Bait and switch; business as usual

Reading the headline and first paragraph of this press release from FECYT – Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology one might think they are making a case for natural cycles. Sadly, no, not so much.

Man, volcanoes and the sun have influenced Europe’s climate over recent centuries

This is a photograph of Mount Etna in Italy. Credit: Gaeti

An International research team has discovered that seasonal temperatures in Europe, above all in winter, have been affected over the past 500 years by natural factors such as volcanic eruptions and solar activity, and by human activities such as the emission of greenhouse gases. The study, with Spanish involvement, could help us to better understand the dynamics of climate change.

Up until now, it was thought that Europe’s climate prior to 1900 was barely affected by external factors, but now a group of scientists has shown that natural phenomena such as volcanic eruptions or solar radiation, as well as human emissions of aerosols and greenhouse gases, have had an impact on the evolution of Europe’s climate over the past five centuries.

“The influence of the increase in levels of greenhouse gases, in particular, can be clearly seen since the end of the 17th Century”, Jesús Fidel González Rouco, a physicist at the Complutense University of Madrid and co-author of the study, which has recently been published online in the journal Nature Geoscience, tells SINC.

The researchers studied how natural and human factors affected temperatures across Europe throughout the seasons in the years from 1500 to 2000. The results show that winter is the season in which changes in levels of greenhouse gases and aerosols from manmade sources can be seen to have the clearest influence.

As reliable temperature records do not go back any further than 150 years, the team carried out simulations using three climate models and reconstructed past climate scenarios based on old instrumental observations, information recorded in historical documents and by studying tree rings.

Lessons for climate change

“For the first time we are able to attribute causes to how the climate has evolved over several centuries, working at continental and seasonal scale”, says González Rouco. “And the relevance of this approach is based on the fact that the impact of any possible climate change can be greater for societies and ecosystems within the range of these spatial and time-based scales”.

Scientists say that Europe’s climate “has in the past been sensitive to variations in radiative forcing from natural and human sources (changes in the energy received from the Sun, in volcanic activity, or in levels of greenhouse gases), so it is to be expected that the intense current and future variations in these forcings will play a significant role in the future evolution of Europe’s climate”.

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This study was led by the University of Edinburgh (United Kingdom) with the participation of the Complutense University, the Justus-Liebig University (Giessen, Germany) and the University of Berne (Switzerland).

References:

Gabriele Hegerl, Juerg Luterbacher, Fidel González-Rouco, Simon F. B. Tett, Thomas Crowley y Elena Xoplaki. “Influence of human and natural forcing on European seasonal temperaturas”. Nature Geoscience, 16 de enero de 2011 (avance on line). DOI: 10.1038/NGEO1057.

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44 thoughts on “Bait and switch; business as usual

  1. “Up until now, it was thought that Europe’s climate prior to 1900 was barely affected by external factors”
    Who thought that?

  2. The purpose of this seems to be to get rid of the LIA by proposing that the recovery from it is significantly caused by human activity.
    Thus it is an attempt to deal with the common proposition that all the warming observed up to 2000 could be due to that recovery.
    The trouble is though that from the depths of the LIA to 2000 there was a substantial change in the meridionality/ zonality of the jet streams and a shift from a very equatorward position around 1600 (if ships logs are anything to go by) to a very much more zonal/poleward position in the late 20th century.
    That is all very well up to 2000 even if it does involve AGW claiming to significantly affect jet stream behaviour and positioning.
    However since 2000 the jets have been becoming more meridional and shifting equatorward again but CO2 continues to increase.
    So this report is already falsified.

  3. The spin on this being that NO massive volcanic activity nor the same regarding solar means Winter’s wrath can only be attributed to C02. Who would care to wager that’s NOT the next play here? Anyone?

  4. “The influence of the increase in levels of greenhouse gases, in particular, can be clearly seen since the end of the 17th Century”
    I knew it, the Little Ice Age was ended by evil man’s emissions of CO2!
    Oh, I forgot there wasn’t a Little Ice Age.

  5. As reliable temperature records do not go back any further than 150 years
    =====================================================
    How convenient……
    Start measuring at the end of the LIA.
    You could only hope that temperatures would have increased since then.

  6. Now, they’re trying to antedate “human emissions of aerosols and greenhouse gases” by four centuries, huh? Unfortunately for them, it still doesn’t mean the recent warming was anomalous compared to, say, the Older Peron era.

  7. Up until now, it was thought that Europe’s climate prior to 1900 was barely affected by external factors . . .
    And then they insert a comma and contradict themselves. Maybe this is an automatic translation from Spanish. I hope so. The word that comes to mind is “vaporware” – as in, ‘we don’t really have anything but we want you to pay attention to us’.

  8. As I look out my window at accumulated N.E. snow, with more expected on Friday, I wonder how many square miles * days of roadways and driveways have been cleared. All these now dark surfaces have much lower albedo than snow, so in addition to allowing us to travel & transport, we probably are causing some measure of temperature rise.
    Does anyone have an idea how much snow removal affects global temperatures? Did this Spanish study consider this land use effect in its 500 year study? (Yeah, right!)

  9. “Up until now, it was thought that Europe’s climate prior to 1900 was barely affected by external factors, but now a group of scientists has shown that natural phenomena such as volcanic eruptions or solar radiation, as well as human emissions of aerosols and greenhouse gases, have had an impact on the evolution of Europe’s climate over the past five centuries.”
    Err… what?? Why would volcanoes or the sun only effect the climate after 1900? Has something been lost in translation here?
    “The influence of the increase in levels of greenhouse gases, in particular, can be clearly seen since the end of the 17th Century.”
    How could this possibly be true? What greenhouse gasses did we start pumping out in significant amounts in the late 1600s? CO2? Methane? What? Do these guys need someone to lend them a history book?

  10. “Up until now, it was thought that Europe’s climate prior to 1900 was barely affected by external factors”
    Complete Strawman argument. Absolutely NO ONE thought that…

  11. The results show that winter is the season in which changes in levels of greenhouse gases and aerosols from manmade sources can be seen to have the clearest influence.
    I’m assuming they mean trend to warmer winter.
    Winter of 1898 / 1899 A.D. In the United States, the Mississippi River froze its entire length down to the Gulf of Mexico. Some ice even flowed into the Gulf. In places like Cairo, Illinois the thickness of the ice was 13 inches (33 centimeters). The ice in New Orleans was two inches (5 centimeters) thick and one inch (2.5 centimeters) thick at the mouth of the Mississippi River. During four consecutive days the cold weather was so severe that the event was referred to as “The Great Cold Wave”. On February 10, a strong storm came down from Canada. Logan, Montana recorded a low temperatures of -61° F (-52° C). On February 11, at Quantico, Virginia recorded temperatures of -30° F (-34° C). Pittsburg, Pennsylvania saw a temperature of -20° F (-29° C). In Chicago, the ground froze to a depth of 5 feet (1.5 meters). The storm traveled up the East Coast depositing 2 feet (0.6 meters) of snow in Washington D.C. and 4 feet (1.2 meters) of snow in Philadelphia, New York, and Boston and 10 feet (3 meters) of snow in the Chesapeake Bay area. On February 14, Tallahassee, Florida saw temperatures as cold as -2° F (-19° C). Other locations that saw rare low temperatures include Dallas, Texas at -10° F (-23° C), Kansas City, Missouri at -22° F (-30° C), and Scottsbluff, Nebraska at -45° F (-43° C).
    1899: When the Mississippi River Entirely Froze, URL: http://www.sciencefacts.us/1899-when-the-mississippi-riverentirely-froze/ [cited 11 June 2010]
    February 1899: The Worst Cold Snap in North American History, URL: http://www.britannica.com/blogs/2009/02/february-1899-the-worst-cold-snap-in-north-american-history/ [cited 11 June 2010]

  12. Anthony,
    Funny, when I put the sea surface temperture map over top the satelite map, I get a evaporation making machine in effect.

  13. “Robert says:
    January 19, 2011 at 8:34 am
    “Up until now, it was thought that Europe’s climate prior to 1900 was barely affected by external factors”
    Who thought that?”
    People who believe in AGW are believers in the “Hockey Stick”
    They think the Climate was stable until people started putting CO2 into the atmosphere.
    I think this is something many skeptics do not appreciate.
    The believers see Climate as something that does not change unless acted upon by a “forcing”. eg. CO2 or volcanoes. This paradigm means that any change can be seen as evidence humans are causing it.
    The alternative world view is that Climate is chaotic and constantly changing and so evidence that change happens is not evidence of AGW.
    I can’t take credit for this observation. I learnt it reading things on WUWT.

  14. “the team carried out simulations using three climate models and reconstructed past climate scenarios based on old instrumental observations, information recorded in historical documents and by studying tree rings.”
    In plain English, an exercise in speculation and tea leaves reading.

  15. Ulric Lyons says:
    January 19, 2011 at 9:32 am
    “The influence of the increase in levels of greenhouse gases, in particular, can be clearly seen since the end of the 17th Century”
    And then winter temperatures dropped from the 1730`s for over 100yrs;
    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/CETt.htm

    Furthermore, both (simultaneously) the summer and winter temperatures of 1730s were exceeded for the first time more than 250 years later in 1990s.
    Not much of the AGW arround in 1730.

  16. Here’s the biggest whopper found in this purely political nonsense:
    “As reliable temperature records do not go back any further than 150 years [blah, blah, blah]”
    As Anthony knows all too well, the truth is that the temperature record of the last 150 years is arguably the LEAST reliable temperature data of ALL (and, we have at least two examples of peer reviewed science to substantiate that fact).
    Well, okay…
    Michael Mann’s Hockey Stick is even less reliable. But, that was just out and out fraud. And, climate models — such as were used in this “study” — are just plain fantasy.
    The most reliable temperature data are found in the ice core studies done in the Arctic and the Antarctic combined with contemporary instrument measurements from those locations. But, for obvious reasons, the climate alarm charlatans never want us to look at that data.

  17. …human emissions of aerosols and greenhouse gases, have had an impact on the evolution of Europe’s climate over the past five centuries.
    I’m no historian, but I don’t think aerosols have been around for five centuries.

  18. It all started when man discovered fire. I can remember when that was taught as a good thing.
    To eliminate confusion it might be better to first prove there is catastrophic climate change that is man made before they predict the damages.

  19. Ever since some bright sparks in the cAGW community claimed that neolithic man started global warming by deforestation (can’t remember where and when I saw that), nothing coming from those people surprises me any longer.

  20. Up until now, it was thought that Europe’s climate prior to 1900 was barely affected by external factors,

    Only by climate pscientists and other ignorant folk.

    but now a group of scientists has shown that natural phenomena such as volcanic eruptions or solar radiation,

    D’oh!

    as well as human emissions of aerosols and greenhouse gases,

    [Obligatory genuflection]

    have had an impact on the evolution of Europe’s climate over the past five centuries.

    Nature Geoscience must have had a lot of empty space to fill…

  21. They used old instrumental observations to go back to the 17th century. That can only be the CET which started in 1659. They then supplemented this with tree rings – ok, lets assume for the sake of argument that this reliably shows temperatures rising. They then ran the model, which everybody knows can only account for warming by using co2 forcing.
    What do you conclude from this result? Why, a co2 increase in the 17th century led to European warming. Anyone spot the obvious glitch in this conclusion? Correct – co2 levels remained flat until the 19th century (well, according to the IPCC, anyway). Yet somehow they believe the conclusion of a model that attributes warming to an increase in co2 that didn’t exist, rather than believe the models are simply wrong. Brilliant.

  22. The presupposition to this study is that ANY increase/change in average temperature (Whatever that might be when it’s at home) is due to greenhouse gases, specifically CO2. They assume this as a given. It is beyond question. All other ‘facts’ have to revolve around CO2=global warming. Like the old sun around the earth. Same level of science.

  23. “Up until now, it was thought that Europe’s climate prior to 1900 was barely affected by external factors …”
    Perhaps I’m being stupid but could someone please explain what the difference is between external and internal factors affecting climate?

  24. European temperatures and climate were no doubt affected locally by the use of coal and wood for heating and other purposes. Those who have seen the movie, Mary Poppins, will recall the many chimneys and smoke, and London suffered, for hundreds of years, bad air pollution. However, this was unlikely to have affected the broader climate through production of CO2.

  25. “”””” latitude says:
    January 19, 2011 at 8:44 am
    As reliable temperature records do not go back any further than 150 years
    =====================================================
    How convenient……
    Start measuring at the end of the LIA. “””””
    Actually they likely don’t go back to pre 1980; so that is one complete climate cycle of 30 years. That is about when the array of oceanic buoys started measuring simultaneous oceanic near surface (-1 metre) water Temperatures which comprise much of the pre 1980 Temps for 70% of the earth Total surface; and the lower Troposphere (+3 metres) oceanic air Temperatures.
    John Christy et al reported in Jan 2001 on 20 years of that data, that water temps inflated the tropo Temperature change by about 40%; and air and water aren’t correlated; so correction of the previous 130 years of tropo data is not possible; well other than by experts like Michael Mann; who can do wonders with a single tree.
    So I don’t believe global temps or anomalies prior to 1980 nor CO2 prior to 1957/8.
    But you are free to believe whatever you like.

  26. Based on the specific heat capacity of gases at 25 degrees C, if the average temperature of CO2 molecules increased by 10 centigrade degrees, the average temperature of the CO2, O2 and N2 combined would increase by about 0.05 degrees C, not measurable.
    It has been 57 years since I took college chemistry (engineer/chemistry major level), and the units have been changed from the English standards of measurement to metric, but do the calcs for yourselves.
    “A little learning is a dangerous thing;
    Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring:
    There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain,
    And drinking largely sobers us again.”
    Attribution: Essay on Criticism. Part ii. Line 15. ~ Alexander Pope
    It seems that “science” has been overtaken by authorities with little learning. Experts who have learned more and more about less and less until they know much about very little.
    The concept of atmospheric warming due to CO2 increases is flat out absurd, and easily falsified. Find a professional chemical engineer and ask, or look at a chemical engineering handbook. Concentrations of CO2 5 times the present would have no significance as to average temperature of the global atmosphere.
    It sure looks to me as if the planet is quickly falling into another ice age. Great increases of geological movement (strong earthquakes), great increases of volcanic activity, the south polar ice cap growing so fast that the ocean levels are diminishing. Only time will tell.
    Drink of some knowledge, fundamentals of chemistry, statics & dynamics, thermodynamics and electrical physics and sober up.
    Non-linear and chaotic systems can not be modeled. Foreseeing the future is an impossibility.

  27. so, they are using data from a model and inconsistent and unreliable tree ring data to HINDCAST forecast what temps were like back to 1500? And they call all that science? They call their output reliable science?
    If I take my pay now, and over the last few years, and hindcast it to several decades ago, then I HAD to be making $15 an hour when I was 12. The models prove it so it must be true.

  28. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGGG! I can’t take it anymore! I hope my fellow geoscientists read this stuff and write some letters to the editors. This is garbage science at it’s finest.

  29. More garbage for the garbage bin.
    I can hear the sound of the trash compactor now.
    And it is truly a “bait and switch” as described.
    In the world of real estate, stocks, or any other such commodity, a “bait and switch” technique….which is a blatant, purposeful, contrived logical fallacy too…would land one at least stripped of their broker’s license….if not in jail.
    Not so in science.
    The crazy thing is THIS bait and switch…unlike bait and switch real estate and stock market decisions…this one up ends up in TRILLIONS of dollars in diverted (stolen) money.
    Talk about crimes…
    Chris
    Norfolk, VA, USA

  30. To be honest,
    I do not care what is the cause, or why, or when.
    Just please make it a bit more warm …..
    Thank you.
    Tipping point ? That is where I should put the garbage ?
    Taxes ? Ok I will pay something with joy, if you make it 5 degrees more warm on average in Scandinavia for the duration of at least five years. Otherwise don’t count on my money without my most furious resistance.

  31. “Up until now, it was thought that Europe’s climate prior to 1900 was barely affected by external factors…”
    WTF?!? When was this ever claimed?

  32. http://articles.adsabs.harvard.edu/cgi-bin/nph-iarticle_query?2003ESASP.535..393S&data_type=PDF
    2003ESASP.535..393S
    Jaroslav StreStlk
    Geophysical Institute AS CR, Bocni 11 1401, 141 31 Prague, Czech Republic, Email: redacted
    Abstract:
    Volcanic activity on the Earth is described by special annual indices available since 1500. These indices have been compared with annual sunspot numbers. Volcanic activity displays no ll-yr periodicity. Using 2l-yr running averages a striking similarity between these two time series is clearly seen. Volcanic activity is generally lower in periods of prolonged maxima of solar activity and higher in periods of prolonged solar minima. There is also a similarity between the spectra
    of these two series in the long-period range. Main peaks are located in the same periods in both series (200-215 yr, 100-105 yr, 80-90 yr). The influence of volcanic activity on the climate is indubitable. Annual means of surface air temperature display similar longterm periodicity as the volcanic activity.
    Conclusions:
    The narrow similarity between solar and volcanic activity in the long-term scale suggests two quite different possible consequences:
    a. Solar activity governs the volcanic activity on the Earth in long-term scale. Volcanic activity is usually higher in periods of prolonged minima of solar activity and vice versa. However, the mechanism of this forcing is not known. Perhaps
    geomagnetic activity mediates solar influences (unfortunately, series of these data are too short). If it will be confirnled in the future, then solar
    influences on the climate could be considered as being mediated by the volcanic activity, creating a chain: solar activity – (geomagnetic activity) –
    volcanic activity – climate changes. Direct solar influence on climatic changes is, of course, not excluded. But it is difficult to distinguish what part of these changes is mediated by volcanic activity and what part is direct solar influence. It would be also necessary to explain why this chain does not work in short-term scale.
    b. The similarity of the long-term course of solar and volcanic activity is accidental and is pronounced only in the last few centuries. Then long-term natural climatic changes would be caused only by long-term changes of volcanic activity. The role of solar activity would be in this case only apparent due to the accidentally similar course of both activities during the last five centuries. Nevertheless, some small direct solar influence is not excluded. In this case no similarity in shortterm
    scale can be expected and it is not necessary to look for an explanation why it is not observed. These two different conclusions mean that the
    investigation of solar, volcanic and climatic changes together in a considerably longer period (at least one millenium) is very desirable.

  33. James Evans says:
    January 19, 2011 at 9:19 am
    Why would volcanoes or the sun only effect the climate after 1900?
    The paper actually says [a bit contrary to the press blurp]:
    “Thus, the detection of a solar response in European summer temperatures remains uncertain. Regressions of the solar forcing timeseries on European temperatures in other seasons than summer (JJA) show no evidence for a detectable solar signal”
    So scratch the Sun.

  34. aaron says:
    January 19, 2011 at 9:47 pm
    b. The similarity of the long-term course of solar and volcanic activity is accidental and is pronounced only in the last few centuries. Then long-term natural climatic changes would be caused only by long-term changes of volcanic activity. The role of solar activity would be in this case only apparent due to the accidentally similar course of both activities during the last five centuries.
    This is eminently plausible. When it comes to long-term changes the number of degrees of freedom is generally low as the time resolution tends to be poorer.

  35. No, no, no. You’re not getting it. See, volcanoes pump nasty GHGs into the atmosphere, and so do hoomans. So, just like volcanoes, hoomans Damage the Climate.
    See how easy once you know where the train is going?

  36. SUV’s, aircraft, steamships, factories, oil and coal fired generators and electrical/electronic appliances must have been far more common in the 16th, 17th and 18th C that we thought. What would science do without tree rings?

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