Lockwood demonstrates link between low sun and low temps

Solar Science Bipolar Disorder

Guest post by Steven Goddard

About once every 11 years, the sun’s magnetic poles reverse.  However some high profile solar scientists reverse their own polarity more frequently.

Satellite image showing the British Isles covered in snow (Image:  NASA)

England Scotland and Wales Covered With Snow in 2010

The BBC reported Wednesday that Mike Lockwood at the University of Reading has established a statistical link between cold weather and low solar activity.

The UK and continental Europe could be gripped by more frequent cold winters in the future as a result of low solar activity, say researchers.

“By recent standards, we have just had what could be called a very cold winter and I wanted to see if this was just another coincidence or statistically robust,” said lead author Mike Lockwood, professor of space environment physics at the University of Reading, UK.

To examine whether there was a link, Professor Lockwood and his co-authors compared past levels of solar activity with the Central England Temperature (CET) record, which is the world’s longest continuous instrumental record of such data.

The researchers used the 351-year CET record because it provided data that went back to the beginning of the Maunder Minimum, a prolonged period of very low activity on the Sun that lasted about half a century.

Picture of a Thames "forest fayre" in 1716 (Getty  Images)

“Frost fayres” were held on the Thames during the Maunder Minimum

The Maunder Minimum occurred in the latter half of the 17th Century – a period when Europe experienced a series of harsh winters, which has been dubbed by some as the Little Ice Age. Following this, there was a gradual increase in solar activity that lasted 300 years.

Professor Lockwood explained that studies of activity on the Sun, which provides data stretching back over 9,000 years, showed that it tended to “ramp up quite slowly over about a 300-year period, then drop quite quickly over about a 100-year period”.

He said the present decline started in 1985 and was currently about “half way back to a Maunder Minimum condition”. More at the BBC

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His  study was basically a rehash of what many others have done previously over the past few centuries, but he has the BBC’s ear – because in 2007 he prominently claimed just the opposite.

No Sun link’ to climate change

Tuesday, 10 July 2007

“This should settle the debate,” said Mike Lockwood

Similarly, in 2006 David Hathaway at NASA reported that the Sun’s conveyor belt had “slowed to a record low.”

May 10, 2006: The Sun’s Great Conveyor Belt has slowed to a record-low crawl, according to research by NASA solar physicist David Hathaway. “It’s off the bottom of the charts,” he says. “This has important repercussions for future solar activity.”

Then on March 12, 2010 he reported the exact opposite:

March 12, 2010: In today’s issue of Science, NASA solar physicist David Hathaway reports that the top of the sun’s Great Conveyor Belt has been running at record-high speeds for the past five years.

In 1810, the great English astronomer William Herschel established a link between sunspot activity and the price of grain in Europe – a proxy for climate.  As far as we know, he never reversed polarity on that belief. Modern solar science is just coming around to what Herschel hypothesized 200 years ago.

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UPDATE: Full Lockwood et al paper at Environmental Research Letters here

Abstract. Solar activity during the current sunspot minimum has fallen to levels unknown since the start of the 20th century. The Maunder minimum (about 1650–1700) was a prolonged episode of low solar activity which coincided with more severe winters in the United Kingdom and continental Europe. Motivated by recent relatively cold winters in the UK, we investigate the possible connection with solar activity. We identify regionally anomalous cold winters by detrending the Central England temperature (CET) record using reconstructions of the northern hemisphere mean temperature. We show that cold winter excursions from the hemispheric trend occur more commonly in the UK during low solar activity, consistent with the solar influence on the occurrence of persistent blocking events in the eastern Atlantic. We stress that this is a regional and seasonal effect relating to European winters and not a global effect. Average solar activity has declined rapidly since 1985 and cosmogenic isotopes suggest an 8% chance of a return to Maunder minimum conditions within the next 50 years (Lockwood 2010 Proc. R. Soc. A 466 303–29): the results presented here indicate that, despite hemispheric warming, the UK and Europe could experience more cold winters than during recent decades.

Figure 2 from the paper:

Figure 2. Variations since the mid-17th century of the following. (a) The mean northern hemisphere temperature anomaly, ΔTN: black shows the HadCRUT3v compilation of observations [17, mauve shows the median of an ensemble of 11 reconstructions (individually intercalibrated with the HadCRUT3v NH data over the interval 1850–1950) based on tree ring and other proxy data [18–23]. The decile range is given by the area shaded grey (between upper and lower decile values of ΔTU and ΔTL). (b) Average winter Central England Temperatures (CET) [5, 6] for December, January and February, TDJF. (c) The open solar flux, FS, corrected for longitudinal solar wind structure: dots are annual means of interplanetary satellite data; the black line after 1905 is derived from ground-based geomagnetic data [1]; and the mauve line is a model based on observed sunspot numbers [14]. Both curves show 1 year means. (d) Detrended winter CET, δTDJF, obtained by subtracting the best-fit variation of ΔTN, derived using the regressions shown in figure 3(b): the width of the line shows the difference resulting from the use of ΔTN = ΔTU and ΔTN = ΔTL prior to 1850. In all panels, dots are for years with δTDJF < 1 °C (the dashed horizontal line in (d)), colour-coded by year using the scale in figure 3(a). Data for the winter 2009/10 are provisional.”]

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Fitzy

Ah Ha!
So the Sun, which has no effect on climate (says U.N), has an effect on climate!
I knew sooner or later science WOULD/WOULD NOT discover, the primary mechanism that DOES/DOES NOT affect the weather.
Now that we kNOW/DON’T KNOW what effect the Sun IS/ISN’Thaving on the planet, we CAN/CAN’Tset a new tax regime that WILL/WON’T save the planet from GLOBAL WARMING/COOLING.
Luckily we’vre prepared an army of useful idiots to beg the UN for a totalitarian government based on what we KNOW/DON’T KNOW, and can get
down to really screwing mankind over for having such a NEGATIVE/POSITIVE effect on the CLIMATE/ARTIC ICE/UNICORNS/FAIRIES…
Ah me,….when did science get so schizophrenic? I feel terribly Post normal.

mark in austin

man….this is fun stuff….i wish these cycles were quicker…i am so curious to see what is next.

STEPHEN PARKER

” more research is needed” oh dear……….

Gail Combs

If the sun continues to sleep, the next decade should be quite interesting. No wonder they are trying to rush through a carbon dioxide treaty.
A couple more winters like the last one, recovery of the Arctic sea ice and they will start talking “Oh my Gosh and Ice Age Cometh” the UN needs and international tax to protect us” ….. No I forgot they already changed it to the all encompassing “climate change”

rbateman

If it does, it’s mechanism unknown.

“The Earth-facing side of the sun is blank–no sunspots.”
http://www.spaceweather.com/
….this sucker is nowhere near to being out of its minimum!! I think it’s broken but good!!
Hey, glad I like ice fishing!! Leif, where are you?

pat

“It is not like the sun is warm or anything.” Al Gore is a short lecture to Barrack Obama.

Dave Harrison

We all know what’s coming next: “if it wasn’t for the decrease in the Sun’s activity we would all have been fried due to increased carbon dioxide emissions so a carbon tax is more urgent than ever.”
Who would ever have thought that ‘science’ could be so flexible.

Ouch! Dr. Lief is gonna have a lot to say about this. If the correlations are for real, but its not TSI, as Dr. Lief swears it isn’t… then WHAT?

Louis Hissink

Think electricity and plasma physics, and it becomes easier to explain.

pat (22:28:22) :
Al Gore’s sun may be cool, but the interior of his earth is millions of degrees.

Kum Dollison

I always suspected that that big yellow thing up there might have “something” to do with it getting hotter, and cooler.
See, us Mississippians can be “smart,” too.

CRS, Dr.P.H. (22:26:17) :
this sucker is nowhere near to being out of its minimum!! I think it’s broken but good!!
Well, a wee bit out 🙂
http://www.leif.org/research/TSI-SORCE-2008-now.png
Sun/Weather-Climate claims have always shown those contradictory tendencies, so luckily one can always explain everything, because either it goes one way and it fits [sometimes] or it goes the opposite way and that fits too [sometimes]. In another thread [that is dying down] we discussed the claim that there was a reasonable match between solar activity and temperatures. A specific example was brought out: Solanki sunspots causing Moberg temperatures. And indeed there is a correlation: sunspots ‘explain’ less than 4% of the temperature variability [thus not really something to write home about:
http://www.leif.org/research/Moberg-Solanki-Correlation.png
Loehle Temp vs. Solar activity [TSI] show even less correlation.: http://www.leif.org/research/Loehle-Temps-and-TSI.png
But, hey, there is good funding to be had when you can claim a connection the climate. I do it myself 🙂 e.g. line 222 in http://www.leif.org/research/Heliospheric%20Magnetic%20Field%201835-2009.pdf [which BTW is in the final stages of peer-review].

Frank Thoma

Landscheidt cycles. Old stuff – http://landscheidt.auditblogs.com/

Welcome to the 1800s, Dr. Lockwood.

stan stendera

A rat deserting the sinking good ship AGW!

KTWO

OT a little. There was a rather large volcanic eruption in Iceland on Monday. Which may have a cooling effect, first upon Europe.
Too soon to say more.

UK Sceptic

Look! See Mike. See Mike run. Mike has seen the writing on the wall…

Al Gore's Holy Hologram

The BBC is suffering bipolar madness about this
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/8615789.stm
Halfway down the page there’s a picture of the Sun with the caption “Solar activity has been in decline since 1985, says Professor Lockwood”. Directly under that the Beeb has the audacity, in the middle of an article, to link to “No Sun link’ to climate change” (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/7327393.stm)
Normally related topics are linked to in the side bar, but not this time.

Bryn

Steve, this is not worthy of you, at least regarding your implied criticisms of David Hathaway. Five years lapsed between Hathaway’s first report and the second and from reports available via a quick Google, much research has been done in the meantime. Not only that, but if the “conveyor belt” was slow five years ago, why could it have not sped up since then? If the normal cycle is ~11years, those five years represent almost a half cycle. Perhaps the surprise is that the belt speed is passing through record extremes, but let’s face it, measurements on which this work is based go back only to 1996, just over one cycle’s duration. It is surely a work in progress, not a definitive study.

rbateman

Lots and lots of lag, Leif.
That, and the system is rather slow.
Think of how long it takes to stop an ocean liner or a freight train.
This is way worse.
If the Sun is oatmeal (sorry, my wife understands what you mean but I never got oatmeal…my loss) then the Earth is Heinz 57 climate sauce. If you added another ingredient, nobody would notice the difference.

Three years ago, Lockwood put the last nail in the coffin of his current theory.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8615789.stm

Mike Lockwood’s analysis appears to have put a large, probably fatal nail in this intriguing and elegant hypothesis.
He said: “I do think there is a cosmic ray effect on cloud cover. It works in clean maritime air where there isn’t much else for water vapour to condense around.

LightRain

Yabut Hansen said 2009 was the hottest in 100’s of years!

Andew P.

Whether the sun is a root of this jet stream blocking / AO going negative I do not know, and am not qualified even to speculate. But one things does occur to me; using the CET as a solid reference for mild/cold winters/years without qualifying the data with the prevailing wind direction (which I assume we do not have) is pretty meaningless. But then even using a thousand or even 10,000 thermometers six feet off the ground to measure global temperatures is a bit of a joke, when there is as much heat energy in the first 8 feet of the ocean as there is in the whole of the atmosphere, and the time lag for the oceans to warm up a fraction of a degree must be decades. The best analogy for this I have heard is a doctor in A&E/ER trying to measure the patient’s temperature by dangling a thermometer an inch above his forehead.

AlanG

Leif (the sun is constant) Slavgaard will be groaning, perhaps, but UV variability effecting the stratosphere, effecting the jetstreams is currently my favourite explanation as to why the weather is sensitive to the solar cycle. If the jetstreams (north and south) move closer to their poles during solar minimums then that would effect the Earth’s overall temperature (climate) as the total outgoing LW radiation changes. The jetstreams are the barrier between the cold polar air masses and the warmer air masses nearer the equator. LW radiation is non-linear as it varies withT^4. If the total mass of warm air changes then the total energy emitted by the Earth would also change so changing the Earth’s temperature over time.
I agree with Leif in the sense that that TSI variability is not sufficient to explain temperature changes on Earth. However there may be some kind of amplification going on here on Earth – volume of air masses or changes in cloud cover, or both.
Wikipedia has the following (good article) at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_variation
Changes in ultraviolet irradiance
* Ultraviolet irradiance (EUV) varies by approximately 1.5 percent from solar maxima to minima, for 200 to 300 nm UV.[42]
* Energy changes in the UV wavelengths involved in production and loss of ozone have atmospheric effects.
o The 30 hPa atmospheric pressure level has changed height in phase with solar activity during the last 4 solar cycles.
o UV irradiance increase causes higher ozone production, leading to stratospheric heating and to poleward displacements in the stratospheric and tropospheric wind systems.
* A proxy study estimates that UV has increased by 3% since the Maunder Minimum

Bryn (23:38:57)
Please read Hathaway’s statements more closely. In 2006 it was at a record low. Now he says that it has been at a record high “for the past five years” (2005-present)
That means that 2006 was a record low and a record high.

Cassandra King

It is to hoped that the migration of scientists from the perceived mainstream wisdom of the day(AGW/MMCC/AAM)to a more rational sceptical and common sense position will become common in the months to come.
The so called consensus is failing, the models are failing to match real world observations and the narrative is starting to look like what it is.
Science is and always has been about proving others wrong, falsification of others work and the constant improving of science through ever more detailed research.
No theory can be above critisism, no scientific discovery is above questioning and critisism, the certainty of the fool has no palce in science as history as proved again and again, the brightest scientific brains of the 18/19/20th centuries held beliefs and certainties that we now know are ridiculous.
Newton himself a genius of the ages held views so utterly wrong that we would laugh at them now, Einstein himself made errors of epic proportions and yet he is rightly regarded as a giant.
Science is the escape from ignorance, the dogged messy and determined pursuit of knowledge that has always entailed fighting against the commonly held wisdom of the day. Theories come into being and are knocked down to be replaced with better theories, old certainties are destroyed and new ones take their place.
The vain attempt to somehow preserve a theory from falsification and critisism is merely delaying the eventual demise of that theory, when the protected theory falls it will fall harder and hurt those supporters harder, it is to be hoped that more scientists will realise this and move out of the way before they are crushed by the fall out.

AlanG

Leif, your post appeared after I had sent mine so apologies. The only possible explanation I have for the fact that ‘nothing correlates’ is Lindzen’s comment that the climate is never at equilibrium. The overall temperature then becomes a running mean.

Amino Acids in Meteorites

i see ‘robust’ again. think I’ll vomit.

Lon Hocker

Cassandra King (23:55:42) :
Beautifully written.
Thanks.

Darkinbad the Brightdayler

The sun has an effect on earths’ climate cycles?
I’d never have guessed that in a million years.

geronimo

@cassandra king: “The vain attempt to somehow preserve a theory from falsification and critisism is merely delaying the eventual demise of that theory, when the protected theory falls it will fall harder and hurt those supporters harder, it is to be hoped that more scientists will realise this and move out of the way before they are crushed by the fall out.”
Good post I like the last sentence, it brings to mind the eugenics craze of the last century.
Steve, let’s give them a break, there is no merit in consistency in science, and if you are a real scientist you report what you’ve seen. In fact it takes a lot of courage to reverse your previous opinions in the face of new evidence.
Anyway, the alarmists will tell you that this in no way contradicts the CAGW theory, because nothing does.

AlanG (23:49:18) :
* Ultraviolet irradiance (EUV) varies by approximately 1.5 percent from solar maxima to minima, for 200 to 300 nm UV.[42]
Lots of confusion about UV. The EUV which has a an Extremely low wavelength of ~30 nm [that’s the E in EUV] varies in phase with the sunspot number, but there is Extremely little of it [0.0005 W/m2 or so] and it doesn’t get down to the stratosphere.
The 200-300 nm ordinary UV actually varies inversely with the sunspot number: fewer spots, more UV. see the bottom two panels of http://www.leif.org/research/Erl70.png
* A proxy study estimates that UV has increased by 3% since the Maunder Minimum
cite, please. I bet it is based on Hoyt and Schatten’s obsolete TSI.

“established a statistical link between cold weather and low solar activity”
You couldn’t make it up could you.

stevengoddard (23:55:32) :
That means that 2006 was a record low and a record high.
Hathaway said in 2006 that the data [up to 2004] were at record low, so no disagreement.

Nick

Lockwood said in 2007 that there was no sun link to our current climate change, which has been unfolding over the last century. In context ,that claim was a response to those who claimed that AGW was in fact a result of the sun’s behavior over that period. In what way does his latest paper contradict this? In this paper,according to the abstract ,he discusses the influence of current low solar output over a short term and small area; “We stress that this is a regional and seasonal effect relating to European winters and not a global effect.” In what way is Lockwood reversing his professional “polarity” here?

Graeme From Melbourne

Fitzy (22:05:08) :
Ah Ha!
So the Sun, which has no effect on climate (says U.N), has an effect on climate!
I knew sooner or later science WOULD/WOULD NOT discover, the primary mechanism that DOES/DOES NOT affect the weather.
Now that we kNOW/DON’T KNOW what effect the Sun IS/ISN’Thaving on the planet, we CAN/CAN’Tset a new tax regime that WILL/WON’T save the planet from GLOBAL WARMING/COOLING.
Luckily we’vre prepared an army of useful idiots to beg the UN for a totalitarian government based on what we KNOW/DON’T KNOW, and can get
down to really screwing mankind over for having such a NEGATIVE/POSITIVE effect on the CLIMATE/ARTIC ICE/UNICORNS/FAIRIES…
Ah me,….when did science get so schizophrenic? I feel terribly Post normal.

Ahhh Fitzy – a commenter after my own left ventrical…

All claims a bit dubious science of course.
The geomagnetic field and the sunspot activity are correlated
http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/LFC9.htm
and so is the GMF and CET(central England Temp).
http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/LFC8.htm
http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/CETt.htm

Patagon

Wait, wait, Figure 2 shows a fit of the solar flux to a short version of the Hockey Stick. Suspicious isn’t it?

Thomas J. Arnold.

‘Lockwood is quick to point out that even if the recent lull in sunspot activity extends into another Maunder minimum, the effects are regional and it will not offset global warming. “This is very much a European phenomenon,” he says.’
http://www.nature.com/news/2010/100414/full/news.2010.184.html
OK so he says this will affect only Europe but then says a Maunder Minimum will not affect global temps ~ er warming?
Does not make sense to me; surely a Maunder Minimum like effect would have global consequences, or am I not seeing this clearly?

Having now read this and the linked articles, am I missing something.
Lockwood is saying low sun activity = harsher winters over Europe.
Is that it???

AlanG

OT, but there is an article in today’s FT about Climategate. It’s on their web site but behind a paywall so I’m transcribing some of the article from the paper. Perhaps someone else has a login. This will all be old news to people here. The FT is still in full establishment mode and their reporting is as selectively misleading as it is out of date.
Sceptics quizzed by police on beliefs
Police investigating the alleged theft of e-mails behind the recent “Climategate” uproar have been telephoning climate change sceptics to question about their political and scientific beliefs.
The Norfolk Constabulary was called in by the University of East Anglia after thousands of climate scientists’ confidential e-mails were published on-line last November. The documents appear to show the scientists concealing information and manipulating data to fit their theories although two independent inquiries have cleared the university of wrong doing…

Well, state of mind is acceptable evidence in a UK court of law so there is nothing sinister here folks 🙂 Should I volunteer and tell them about climate sensitivity, the PDO and the way CRU obstructed FOI requests and cooked the [temperature] books? Perhaps not.

John Trigge

It’s nice to know that we have a different sun in Australia and that our CO2 will cause our temps will remain on the increase.
“We stress that this is a regional and seasonal effect relating to European winters and not a global effect.”

Nick

Steve @23:55:32,if you read the March 12th NASA article,you’ll see this:
‘The second surprise has to do with the bottom of the conveyor belt’….etc.
[Hathaway]”While the top of the conveyor belt has been moving at record-high speed, the bottom seems to be moving at record-low speed. Another contradiction”

Jimbo

They say one thing, sceptics say another, we are called all sorts of names then down the line they concur or disagree. The science is settled. This is why I am sceptical of ANY new claims by these so called climate scientists. They really don’t know!!

My humble paper showed a remarkable correlation between global temperatures and the position of the Earth’s magnetic poles, but some journals rejected it because it was just a correlation with an unknown mechanism, yet here we see correlations without a mechanism seized on as the new truth.
However surely Lockwood is wrong as the hockey stick doesn’t show the low temperatures of the little ice age so it couldn’t have happened, or was Mann wrong?
Today’s Telegraph in the UK
“The ‘hockey stick’ that became emblematic of the threat posed by climate change exaggerated the rise in temperature because it was created using ‘inappropriate’ methods, according to the head of the Royal Statistical Society.”

FergalR

[off topic. try tips and notes. ~ ctm]

John Finn

I think people might be reading more into this than they should. Lockwood is not suggesting that solar activity is going to increase earth’s temperature – just that it may trigger the (well-known) cycles which affect ‘regional’ climate. Note that although it was a cold winter in *some* parts of the NH, the earth, as a whole, was particularly warm.
I’m not sure the solar link even exists. The coldest UK winter in the past 250 years was in 1962/63. This, though, occurred during solar cycle with the highest sunspot ever recorded (SC 19). Also Lockwood himself is quoted as saying “If we look at the last period of very low solar activity at the end of the 17th Century, we find the coldest winter on record in 1684, but the very next year – when solar activity was still low – saw third warmest winter in the entire 350-year (CET) record.
So there appears to be a link – except when there isn’t.
Finally there is the mistaken belief on this blog that AGWers don’t accept a solar-climate link. This is WRONG. In addition to the Lockwood study (above), Gavin Schmidt, Mike Mann and Drew Shindell have been involved in maunder minimum studies which come to pretty much the same conclusion as Lockwood.
They need solar variability in order to explain past climate fluctuations (repeating myself again). Without solar variability they would have to admit they didn’t know what was responsible for previous changes. Be warned!

Michael

OT
Iceland just farted on England. I’m sorry, I couldn’t help myself. ROTFLMAO. Check the news.

RichieP

@ stan stendera (22:57:14) :
“A rat deserting the sinking good ship AGW!”
Not if the BBC story is anything to go by:
“But they added that the phenomenon only affected a limited region and would not alter the overall global warming trend. ”
It’ll take more than evidence to shift these people’s beliefs. Cognitive dissonance is a powerful phenomenon and has a tendency to produce warmth even where there is none. Here in the Uk we are now fully committed, by both major parties’ policies, to enormous reductions in emissions of that deadly pollutant CO2. If we don’t freeze or fry, we’ll certainly be even more impoverished than we are currently.