous sarcasm from Tsuneta?……
So, who said scientist don’t have a sense of humour?

June 11, 2008 3:59 am

Good info on Sun. More on allied subject will be interesting

Person of Choler
June 11, 2008 4:47 am

I hope we ARE entering a new ice age. Modern humans are far better equipped to deal with cold temperatures that the people in the last ice ages. Commerce and technology are more adaptable to an ice age than to the economy-wrecking diktats of the global warming nutocracy.

June 11, 2008 5:28 am

What is interesting about sea ice and high latitude glaciers is that Artic and Antartic inland ice has been thickening, while sea ice has not. Could this have more to do with SSTs than anything else? The interior of Greenland hasn’t seen any significant melt, nor the interior of the Antartic.
As far as deaths go during the LIA, The Great Famine of 1318-1321 was caused by an unusually strong belt of Westerlies coming off the North Atlantic. Imagine one cyclone hitting Normandy and Brittany every 24-30 hours for five straight months. The baroclinicity between Iceland and the Azores must have been intense to support such a synoptic pattern – something like the Pacific Firehose except positioned over the Atlantic. According to farmers diaries in France and the Benelux, by June most of the wheat and barley crop sat in flooded burrows. Those plants that did mature eventually became moldy. There was hardly enough crop to provide seeds for the next planting season. By the time the skies did clear in Spetember, much of Europe then suffered through an unusually early frost.

June 11, 2008 5:30 am

Crosspatch: While ergotism was certainly a serious problem during the Middle ages, the information about the Black Death on your link is nonsensical. Norther Norway and Sweden not affected? A third (at least) of the population died!

According to the reference below (norwegian research site in norwegian language), at least 60 percent of the Norwegian population died in the short period between 1348 – 1350

June 11, 2008 5:36 am

Could be due to “solar warming!” 😉

June 11, 2008 5:42 am

The idea that soot is now a major factor contributing to Arctic melt is neither and assumption, nor is it absurd. There are multiple studies out recently that point to particulate pollution as a major cause of ice melt via albedo changes.
Just a few ‘absurd assumptions’ listed below, there are more if you care to look.

Mike Kelley
June 11, 2008 5:57 am

My birdbath is frozen solid this morning. Kind of a late hard frost, even for Montana. There is more new snow in the mountains.

June 11, 2008 7:12 am

The cycle23 spot didn’t even get a number. Solar Terrestrial Report shows nothing for sunspot number for several weeks now. Looks like there’s “something” on today’s image at high latitude right in the middle, but it’s not dark like a sunspot. Weird looking. Just a bad image? Fly on the lens?

June 11, 2008 7:47 am

[…] Scientists not sure why Sun ‘continues to be dead’ Scientists not sure why Sun ‘continues to be dead’ […]

June 11, 2008 8:01 am

“Crosspatch: While ergotism was certainly a serious problem during the Middle ages, the information about the Black Death on your link is nonsensical. Norther Norway and Sweden not affected? A third (at least) of the population died!”
Closer to half the population in Norway. The point I was trying to bring out, though, was that ergotism may have caused even greater death and kept the populations down long after the plague had passed. And ergotism would have been possibly related to climate.
You are correct though, the lecturer’s belief that Scandinavia somehow escaped that wave of the plague is clearly incorrect.

Fernando Mafili (in Brazil)
June 11, 2008 8:19 am
Simulations were performed using a version of the
Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) GCM containing
a mixed layer ocean with fixed heat transports
and a detailed representation of the stratosphere…..(hmmmm…..dangerous)
………. We examine the generalized climate response to volcanic
eruptions and its dependence upon the size, time
of year, and frequency of the eruptions. We compare
this with the long-term response to solar forcing as evidenced
by the changes between the late Maunder Minimum,
a period of very low solar irradiance during the
latter part of the seventeenth century, and a century later…….(oh!!)
….. While paleoclimate reconstructions of surface temperatures
in past centuries are uncertain, there is broad
agreement among different methods and data sources,
at least at the level of the NH mean temperature variations…….( today is wrong…imagine)
…… On the regional scale, European
temperature estimates are most reliable, as historical
and a few long instrumental data series augment
the more widespread proxy data such as tree rings in
the proxy network reconstruction. The reconstructed European
regional temperature anomaly is thus a key test
of a model’s regional response to forcing…………
……………………….. Hansen, J. E., and Coauthors, 1996: A Pinatubo climate modeling……..( *&””+/- ????)
TSI = f (sun spot) ???????….( not yet)

Gary Gulrud
June 11, 2008 8:22 am

Flowers4Stalin & leebert:
Brett Andersen’s global-warming blog at Accuweather a month back quoted a paper implying a 2-3 degree Arctic temperature anomaly might be traced to solar wind input during the ongoing denoument to solar minimum.
I’m aware that a prominent heliophysicist has recently here discounted the possiblilty that such an inference be tellingly made, just sayin’.
tty & crosspatch:
Bubonic plague has three of modes of infection. Inhaling spores is 100% fatal, where injesting live bacilli might only be 10%, and blood born infection inbetween.
Under the climate conditions that prevailed(families huddled near the hearth), one really needs no further explanation for the Black Death, even if other factors contributed.
I’d hate to see ergot take the fall that has befallen CO2.

Evan Jones
June 11, 2008 9:22 am

The sun died
The sun died, with my love
And life’s all in vain, in my heart there’s rain

June 11, 2008 9:37 am

But….But…But Al Gore said that it’s most likely our Carbon Monoxide & Dioxide that is affecting the Sun this way. Either that, or excessive cow flatulance. And by God, if Al Gore says it, then it’s the truth.

June 11, 2008 9:50 am

Very interesting article. Yeah, I don’t like hearing that the sun is “dead” either!

June 11, 2008 10:36 am

That first ScienceDaily article proves what I have been saying. If Arctic pollution was so bad before and in the 1900s and 1950s (after it started in earnest in the 1850s), why did the world cool and sea ice increase during these times (especially in the period 1906-1911, the coldest temperatures since the Dalton Minimum)? Heck, sea ice was so thick in the 1970s during relentless soot pollution in the U.S., Europe, and Russia, that Time Magazine freaked out and said we were plunging into an ice age. Go to NCDC’s Cryosphere Today and look at historical sea ice averages since 1900 and you will find poor correlations with increases in soot. I know it is crap compared to satellites, but it is all we have.
The point is, Bill and leebert, that when you say that 90-94% of Arctic sea ice melt is caused by accidental human soot pollution from such low latitudes, you are implying that solar cycles, ocean temperatures and currents, wind patterns (AO; ask NASA), changes in cloud cover, and NATURAL soot and dirt from volcanoes, wildfires, and just plain dirt from natural sources like beaches, have minor to perhaps meaningless impacts. Let me make this clear: I am pleased that you understand the need to reduce soot pollution and I agree that it shouldn’t even be around to the magnitude that it is and that it is being tolerated by the modern communist movement. It is real pollution and bad for health and yes bad for albedo of snow and ice, I just disagree with the magnitude. Good luck getting rid of that pollution and get India and China better technology like modern natural gas.

June 11, 2008 12:59 pm

RE: Flowers4Stalin (22:04:33) :
Parts of China are at a reasonably high latitude.
A meridianally oriented strong polar jet stream will take air parcels from China out over the Arctic Ocean in one day’s time. Such a jet stream will actually reach South China and take its air parcels to the Arctic.

June 11, 2008 1:00 pm

[…] to think that he’s smarter than Mother Nature.  Give us about two more record cold winters due to lack of solar activity, and maybe the fallacy of his arrogance will start to soak into his pea […]

D. Quist
June 11, 2008 1:08 pm

Interesting addition to the discussion of sot in the northern latitudes and arctic sea ice: FOREST FIRES.
2004-2007 were out of the park record years, in the 48 year table. There are single years, here and there in the table that are high. Nothing compares to these four years.
I admit this does not include Europe/Asia.
I am not sure how this fits into this discussion. It does add another factor into particulates in the atmosphere and sot. Someone more knowledgable than me could perhaps sort this out.

June 11, 2008 1:14 pm

Well, according to the NOAA’s 2007 prediction..we’re still right on track to not knowing yet. Their prediction was a lack of activity until around now, and in a few months will be the fork between the high and low activity predictions. The Solar Cycle Progression chart is tracking along the forecast so far.

June 11, 2008 1:20 pm

D. Quist: Read more about current and historical fires. Right now there are significant fires in SE Asia peat and chinese coal. U.S. park statistics are skewed by decades of fire suppression before an attempt to more naturally use fire. For that matter, North America used to have a lot of prairie fires (we don’t seem to allow those to burn Kansas anymore) and the natives set fires to keep trails open, control territory, and control animals.

David S
June 11, 2008 1:20 pm

BTW maybe someone can enlighten me. I see two very small spots toward the right side of the sun, one at the equator and one slightly lower. You can only see them when you enlarge the image. They’ve been there for a week or so. Are those sunspots are are they too small to be counted or are they something else?

June 11, 2008 1:26 pm

I did not mean that China was a low latitude country per se, but a country that is of lower latitude than Russia, Europe, and North America (in terms of Canada). Back through the 1950s-1970s, there were weak to nonexistent pollution acts on these countries and it could be said that Russia was intentional due to poor crop yields. As for the polar jet stream, I understand that Indian and Chinese pollution does make it to the Arctic via low-, mid-, and upper-level wind patterns, but pollution from Europe, Russia, and North America would have more pure effects, and would get there faster and more regularly. I know that darker colors absorb more heat than lighter colors and I am pleased that Bill, leebert, and others (but not many others) understand it enhances snow melt and that it should be eliminated immediately, but their statements from the studies of Ramanathan and Zender imply that India and China (and some of Africa) are essentially in control of the Arctic instead of the sun, ocean currents, wind patterns, cloud cover, and natural soot from wildfires sounds like something James Hansen would say.

D. Quist
June 11, 2008 1:30 pm

How much wood is burned in 9,328,045 acres?
Vermont claims 26 cords of wood per acre. I know that is not representative. I am just putting a number. Sorry, lost the article, referencing this number.
A cord is 3.62meter^3.
That is roughly 878million cubic meters of wood. That is a bunch. Some earlier years were as little as 2-3million acres. So 2004-2007 put out a lot of sot and CO2. More so than other years before 2004.
2004-2007 burned 36 million acres.
2000-2003 burned 22 million acres.
1996-1999 burned 16 million acres.
based on the table:
I’d say we have something to talk about here.

June 11, 2008 1:39 pm

Great point! You bring up a fascinating correlation of the mega-seasons of wildfires of 2004-2007 (the West literally burnt to a crisp) with rapid sea ice melt in the Arctic at the same time, and how the 2003 was ho hum and Arctic sea ice melt was ho hum (relatively) that same year. Humans caused plenty of these wildfires, but summer lightning storms caused plenty more, and humans did control the spread of these fires and soot as a result, even if it wasn’t by much as humans don’t control fires very well anyway. Of course the historical data of forest fires in long ago years is pathetically brief due to poor observations and measurements of burnt land area as well as, of course, surpressing natural fires which taints it.

Bill Illis
June 11, 2008 2:49 pm

To David S. on the small (unmoving) sunspots – the SOHO satellite optics occassionally produce small darkened out spots due to technical faults. Some of these spots seem to last for a few months and then resolve while others only last for a week or so.
You can check whether the spots are technical faults versus real spots by using the MPEG animation feature which will give a month or two animation. Any fixed dark spot is a technical fault since the sun rotates fairly quickly.

D. Quist
June 11, 2008 3:06 pm

Thanks, Flowers4Stalin
I posted two comments, my first one was “lost”. In the first comment I suggested that there might have been a substantial number of fires in Europe/Asia also, I have not been able to locate that kind of information.
Either way the sheer volume of wood must represent a substantial amount of sot.
In addition, weather patterns, were does all this stuff go. I know the jet-stream (does it go up that high?) sends a lot of weather west to east. But where exactly, and does it reach the arctic at all?
Interesting observation: 800-900 million cubic meters of wood represents a lot of CO2. It would have added twice as much CO2 in the 2004-2007 seasons compared to the 1996-1999 seasons. One kilogram of wood produces 1.9kilogram of CO2. A cubic meter of wood is roughly 500kgrams. So roughly 800-900 million m^3 of CO2 was released per year in 2004-2007 vs. 400m^3 in 1996-1999. The USA emits 5600 million m^3 per year. I would say that Anthony’s observation that CO2 emissions are down or flat for 2007-2008 (in another post about CO2 measurements), should also include this observation of substantial CO2 emissions increases during the 2004-2007 fire seasons.
Last point. The CO2 from these fires are not neutral. Those forests are gone and it will take years/decades before they return. So, the short term release from increased fires need to be considered when measuring CO2 in the atmosphere.
I am doing this estimates on the back of an envelope. I just want to highlight the substantial increase in fires over the last 15 or so years. It is not only an observation issue. These are real changes.

June 11, 2008 4:07 pm

They said the same thing about my puppy :'(
Next thin you know, they’ll be saying “Oh, the sun just went to live on a farm, where it can run and play all day long”

David S
June 11, 2008 4:39 pm

Bill Illis Thanks for the info. I appreciate it.

June 11, 2008 6:08 pm

D. Quist:
I am sorry if I do not provide more technical mathematic language, as I am only an 18 year old college student heading into his second year. However, I have been reading up on the AGW communist movement since I was 14 and have always wondered why CO2 keeps going up and up. We hear it is due to ocean outgassing and of course evil capitalism, but I think, one of the strongest and most underrated factors, at least today, are fires, most notably the ones that are intentional, such as in the Amazon. When a forest burns, it sends out not only SO2 (which may or may not land on snow and ice) but CO2, and when the life of the forest goes, so does the reservoir for the CO2. This is compounded by replacing the burnt and/or cleared land such as prairies, pine forests, and the Amazon with surfaces that don’t take the CO2 back out of the air, such as buildings and to a lesser extent farms. Fires during long term drought make it harder for the forest to grow back. The increase in fires hasn’t just been in the western U.S. (which I believe is off to a slow start this year, maybe the negative PDO will reverse the trend because it has been so cold this year and STILL wet), but also in Canada and most notably Alaska which I believe in 2003 or another nearby year had a record fire season with one of the biggest fires ever measured in the state. As a proud survivor of the 2003 and 2007 So. California wildfires, I was able to observe, just last October, the effects of the fires. My pool was covered completely in ash, the sky was overcast with volcanic-like ash and smoke for days and didn’t go away completely for two weeks, and there were patches of black soot on the area all around my house, even though the closest fire was 11 miles away. Obviously, soot pollution and CO2 “pollution” from fires and cheap industry requires much more study.

Pamela Gray
June 11, 2008 6:39 pm

Okay folks, take a look at the sun. Don’t stare at it. Looks small. BIG ball of fire. Very, very, VERY, big ball. Now take all the fires going right now: Amazon, forest, California, Florida, camp, stove, bon, you name it. Put them all together in one very big high school graduation bonfire to end all bonfires. Then compare that bonfire to the sun. Some people forget that the sun is much bigger and hotter than you think when you look at that relatively small orange bright light in the sky. My sense of proportion tells me that burning wood on earth cannot have the same affect on us as the sun does.
Case in point, planets that are LOTS hotter than ours are apparently undergoing climate change that seem to be mimicking our own. Unless you have inside information about the aliens sneaking in an illegal bonfire here and there, me thinks the sun is the culprit.

June 11, 2008 6:59 pm

Sun good.
People bad.
Only us
can make earth sad.
(I knew you wood.)

June 11, 2008 7:18 pm

I agree with you that the sun has driven Earth’s climate in the past and will continue to do so. This whole air pollution thing started when leebert stated yesterday that industrial pollution has a dramatic impact on the Arctic’s climate and sea ice. I dispute the DRAMATIC part (i.e. 90-94%), which implies that the sun and many other factors are essentially meaningless, but I do not dispute the Arctic haze or soot, just its exact magnitude and power, as well as the full list of what causes it.

D. Quist
June 11, 2008 8:03 pm

I agree with the sun being the driver.
I was trying to make a couple of points. One if sot was a contributing factor then China and India might be too far away. However, record fire seasons in the northern regions might contribute to the ice melt by depositing sot.
What I really think is interesting is the increased strength of the fire seasons. The AGSWATs tell us that CO2 is increasing. If the fireseason over the last 15 years have been increasing by millions of acres, from a total of 16 Million to over 35 million in a four year period, it will create an artificial rise in CO2 on the planet, it might even mask the fact that the cooling oceans are absorbing CO2.
I live in the Seattle area, it is very gray and cool around here. I don’t like the cold PDO, give me back my warm PDO! Please, sun!

June 11, 2008 8:29 pm

The case against sootfall in the Arctic has been corroborated by many researchers. Regardless of the various swings in ice extent the progressive decimation is what has eaten away at the ice in a gradual two century process. Prior to the 19th C. era of coal-fueled industrialization the rate of decimation from wood fuels (characterized by vanillic acid) was 1/8th of the ensuing industrial era from thereon. Even if the progressive decimation from industrial-era soot was 60% (well w/in the std. error) the effect was still very pronounced. And the ongoing effect is still easily 1/3rd of all other dynamics affecting the Arctic.
As for the source of the soot, it varies by season. China’s soot travels via intermeridionals into the N. Pacifc where the soot has been found to seed winter mega-storms – actual T-storms – that loft the soot into the stratosphere that in turn is borne into the Subarctic and Arctic via high-level wind currents.
The Soot Files:
The seriousness of the soot problem is such that you’d think the environmentalists would be all over it, esp. considering the future plight of the polar bears. If you think global warming poses a serious threat then soot mitigation could well buy human societies time into a low-carbon conversion:
Honestly I think the enviros are playing games with the CO2 cause. Everything’s being subsumed under the aegis of CO2 Cap & Trade. There are many reasons this is wrong-headed, as I spell out here:
As far as the global warming activists are concerned, soot is the carbon that must not be named.

June 12, 2008 12:46 am

Thank you for responding. Two things:
1. Are you now backtracking from your statement that, essentially, almost all Arctic ice melt is due to soot from industry? Are you now saying that it is simply one of many factors (me and D. Quist say natural and human wildfire soot is there, and of course I think the sun, ocean, wind, and cloud cover are the dominant factors on the Arctic with soot in fifth place)? The question is this: Are you willing to concede a more balanced and less extreme number for soot’s effect on Arctic ice melt (such as 1/3 to 60%, instead of 90-94% of all factors)?
2. Arctic and worldwide sea ice, glaciers, and snow have ALWAYS been dirty. How dirty through time? How dirty if humans didn’t exist? We will never know. There is simply no way that our planet is a spotless and pristine wonderland, however. The magnitude of Arctic haze and soot today has been demonstrated, but the amount attributable to human activities and its melting power has not been conclusive (you say/said that it is 90-94%, Zender(?) 90% with big air warming, Ramanathan(?) 60%, NASA says “less than CO2”, IPCC says “tiny”, I say “there, but in fifth place”, and ScienceDaily says “worse in 1870-1911” which is coincident with global cooling due to decreased solar activity and subsequent glacial and ice advance). However, there is something that we both agree on: There is no question that albedo loss due to dirty snow in the Arctic is dramatically underestimated in comparison to the mega-hysteria that is CO2-based warming, and that the activists are covering it up.
In summary, I am just wondering if you think the 90%+ number is correct, which I highly disagree, or if you are saying that it is somewhat of an underlying factor that gets “awakened” by solar, ocean, wind, and cloud changes. You can say what you want, of course, but if you give a more modest and less extreme number I will drop active discussion of this area of the topic and be more “peaceful” and ramble less with this debate.

Mike Bryant
June 12, 2008 4:58 am

Leebert and Flowers,
Why doesn’t NASA KNOW the percentage that soot is responsible for?
Just wondering….

June 12, 2008 7:13 am

Lotta talk about soot. It obviously absorbs a huge amount of energy compared to fresh snow or even old ice.
After last years melt in the Arctic I would think there would be little soot in the new ice to increase melt rate. Could be why the extent rebounded so quickly, even if temporary.
I do have a question. Does anyone know of a study about the effect of soot over time? That is, the first year the soot is pretty much on the surface and melting in. After the first winter the older soot should be below the ice surface and contributing less absorption as the ice surface reflects most of the energy. I am wondering how much this “melting in” and/or covering with new snow, changes the effect.

June 12, 2008 10:12 am

Gary Gulrud:
Thank you for that info … I did indeed grill that eminent heliophysicist on that question & he pooh-pooh’d the idea. If terawatts of incoming energy tend to focus in two very thermally sensitive geographic loci then there’d have to be some kind of effect. Spread out over the entire planet, probably not. Focused at magnet poles, makes me wonder…
I’ll go look that paper up.

June 12, 2008 10:25 am

I’m not backtracking. I think you’re misunderstanding the numbers I’ve cited. Zender cites “up to 94%” total bicentennial effect from all soot, mostly human-caused. Industrial soot is worse, showing 8x intensification of the effect in the industrial era.
This isn’t a firm position on numbers, but on opportunity. Zender’s 94% is up to the extent of his confidence interval, so if you want to land in the middle of the error bars the figure’s probably 60%. That’s all. That’s a historical figure that also reflects Arctic decimation rates in the early industrial era before the role of greenhouse gases played a bigger role.
Ramanathan is saying his 60% is the equiv. effect of current CO2, that is a 37:53 heating mix ratio for just those two greenhouse agents. The problem here is that soot was claimed to be masking CO2’s effect by surface shading, thereby leading researchers to implicate CO2 even more. The reality is that soot isn’t masking CO2’s effect, so CO2 is henceforth partially exculpated by the same margin since it isn’t hiding behind a curtain of soot.
You’d do better to go read Ramanathan’s & Zender’s testimony before Rep. Henry Waxman’s subcommittee. They lay it all out, both come with impeccable creds in climatology, very conventional scientists, esp. Ramanathan, he’s an old IPCC warhorse. So when Ramanathan speaks, people should listen.
If you believe CO2 poses a tangible threat, then soot mitigation could buy up to 20 more years window of opportunity. And if you don’t, then soot mitigation explains a great deal, as could surface ozone, stratospheric ozone depletion and solar phenomena that can warm the middle atmosphere.

June 12, 2008 11:00 am

Gary Gulrud:
> Brett Andersen’s global-warming blog at Accuweather a month
> back quoted a paper implying a 2-3 degree Arctic temperature
> anomaly might be traced to solar wind input during the ongoing
> denoument to solar minimum.
Would you have a link for that? Thanks!

June 12, 2008 12:08 pm

I apologize for the confusion, as I rather rushed through my last post. It appears that our underlying disagreement stems from our views on AGW. I say that humans have no effect on climate and a small effect on temperature which no one has been able to find, and may be getting canceled by negative feedback (Roy Spencer). My “side” is with Anthony Watts, Joe D’Aleo, Timothy Ball, S. Fred Singer, Richard Lindzen, Reid Bryson, William Gray, Hans Shreuder, Phil Chapman and many, many others including a vast majority of posters on this site and others. Upon looking at past posts on this site I have come to the conclusion that you seem to be a “lukewarmer” who thinks that Earth and human climate changes are shared, and that your opinions and research (Ramanathan and Zender) on soot are designed to appeal more to the hardcore AGW religionists who say that evil capitalistic CO2 is the cause of all of the universe’s problems, and that they should not be so shortsighted. Am I right or wrong?
As for Ramanathan and Zender, they are good scientists (maybe, I hope), but their complete lack of mention of natural factors is obviously to get their research published in the world of SCRIPPS, IPCC, and NASA world of AGW propaganda which states that the sun, continental drift, cosmic rays, ocean currents, underwater and abovewater volcanoes, plate tectonics, changes in: orbit, rotation, and tilt of the Earth all have no effect in modern times. The effects are from human-only CO2 according to the “consensus”, while Ramanathan and Zender say it is CO2 AND soot. Am I right or wrong?
As for comments and opinions on Ramanathan and Zender, I agree with both of them of the sources of soot in the atmosphere and the Arctic, that it is from multiple sources of industry and also from wildfires, and that the IPCC is underestimating. However, their studies are full of: “can”, “possibly”, “estimate”, “may”, “uncertain”, “about”, a lot of “between x and x”, and the dreaded “simulate” and “model”. As for the study I agree with the most, it is “Industrial Soot And Its Arctic Impact” by Joe McConnell and Ross Edwards. All of these scientists’ research on this, as well as all climate on Earth, requires much more time and study.

June 12, 2008 3:25 pm

I think you’ve got the gist of it. I’m a climate moderate by some standards in that I don’t have a problem with CO2 contributing some margin to atmospheric temperatures. The temperature trend of the past 50 yrs would roughly reflect CO2 baseline logarithmic function, so not much to be concerned about.
If, however, we subtract the 20th C. effects of higher solar intensity, soot, ground-level ozone and Pinatubo’s ozone destruction (which depleted the ozone for 8 years enough to cool the stratosphere significantly which would’ve warmed the upper troposphere by almost the same amt) it’s possible to hierarchically regress back CO2’s contribution to even less. Other solar effects are possible as mentioned by Gary Galrud above.
The big evidence is that Hansen’s ocean heat bucket (smoking gun, pipeline) isn’t as severe, a natural lag & plateau reflecting the already-dimming sun (-0.1 degrC or -0.33 w/m-2 since 1993 or so).
Hence our current temperature plateau. I expect a net -0.3 degrC influence from decreased solar irradiance, or -0.015/yr. effect within 20 years, maybe sooner.
My reasons for continuing to cite Ramanathan & Zender are:
1. They want their data to be accepted by the mainstream field (IPCC) so they avoid heresy. No conjectures, just “mainstream” science.
2. They are tip toeing thru a political mine field & they know it – Ramanathan lost his funding once b/c of politics in his INDOEX work on the Asian Brown Cloud. So they give the consensus view its due. A sentence usually suffices, but they’re not going on like James Hansen about the sky falling either.
3. And yet they press on as though their ballywick is of paramount import. Ramanathan could just as well go back to grinding the usual IPCC axe. Reading between the lines I surmise he knows this changes a lot of things. He’s admitted the popular assumption that the cooling trend of the 1970’s was caused by aerosols could be utterly wrong – false.
It underscores the hypocrisy of the activists… they’re hiding soot behind CO2 b/c they’re afraid of what else it’ll reveal about carbon, polar bears, the Arctic, Asian soot emissions, globalization, UN CDM “Clean Coal” projects, the whole long list. It’s as though global warming was the only problem, even though HALF of the mercury deposition in the Amer. West Coast comes straight from Chinese smokestacks as well as the soot.
Who’s writing their script? Maurice Strong? Al Gore? (same difference…)
They’ve yet to change their tune that CO2 is hiding behind soot despite the preponderance of evidence to the contrary and yet this data’s been out nearly a year.
Y’ know the old saying… You know they’re lying b/c their lips are moving…

June 12, 2008 4:25 pm

That was the answer I was looking for! Thanks. I will make one last point about Ramanathan and Zender. I think their strategies are very interesting. They say “Oh, yeah. Super capatalistic catastrophe is imbound from CO2. The IPCC says we are doomed so obviously it is true. But hey, don’t forget about the fact that many of the things that emit CO2 also emit SO2, which is nasty pollution that can land on snow and ice and decrease its albedo and cause it to melt faster. Less snow during sunny days means increased warmth, so how about we get rid of this first as it is easier and as it is a double-edged sword: less of it means more snow which means cooler temps, and of course, the most important, better air quality.” Of course the communists want humans to repent and want to eliminate advanced benificial technology instead of crappy polluting technology so everyone can sacrifice for the greater good: Gaia.

June 12, 2008 8:36 pm

Yes, it seems they’re hoping to come in through a side door that won’t embarrass the patrons.
However according to the behavioral piety of those imbued with Gaia-fear, CO2 is our original sin. Have you seen the CO2 death calculator at the Aussie ABC? Un-f******* berievable.
It’s clearly an ideological strain with some big socialist backing, globo-soc magnates ala Soros, Strong, Gore, the Club of Rome cabal. Some of it is logical to some end – fuel conservation – but the invidious abuse of science is dangerous, as are the appeals to building a nanny state. None of this would be so bad were it truly marginal in terms of taxes or GDP, but its not zero sum in terms of economics or civil liberties. It has invited all manner of excessive taxation and invasive gov’t in Britain – which is now on the cusp of an anti-Green rebellion. People will only tolerate so much.
It further puts the lie to the entire project when we’re being told to subsidize other countries’ emissions of more CO2 than we can abate, to blood-let more wealth in addition to our trade deficits.
And the polar bears and Arctic soot. In a way this is the quintessential duplicity that lifts the veil off the depth of the corruption of activism. Of all the charismatic megafauna I’d think would provoke conservationists into paroxysms of anti-soot mania, it’d be the polar bears. Abate the soot, save the bears! Seems a simple calculus to me.
Given that EDF has lead with blog coverage on Arctic soot, then I must assume they know. So then are they holding a gun to the polar bears’ heads, still believing CO2 is a big threat and want to force the issue? Or is the whole thing just a big game to foist a penultimate dirigist’s dream on the world? I wouldn’t give them the benefit of the doubt on the former but suspect the latter, it’s more consistent with the science.
I’m worried, as are others who are climate moderates. We’re in a quandary between watching our civil liberties get subsumed under the aegis of environmentalism vs. remaining conservation-minded. In Britain I think a lot of people have clued onto this. Here in the USA we’re less exposed to the direct impact of socialism so we’re not as suspicious of the results of encroaching gov’t. We may be in for a hard lesson.
Implied, but not explicit, profanity not recommended, but I understand the sentiment.~jeez

June 12, 2008 9:53 pm

What a great vocabulary you have! I had to look up seven words.
Also, I agree with jeeves, you need not resort to (implied) pro fan i ty.
Leave that to lesser minds.

Robert Bateman
July 7, 2008 8:58 pm

And what if the goreacle has the outcome correct, but got the mechanism wrong.
You could have global cooling + high CO2 and still melt the Polar Ice Caps.
Has anyone noticed the super-stubborn highs & lows off the West Coast?
The darn things are just about parked. Even though they wobble east-west, they never leave town. We have almost a full year of heavy windstorms as these behemouth pressure cells set up house.
And what if they presented a path for heat to travel up to the Arctic where it was trapped by CO2 or cosmic-ray induced low-lying clouds cover?
So, you could still melt the Polar Ice Caps all the while the rest of the Earth cools simply because it got trapped there.
Does is really matter which way we perish if we are guilty of adding insult to injury with our massive output of pollution?
The G8 Summit today focusing on energy conservation, claiming global warming (right or wrong) but it could just as easily be worldwide economic woes.
Gore may be wrong about all the effect of warming being due to the CO2 emissions, but in the end it doesn’t really matter because we still have finite energy supplies. Take your pick. Everybody’s a winner if we get this oil price killer bee sting back in the bottle.

Robert Bateman
July 8, 2008 12:17 am

For a flat-lined Sun, we got record hot temps here in No. Ca.
I would have thought that it would be more mild, but I guess the big Pressure Cells really dominate all else when it comes to cooking your brains during Summer and freezing your tootsies off during Winter.
No Sun to drive the wagon which is stuck in Lodi.

Robert Bateman
July 13, 2008 4:43 pm

Will the recent 07/13/08 burp of 700+km/s solar wind drive the weather now and unstick the pressure cells?

Robert Bateman
August 12, 2008 10:28 pm

Sure didn’t unstick anything.
The sun is as quiet as a mouse.
Run silent, run deep.

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