GISS finally concedes a significant role for the sun in climate

UPDATE: The paper itself is available below.

There is a new  paper published yesterday in the journal Geophysical Research Letters from NASA GISS/Columbia University and Brown University titled  Hydroclimate of the northeastern United States is highly sensitive to solar forcing

Key Points

  • Holocene northeast US hydrological change is consistent with solar forcing
  • Small changes in solar forcing are amplified in our region by Arctic Oscillation
  • Leaf-wax abundances in peatlands provide high-resolution climate information

This paper looks at hydrogen isotope proxy records over the past 6800 years and finds that the hydroclimate of the Northeastern U.S. is “highly sensitive” to solar activity.

The abstract of the paper says:

“The Sun may be entering a weak phase, analogous to the Maunder minimum, which could lead to more frequent flooding in the northeastern US at this multidecadal timescale.”

It is interesting to see this solar-hydro relationship defined in the USA. Previous similar works include defining a solar-hyrdo relationship to Nile River flow in Africa.

Here’s the paper and abstract:

GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS, VOL. 39, L04707, 5 PP., 2012

doi:10.1029/2011GL050720

Hydroclimate of the northeastern United States is highly sensitive to solar forcing

Jonathan E. Nichols

Department of Geological Sciences, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, USA

Goddard Institute for Space Studies, New York, New York, USA

Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Earth Institute at Columbia University, Palisades, New York, USA

Yongsong Huang

Department of Geological Sciences, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, USA

Dramatic hydrological fluctuations strongly impact human society, but the driving mechanisms for these changes are unclear. One suggested driver is solar variability, but supporting paleoclimate evidence is lacking. Therefore, long, continuous, high-resolution records from strategic locations are crucial for resolving the scientific debate regarding sensitivity of climate to solar forcing. We present a 6800–year, decadally-resolved biomarker and multidecadally-resolved hydrogen isotope record of hydroclimate from a coastal Maine peatland, The Great Heath (TGH). Regional moisture balance responds strongly and consistently to solar forcing at centennial to millennial timescales, with solar minima concurrent with wet conditions. We propose that the Arctic/North Atlantic Oscillation (AO/NAO) can amplify small solar fluctuations, producing the reconstructed hydrological variations. The Sun may be entering a weak phase, analogous to the Maunder minimum, which could lead to more frequent flooding in the northeastern US at this multidecadal timescale.

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UPDATE: Here is the full paper (PDF)

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Jeff D.

OMG, its the SUN!

Dave

And the house of cards around AGW keeps falling!!! Gotta love the irony, AGU drops Gleick and then says: Hey! it’s the Sun Stupid!!!

Landscheidt´s New Little Ice Age Instead of Global Warming?:
Without exception, the outstanding negative extrema coincide with periods of exceptionally weak solar activity and vice versa. So there are good reasons to expect that the coming Gleissberg minimum around 2030 will be a deep one.
http://www.schulphysik.de/klima/landscheidt/iceage.htm
This is why the current minimum should be called the “Landscheidt Minimum”

Alan the Brit

Oh Lord, what on Earth is happening – excuse the pun, then again don’t! What with this, a Solar-hydro connection with the River Nile, the Wet Office recently finding a connection between winer weather & Solar activity (priceless). Whatever next? A connection between Earth’s climate & Solar activity? Surely not! Sarc off!

The title of this post is just as ridiculous as “global warming is making the planet cooler”. Only thing, it is sadly true.

wsbriggs

I’m delighted to see real science poke it’s head out of the pages of AGU publications. Let’s just hope it’s not a premature spring bloom.

NICHOLAS

What is up with this?
More Americans believe in climate change: poll
(AFP) – 15 hours ago
WASHINGTON — Nearly two-thirds of Americans believe that climate change is real — the highest level in two years — as the public trusted its own observations of rising temperatures, a poll said Tuesday.

John

This isn’t the first paper to find a link between solar activity and hydrology. Mauas et al. (Solar Forcing of the Stream Flow of a Continental Scale South American River, Physical Review Letters, 2008) found very strong links between stream flow of one of the world’s largest rivers and the 11 year solar cycle. Here is the Abstract:
“Solar forcing on climate has been reported in several studies although the evidence so far remains inconclusive. Here, we analyze the stream flow of one of the largest rivers in the world, the Parana ́ in southeastern South America. For the last century, we find a strong correlation with the sunspot number, in multidecadal time scales, and with larger solar activity corresponding to larger stream flow. The correlation coefficient is r = 0:78, significant to a 99% level. In shorter time scales we find a strong correlation with El Nin ̃o. These results are a step toward flood prediction, which might have great social and economic impacts.”
Figs. 2 and 3 are especially interesting, if you can get the article.

DirkH

Power struggles within GISS?

Ed Caryl

This is going to leave a mark!

Jimmy Haigh.

GISS disappoints. – gavin

Jimmy Haigh.

I wonder what people like the Mad Dhog will say about this bit of heresy?

I have referred to this 2006 paper from NASA before:
Does the Nile reflect solar variability?
Alexander Ruzmaikin, Joan Feynman1 and Yuk Yung2
1Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Tachnology, Pasadena, CA 91109, USA
emails: Alexander.Ruzmaikin@jpl.nasa.gov, Joan.Feynman@jpl.nasa.gov
2Department of Geology and Planetary Sciences, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena,
CA 91103, USA
emal: yly@gps.caltech.edu
Abstract. Historical records of the Nile water level provide a unique opportunity to investigate the possibility that solar variability influences the Earth’s climate. Particularly important are the annual records of the water level, which are uninterrupted for the years 622–1470 A.D. These records are non-stationary, so that standard spectral analyses cannot adequately characterize them. Here the Empirical Mode Decomposition technique, which is designed to deal with nonstationary, nonlinear time series, becomes useful. It allows the identification of two characteristic time scales in the water level data that can be linked to solar variability: the 88 year period and a time scale of about 200 years. These time scales are also present in the concurrent aurora data. Auroras are driven by coronal mass ejections and the rate of auroras is an excellent proxy for solar variabiliy. Analysis of auroral data contemporaneous with the Nile data shows peaks at 88 years and about 200 years. This suggests a physical link between solar variability and the lowfrequency variations of the Nile water level. The link involves the influence of solar variability on the North Annual Mode of atmospheric variability and its North Atlantic and Indian Oceans patterns that affect rainfall over Eastren Equatorial Africa where the Nile originates.
Keywords. Sun: activity, Sun: solar-terrestrial relations, methods: statistical

Scottish Sceptic

As the AGW scam fails …. along comes new source of funding … the Maunder Minimum scare.
Indeed, the term “global warming” was originally coined in a paper trying to explain why it hadn’t cooled as predicted. (“Are we on the brink of a pronounced global warming?)
No doubt we shall soon see a new paper along the lines of: “Are we on the brink of a pronounced global cooling? (aka how sunspots have prevented the predicted global warming, and how sunspots now appear to be the future life-blood of all climate “scientists”.

JJ

Regional moisture balance responds strongly and consistently to solar forcing at centennial to millennial timescales, with solar minima concurrent with wet conditions.
And therefore solar maxima are consistent with dry periods. When Sol is quiet, wet. When the northeast US is wet, snow. When the ground is covered with snow, lower abledo. With lower albedo, cooling. The reverse when Sol is active. Quiet sun, amplified ==> cooling. Active sun, amplified ==> warming.
Huh.
We propose that the Arctic/North Atlantic Oscillation (AO/NAO) can amplify small solar fluctuations, producing the reconstructed hydrological variations.
What else does the Arctic/North Atlantic Oscillation (AO/NAO) amplification of small solar fluctuations produce in the Northeast US?
In what other regions of the world does the Arctic/North Atlantic Oscillation (AO/NAO) amplification of small solar fluctuations produce these climate effects?
What components of the climate system other than the Arctic/North Atlantic Oscillation (AO/NAO) may amplify small solar fluctuations?
In what regions of the world do those solar amplifying components of the climate system produce climate effects?
What are those climate effects?
How are these newly discovered and remaining to be discovered solar amplifiers and their attendant climate effects reflected in the General Circulation Models?
How happy are you that the science is settled?

Hu McCulloch

FWIW, sunspots have decined substantially over the past 2 months, from a peak of 96.7 in 11/11 to 73.0 in 12/11 and now 58.3 in 1/12.
Double-bump peaks are not at all uncommon, but unless this turns around soon it would be the weakest peak since 1882 (95.8 in April).
(International counts from http://solarscience.msfc.nasa.gov/SunspotCycle.shtml , at /greenwch/spot_number.txt )

N

Presumably Gleick knew this was coming. Perhaps it drove him over the edge.

So let’s see, more frequent flooding requires rain. Rain requires clouds. Clouds have a bond albedo in the vicinity of 0.7, compared to a mean albedo of around 0.3 for the Earth in general (including its average cloud cover). If even weak reductions in solar activity increase rainfall (and hence cloud cover), they must also increase albedo. Every 0.01 increase of albedo predicts a drop of roughly 1K in global average temperature. Solar activity is dramatically falling. NASA is directly measuring a corresponding increase in the Earth’s mean bond albedo via studies of Earthlight re-reflected from the moon’s dark face in the last through first quarter. And we haven’t even gotten to where the change can be nonlinearly amplified by modulating e.g. oceanic absorption and the decadal climate oscillations.
There is so much real science to be done here. Too bad there is an entire group of scientists who actively oppose doing it, and who have exercised a horribly disproportionate influence on both the journals and granting agencies. There are signs that the logjam is breaking — this paper is one of them. But we are far, far from being there yet.
rgb

reason

“More Americans believe in climate change: poll
(AFP) – 15 hours ago
WASHINGTON — Nearly two-thirds of Americans believe that climate change is real — the highest level in two years — as the public trusted its own observations of rising temperatures, a poll said Tuesday.”
Importance of this depends on what question was asked, and how well the respondants understood the question. 66% of Americans believing that the climate is changing != 66% of Americans believing that the climate is changing as a result of human influence.
These polls are worthless in my opinion, because odds are the pollster isn’t taking the time to make sure the respondant understands the question they are being asked. Plus, let’s not forget the psychology lesson beind most respondants not wanting to confess that they don’t know what the pollster is asking, and will therefore opt to make up an opinion and sound smart instead of admitting they don’t know / don’t have an opinion.

Michael J. Bentley

Excuse me, but I don’t think the AGW crowd gets it yet – Almost all of us believe the Earth is in a warming trend although there may be some who reject that too. The question is not “Does the climate change over time?” the question is “What drives climate change and to what degree?”
When I tell people that I question the amount that humans are doing to “warm” the Earth, I find they leap to believing I don’t understand the climate is changing. Off they go into rants about Venus and Flat Earth and etc.
Yup, I’m one of the two-thirds that would say “Yes.” to the question “Do you believe the Earth (planet) has warmed in the last 50 years?” But I would add to that – “I question the role of humankind in that warming.”
Of course that’s not ever asked as a follow-on question is it?
Mike

trbixler

So they talk about rain and snow but not about temperature? Avoid the CO2 conversation at all costs and try to do some science.

Joe

It seems that GISS is compartmentalizing their findings that are contrary to the AGW theory so that, when confronted, they can claim that the given finding was a regional study. They have no qualms, however, with cutting down one tree in Siberia and declaring that it’s tree rings can tell us all we need to know about global climate over the last 1000 years.

Bob Diaz

/// Humor ///
So they are willing to admit the sun plays a part with climate; maybe the world is coming to an in on December 21, 2012. :-))

John West

NICHOLAS
http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5hXv72I7nx7ZTg_QuI3Ix1c3i3uXw?docId=CNG.dca855da9e6c393c07dda475a1590504.e41
“Sixty-two percent of Americans agree that there is solid evidence that the Earth’s average temperature has been getting warmer over the past four decades”
Why wasn’t it higher? I have very little doubt that it’s warmer now than 1972 (ice age scare). I have no doubt that climate changes. What I have serious doubts of is the contention that burning fossil fuels adds enough CO2 to the atmosphere to increase the GHE (while simultaneously limiting radiant heat loss to space) enough to cause worldwide cataclysm! I also doubt that was an option on the survey.

Re – “NICHOLAS says: February 29, 2012 at 7:59 am
What is up with this? – More Americans believe in climate change: poll”
Reading the article below, there is no mention of the poll asking questions about “manmade” or “anthropogenic” climate change, just “global warming” and “climate change,” …in other words do you think its a bit warmer now than 40 years ago?
http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5hXv72I7nx7ZTg_QuI3Ix1c3i3uXw?docId=CNG.dca855da9e6c393c07dda475a1590504.e41
“When asked an open-ended question about why they thought the Earth was warming, one-quarter of those surveyed pointed to temperatures they experience and another quarter cited other weather changes. One in 7 mentioned melting glaciers and polar sea ice, and 1 in 8 noted media coverage. Only 8 percent mentioned scientific research.”
http://www.laramieboomerang.com/articles/2012/02/29/ap/science/us_sci_climate_survey.txt
It will be interesting to see if the CAGW crowd starts to “own” this poll, since it supports two things I think nearly everyone can all agree on –
1. Its a bit warmer now than it was 40 years ago; and
2. Climate changes

Curiousgeorge

Perhaps the Ancient peoples were smarter than people give them credit for. There may have been more to Sun “worship”, than simply a religious connotation.

Hang on! Where’s the force majeure caveat: ” The findings of this paper in no way detract from the man-made global warming disaster that is due on midnight, 31 Dec 2099 … blah, blah, blah …”?

John said @ February 29, 2012 at 8:00 am

This isn’t the first paper to find a link between solar activity and hydrology. Mauas et al. (Solar Forcing of the Stream Flow of a Continental Scale South American River, Physical Review Letters, 2008) found very strong links between stream flow of one of the world’s largest rivers and the 11 year solar cycle.
….
Figs. 2 and 3 are especially interesting, if you can get the article.

You can DL the paper here.

neill

NICHOLAS says:
February 29, 2012 at 7:59 am
What is up with this?
More Americans believe in climate change: poll
Probably the mild winter across most of the US. Here in San Diego, though, it’s been a chilly one.

Robert Brown said @ February 29, 2012 at 8:19 am

There is so much real science to be done here. Too bad there is an entire group of scientists who actively oppose doing it, and who have exercised a horribly disproportionate influence on both the journals and granting agencies. There are signs that the logjam is breaking — this paper is one of them. But we are far, far from being there yet.

There definitely seems to be an increase in interesting (notCAGW) climatology papers over the last twelve months. I’d do a metastudy to quantify, but have other fish to fry at the moment.

Passerby

@Maurizio Morabito, what about the title “Global warming boost to glaciers” from BBC News in 2006?
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/tyne/5283278.stm
Since we’re talking about changing viewpoints within mainstream science regarding climate issues, what I would like is for someone to explain to me what happened with the last environmental scare of the 70s when chlorofluorocarbon, commonly known as freon, was leading the charge in anthropogenic climate catastrophe, as in the wikipedia reference:”This anthropogenic compound is also a greenhouse gas, with a much higher potential to enhance the greenhouse effect than CO2.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chlorofluorocarbon).
The suggested legislatives for counter-measures were regulated by the IPPC (Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control) and would later give way to the all prevalent IPCC and carbon dioxide as main cause. Does this stuff get spinned around every now and then with some variations or what am I missing here?

They have a very little idea what is going on. There is no amplification in the Arctic, it is the North Atlantic:
http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/CET-NAP-SSN.htm
Arctic is in darkness for 3 months of the year, and most of the temperature rise happens in the winter:
http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/CETsw.htm
Time for Vukcevic to come out all (electromagnetic) guns blazing:
OT, but interesting electromagnetic story
Electromagnetic gun
The big gun uses electromagnetic energy instead of explosive chemical propellants to fire a projectile farther and faster. The railgun, as it is called, will ultimately fire a projectile more than 230 miles (370 kilometers) with a muzzle velocity seven times the speed of sound (Mach 7) and a velocity of Mach 5 at impact.
See pix and video here .

This isn’t the first paper to find a link between solar activity and hydrology. Mauas et al. (Solar Forcing of the Stream Flow of a Continental Scale South American River, Physical Review Letters, 2008) found very strong links between stream flow of one of the world’s largest rivers and the 11 year solar cycle. Here is the Abstract.
Very interesting. This suggests that the effect isn’t just associated with the polar oscillations — this sounds rather tropical. Again, increasing the Earth’s mean albedo due to greater cloud cover directly reduces global temperature — quite aggressively at that, although given the buffering produced by the oceans and the overlaid “noise” of ENSO and the other decadal oscillations (depending on region) it might well take decades and two or more solar cycles for the impact to be fully felt.
The especially interesting thing about this is that the impact of increased albedo on mean global temperatures is far greater in the tropics and subtropics than it is in the polar latitudes. For one thing, the Jacobean of the Earth’s area differential means that there is a lot more area near the equator than near the poles. For another, dropping the high temperatures (across the largest area) is likely to have a bigger impact than dropping the high temperatures near the poles, and because clouds can actually contribute to net warming near the poles (depending on many factors).
Overall, these things seem to be providing considerable empirical support for the GCR modulation theory as being the primary driver of Earth’s climate on multidecadal and up timescales. That result, confirmed, would almost certainly strike out the “C” from the CAGW hypothesis, because then all the existing climate models would be forced to end the “omitted variable fraud” of leaving out a factor that could actually be larger than the actual GHE forcing from increased CO_2, and indeed could invert the interpretation of at least part of the increase in CO_2, making it more likely not to be of anthropogenic origin at all but rather oceanic CO_2 given off in response to solar forcing during the Grand Solar Maxima of the 20th century.
(Where I don’t intend to get into the argument of whether or not it really was an 11,000 year or 9,000 year GSM — Ushokin’s data suggests that it was, but sure, this is an area of active research.)
rgb

Richard M

The reason more Americans believe in “climate change” is quite simple. We’ve had a warm winter over the most populous areas of the country. If the next winter is cold the numbers will drop.

TERRY46

To Nocholas,with the climate change response, I wonder if anyone in Alaska or Europe were asked about climate change ?Also how many Democrats vs Republicans ?If it ‘s like most polls it probably 70% Democrats 30Republicans.Isn’t it convenient how this issue comes up during a mild winter in the lowe 48.Ask in 20 to 30years and see where we stand then.

Jim G

There is much more to polling research than the answer. Whom did they ask, what did they ask, how many did they ask, how did they ask it, how representative was their pool of respondents compared to those who refused to respond, and even the tone of voice in a telephone or personal interview, etc., etc.

Major “scientific” break-through! What’s next? “Big news” — the sun sometimes doesn’t orbit the earth!
Uhhhhh. What happened to all the “settled science”?

So, the actual forcing/feedback mechanism that translates small changes into large scale climate effects is not CO2-based, but is solar-based!
Of course, anyone could have told them that – including their colleagues in the real Earth Observing side of NASA:
http://strata-sphere.com/blog/index.php/archives/18073
My post uses brand new data from Soumi NPP to illustrate how clouds (water vapor) are the true governor on solar forcing. Each area of low/no cloud cover has both maximum incoming (SW) and outbound (LW) energy. Areas where there are thick clouds you get minimal incoming (SW – due to reflection) and minimal outbound. Therefore the balance is created through the clouds.
As the study shows, solar changes become a response in the hydroclimate (e.g., clouds):
“Holocene northeast US hydrological change is consistent with solar forcing
Small changes in solar forcing are amplified in our region by Arctic Oscillation”
Sun, Land, Sea and Wind interacting… Whodathunkit

Richard deSousa

Waiting to see James Hansen fire the guys who authored this heretical article! 🙂

pochas

To get the whole story all of the continents must be mapped. I’d like to see the major river basins color coded to show the degree of response to solar forcing. Unadjusted data only please! Surprisingly, this may be the best data set available to relate solar forcing to climate, with other data too recent or too corrupt for one reason or another. Then set out to explain the data. First things first.

JJ

NICHOLAS says:
February 29, 2012 at 7:59 am
What is up with this?

Oh, that? That is what is known as a threadjack.
It draws attention away from the topic of this post. The topic of this post is a matter of the status of the science, not public opinion.
GISS finally concedes a significant role for the sun in climate
That is big news.

WE PROPOSE that the Arctic/North Atlantic Oscillation (AO/NAO) can amplify small solar fluctuations , producing the reconstructed hydrological variations. The Sun may be entering a weak phase, analogous to the Maunder minimum, which could lead to more frequent flooding in the northeastern US at this multidecadal timescale. my emphasis in the above.
Dr. Svalgaard could you explain what is this amplification they are talking about, how does it work?
NASA, GISS
What is your mechanism?
Do you have one?
Are you fishing in the dark?
No mechanism, no theory !
Mechanism with full data (plotted in red) available here:
http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/CET-NVa.htm
Any questions?
Happy to answer.

dp

Hmmm – there’s our friend the hockey stick at B in the top graph.

mkelly

I am not surprised. Sheldon explained to Penny and Leonard that it was the sun in last years Christmas episode I believe. ; )

Garrett

How come when peer-reviewed articles come out, that seem to support the views of Mr. Watts and most people reading this site, does he and everyone else become so quick to accept the results of peer-reviewed papers? I mean, why don’t you pay attention to ALL peer-reviewed papers. You can’t just cherry-pick the ones you want. If this paper says “it’s the Sun”, then, in the proper scientific fashion, you need to take that into context with all the others that say “it’s not the Sun”. Please explain why not doing so is not cherry-picking? And using the tired old “the other articles are written by corrupt scientists” is not an explanation. The onus is then on you to prove that the “pro-Sun” scientists are not “corrupt”.
But anyway, the peer-reviewed article linked to above is not a “it’s the Sun” article. The article is about how the Sun influences rainfall in the northeastern United States. It’s not about global warming. Sorry to disappoint you all. It’s about the local effects of solar forcing. The global effects of solar forcing are already very well understood, and scientists came to the conclusion a long time ago that it is not the source of the recent rise in temps.

As the AGW scam fails …. along comes new source of funding … the Maunder Minimum scare.
Personally — and I say this as one utterly unfunded in any way for any thing — I’d take that one seriously. The world has thrived during the 20th century warm period. Its population what, tripled? Quadrupled? Food production varied from “barely enough” to where we can feed pretty much everybody except those in overpopulated drought zones afflicted by religious war. A great deal of that food production occurs in e.g. Siberia and Canada and the northern US, where farmers have gotten used to long growing seasons (sometimes enough to get in two crops a year of some commodities). Increased CO_2 has a measurable and positive impact on plant growth as well, although honestly I doubt that is a major factor in crop productivity. It certainly doesn’t hurt.
One “year without a summer” in the 21st century NH — late or midsummer frosts all the way down to the latitude of e.g. Pennsylvania, including all of Canada, Siberia, and lot of the US midwest — could absolutely devastate food production not in third world countries but in first world countries. We are always at risk of such events because they can be precipitated by e.g. volcanic aerosols alone, given volcanic activity well within the established bounds of known variability (and utterly beyond our control). However, during the 20th century those events were modulating a general (solar + GHE) warming trend.
If it does indeed turn out that solar is 2x or even 3x more important than the GHE at establishing the mean global temperature, so that CO_2 becomes the minor modulator of solar variation instead of the presumed only modulator ignoring the impact of solar variation, we could indeed see a regression of 1-2K in global average temperature, on a decadal time scale. We could even see a steady decline back to Dalton or Maunder mean temperatures, where we are grateful for any slight positive modulation of those temperatures due to the GHE (even as the cooling oceans start to suck CO_2 out of the atmosphere again).
This may or may not be enough in and of itself to seriously impact mean crop productivity — I’m guessing some but not much, as farmers react to the growing season as dictated by last frost as part of their natural strategy anyway. It could, however, make us quite vulnerable to coincident events — Dalton minimum AND massive volcanic activity equals massive crop failures and an enormous dollar cost.
This is where climate research could pay for itself. The ability to predict local weather level catastrophes might well give us the means to anticipate them and perhaps ameliorate their impact.
Note well that your concern also ignores one very important thing. We can arguably influence total CO_2 concentration in our atmosphere by means of regulating our activity. We cannot have any impact whatsoever on the Sun or on volcanic activity. The confirmation of the solar hypothesis therefore has one absolutely critical effect on human public policy — it stops trying to pretend that everything that modulates the climate is our “fault” and that we can do anything about it!
This returns the scientists to their proper role — to prognosticators of a variable but potentially devastating future, rather than as sociopolitical engineers who divert vast sums of money on the basis of the illusion of control.
Control is what the whole thing is all about. It is what it has always been about. Only the illusion of control provides the excuse for essentially unlimited influence in global public policy decisions and investments. Remove the basis for control, and the whole thing collapses.
I’ve been predicting a Maunder style minimum for the next few decades and a consequent 1-2K reduction in global temperatures for around 15 years now, not as an actual scientist working in the field but as an actual scientist who has looked over the preponderance of relevant data produced by others to make his own best guess. I think the next fifty to eighty years are going to be remarkably cold, and that inside the next decade — possibly in the next five years — global temperatures will be unmistakably decreasing, and decreasing quite rapidly at that. The current solar cycle seems likely to be the lowest one in well over 100 years, and there is reason to believe — not terribly good reason yet, as there is so much we don’t yet understand, but reason — that the next cycle will be even lower. Given the probable coincident inversions in the PDO and perhaps NAO, we could indeed see a rather precipitous plunge as the polar latitudes get a lot colder due to reduced tropical mixing while the tropics themselves actually cool some due to higher albedo.
If and as the ocean starts to actively cool — as the great heat sink that IMO dominates global climate in so very many ways — CO_2 absorptivity will go up commensurately, sea levels will drop (thermal expansion), and we could actually invert the very feedback process associated with the GHE. As it is, sea levels are probably an almost perfect proxy for global temperature on any decadal or better timescale, as the Earth’s oceanic water is basically one enormous thermometer with nearly any perturbation in water supply irrelevant compared to thermal expansion.
rgb

Richard M

It’s kind of interesting to see how opposing views can be held and both of them accurate to a point. The Greenhouse Effect is well understood. It does warm the Earth. However, if that effect has a limit then it can’t warm the Earth over and above that limit. I think that is where we are at. The amount of GHGs in the atmosphere are enough to max out the GHE. Accordingly, the things that affect climate will be fluctuations in other variables, e.g. the amount of Solar radiation that reaches the surface.
The bottom line is that the warmists who believe there is a GHE are correct and the skeptics that believe “it’s the Sun” are also correct. The key is understanding the balance between these parts of the equation.

Robert Brown said @ February 29, 2012 at 8:47 am

Overall, these things seem to be providing considerable empirical support for the GCR modulation theory as being the primary driver of Earth’s climate on multidecadal and up timescales. That result, confirmed, would almost certainly strike out the “C” from the CAGW hypothesis, because then all the existing climate models would be forced to end the “omitted variable fraud” of leaving out a factor that could actually be larger than the actual GHE forcing from increased CO_2, and indeed could invert the interpretation of at least part of the increase in CO_2, making it more likely not to be of anthropogenic origin at all but rather oceanic CO_2 given off in response to solar forcing during the Grand Solar Maxima of the 20th century.

Bingo! for the first part of this. The part about net CO2 outgassing will only occur if the oceans are near saturation and I was recently assured by an oceanographer that the oceans are far from saturated. Phytoplankton and chemical processes work assiduously to remove dissolved CO2. The empirically determined lack of saturation is being used to drive the new acidic oceans scare.

There definitely seems to be an increase in interesting (notCAGW) climatology papers over the last twelve months. I’d do a metastudy to quantify, but have other fish to fry at the moment.
Me too — I should be writing recommendations instead of indulging my sick addiction to WUWT. But I think the metastudy would reveal (to absolutely puree a metaphor:-) rats leaving the gradually breaking logjam before it sinks the titanic of their hopes for “the cause”. When important and influential former supporters of CAGW openly break with AR5 and the IPCC in spite of their acknowledged biases, when more scientists are stepping forwards as “lukewarmists” or open doubters of the IPCC’s carefully crafted AR scripts, when yet again a major CAGW enthusiast is openly revealed in public as being a liar, willing to deliberately deceive people in the name of “the cause”, it puts everyone that supports that cause in an equivocal position. At the very least, it makes the claim of “settled science” impossible to sustain, and it makes it equally impossible to continue to suppress well-conceived research proposals or publications in either the funding agencies or the journals.
Every year that the global average temperature as revealed in the UAH lower troposphere data and (coming soon to a data mart near you) a reliable and difficult to manipulate stream of readings of oceanic temperatures from the surface to depth at an ever-decreasing sampling granularity continue to hold or drop weakens the CAGW argument by shrinking the limits on the “C”. Actual sustained decrease would cause everyone to re-examine everything relating to climate.
The CAGW hockey team have literally bet the ranch on being right.
But nature, like Honey Badger, just don’t give a damn. Either they are right or they aren’t, but no amount of data manipulation of political chicanery will mask them being wrong. It can at best, leave the issue ambiguous for a few more years.
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Re – “NICHOLAS says: February 29, 2012 at 7:59 am
What is up with this? – More Americans believe in climate change: poll”

Most Americans (when polled) claim to believe in Jesus, and a simple majority even claim to believe that there was once an Earth covering flood in which all of the world’s species were preserved, two by two, in a big floating wooden boat the size of a Wal Mart ventilated by a window the size of the door of a microwave oven during the 5 inch per minute rains that fell on every square meter of the Earth’s surface (a rate sufficient to cover Mount Everest in only 40 days).
That doesn’t make it so.
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