Guest post by Alec Rawls
“Expert review” of the First Order Draft of AR5 closed on the 10th. Here is the first paragraph of my submitted critique:
My training is in economics where we are very familiar with what statisticians call “the omitted variable problem” (or when it is intentional, “omitted variable fraud”). Whenever an explanatory variable is omitted from a statistical analysis, its explanatory power gets misattributed to any correlated variables that are included. This problem is manifest at the very highest level of AR5, and is built into each step of its analysis.
Like everyone else who participated in this review, I agreed not to cite, quote or distribute the draft. The IPCC also made a further request, which reviewers were not required to agree to, that we “not discuss the contents of the FOD in public fora such as blogs.”
Given what I found—systematic fraud—it would not be moral to honor this un-agreed to request, and because my comments are about what is omitted, the fraud is easy enough to expose without quoting the draft. My entire review (4700 words) only contains a half dozen quotes, which can easily be replaced here with descriptions of the quoted material. Cited section numbers are also easy to replace with descriptions of the subjects addressed. And so with Anthony’s permission, here is the rest of my minimally altered review:
Introduction to the “omitted variable fraud” critique, continued
For the 1750-2010 period examined, two variables correlate strongly with the observed warming (and hence with each other). Solar magnetic activity and atmospheric CO2 were both trending upwards over the period, and both stepped up to much higher levels over the second half of the 20th century. These two correlations with temperature change give rise to the two main competing theories of 20th century warming. Was it driven by rapidly increasing human release of CO2, or by the 80 year “grand maximum” of solar activity that began in the early 1920’s? (“Grand minima and maxima of solar activity: new observational constraints,” Usoskin et al. 2007.)
The empirical evidence in favor of the solar explanation is overwhelming. Dozens of peer-reviewed studies have found a very high degree of correlation (.5 to .8) between solar-magnetic activity and global temperature going back many thousands of years (Bond 2001, Neff 2001, Shaviv 2003, Usoskin 2005, and many others listed below). In other words, solar activity “explains,” in the statistical sense, 50 to 80% of past temperature change.
Such a high degree of correlation over such long time periods implies causality, which can only go one way. Global temperature cannot be driving solar activity, so there must be some mechanism by which solar activity is driving or modulating global temperature change. The high degree of correlation also suggests that solar activity is the primary driver of global temperature on every time scale studied (which is pretty much every time scale but the Milankovitch cycle).
In contrast, records of CO2 and temperature reveal no discernable warming effect of CO2. There is a correlation between atmospheric CO2 and temperature, but with CO2 changes following temperature changes by an average of about 800 years (Caillon 2003), indicating that it is temperature change that is driving atmospheric CO2 change (as it should, since warming oceans are able to hold less CO2). This does not rule out the possibility that CO2 also drives temperature, and in theory a doubling of CO2 should cause about a 1 degree increase in temperature before any feedback effects are accounted, but feedbacks could be negative (dampening rather than amplifying temperature forcings), so there no reason, just from what we know about the greenhouse mechanism, that CO2 has to be a significant player. The one thing we can say is that whatever the warming effect of CO2, it is not detectable in the raw CO2 vs. temperature data.
This is in glaring contrast to solar activity, which lights up like a neon sign in the raw data. Literally dozens of studies finding .5 to .8 degrees of correlation with temperature. So how is it that the IPCC’s current generation of general circulation models start with the assumption that CO2 has done 40 times as much to warm the planet as solar activity since 1750? This is the ratio of AR5’s radiative forcing estimates for variation in CO2 and variation in total solar effects between 1750 and 2010, as listed in [the table of RF estimates in the chapter on human and natural temperature forcing factors]. RF for CO2 is entered as ___ W/m^2 while RF for total solar effects is entered as ___ W/m^2. [I’m not going to quote the actual numbers, but yeah, the ratio is an astounding 40 to 1, up from 14 to 1 in AR4, which listed total solar forcing as 0.12 W/m^2, vs. 1.66 for CO2.]
So the 50% driver of global temperature according to mountains of temperature correlation data is assumed to have 1/40th the warming effect of something whose warming effect is not even discernable in the temperature record. This is on the input side of the GCM’s. The models aren’t using gigaflops of computing power to find that CO2 has that much larger a warming effect. The warming ratio is fixed at the outset. Garbage in, garbage out.
The “how” is very simple. The 40 times greater warming effect of CO2 is achieved by blatant omitted variable fraud. As I will fully document, all of the evidence for a strong solar magnetic driver of climate is simply left out of AR5. Of the many careful empirical studies that show a high correlation between solar activity and climate, only three papers are obliquely referenced in a single sentence of the entire First Order Draft. On [page___, line ____ of the chapter on aerosols and clouds] there is a bare reference to three papers that found unspecified correlations to some climate variables, with no mention of the dramatic magnitude of the correlations, or the scope and repetition of the findings. And that’s it. Not a single other mention in the entire report. A person reading AR5 from cover to cover would come away with not even a hint that for more than ten years a veritable flood of studies have been finding solar activity to explain something on the order of half of all past temperature variation. The omission is virtually complete.
As a result, AR5 misattributes virtually all of the explanatory power of solar-magnetic activity to the correlated CO2 variable. This misattribution can be found both in AR5’s analytical discussions and in its statistical estimations and projections, and the error could not be more consequential. If it is solar-magnetic activity that drives climate then the sun’s recent descent into a state of profound quiescence portends imminent global cooling, possibly rapid and severe, and unlike warming, cooling is actually dangerous and really can feed back on itself in runaway fashion.
Nothing could be more perverse in such a circumstance than to unplug the modern world in a misbegotten jihad against CO2. The IPCC’s omitted variable fraud must stop. AR5’s misattribution of 20th century warming to CO2 must stop. The evidence overwhelmingly supports the solar-magnetic warming theory. The only support for the CO2 theory is the fact that models built on it can achieve a reasonable fit to the last couple centuries of temperature history, but that is only because CO2 is roughly correlated with solar activity over this period, while these models themselves are invalidated by their demonstrable omitted variable fraud. If warming is attributed to solar-magnetic effects at all in accordance with the evidence then the warming that is left to attribute to CO2 becomes utterly benign.
With natural temperature variation almost certainly both substantially larger than CO2 effects, and headed in the cooling direction, the expected external value of CO2 is unambiguously positive. If anything, we should subsidizing and promoting increases in atmospheric CO2, exactly the opposite of the draft report’s opening claim that developments since AR4 “… [summary conclusion about scientists supposedly being more sure than ever (thanks to the absence of any 21st century warming?) that the effects of human activity are the primary climate concern].”
As someone who recognizes the scientific errors in this disastrous report, I can at least make sure that the issue is put properly before the authors of AR5. Thus I am documenting as concisely as possible the solar-magnetic omission and the errors it leads to. The discussion is substantial but I have kept it well under the character limit for a single comment. This comment is being submitted as a top-level comment on AR5 as a whole, and it is being submitted unaltered as a comment on three different sub-chapter headings where the omitted solar-magnetic evidence ought to be taken into account: ____, ____, ____ [a subheading in the paleo-data chapter, a subheading in the chapter on clouds and aerosols, and a subheading in the radiative forcing chapter].
A sample of the omitted evidence
Listed below are a few of the most prominent and compelling studies that have found a strong correlations between solar activity and climate, together with a semi-random collection of similar findings, totaling two dozen citations all together. It would be easy to list two dozen more, but the purpose here is just to show a sample of the omitted evidence, in order to document up-front the existence and validity of it. Included are brief descriptions of the findings for about ten of the studies. None of the observed correlations are reported anywhere in AR5. The first four are the ones I mentioned above:
Bond et al. 2001, “Persistent Solar Influence on North Atlantic Climate During the Holocene,” Science.
Excerpt from Bond: “Over the last 12,000 years virtually every centennial time scale increase in drift ice documented in our North Atlantic records was tied to a distinct interval of variable and, overall, reduced solar output.”
Neff et al. 2001, “Strong coherence between solar variability and the monsoon in Oman between 9 and 6 kyr ago,” Nature.
Finding from Neff: Correlation coefficients of .55 and .60.
Usoskin et. al. 2005, “Solar Activity Over the Last 1150 years: does it Correlate with Climate?” Proc. 13th Cool Stars Workshop.
Excerpt from Usoskin: “The long term trends in solar data and in northern hemisphere temperatures have a correlation coefficient of about 0.7 — .8 at a 94% — 98% confidence level.”
Shaviv and Veizer, 2003, “Celestial driver of Phanerozoic climate?” GSA Today.
Excerpt from Shaviv: “We find that at least 66% of the variance in the paleotemperature trend could be attributed to CRF [Cosmic Ray Flux] variations likely due to solar system passages through the spiral arms of the galaxy.” [Not strictly due to solar activity, but implicating the GCR, or CRF, that solar activity modulates.]
Plenty of anti-CO2 alarmists know about this stuff. Mike Lockwood and Claus Fröhlich, for instance, in their 2007 paper: “Recent oppositely directed trends in solar climate forcings and the global mean surface air temperature” (Proc. R. Soc. A), began by documenting how “[a] number of studies have indicated that solar variations had an effect on preindustrial climate throughout the Holocene.” In support, they cited 17 papers: the Bond and Neff articles from above, plus:
Davis & Shafer 1992; Jirikowic et al. 1993; Davis 1994; vanGeel et al. 1998; Yu&Ito 1999; Hu et al. 2003; Sarnthein et al. 2003; Christla et al. 2004; Prasad et al. 2004; Wei & Wang 2004; Maasch et al. 2005; Mayewski et al. 2005; Wang et al. 2005a; Bard & Frank 2006; and Polissar et al. 2006.
The correlations in most of these papers are not directly to temperature. They are to temperature proxies, some of which have a complex relationship with temperature, like Neff 2001, which found a correlation between solar activity and rainfall. Even so, the correlations tend to be strong, as if the whole gyre is somehow moving in broad synchrony with solar activity.
Some studies do examine correlations between solar activity proxies and direct temperature proxies, like the ratio of Oxygen18 to Oxygen16 in geologic samples. One such study (highlighted in Kirkby 2007) is Mangini et. al. 2005, “Reconstruction of temperature in the Central Alps during the past 2000 yr from a δ18O stalagmite record.”
Excerpt from Mangini: “… a high correlation between δ18O in SPA 12 and D14C (r =0.61). The maxima of δ18O coincide with solar minima (Dalton, Maunder, Sporer, Wolf, as well as with minima at around AD 700, 500 and 300). This correlation indicates that the variability of δ18O is driven by solar changes, in agreement with previous results on Holocene stalagmites from Oman, and from Central Germany.”
And that’s just old stuff. Here are four random recent papers.
Ogurtsov et al, 2010, “Variations in tree ring stable isotope records from northern Finland and their possible connection to solar activity,” JASTP.
Excerpt from Ogurtsov: “Statistical analysis of the carbon and oxygen stable isotope records reveals variations in the periods around 100, 11 and 3 years. A century scale connection between the 13C/12C record and solar activity is most evident.”
Di Rita, 2011, “A possible solar pacemaker for Holocene fluctuations of a salt-marsh in southern Italy,” Quaternary International.
Excerpt from Di Rita: “The chronological correspondence between the ages of saltmarsh vegetation reductions and the minimum concentration values of 10Be in the GISP2 ice core supports the hypothesis that important fluctuations in the extent of the salt-marsh in the coastal Tavoliere plain are related to variations of solar activity.”
Raspopov et al, 2011, “Variations in climate parameters at time intervals from hundreds to tens of millions of years in the past and its relation to solar activity,” JASTP.
Excerpt from Raspopov: “Our analysis of 200-year climatic oscillations in modern times and also data of other researchers referred to above suggest that these climatic oscillations can be attributed to solar forcing. The results obtained in our study for climatic variations millions of years ago indicate, in our opinion, that the 200- year solar cycle exerted a strong influence on climate parameters at those time intervals as well.”
Tan et al, 2011, “Climate patterns in north central China during the last 1800 yr and their possible driving force,” Clim. Past.
Excerpt from Tan: “Solar activity may be the dominant force that drove the same-phase variations of the temperature and precipitation in north central China.”
Saltmarshes, precipitation, “oscillations.” It’s all so science-fair. How about something just plain scary?
Solheim et al. 2011, “The long sunspot cycle 23 predicts a significant temperature decrease in cycle 24,” submitted astro-ph.
Excerpt from Solheim: “We find that for the Norwegian local stations investigated that 30-90% of the temperature increase in this period may be attributed to the Sun. For the average of 60 European stations we find ≈ 60% and globally (HadCRUT3) ≈ 50%. The same relations predict a temperature decrease of ≈ 0.9°C globally and 1.1−1.7°C for the Norwegian stations investigated from solar cycle 23 to 24.”
First paleo chapter error: omitting all solar variables besides TSI
The paleo-observations chapter is the right place for the evidence for a solar-magnetic climate driver to be introduced because most of this evidence is obtained from the deposition of cosmogenic isotopes in various paleologic strata: ice cores, geologic cores and tree rings. When solar activity is strong, less galactic cosmic radiation (GCR) is able to penetrate the solar wind and reach earth, making variation in cosmogenic isotopes found in time-indexed strata a proxy for solar activity. But when this chapter does get around to looking at cosmogenic records, it only looks at how they can be used to reconstruct total solar irradiance (TSI). It never even hints at the flood of studies that show a high degree of correlation between solar activity and various paleo proxies for climate and temperature!
This takes place [in the addendum that asks whether the sun is a major climate driver]. This addendum mentions the long-period changes in TSI that go with orbital variation (Milankovitch cycles), a factor which hasn’t changed enough since 1750 to account for any significant amount of the warming since that date. Neither can TSI changes from changes in the sun’s output of electromagnetic radiation be responsible for significant recent warming because, as solar activity jumps dramatically up and down over the roughly 11 year solar cycle, solar output is known to remain remarkably stable, varying only .1 to .2%.
Thus, concludes the addendum, the sun cannot be responsible for any significant amount of the warming since 1750. But it is only able to reach this conclusion by completely omitting any consideration those solar variables other than TSI that could be affecting global temperature. Unlike TSI, solar wind speed and pressure vary considerably over the solar cycle and between solar cycles. So do the Ap index and the F10.7cm radio flux progression, while the GCR that the solar wind modulates (measured by neutron counts at Climax, Oulu and other locations) can vary by a full order of magnitude over the solar cycle. In contrast, TSI varies so little that it is called “the solar constant.” If there is a mechanism by which solar variation is driving global temperature, it is most likely to work through those solar variables that actually vary significantly with solar activity. Yet the discussion in the addendum pretends that these other solar variables do not even exist.
So that’s the first error in the paleo-chapter addendum: pretending to have addressed the range of possible solar effects while studiously neglecting to mention that there are a bunch of solar variables that, unlike TSI, vary tremendously over the solar cycle and might affect our climate in ways that we do not yet understand. We in-effect live inside of the sun’s “atmosphere,” the extended corona created by the sun’s magnetic field and the solar wind. AR5 simply assumes that this solar environment has no effect on global climate, and they do it by rank omission of the relevant variables. The omitted variable problems that result are not an accident. They are omitted variable fraud.
Second paleo-chapter error: the highly irrational assumption that temperature would be driven by the trend in solar activity rather than the level
Perhaps in an effort to justify ignoring all solar variables other than TSI, the paleo-chapter addendum ends with what it presents as a general reason to dismiss the possibility that solar variation made any significant contribution to late 20th century warming by ANY mechanism:
[The statement here it the familiar claim that, because solar activity was not rising over the second half of the 20th century, it cannot possibly be responsible for late 20th century warming. I wrote a series of posts last year documenting the number of anti-CO2 alarmists who make this amazing claim, that it is not the level of forcing that creates warming, but the rate of change in the forcing. See for example, “Solar warming and ocean equilibrium Part 3: Solanki and Schuessler respond.”]
TSI peaks at the high point of the solar cycle just as the other solar variables do, so no matter what solar variable is looked at, it can’t have been the cause of recent warming, because none of these variables showed any upward trend over this period, right? Wrong. That’s like saying you can’t heat a pot of water by turning the flame to maximum and leaving it there, that you have to turn up the flame sloooooowly if you want the water to heat. It is incredible to see something so completely unscientific in AR5, passing as highly vetted science.
And the “flame” did stay on maximum. Again, there was an 80 year “grand maximum” of solar activity starting in the early 1920’s (Usoskin 2007).
[WUWT interjection for Leif and others who deny that there was a 20the century grand maximum of solar activity: if 20th century solar activity was merely “high instead of exceptional” (Muscheler 2007), it makes no difference to the argument here, as I explain in a postscript at the bottom.]
By claiming that solar activity would have had to keep rising in order to cause late 20th century warming, AR5 is in-effect assuming that by the late 70’s the oceans had already equilibrated to whatever temperature forcing effect the 20th century’s high level of solar activity might have. Otherwise the continued high level of solar activity would have caused continued warming.
Claims of rapid ocean equilibration have been made (Schwartz 2007), but they don’t stand up to scrutiny. In order to get his result, Schwartz used an energy balance model with the oceans represented by a single heat sink. That is, he assumed that the whole ocean changed temperature at once! Once you move to a 2 heat sink model where it takes time for heat to transfer from one ocean layer to another (Kirk-Davidoff 2009), rapid temperature adjustment of the upper ocean layer tells us next to nothing about how long it takes for the ocean to equilibrate to a long term forcing. [For an in-depth comparison of one heat-sink and the two heat-sink energy balance models see Part 2 of my ocean equilibration series.]
The paleo-temperature record is typified by multi-century warming and cooling phases, suggesting that equilibration can easily take centuries, making it ludicrous to assume that the warming effect of a grand maximum that began in the 1920’s must have been spent by 1970 or 1980 or by any particular date.
So no, there is no way to save the utterly incompetent argument in the paleo-chapter addendum that a solar driver of temperature can only cause warming when it is on the increase. If solar wind pressure or GCR does in some way drive global temperature, there is every reason to believe that it would have continued to warm the planet for as long as solar activity remained at grand maximum levels. There is no excuse for the IPCC to be omitting these variables, which are much more likely than TSI to be responsible for the high observed degree of correlation between solar activity and climate. For the paleo chapter to be tenable, all of the now massive evidence that there is some mechanism by which solar activity is driving most temperature change must be laid out in full.
Technical note: misattribution is assigned manually in AR5, but the concept is the same as for purely statistical omitted variable fraud
If TSI and the other solar variables all move roughly together, won’t omitting the solar variables other than TSI cause their explanatory power to be attributed to TSI rather than CO2, since they are more closely correlated with TSI than with CO2?
In a purely statistical estimation scheme yes, but the IPCC uses a combination of parameterized elements and estimated elements, and amongst the parameterized elements are the radiative forcings of CO2 and TSI, meaning that their relative warming effects are parameterized as well, with CO2 being assigned 40 times the warming effect of TSI over the 1750 to 2010 period.
This parameterization means that the explanatory power of the omitted solar magnetic variables gets attributed forty parts to CO2 for every one part to TSI. This structure forces the misattribution onto CO2. You can think of it as a manual assignment of the misattribution.
The general concept of the omitted variable remains the same. There is only so much attribution for warming to go around (100%). If attribution is given to the solar-magnetic variables in accordance with the evidence from the historic and paleo records, meaning at least 50%, then there less than 50% that can possibly be attributable to other causes.
Which again brings the scientific competence of IPCC into question. If CO2 has 40 times the warming effect of the 50% driver of global temperature (total solar effects), that makes it what? The 2000% driver of global temperature?
The chapter on aerosols and clouds inverts the scientific method, using theory to dismiss evidence
Where the paleo chapter simply pretends that no solar variable other than TSI exists, the chapter on aerosols and clouds doesn’t have that option. It is tasked to address directly the possibility that variables like the solar wind and GCR could be affecting climate. But this chapter still comes up with a way to avoid mentioning any of the massive evidence that there must be some mechanism by which solar activity is driving climate. Just as it starts to touch on the subject, it jumps instead to examining the tenability of particular theories about the mechanism by which solar activity might drive climate.
This happens right at the beginning of [the section that discusses the possible interplay between cosmic radiation, aerosols and clouds]:
[The quote here is the first two sentences under this sub-chapter heading. The first lists three papers as finding non-specific correlations between cosmogenic isotopes and various climate variables. The second sentence executes an immediate transition to a discussion of the evidence for particular mechanisms by which solar activity might drive global temperature.]
The first sentence of this quote is as close as AR5 comes to making any mention of overwhelming evidence that there is SOME mechanism by which solar activity drives global temperature. The citations suggest some correlations between solar activity and climate, but the strength of the correlations and how well established they are is completely obscured, and that’s it. Bare reference to three papers (author and year) with virtually nothing about what they found. The second sentence effects the transition into looking at the evidence for particular theories of possible mechanisms by which solar activity might effect climate. A short discussion later the evidence for these particular mechanisms is asserted (quite tendentiously) to be “[not strong enough]” for the mechanisms to “[have a significant effect on climate]” (page __, line __). This proclaimed weakness in turn becomes the rationale for omitting the proposed mechanisms from the IPCC’s general circulation models, and hence from the projections that are made with those models.
What do the AR5 draft authors do with the overwhelming evidence that there is SOME mechanism at work that makes solar magnetic the primary driver of global temperature? They don’t like the particular theories offered, but they have to still acknowledge that SOME such mechanism must be at work, don’t they? But readers don’t know about that evidence. It was skipped over via that one sentence of oblique references to a few papers that made unidentified findings, allowing AR5 to continue as if the evidence doesn’t exist. They never mention it again. They never account it in any way. It is GONE from AR5. The authors declare their dissatisfaction with the available theories for how solar activity might drive climate, and use this as an excuse to completely ignore the massive evidence that there is some such mechanism at work.
This is an exact inversion of the scientific method, which says that evidence always trumps theory. The IPCC is throwing away the evidence for a solar-magnetic driver of climate because it isn’t satisfied with the theories that have been proposed to account for it. This is the definition of anti-science: putting theory (or ideology, or anything) over evidence. Evidence has to be the trump card, or its not science. The IPCC is engaged in pure, definitional, anti-science, precisely inverting the scientific method.
It is as if a pre-Newtonian “scientist” were to predict that a rock released into the air will waft away on the breeze because we understand the force that the breeze imparts on the rock but we have no good theory of the mechanism by which heavy objects are pulled to the ground. We should therefore ignore the overwhelming evidence that there is some mechanism that pulls heavy objects to the ground, and until such time as we can identify the mechanism, proceed as if no such mechanism exists. This is what the IPCC is actually doing with the solar-climate evidence. Y’all aren’t scientists. You are actual, definitional, anti-scientists.
More anti-science: the aerosols and clouds chapter repeats the second paleo-chapter error
You know what I’m talking about: that bit about thinking that a climate driver can only cause continued warming if its own level continues to increase. The clouds and aerosols chapter says again that just leaving a proposed climate driver on maximum can’t possibly cause warming (page___, lines ___):
“_____ _____ _____ _____ ____”
And that’s the end of the section, AR5’s punctuation mark on why solar activity and GCR should be dismissed as an explanation for late 20th century warming.
This is anti-scientific in its own way. Scientists are supposed to be smart. They aren’t supposed to think that you have to slowly turn up the flame under a pot of water in order to heat it. You could collect every imbecile in the world together and not a one of them would ever come up with the idea that they have to turn the heat up slowly. It’s beyond stupid. It’s like, insanely stupid. And multiple chapter-writing teams are proclaiming the same nonsense? Fruitcakes.
Okay, I guess that means I’m ready to wrap up. Y’all have taken all these tens of billions in research money and used it perpetrate a fraud. As I have documented above, you have perpetrated the grandest and most blatant example of omitted variable fraud in history, but so far only the skeptic half the world knows it. You still have a shot, before global cooling is an established fact, to make a rapid turn around and save some shred of your reputations. But if AR5 comes out insisting that CO2 is a dominant warming influence just as global cooling is proving that the dominant climate driver is our now-quiet sun, then you all are finished on the spot. You’ll still have your filthy lucre, but the tap is going to turn off, and your reputations will be destroyed forever.
Can you imagine a worse juxtaposition? Still waging war on CO2 as the sun is already proving that CO2 is entirely beneficial? And this is what the evidence says is going to happen, all of that evidence that you have been so studiously omitting. I’m eager for your embarrassment, but I would much rather see you save yourselves, so that the needed policy reversals can some that much sooner. The anti-CO2 policies that your fraudulent “science” has supported are right now destroying the world economy. You idiots are killing our future. Please wake up and try to save your own reputations before your lunatic anti-science ruins us all.
End of review
“Omitted variable fraud” is the more fundamental critique
It is common for those who are swayed by the evidence for solar-climate driver to frame their protest against the IPCC’s dismissal of the evidence by protesting the short shrift the IPCC gives to the theories of how those effects might work. Here, for instance, is Tim Ball’s 2008 critique of AR4:
…they studiously avoided any discussion of the clear relationship between sunspot activity and temperature. They claimed there was no mechanism to explain the correlation so it could not be included, but that is incorrect. A very valid mechanism known as the Cosmic Theory (Svensmark and Calder, “The Chilling Stars”) has been in the literature with increasing detail since 1991. The date is important because IPCC claimed it was excluded because it was not published in time to meet their cut off date for consideration.
In other words, AR4 did exactly the same thing that AR5 is doing. They used the supposed lack of a sufficient theory for how a solar magnetic driver worked as an excuse not to present the overwhelming evidence that some such mechanism is a potent driver of global climate (a ruse that I documented in submitted comments on the Second Order draft of AR4, and TAR pulled the same trick as well.)
Ball’s response—that there actually is a pretty good theory—is perfectly correct, but it skips past the deeper point: that there can never be any excuse for “studiously [avoiding] any discussion of the clear relationship between sunspot activity and temperature.” The “omitted variable fraud” critique directly exposes and attacks this excuse making. Empirical evidence, the raw data, is supposed to be the ultimate arbiter. If any excuse is used to shunt the evidence aside, it’s no longer science.
We also know the consequences of this fraudulent anti-science. Omission of any variable with known explanatory power (regardless of whether the mechanism is understood) creates misattribution of the same magnitude. It’s a first order mistake.
In contrast, giving short shrift to the GCR-cloud theory is a lesser problem. So long as the IPCC’s predictive scheme attributes recent warming to solar activity in accordance with past patterns it isn’t a big deal whether a particular solar-temperature mechanism is modeled or not. At least the known explanatory variables are not being omitted and we are down to second order errors instead of first order errors.
Note that it is not necessary to invoke any theory. Predictions of future solar activity, for instance, are not based on physical models, but are purely a projection of past patterns, and this is sufficient to avoid first order error. Avoid the omitted variable fraud, account the known explanatory power of the solar-magnetic variables in any reasonable way, and big mistakes are avoided.
For the fraudsters, big mistakes are the whole point. Only with big mistakes can our eco-leftist “scientists” wage their war against industrial capitalism. Only big mistakes can give mainstream-left politicians the vast energy taxes that they eye as a treasure trove and allow them to channel hundreds of billions of dollars in wind and solar subsidies to their friends and backers.
But it’s an easy fraud to expose. Pretty much everyone who has ever taken a first course in statistics is familiar with the omitted variable problem. That is every undergraduate economics major, every business major, every science major, and most other social science majors. Right now, most of these people believe it when they are told that they can’t check the facts for themselves, that they just have to trust (or not trust) the credentialed climate scientists. But it is not true. Not only can they check the facts for themselves, but it is trivially easy.
All they need to do is scan a selection of the many empirical findings that solar-magnetic activity “explains” in the statistical sense something like half of past temperature change, then observe that all solar magnetic variables are in fact omitted from the IPCC models. It’s right there the RF table for each area report, where total solar effects are parameterized as having some tiny fraction of the warming effect of CO2. Then bingo. They know that powerful solar-warming effects are being misattributed to the coincidentally correlated CO2. They have checked the facts for themselves, at which point the voices of authority insisting that they cannot check the facts for themselves instantly become the Wizard of Oz, ordering them to ignore the man behind the curtain. Not even trusting little Dorothy fell for that.
Fundamental and accessible. That’s why I have trying to push the “omitted variable fraud” critique for many years. Anthony has a bigger bullhorn than I have had access to in the past, so maybe it will get out there this time!
If Leif is right that sunspot counts since 1945 should be reduced 20%, it does not alter the above analysis in any significant way
My review cites Usoskin’s claim that solar activity was at “grand maximum” levels from about 1920-2000. Frequent WUWT contributor Leif Svalsgaard denies that the recent peak in solar activity was a “grand maximum,” arguing that Max Waldmeier’s post-1945 sunspot counting scheme yields numbers that are about 20% too high.
If solar activity from 1945 to 2000 was merely “high instead of exceptional” (Muscheler 2007, whose cosmogenic proxies for solar activity extend through 2001), the narrative here is not significantly altered. As my review reiterates, you don’t have to keep turning the flame up under a pot of water to cause warming. Coming out of the Maunder Minimum/ Little Ice Age, if what the paleo-data says is the primary driver of global temperature remained at a high setting for most of a couple of centuries, that should cause continued warming. To actually argue that solar forcing has to continue rising in order to cause continued warming (the IPCC just asserts it) you’d have to argue that oceans had already equilibrated to the forcing, but there is no evidence for that, while the history of planetary temperature suggests that equilibration can take several centuries.
It is true that some of the strongest correlations between solar activity and temperature have short lags, on the order of ten years, but rapid responses to short term changes in solar-magnetic activity do not militate against longer term responses to longer term forcings. On the contrary, short term responsiveness implies longer term responsiveness, just as the rapid response of daytime temperatures to the rising sun implies that the longer term increase in insolation as the seasons change towards summer should cause seasonal temperature change (which of course it does).
For present purposes, it doesn’t matter whether solar activity quickly jumped up to high levels after Maunder and stayed mostly at those levels until the end of the 20th century (with the notable exceptions of the Dalton Minimum and the turn of the 19th century lull), or whether solar activity over the second half of the 20th century really did ascend to the highest levels seen since 9000 BC (Usoskin). As far as we know, either scenario could easily account for the modest amount of warming in question.
That’s an unexceptional .7° C from 1600 to the 1961-90 average according to Moberg 2005 , or .5° between 1750 to 1961-90. That 1961-90 temperature average is the HadCRUT3 zero point. HadCRUT3 reached a peak of .548 in 1998 and has fallen a couple of tenths since, so altogether there was a peak of about a 1° increase over the IPCC’s 260 year study period (now down to about .8°) which is nothing unusual in the ups and downs of global temperature.
There is no reason to think that the sun could only be responsible for this unexceptional temperature increase if there had been 50 years of the highest solar activity since 9000 BC. Of course the IPCC thinks that any steady level of solar activity over the second half of the 20th century rules out a solar explanation for the small amount of warming over that period on grounds that the level of solar activity didn’t keep going up to even more extreme levels, but they’re just a bunch of fruitcake anti-scientists.
Submitted review contains one inaccuracy that is corrected in the review posted above
My submitted review claimed that the only reference in the First Order Draft to the vast evidence for a solar-climate driver comes in a single sentence that makes an oblique reference to a single research paper. In the corrected review above, that becomes a single sentence making oblique reference to three research papers.
Two of the papers only look at solar-climate correlations over the second half of the 20th century and hence are inherently unable to draw strong conclusions. I guess I was thinking that the only “real” citation was to the survey paper that actually addresses the paleo-data. But those details are irrelevant to the point I was trying to make—that a reader of AR5 is given no hint of what is in any these papers—and no clue that numerous studies point to solar activity as the primary driver of global temperature. The submitted review quotes the full sentence, so it isn’t hiding anything, but it isn’t fully accurate.
So that’s the price of procrastination. It was just before the submission deadline and I had a reunion dinner to rush off to so I was not able to vet as thoroughly as I would have liked. Still, this is the only actual screw-up in my submitted review: it isn’t one oblique reference to a single paper, but one sentence obliquely referencing three papers. With the draft report unavailable to WUWT readers I don’t want to put forward any mischaracterizations, so I made the correction and am footnoting it here.
The posting here also fixes some typos, adds links to some of the cited papers, adds some formatting that was unavailable on our Excel submission form, and touches up the presentation in a few spots.