Omitted variable fraud: vast evidence for solar climate driver rates one oblique sentence in AR5


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.


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Wow,. This’ll take some time to re-read thoroughly.
IF this is accurate it would explain a lot and could actually remove any last trace of scientific credibility the theory Has.
If it’s wrong, i think you’ll find yourself in hot water.

Steptoe Fan

I fear for all of us if the depth and weight of this outline is, in fact, what AR5 will be hiding.

Philip Bradley

There are in all likelihood multiple omitted variables, or mis-attributed variables. I’d include both stratospheric aerosols and tropospheric aerosols in that category.
Otherwise, I agree. To argue that because measured warming (or other climate effect) isn’t caused by A, B or C, it is therefore caused by D (GHGs) is a logical fallacy that pervades scientific papers and GW discussions.
Where is the direct evidence that GHGs cause the observed warming. In truth there is very little direct evidence.

In short: while the 11 year sun spot cycles may not have an influence over centennial climate evolution, the wider “grand maximum – grand minimum” has a long lasting influence on the Earth magnetic field that shields more or less cosmic rays.
Cloud formation is directly influenced by cosmic rays, although a quantitative relationship remains to be established (does somebody knows if one is available?).
A simple model calculation shows that for each % increase of cloudiness (the ratio of Earth surface covered by clouds) the surface temperature will increase by approx. 0.5 °C, quite a high positive sensitivity.
But cloudiness is one on the least precisely measured climate variables. It impacts not only on temperature but also on rainfalls, another interesting topic.
More research is needed…

A good example of stealth by design. The IPCC and their followers on the gravy train use TSI as a blocking device that would be employed by any supporting sophist enlisted in the fallacy of AGW.
This topic will be the Achilles heal that eventually wears down the rhetoric of man made warming Armageddon. Alec mentions several times the solar/magnetic variables, which of course includes the massive UV variations of 30-100% that have major consequences on atmospheric teleconnections, which cannot be dismissed.
Yes there is the Waldmeier factor that needs to be realized when looking at SSN, but there is no doubt solar activity has been on the upward slope since 1900, this is part of the normal powerwave or Gleissberg cycle that occurs on a regular basis, but importantly this cycle is tempered by solar grand minima of differing strength. To ignore this wave is ludicrous.

Markus Fitzhenry

This is going to be great. Enlightenment is not far away for the climate science community. The good white ants are getting active.
How many more hits can AGW take before it is deceased?


I guess your new to this as they will simple ignore you I’m sorry to say.

Scottish Sceptic

I am reminded of the Press Complaints Code of Conduct for editors where public defense for publishing material is given as:
1. The public interest includes, but is not confined to:
i) Detecting or exposing crime or serious impropriety.
ii) Protecting public health and safety.
iii) Preventing the public from being misled by an action or statement of an individual or organisation.
1. Is there serious impropriety … clearly yes
2. Does it affect public health and safety. 2.3million people in the UK will die over the next century due to winter cold. Estimates suggest a quarter of Scotland’s population died in the 1690s during the last Maunder minimum. 2.3million is as close to a holocaust. If the denial of solar causality of climate leads to even a fraction of these deaths, those involved will be responsible for some of the biggest man-slaughters in history.
3. The public are clearly being misled by the statements from the IPCC.
In science, you cannot pick and choose the evidence you consider. You may explain why you reject certain evidence or certain interpretations, but you must give the reader the information to be able to follow that logic themselves … because in science, anyone can be wrong. Except the f[snip] IPCC.

The IPCC 5th report is going to repeat the same shenanigans we saw in AR4. The IPCC cannot justify ignoring the sun based on that they don’t understand the amplification mechanism, but at the same time claim that CO2 has massive positive feedbacks without having a clue how it does.


My knowledge is zero on this, so my opinion is meaningless. However, I do find it uncomfortable that the IPCC etc say the suns influencew is so small. Taking it as gospel that we have had a strong solar maximum through the end of the 20th century, and the fact that the sun is weakening and temps have leveled off, is it wise to dismiss it?

Ken Harvey

“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.”
An excellent review, but that bit is priceless.


Thanks for these clear words and the clear reasoning. I have no illusion as to whether the IPCC will react, but hopefully the IPCC as a whole, and its lackays at the PIK, CRU, GISS and NCAR can be isolated and neutralized so that its Hexenhammer 5.0 will fail to damage the world’s economies further.


Spectacular article.
This is more important than the whole AR5 report.

How nice to see some attempt at discussing science. But, there is a lot wrong here.
> These two correlations with temperature change give rise to the two main competing theories
No. That seems to be a common misconception, but the theories start with the physical processes, not with the correlations.
> “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.)
Usoskin says nothing about climate, and presents no figures that allow you to see what has happened in the 20th C – the scale shown is too large. And for our purposes there is nothing new there, because the 20th C measurements were known before.
Which brings in the second obvious point: although you’ve ref’ed a few new papers, there isn’t actually anything new here. All you’ve written could have been – and I suspect, has been – written about IPCC AR4. So while the AR5 FOD might be an exciting “newsy” peg to hang this story on, it would have been better written in the context of AR4, which is conveniently publically available.
And since you haven’t actually addressed any of the attribution arguments for 20th C change they gave there, all this is besides the point.
> prominent and compelling studies that have found a strong correlations between solar activity and climate… Bond et al. 2001, “Persistent Solar Influence on North Atlantic Climate During the Holocene,
Day is warmer than night. Winter is colder than summer. The ice age cycles are locked to astronomical forcing. No-one doubts that solar forcing affects climate, in general. So listing any number of studies that agree with this gets you nowhere. You need to actually address *recent* change.


It is hard enough facing the bitter dawn, when it involves facing the fact your fiancee is a fraud. It is all the harder after the marriage, and Europe is definately in bed with bozos.

If I understand you correctly, you are claiming that even if solar activity [sunspots, TSI, magnetic activity, comic rays] has been constant since 1700, the rise in temperature since the Little Ice Age would still be the result of this constant solar activity. You may wish to consult the paper by Schrijver et al “[22] Therefore, we argue that the best estimate of the magnetic flux threading the solar surface during the deepest Maunder Minimum phases appears to be provided by direct measurement in 2008–2009.”

John Marshall

The fact that models have been more or less correct for the past 200 years is that they were made to fit that time so prove AGW. The mind set of scientists who do this show what a dream world they live in. The warming since 1750 is due to recovery from the LIA which was completely natural.
The Temperature/CO2 causation is certainly driven by temperature but there can be no intermediate feedbacks from CO2 to increase temperature, unless you believe in time travel. CO2 is the innocent bystander leapt on by the climate police because its there.
Good critique but I wonder why an economist was asked to review a climate chapter. It only goes to show that ‘The Delinquent Teenager…….’ book is correct with its reporting, and well worth a read.

“You need to actually address *recent* change.”
That is the point – there is none. We are at the ‘Peak’ From here it is all down

R Mackey

That is excellent advice to the IPCC. Even so there is a lot more to the sun/climate relationship.
The main thing is that to understand how the Sun regulates the Earth’s climate dynamics, it is necessary to (1) examine all of the ways: electromagnetic radiation; matter; electromagnetic field; gravitational field; the shape of the Sun; and the topological structure of the heiosphere; (2) the interaction effects between these and between how they affect climate dynamics; and (3) use methods of quantitative analysis that are appropriate for non-linear dynamics.
I analysed a lot of papers about relationships between the Sun and climate dynamics. This can be found in:
Mackey, R., (2009). “The Sun’s role in regulating the earth’s climate dynamics”, Energy and Environment Vol 20 No. 1, 2009; pps 25 to 73.
This paper introduces this thesis:
The Sun-Earth system is electromagnetically, magneto-hydrodynamically and
gravitationally coupled, dominated by significant non-linear, non-stationary
interactions, which vary over time and throughout the three-dimensional structure
of the Earth, its atmosphere and oceans. The essential elements of the Sun-Earth
system are the solar dynamo, the heliosphere, the lunisolar tides, the Earth’s inner
and outer cores, mantle, crust, magnetosphere, oceans and atmosphere. The Sun-
Earth system is non-ergodic (i.e. characterised by continuous change, complexity,
disorder, improbability, spontaneity, connectivity and the unexpected). Climate
dynamics, therefore, are non-ergodic, with highly variable climatological features
at any one time. A theoretical framework for considering the role of the Sun in
relation to the Earth’s climate dynamics is outlined and ways in which the Sun
affects climate reviewed. The forcing sources (independent variables) that
influence climate processes (dependent variables) are analysed. This theoretical
framework shows clearly the interaction effects between and amongst the two
classes of variables. These seem to have the greatest effect on climate dynamics.
Climate processes are interconnected and oscillating, yielding variable
periodicities. Solar processes, especially when interacting, amplify or dampen
these periodicities producing distinctive climatic cycles. As solar and climate
processes are non-linear, non-stationary and non-ergodic, appropriate analytic
methodologies are necessary to reveal satisfactorily solar/climate relationships.
The email address I gave in that paper is no more.
If any one wants the paper, please email me at

John Peter

“You need to actually address *recent* change.” Sounds to me as if Mr. Connolly is reverting back to the “Hockey Stick” as the obvious answer is “What about the medieval warm period”? That period cannot easily be categorised at “recent”.
I am not able to evaluate Alex Rawls’ response to AR5 draft, but I have a suspicion that considering the persons involved in drafting the document, this is essentially an application for the extension of financial support for climate research. Think of what would happen if suddenly the sun was considered a major climate determinant? The funding would dry up. That would be untenable for a lot of climate researchers. They would have to think of something else to do.


William M. Connolley says:
February 22, 2012 at 2:13 am
“No-one doubts that solar forcing affects climate, in general.”
Try to understand the term solar-magnetic.
“So listing any number of studies that agree with this gets you nowhere.”
I think you are expressing the IPCC’s position here very accurately. But it’s an anti-scientific position.
“You need to actually address *recent* change.”
Did the physics change recently?

richard verney

A good and interesting article, but I guess few will be surprised by the approach adopted by the IPCC given its political nature. If the IPCC was more scientific, given the ever increasing evidence and suspicions that there may be little if any further rise in temperatures for the next 20 to 30 years, one would have expected it to be more circumspect and to suggest that other natural drivers may have some role to play. Adopting the political stance ‘that it is CO2 stupid’ may hasten its downfall since it may look very foolish in just 6 to 10 years time. .
I have been pointing out for a long time that it is one of the greatest PR victories that Joe Public has the impression that the temperature record shows over whelming correlation with the levels of CO2 when in fact there is no correlation whether in the recent past during the instrument record, or on a geological time scale. I am pleased to see someone of note make that point.
The basic physics of CO2 as a GHG provides that there must always be an increase in temperature when concentrations of CO2 increase. Likewise, if CO2 levels fall, then temperature must always fall. This is the basic properties of CO2 as a GHG.
Yet look at the instrument record. See for example
In broad terms, one notes the following:-
(i) a steady rise in temps until about 1880 in circumstances where there was no discernable increase in CO2.
(ii) Then there was a fall in temps until about 1918 in circumstances where there was no discernable decrease in CO2.
(iii) Between 1919 and 1942, there was an increase in temperatures in circumstances where there was no discernable increase in CO2.
(iv) Between 1942 and 1980, there was a fall in temperatures in circumstances where there was increase in CO2. THIS IS ANTI CORRELATION. Between 1981 and 1998, there was an increase in temperatures in circumstances where there was an increase in CO2, however, it is noteworthy that the rise in temperatures during this period when CO2 is said to be a driver is no greater than the period between 1919 and 1942 when there was no CO2 driven temperature rise. Between 1999 and 2011, there has been no increase in temperature whilst CO2 levels have increased.
Looking at this record, no reasonable person looking at the instrument record would conclude that there is a correlation between CO2 and temperature, still less that CO2 drives temperatures. If nothing else, the anti correlation between 1942 and 1980 when temperatures fell despite a rise in CO2 levels coupled with the fact that the rate of temperature increase between 1981 and 1999 when CO2 levels were increasing is no greater than the rate of temperature increase between 1919 and 1942 when there was no significant rise in CO2 levels runs counter to the claimed premise that CO2 drives temperature.
The author suggests that models do a reasonable job at hindcasting over the last couple of centuries. This is not so. They only do so because of the introduction of fudge factors the appropriateness for which is highly moot.
Again, if one considers the geological record, again there is no correlations. There are periods when temperatures remain broadly static not withstanding fluctuations in CO2 levels. More significantly there are periods of anti correlation when temperatures are seen to rise and yet CO2 levels are falling, and also periods when temperatures are seen to be falling whilst CO2 levels a re rising. If this anti correlation were not problem enough to the extent that there is broad similarities between temperature and CO2, it appears that CO2 lags temperature and is therefore not a driver but rather a response.
Against such background, it is incredible that there is so much traction for the simple correlation in the real world that CO2 drives temperatures.
In my opinion, this all got off the ground because some bright spark though it appropriate to fit a straight linear trend line through the instrument period temperature record. In my opinion, no mathematician would have thought it appropriate to fit a straight line through that record and this error has hidden what appears to be natural cycular temperature variations.
Because of the simple physics of CO2 as a GHG, every year when there is a rise in CO2 and no corresponding rise in temperature an explanation is required. If the explanation is temperature rises in fits and starts then that is a concession that natural variation dominates over CO2 as the primary driver of temperature.
Whilst I would be very surprised if the sun does not have a significant role in temperature fluctuations, presently, I have seen no convincing evidence supporting its role still less explaining it. In my opinion, we have still a lot to be learnt and understood.

Markus Fitzhenry

William M. Connolley says:
February 22, 2012 at 2:13 am
No. That seems to be a common misconception, but the theories start with the physical processes, not with the correlations.”
I didn’t read past that William to know the rest of your comment was rhetoric. While you are here wanting to talk about the science, how about you put your monika on the ‘backradiation’ theory here and now, so we can discuss it.

Response from the review editor..
“Talk to the hand.”

Alec Rawls post is seriously important because of the implications for policy already implemented on the basis of “fraudulent” scientific evidence. The fraud is already perpetrated in earlier reports and these should be carefully analysed to attribute the crime to those involved. The magnitude of the financial implications let alone the misery caused to the poor by Emissions Trading Schemes and Cap and Trade are mind boggling. The perpetrators must be held to account. The IPCC must be defunded immediately and the UNFCCC closed down.
It is not as if the perpetrators both political and scientific are unintelligent, they are both politically and academically astute. However they have been caught out again in mixing ideology with the fraudulent use of science. The shame of this on scientists goes further than Peter Gliecks mind explosion this is akin to Justice Mahon’s description of the Air New Zealand management evidence in the Erebus disaster enquiry “an orchestrated litany of lies”. Perhaps an “orchestrated litany of omission” is an updated version more apt in this circumstance.
Governments must now step in and bring those responsible to account, there is adequate legislation in most of the western world to put a stop to this fraud. They must also bring down the UN generated bureaucracy that continues to fuel the IPCC UNFCCC and Kyoto etc.
Governments must re think every policy implementation based on the fraud of CO2 induced global warming, climate change call it what you will. The reason is clear a government policy based on a fraud is a fraud against the people governed.
It’s a big week in climate science!!!!!!!!!!

Robert of Ottawa

“You need to actually address *recent* change.”
Not if the *recen*t changES are nothing unusual – which I suggest is the case – you disprove it.

Somebody said
“You need to actually address *recent* change.”
Bangs head against wall and states, sorry (snip)

Philip Bradley

I have to agree with William M. Connolley . The important question is what caused the 1970 to 2000 measured warming.
An analysis that focused on this period would make a more compelling argument.
The GCR theory is plausible, although I favour tropospheric aerosol reductions as the main cause of the 1970-2000 warming. But then GCRs and aerosols seed clouds in similar ways. So what seems to evidence for one may be evidence for the other.


Pierre Gosselin has reported that Professor Arthur Rorsch has also made some comments critical of AR5.

Alan the Brit

Dismissing Solar Activity as a Climate Driver because TSI didn’t increase constantly over the late 20th C is just plain daft & unscientific. I use the central heating analogy (forgive me if I have said this before), but when you come home to a cold house at night with no heating on, you go & turn it on to get warm. It may be -1°C outside & only say 1-2°C inside, depending upon the thermal efficiency of the house constructions & insulation, the efficiency of the boiler, etc it could take anything up to an hour before the house temp reaches a comfortable temperature let alone an optimum 20°C. So a fairly constant heat output takes time to raise temperature, it isn’t instant which is what the IPCC seem to want to fall back on which is illogical!

Juraj V.

There is actually no correlation between CO2 and temperature except the latest warm AMO cycle, onto which are the models fitted, failing both before and after. CO2 and GISP2 core data as a good proxy for NH does not fit at all. We saw just a limited natural variation, nothing more.

To do science properly it is required, if possible to identify direct evidence from verifiable data, and when such evidence is found then it should be extended to the more distant past by using various proxies.
I have looked into data since 1880 to 2011, and there is no evidence that the sunspot periodicity affects global temperature (NASA-GISS, HadCRU & NOAA average) to any significant degree.
It is important to make a point that sunspot cycle as expressed by the SSN is not comprehensive metric for the total of the solar output, hence there appear to be strong indication that temperature changes and the solar activity are in a certain degree of synchronisation, but the mechanism is still eluding the mainstream science, while some of us on the fringes have (or think to have) a pretty good idea what that mechanism may be.


You need to address recent change, else it must be CO2!
The IPCC needs to:
– Consider the evidence for the influence of solar variables, all of them.
– Incorporate above into the theory they run with.

Kurt in Switzerland

This posting suggests some powerful evidence contradicts the “mainstream” AGW view, as reported by an expert reviewer, i.e., an insider. It also touches on recently-reported scandals about gross data misrepresentation, ommission, and cherry-picking (something which both warmists and skeptics regularly accuse the opposite camp of doing).
The essence of this post should be presented to major newspapers and blogs, then robustly debated on its scientific merits (by scientists, but for the general public to view). The matter is too important to sweep under the rug. It matters not that the author of the post is not a ‘climate scientist’ per se, but rather an expert in statistics – he refers to studies by climate scientists.
Please, no head counts. Nobody cares how many oppose his points: the only important thing is whether he is right or wrong, whether the arguments are backed by data and logic.
Kurt in Switzerland


Leif want’s to calibrate sunspotnumber, but how to calbrate it? How to calibrate solarwind from times when we did not measure it. The only right way to do it is calibtate it with solar proxydata. Because sunspotnumbers wont tell everything. We have proxy of cosmic rays and other ways to find real solar activity so it’s better to make them to correlate with each other.
Otherwise my opinion is that climate sensitivity to CO2 is zero, null, none = 0


Alec says
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
This is a logic fail. If two separate things are trending together it’s does not follow that one causes the other.
Example: let’s say yellow shoes become fashionable and the number of people wearing yellow shoes trends up. But it’s also the start of summer so temperatures are also trending up. Does this mean wearing yellow shoes makes the air warmer?
If you answer yes go and sit in the corner.
Another grumble I have is the use of term “solar activity”. This is potentially misleading due to its vagueness and I have the suspicion deliberately so.

Henry Galt

Nice try.
Sorry, I am a realist. The feedback from politicians’ desire to tax the very air we breath via the funding of predetermined science that supports their agenda overwhelms any forcing from rational argument, whether weak or, as in this case, strong.

A really excellent article from Alex Rawls. It is a pleasure to read, now written properly, some of the critique I tried to persuade Nigel Calder to make when the AR4 was written.
However, I have one major criticism to level at this review, and I hope Alex reads this. I find the foillowing in this paper.
“and in theory a doubling of CO2 should cause about a 1 degree increase in temperature before any feedback effects are accounted.”
This mistake is made over and over again. There is a belief that this “no-feedback” climate sensitivity of CO2, yielding a 1 C rise in surface temperature, is based on sound science. It is not. No-feedback climate sensitivity is a hypothetical, meaningless number, and the way it is estimated assumes that the “structure of the atmosphere remains unaltered”, or in other words, the estimation can be made by only looking at radiation effects. This assumption has never been justified, and is, I believe, just plain wrong. The lapse rate changes under the effects of GHGs.

Lazy Teen says:
“This is a logic fail. If two separate things are trending together it’s does not follow that one causes the other.”
Applies perfectly to the coincidental rise in temperature over the past century and a half followed by the rise in CO2.

Magnificent posting, Mr. Rawls.
The possibility remains that, regardless of the demolition of the IPCC’s pseudoscience, the watermelons in charge of public policy will carry on regardless. Do we have any way of judging whether government scientific advisors – in the ministries – are open to scientific argument?
I’ll send a hard copy of this post to the UK’s ‘finest’ in the hope that they’ll react with a loud, “Holy mackerel! It’s the sun, not CO2! And it’s getting colder. Stop the windmill programme!” If they’re members of the Hockey Team, they’ll chuckle darkly and mutter, “Science, schmience, we’ll carry on decarbonising the economy come what may.”

William M. Connolley

> You need to actually address *recent* change
Seems to have been a fair amount of misunderstanding of that. The change you need to explain is this; the last 100 years or so. Pretending that isn’t real consigns you to la-la land, where nothing you say will have any impact on science, because you’re too far off base.
> The basic physics of CO2 as a GHG provides that there must always be an increase in temperature when concentrations of CO2 increase
Shows an acceptance of basic GHE physics which puts you above 50% (at least) of the people here, but wrong. The basic physics shows that increasing CO2 increases the radiative forcing. That doesn’t translate into a monotonic temperature increase in the real world, because of natural variability – we expect the day-to-day and year-to-year temperature to exhibit fluctuations on top of the forced trend (err, as do this who want to attribute the trend to solar forcing).
> Between 1919 and 1942, there was an increase in temperatures in circumstances where there was no discernable increase in CO2.
That is just weird. You’re not allowed to make up your own facts (see e.g.
> Between 1942 and 1980, there was a fall in temperatures in circumstances where there was increase in CO2. THIS IS ANTI CORRELATION
Um, yes. How clever of you to notice. I wonder if the IPCC noticed? Well, yes of course they did. You need to actually read what they have written and argue against it, not just write your stuff in a vacuum.
Incidentally, the idea that the IPCC ignores solar forcing is trivially disprovable by just reading the reports.

Chris Wright

An excellent piece. It perfectly illustrates the depths these non-scientists are willing to go to in order to defend their AGW religion.
It is bad enough to see science debased in this way but, as the author mentioned, this fraud threatens the future wellbeing of humanity. Here in the UK, aged pensioners who cannot pay inflated electricity bills have died due to the freezing temperatures. Fortunately there’s a good chance that Chris Huhne will end up behind bars. But it won’t be for his real crimes.
I think that any politician that does not practice due diligence (as Steve McIntyre often says) in the field of climate change/energy policy is guilty of criminal neglect. And that includes you, David Cameron.

Markus Fitzhenry

Olavi says:
February 22, 2012 at 4:03 am
Otherwise my opinion is that climate sensitivity to CO2 is zero, null, none = 0″
Insofar it is limited to it’s change to the density of atmospheric volume.

4 eyes

Interesting commentary and it seems quite convincing but I am just an engineer and it was a lot to digest. Mr Rawls seem to think the IPCC is a scientific body – it is not. It is an international panel on climate change that was created on the assumption that CO2 is causing global warming. That was its starting point – it was not created to prove that climate change is occurring as a result of burning fossil fuels. So all of its publications are going to be presented to support the notion that CO2 causes global warming otherwise the panel has no reason to exist. The nasty thing about all this is that the general public and politicians still think the IPCC is a scientific body carefully trying to prove if CO2 is mankind’s enemy when in fact it assumes that it is. That is why any offer to IPCC hanger-ons to debate or seriously discuss the science is never accepted. I do not know of any high profile SCIENTIFIC organisation that has been given the task of independently establishing if adding CO2 to the atmosphere is net good or net bad for the planet and humankind. The only work being done in this regard is by people on the gravy train, who have no option but to reach certain conclusions, and by other sturdy individuals using whatever means that they can muster to just find some truth. AR5 must be audited and challenged by challenging the IPCC to demonstate its independent scientific standing, which it cannot do of course because it is not a scientific institution. Mr Rawl’s efforts are to be applauded. It is a very important point that the IPCC is totally confused on the basic calculus regarding things that are rate dependent and things that have no time component. i.e. it takes time to heat the water (and, scarily, it takes time to cool) but the expansion is instantaneous with respect to temperature change.
Re the variables, there are so many at play yet IPCC have historically given weight to just one for the obvious reason that the only reason they exist is because a few scientists suggested CO2 would cause catastrophic destruction to the world and they wanted the glory of saving it.

William Connolley Slapped Down:

William Connolley… for years kept dissenting views on global warming out of Wikipedia, allowing only those that promoted the view that global warming represented a threat to mankind. As a result, Wikipedia became a leading source of global warming propaganda, with Connolley its chief propagandist.
His career as a global warming propagandist has now been stopped, following a unanimous verdict that came down today through an arbitration proceeding conducted by Wikipedia. In the decision, a slap-down for the once-powerful Connolley by his peers, he has been barred from participating in any article, discussion or forum dealing with global warming. In addition, because he rewrote biographies of scientists and others he disagreed with, to either belittle their accomplishments or make them appear to be frauds, Wikipedia barred him — again unanimously — from editing biographies of those in the climate change field.

Why are all the dishonest folks on the alarmist side? Schneider, Mann, Connolley, Jones, Gleick, the list goes on and on. The answer seems to be, at least in part, that the planet is not cooperating with their scare stories. Nothing unusual is occurring. None of their predictions of disaster have happened. To the contrary, more CO2 is verifiably greening the planet. It seems these dishonest people have to deceive the public in order to keep their baseless scare alive, rather than admitting the truth: they were simply wrong.

The extremely good correlation between temperature patterns and solar/astronomical patterns has been extensively proven in my numerous papers. At least 40-70% of the warming observed since 1900 can be associated to solar activity in one way or in another.
The empirical models and harmonic models based on solar/astronomical cycles explain climate variability far better than any CO2 based IPCC model : see the references below and here. Actually, in my papers it is expensively proven that the IPCC GCM models (such as the GIS modelE, for example and all the others) do not get any of the patterns that can be identified in the data. Those models just produce some noise around an upward trend driven by anthropogenic emissions.
If the IPCC has ignored the relevant literature pointing toward the existence of a major solar/astronomical driver of climate change they have committed “omitted variable fraud” and severely misinterpreted the available scientific literature. It is evident that simply dismissing the empirical evidences on the basis that clear physical mechanisms are not understood yet nor included in the models is a very weak argument based on extreme scientific reductionism.
See the references below and here:
[1] Nicola Scafetta, “Testing an astronomically based decadal-scale empirical harmonic climate model versus the IPCC (2007) general circulation climate models.” Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics, (2012). DOI: 10.1016/j.jastp.2011.12.005
[2] Adriano Mazzarella and Nicola Scafetta, “Evidences for a quasi 60-year North Atlantic Oscillation since 1700 and its meaning for global climate change.” Theor. Appl. Climatol. (2011). DOI: 10.1007/s00704-011-0499-4
[3] Craig Loehle and Nicola Scafetta, “Climate Change Attribution Using Empirical Decomposition of Climatic Data.” The Open Atmospheric Science Journal 5, 74-86 (2011). DOI: 10.2174/1874282301105010074
[4] Nicola Scafetta, “A shared frequency set between the historical mid-latitude aurora records and the global surface temperature.” Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics 74, 145-163 (2012). DOI: 10.1016/j.jastp.2011.10.013
[5] Nicola Scafetta, “Empirical evidence for a celestial origin of the climate oscillations and its implications.” Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics 72, 951–970 (2010). DOI: 10.1016/j.jastp.2010.04.015
[6]Nicola Scafetta, “Empirical analysis of the solar contribution to global mean air surface temperature change”. Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics (2009),
[7] Nicola Scafetta, and Bruce J. West, “Phenomenological reconstructions of the solar signature in the NH surface temperature records since 1600.” J. Geophys. Res., 112, D24S03, doi:10.1029/2007JD008437 (2007).

Stephen Wilde

Nice post by Alec supporting the general position made here:
“The Death Blow To Anthropogenic Global Warming.”
from June 2008.

Philip Bradley says: February 22, 2012 at 3:23 am
” I have to agree with William M. Connolley . The important question is what caused the 1970 to 2000 measured warming.”
As proven in my papers exensively (see above), from 1970 to 2000 most of the warming was aused by a warming phase of a 60-year natural cycle. And the steady warming observed since 2000 is due to the same cycle which entered in its cooling phase since 2000.
This pattern agrees well with a reconstruction of solar activity, that is ACRIM composite.
And the issue is extensively discussed here
And in my more recent papersthat focus on the harmonics of the climate system.


Of course they omit natural phenomenona, they do so because they’re not charged with taking natural into account.
“The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was established by the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) in 1988 to assess the scientific, technical and socio-economic information relevant for the understanding of human induced climate change, its potential impacts and options for mitigation and adaptation.”
The fundamental construction of the UNIPCC didn’t not include to take into account and report on natural change nor positive results from any type of climate change.
As per usual any UN body, it seems, omitts reality to fit their hypothesis to their needs. It is evident in UNIPCC as well as the current debate of whether or not UN should control this here internet as Russia and China wants to happen.


Markus Fitzhenry says: February 22, 2012 at 3:06 am
…. how about you put your monika on the ‘backradiation’ theory here and now, so we can discuss it.
OK how do you explain these 2 measurements of back radiation at night (and day)
IR great plains measured here: SGP Central Facility, Ponca City, OK36° 36′ 18.0″ N, 97° 29′ 6.0″ W Altitude: 320 meters
daytime 320 to 460w/sqm
night time 260 to 380 w/sqm
North of arctic circle:
night 120 to 230 w/sqm
day 130 to 210 w/sqm
O2 and N2 do not radiate IR in significant power so where does this radiation come from at night where the background is at Ultra long wave (7K)