# Svensmark’s Cosmic Jackpot: “Evidence of nearby supernovae affecting life on Earth”

Visible to the naked eye as the Seven Sisters, the Pleiades are the most famous of many surviving clusters of stars that formed together at the same time. The Pleiades were born during the time of the dinosaurs, and the most massive of the siblings would have exploded over a period of 40 million years. Their supernova remnants generated cosmic rays. From the catalogue of known star clusters, Henrik Svensmark has calculated the variation in cosmic rays over the past 500 million years, without needing to know the precise shape of the Milky Way Galaxy. Armed with that astronomical history, he digs deep into the histories of the climate and of life on Earth. Image ESA/NASA/Hubble

Note: I’m going to leave this as a sticky “top post” for a day or so. new stories appear below.

Nigel Calder asks us to republish this post for maximum exposure. He writes:

Today the Royal Astronomical Society in London publishes (online) Henrik Svensmark’s latest paper entitled “Evidence of nearby supernovae affecting life on Earth”. After years of effort Svensmark shows how the variable frequency of stellar explosions not far from our planet has ruled over the changing fortunes of living things throughout the past half billion years. Appearing in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, it’s a giant of a paper, with 22 figures, 30 equations and about 15,000 words. See the RAS press release at http://www.ras.org.uk/news-and-press/219-news-2012/2117-did-exploding-stars-help-life-on-earth-to-thrive

By taking me back to when I reported the victory of the pioneers of plate tectonics in their battle against the most eminent geophysicists of the day, it makes me feel 40 years younger. Shredding the textbooks, Tuzo Wilson, Dan McKenzie and Jason Morgan merrily explained earthquakes, volcanoes, mountain-building, and even the varying depth of the ocean, simply by the drift of fragments of the lithosphere in various directions around the globe.

In Svensmark’s new paper an equally concise theory, that cosmic rays from exploded stars cool the world by increasing the cloud cover, leads to amazing explanations, not least for why evolution sometimes was rampant and sometimes faltered. In both senses of the word, this is a stellar revision of the story of life.

Here are the main results:

• The long-term diversity of life in the sea depends on the sea-level set by plate tectonics and the local supernova rate set by the astrophysics, and on virtually nothing else.
• The long-term primary productivity of life in the sea – the net growth of photosynthetic microbes – depends on the supernova rate, and on virtually nothing else.
• Exceptionally close supernovae account for short-lived falls in sea-level during the past 500 million years, long-known to geophysicists but never convincingly explained..
• As the geological and astronomical records converge, the match between climate and supernova rates gets better and better, with high rates bringing icy times.

Presented with due caution as well as with consideration for the feelings of experts in several fields of research, a story unfolds in which everything meshes like well-made clockwork. Anyone who wishes to pooh-pooh any piece of it by saying “correlation is not necessarily causality” should offer some other mega-theory that says why several mutually supportive coincidences arise between events in our galactic neighbourhood and living conditions on the Earth.

An amusing point is that Svensmark stands the currently popular carbon dioxide story on its head. Some geoscientists want to blame the drastic alternations of hot and icy conditions during the past 500 million years on increases and decreases in carbon dioxide, which they explain in intricate ways. For Svensmark, the changes driven by the stars govern the amount of carbon dioxide in the air. Climate and life control CO2, not the other way around.

By implication, supernovae also determine the amount of oxygen available for animals like you and me to breathe. So the inherently simple cosmic-ray/cloud hypothesis now has far-reaching consequences, which I’ve tried to sum up in this diagram.

Cosmic rays in action. The main findings in the new Svensmark paper concern the uppermost stellar band, the green band of living things and, on the right, atmospheric chemistry. Although solar modulation of galactic cosmic rays is important to us on short timescales, its effects are smaller and briefer than the major long-term changes controlled by the rate of formation of big stars in our vicinity, and their self-destruction as supernovae. Although copyrighted, this figure may be reproduced with due acknowledgement in the context of Henrik Svensmark's work.

By way of explanation

The text of “Evidence of nearby supernovae affecting life on Earth” is available via  ftp://ftp2.space.dtu.dk/pub/Svensmark/MNRAS_Svensmark2012.pdf The paper is highly technical, as befits a professional journal, so to non-expert eyes even the illustrations may be a little puzzling. So I’ve enlisted the aid of Liz Calder to explain the way one of the most striking graphs, Svensmark’s Figure 20, was put together. That graph shows how, over the past 440 million years, the changing rates of supernova explosions relatively close to the Earth have strongly influenced the biodiversity of marine invertebrate animals, from trilobites of ancient times to lobsters of today. Svensmark’s published caption ends: “Evidently marine biodiversity is largely explained by a combination of sea-level and astrophysical activity.” To follow his argument you need to see how Figure 20 draws on information in Figure 19. That tells of the total diversity of the sea creatures in the fossil record, fluctuating between times of rapid evolution and times of recession.

The count is by genera, which are groups of similar animals. Here it’s shown freehand by Liz in Sketch A. Sketch B is from another part of Figure 19, telling how the long-term global sea-level changed during the same period. The broad correspondence isn’t surprising because a high sea-level floods continental margins and gives the marine invertebrates more extensive and varied habitats. But it obviously isn’t the whole story. For a start, there’s a conspicuous spike in diversity about 270 million years ago that contradicts the declining sea-level. Svensmark knew that there was a strong peak in the supernova rate around that time. So he looked to see what would happen to the wiggles over the whole 440 million years if he “normalized” the biodiversity to remove the influence of sea-level. That simple operation is shown in Sketch C, where the 270-million-year spike becomes broader and taller. Sketch D shows Svensmark’s reckoning of the changing rates of nearby supernovae during the same period. Let me stress that these are all freehand sketches to explain the operations, not to convey the data. In the published paper, the graphs as in C and D are drawn precisely and superimposed for comparison.

This is Svensmark's Figure 20, with axes re-labelled with simpler words for the RAS press release. Biodiversity (the normalized marine invertebrate genera count) is in blue, with vertical bars indicating possible errors. The supernova rates are in black.

There are many fascinating particulars that I might use to illustrate the significance of Svensmark’s findings. To choose the Gorgon’s story that follows is not entirely arbitrary, because this brings in another of those top results, about supernovae and bio-productivity.

The great dying at the end of the Permian

Out of breath, poor gorgon? Gasping for some supernovae? Named after scary creatures of Greek myth, the Gorgonopsia of the Late Permian Period included this fossil species Sauroctonus progressus, 3 metres long. Like many of its therapsid cousins, near relatives of our own ancestors, it died out during the Permo-Triassic Event. Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gorgonopsia

Luckiest among our ancestors was a mammal-like reptile, or therapsid, that scraped through the Permo-Triassic Event, the worst catastrophe in the history of animal life. The climax was 251 million years ago at the end of the Permian Period. Nearly all animal species in the sea went extinct, along with most on land. The event ended the era of “old life”, the Palaeozoic, and ushered in the Mesozoic Era, when our ancestors would become small mammals trying to keep clear of the dinosaurs. So what put to death our previously flourishing Gorgon-faced cousins of the Late Permian? According to Henrik Svensmark, the Galaxy let the reptiles down.

Forget old suggestions (by myself included) that the impact of a comet or asteroid was to blame, like the one that did for the dinosaurs at the end of the Mesozoic. The greatest dying was less sudden than that. Similarly the impressive evidence for an eruption 250 million years ago – a flood basalt event that smothered Siberia with noxious volcanic rocks covering an area half the size of Australia – tells of only a belated regional coup de grâce. It’s more to the point that oxygen was in short supply – geologists speak of a “superanoxic ocean”. And there was far more carbon dioxide in the air than there is now.

“Well there you go,” some people will say. “We told you CO2 is bad for you.” That, of course, overlooks the fact that the notorious gas keeps us alive. The recenty increased CO2 shares with the plant breeders the credit for feeding the growing human population. Plants and photosynthetic microbes covet CO2 to grow. So in the late Permian its high concentration was a symptom of a big shortfall in life’s productivity, due to few supernovae, ice-free conditions, and a lack of weather to circulate the nutrients. And as photosynthesis is also badly needed to turn H2O into O2, the doomed animals were left gasping for oxygen, with little more than half of what we’re lucky to breathe today.

When Svensmark comments briefly on the Permo-Triassic Event in his new paper,Evidence of nearby supernovae affecting life on Earth,” he does so in the context of the finding that high rates of nearby supernovae promote life’s productivity by chilling the planet, and so improving the circulation of nutrients needed by the photosynthetic organisms.

Here’s a sketch (above) from Figure 22 in the paper, simplified to make it easier to read. Heavy carbon, 13C, is an indicator of how much photosynthesis was going on. Plumb in the middle is a downward pointing green dagger that marks the Permo-Triassic Event. And in the local supernova rate (black curve) Svensmark notes that the Late Permian saw the largest fall in the local supernova rate seen in the past 500 million years. This was when the Solar System had left the hyperactive Norma Arm of the Milky Way Galaxy behind it and entered the quiet space beyond. “Fatal consequences would ensue for marine life,” Svensmark writes, “if a rapid warming led to nutrient exhaustion … occurring too quickly for species to adapt.”

One size doesn’t fit all, and a fuller story of Late Permian biodiversity becomes subtler and even more persuasive. About 6 million years before the culminating mass extinction of 251 million years ago, a lesser one occurred at the end of the Guadalupian stage. This earlier extinction was linked with a brief resurgence in the supernova rate and a global cooling that interrupted the mid-Permian warming. In contrast with the end of the Permian, bio-productivity was high. The chief victims of this die-off were warm-water creatures including gigantic bivalves and rugose corals.

Why it’s tagged as “astrobiology”

So what, you may wonder, is the most life-enhancing supernova rate? Without wanting to sound like Voltaire’s Dr Pangloss, it’s probably not very far from the average rate for the past few hundred million years, nor very different from what we have now. Biodiversity and bio-productivity are both generous at present.

Svensmark has commented (not in the paper itself) on a closely related question – where’s the best place to live in the Galaxy?

“Too many supernovae can threaten life with extinction. Although they came before the time range of the present paper, very severe episodes called Snowball Earth have been blamed on bursts of rapid star formation. I’ve tagged the paper as ‘Astrobiology’ because we may be very lucky in our location in the Galaxy. Other regions may be inhospitable for advanced forms of life because of too many supernovae or too few.”

Astronomers searching for life elsewhere speak of a Goldilocks Zone in planetary systems. A planet fit for life should be neither too near to nor too far from the parent star. We’re there in the Solar System, sure enough. We may also be in a similar Goldilocks Zone of the Milky Way, and other galaxies with too many or too few supernovae may be unfit for life. Add to that the huge planetary collision that created the Earth’s disproportionately large Moon and provided the orbital stability and active geology on which life relies, and you may suspect that, astronomically at least, Dr Pangloss was right — “Everything is for the best in the best of all possible worlds.”

If this blog has sometimes seemed too cocky about the Svensmark hypothesis, it’s because I’ve known what was in the pipeline, from theories, observations and experiments, long before publication. Since 1996 the hypothesis has brought new successes year by year and has resisted umpteen attempts to falsify it.

New additions at the level of microphysics include a previously unknown reaction of sulphuric acid, as in a recent preprint. On a vastly different scale, Svensmark’s present supernova paper gives us better knowledge of the shape of the Milky Way Galaxy.

A mark of a good hypothesis is that it looks better and better as time passes. With the triumph of plate tectonics, diehard opponents were left redfaced and blustering. In 1960 you’d not get a job in an American geology department if you believed in continental drift, but by 1970 you’d not get the job if you didn’t. That’s what a paradigm shift means in practice and it will happen sometime soon with cosmic rays in climate physics.

Plate tectonics was never much of a political issue, except in the Communist bloc. There, the immobility of continents was doctrinally imposed by the Soviet Academy of Sciences. An analagous diehard doctrine in climate physics went global two decades ago, when the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was conceived to insist that natural causes of climate change are minor compared with human impacts.

Don’t fret about the diehards. The glory of empirical science is this: no matter how many years, decades, or sometimes centuries it may take, in the end the story will come out right.

===============================================================

For those who would doubt our cosmic connections, Svenmark’s work and Calder’s article reminds me to remind you of this well known quote:

The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff. – Carl Sagan

## 434 thoughts on “Svensmark’s Cosmic Jackpot: “Evidence of nearby supernovae affecting life on Earth””

1. no matter how many years, decades, or sometimes centuries it may take, in the end the story will come out right.
So, we are told that the end is nigh…

2. This is beautiful in its completeness. It explains so much so simply. It has the feel of truth and correctness to it.

3. DaveF says:

“…no matter how many years, decades, or sometimes centuries it may take, in the end the story will come out right.”
Trouble is, I can’t wait centuries, and even decades is looking decidedly shaky these days!

4. Svensmark points out:
“The energetic GCR that ionize the lower atmosphere are only weakly inﬂuenced by variations in the geomagnetic ﬁeld or by solar magnetic activity. Both cause low-altitude ionization rates to vary by (≈10%) in the course of a magnetic reversal or during a solar cycle. Over decades to millennia the GCR inﬂux to the Solar System scarcely changes.”
Thus the climate scarcely changes as well.
I would take exception to equating the solar cycle change with that of a magnetic reversal. The latter having a much larger effect.

5. Wow
What a wonderful period we live in, that these great works are disseminated so widely so quickly. Thank you Svensmark, Calder and WUWT.

The truth (for the time being) must out.

6. Wonderful post! I am reading the paper now

But the last paragraph says…

Don’t fret about the diehards. The glory of empirical science is this: no matter how many years, decades, or sometimes centuries it may take, in the end the story will come out right.

The fact that it may take “decades,or sometimes centuries” still leaves me with plenty of reason to fret.

7. polistra says:

This Grand Universal Theory is a surprise! I’ve been keeping up with Svensmark and Calder’s expositions, and their intention seemed to be mainly about climate, not life.

Makes me wonder if a couple steps can be eliminated. More cosmic rays means more clouds, but it also has a more direct effect: more ions for plants to consume, thus stronger and richer life.

The idea that plants get energy from ions along with sunlight, was around a hundred years ago but seems to have been neglected since.

I discussed the circumstantial case for it here:
http://polistrasmill.blogspot.com/2012/03/ideas-from-old-book-2.html

8. Mark Nutley says:

Excellent work, will take some time to digest all of it though

9. Bengt A says:

Leif!

Why don’t you read the paper before commenting? It would improve the quality of your comments if you try ta analyse the core arguments within Svensmarks paper instead of repeating your usual old mantra “cosmic rays has no effect on climate”.

10. DirkH says:

“The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff. – Carl Sagan”
Sagan-Man
http://xkcd.com/663/

11. Vince Causey says:

How can we know the extent of super novae that occured 250 million years ago?

12. Ray says:

As in Arthur C. Clarke book, 2010, 2010: The Year We Make Contact, David Bowman said: “My God, It’s full of stars.”

It would seem that Svensmark has found the nature of God.

13. Well done Henrik Svensmark. Good to see him getting this work successfully published.

14. Scottish Sceptic says:

Nobel Prize!
Nobel Prize?
No bel …
No bl** Prize … for figuring out why he won’t a Nobel prize.

15. ferd berple says:

One might also conclude from this paper that biodiversity increases with change, contrary to the belief that diversity is a one way street leading only to extinction. When conditions are static and unchanging, there is no pressure or opportunity for new species to appear. Extinction opens up previously unavailable food supplies, allowing emerging species to expand into dominant roles.

16. Pull My Finger says:

More and more it seems intelligent life is a tenuous little microbe in a sea of vast emptyness split by the occasional outburst of extreme violence. We may not be the only intelligent life, but the chances of ever finding other, even microbial life, seems to be all but zero. Even if our radio broadcasts ever cross the paths of life with similar technology our species will be long dead and buried before we ever hear back.

17. Espen says:

Wow! That’s really something new! The implications are mind-boggling – if there is anything to this theory, Svensmark will stand side by side with fellow Danes Tycho Brahe and Niels Bohr in the history of science.

18. Tony McGough says:

Without understanding all the details, one must admire the scope of understanding and imagination, and the tying in of the micro with the macro. Well done Svensmark: food for thought and study for generations, perhaps.

19. S. Geiger says:

Seems to me that Fig. 17 is oversold a bit in the text. The warm climate v. cold climate correlations seem almost non-existent during the Jurassic and Cretaceous…and literally all of the Triassic has higher SN ratios yet is tagged as ‘warm’ compared to J. and K.

20. Jean Parisot says:

In time for Rio? :)

Dr. Svalgraad, does the duration of a magnetic reversal provide enough time to effect climate systems?

I remember the 1960’s while an undergraduate in college, my geomorphology prof, who was a German BTW, didn’t believe in the peniplane theory. We were taught Continental Drift. He also told us that he was in the very minority at the time. From him, I have remembered and also learned from experience, that when the hoards/major go one way, quickly go the other. For that is usually the right way to go. I love science, and work on instinct. My instinct has not let me down on what is correct.

This is way I don’t buy into the AGW or whatever the latest verbage of the day is. Svensmark’s theory looks very very interesting.

22. denis christianson says:

This reminds me of the late Stephen J. Gould’s writing of punctuated equilibrium in the rate of evolution. He postulated drivers for the changes but didn’t know what they were. The important thing was he knew that it was not just asteroid collisions.

23. Hell_Is_Like_Newark says:

So are there any stars near Sol that are candidates to go supernova soon?

24. This is the answer? We’ve arrived? The co-relations on the hand drawn graphs can’t be denied.

25. Paul Westhaver says:

Fun article, kinda went in my eyes then fell out my….well … lets just say it didn’t retain my attention. All very Star Trek with pseudo science speculation. Fun and entertaining sort of.

So…. how about the sub sea volcanoes… think they influence the sea chemistry?

26. ferd berple says:

Leif Svalgaard says:
April 24, 2012 at 7:28 am
I would take exception to equating the solar cycle change with that of a magnetic reversal. The latter having a much larger effect.

That suggests that changes in the earth’s magnetic field affects climate in non-trivial ways. Something not allowed for in the climate models.

I’ve been saying for a while that the Forcings Model of climate is likely wrong and what drives climate change is changes in water (all phases) feedbacks, which means things that affect the phase changes of water, which means GCRs and anthropogenic aerosols and particulates.

28. Stephen Wilde says:

I think that variations in cosmic rays reaching the surface are merely a proxy for solar variability with no significant direct effect on global cloudiness.

Just adding more condensation nuclei doesn’t in itself provoke the changes in the global air circulation patterns that we see when the level of solar activity changes.

To achieve that we must also alter the vertical temperature profile up through the atmosphere with a change in the slope of the tropospheric heights between equator and poles.

It is not clear how Dr. Svensmark thinks that could be achieved.

In contrast we are now seeing more and more evidence that solar changes have a top down effect on the global air circulation so why take that extra leap to supernovae ?

As regards the proposed correlation with the rate of supernovae I’m pretty sure that that must be spurious. The difficulties of getting the timing right for such long past events leaves it wide open to ‘construct’ apparent correlations where there may be none.

29. John W. says:

Imagine, a system that’s governed by the input of matter and energy. (/sarc)

“A mark of a good hypothesis is that it looks better and better as time passes. ” Not only that, a good hypothesis ties together seemingly disparate phenomena in a way that clarifies relationships and better explains behaviors. I can’t wait to read the paper at leisure. It sounds like a major contribution to understanding the natural world.

30. Bruckner8 says:

Leif Svalgaard says:
April 24, 2012 at 7:16 am

[article says] no matter how many years, decades, or sometimes centuries it may take, in the end the story will come out right.

[then Leif says] So, we are told that the end is nigh…

My interpretation is: The truth always emerges, no matter how long it takes.

There was no “end is nigh” snark at all.

31. jimash1 says:

Wow.
For years I have been saying “You can’t tax the sun”.
Now I will have to change that to:
“You can’t tax the crab nebula”.

32. I am happy that they can show now where the cooling/warming comes from,
but did anyone here figure out that “global” cooling already started in 1994
(if you use statistics and the measurements reported by the weather stations correctly)
http://www.letterdash.com/henryp/global-cooling-is-here

I would love to hear some comment from Leif about my results.

33. Roger says:

I am amazed that Svalgaard has decided to comment on this work

34. ferd berple says:

Leif Svalgaard says:
April 24, 2012 at 7:28 am
Both cause low-altitude ionization rates to vary by (≈10%) in the course of a magnetic reversal or during a solar cycle. Over decades to millennia the GCR inﬂux to the Solar System scarcely changes.”
Thus the climate scarcely changes as well.

Makes sense. The average temperature at my location changes more in 12 hours than it has over the past 1 million years.

35. Taphonomic says:

Plate tectonics is not continental drift. Some of the observations are the same, but the mechanisms behind the theories differ. So, I doubt if you would get a job in geology department in the 1970s if you believed in continental drift.

36. Steve. says:

Hello Anthony.

Please feel free to comment on the following, even if yourself refuse to publish this on your wonderful site. I can understand the flak you wish to avoid with this being promoted on your blog.
But hey, it’s in the public domain. I’m thinking you might find the story interesting.
Planetary Defense: An Extraterrestrial Imperative
http://larouchepac.com/node/21222

All the best.

37. Jenn Oates says:

This is what makes teaching science–as opposed to say, English–so much fun…it’s always changing. Yeah. :)

38. DBCooper says:

The real beauty of this theory is that CAGW cranks can’t blame it all on human activity..

39. So it is astronomical events not earth-based changes that control climate. The huge fluctuations between ice ages and interglacial periods caused me to conclude several years ago that there needed to be a cosmic not a meteorological explanation for oscillations of this magnitude. I have talked with scientists about this but they have never provided any support for this line of thinking. Now an Astronomer presents a theory that explains it all. I don’t have the knowledge or skill to judge his work, but I have read it all once and plan to dive in again when my head stops spinning. Right or wrong, or more likely partly right and partly wrong, he is none the less taking the research in the direction where it seems to me it has to go. Thank you Dr. Svensmark.

40. pete says:

This is a great article. If nothing else, man is pointed to continue looking at the world (and space) around us. Science is very seldom settled. Rather we reach a plateau of better understanding only to see more wonderful questions to ask.
But alas, this science will not hold up in the current world political climate because the bureaucrats have not figured a way to use it to control every facet of our lives as they are trying to with “science” of global warming cause by man and our carbon needs.

41. In the light of this paper, there’s going to be a lot of the standard textbooks entering the paper recycling loop, and not just in climate science.

Pointman

42. Paul Westhaver says:

Ok so I read the paper…. all of it… even the “tricky” math. Referring to the FTP paper conclusions…

“the speculations about episodic effects of e.g. a closerthan-
usual SN (Fields & Ellis 1999) or variations in the interstellar
medium (Frisch 2000) have demonstrated no persistent influence
on life and climate.”

OK

There was a lot of babble in this paper.

43. Interesting paper.
Very minor…..
Do you have a text search function? If so, you can use it to find: “The recenty increased CO2 shares with the plant breeders the credit for feeding the growing human population.” and correct to “recently”.

IanM

44. John F. Hultquist says:

The text here seems to be that of Nigel Calder:

Presented with due caution as well as with consideration for the feelings of experts in several fields of research, a story unfolds in which everything meshes like well-made clockwork. Anyone who wishes to pooh-pooh any piece of it by saying “correlation is not necessarily causality” should offer some other mega-theory . . .

I love the first part of this, although I always use the analogy of a Persian rug or other woven story rather than a clock. However, someone with a good “eye” might see a small flaw (damage) and point this out, without being a weaver of any sort. Svensmark’s work will be examined by others, and perhaps then, improved by them or by Svensmark’s team. Reference in the text to plate tectonics is telling. As I recall, the theory finally came together in the early 1960s and was published/popularized (in Scientific American and other journal articles). New things are regularly added, sometimes with exaggerated titles: “Scientists Shake Up Theory of Plate Tectonics” (Scientific American, April 26, 2001)
http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=scientists-shake-up-theor

This astrobiology explanation, Svensmark’s theory, is fascinating and Nigel Calder is well equipped to help explain and popularize it. I’m just saying that improvements are likely without asking for some other “mega-theory.”

45. Jean Parisot says:

Is there a published comparison of solar isotopes and extrastellar isotopes, could the same changes in interstellar conditions effect the solar state as well.

46. Scottish Sceptic says:

On reflection this is very likely to be one of the landmark papers in recent times.

So, why did Svensmark choose to publish in an Astronomy journal and not e.g. climate “science”?

Of course, we know the reason: it was because climate “science” is full of self-serving politically motivated self-serving interests who saw real science as a threat to their survival.

It’s kind of gratifying to realise, that all these 5th rate journals which so obnoxiously kept out real scientist like Svensmark, have only shot themselves in the foot as the nobel prize winning calabre of scientists have gone elsewhere making them like real dolts.

I suspect many of these editors, will soon find that the real action – the real grant attracting research and serious interest … has left their subjecdt and is setting up shop where real scientists are respected, not treated as an unwelcome thorn in the side grant-grabbing eco-politics

47. This is a fantastic example of being able to think way, way, way “outside-the-box”. We’ll see what the years and centuries have to say, but I certainly admire his sheer audacity in formulating and publishing this.

48. Bengt A says:
April 24, 2012 at 7:42 am
Why don’t you read the paper before commenting? It would improve the quality of your comments if you try to analyse the core arguments within Svensmarks paper instead of repeating your usual old mantra “cosmic rays has no effect on climate”.
Where do you think I get the quote from? I’ll repeat it:
“The energetic GCR that ionize the lower atmosphere are only weakly inﬂuenced by variations in the geomagnetic ﬁeld or by solar magnetic activity. Both cause low-altitude ionization rates to vary by (≈10%) in the course of a magnetic reversal or during a solar cycle. Over decades to millennia the GCR inﬂux to the Solar System scarcely changes.”
Perhaps you read it first before putting foot in mouth.

Jean Parisot says:
April 24, 2012 at 8:02 am
Dr. Svalgaard, does the duration of a magnetic reversal provide enough time to effect climate systems?
A magnetic reversal takes thousands of years…

49. Jeremy says:

…Anyone who wishes to pooh-pooh any piece of it by saying “correlation is not necessarily causality” should offer some other mega-theory that says why several mutually supportive coincidences arise between events in our galactic neighbourhood and living conditions on the Earth…

Let’s please be cautious and not fall into the same trap as those we wish to see step down from their untenable positions of belief.

50. Salby and Svensmark need to get together and go on a worldwide tour…

51. John F. Hultquist says:

John Coleman says:
April 24, 2012 at 8:20 am

You just introduced “ice ages and interglacial periods into a discussion of a theory about something else – or so it seems to me. The Milankovitch cycles, updated:
http://motls.blogspot.com/2010/07/in-defense-of-milankovitch-by-gerard.html

. . . make a lot of sense. Time overlaps with the forces of the current Svensmark theory may be expected.

52. Nigel Calder notes:

If this blog has sometimes seemed too cocky about the Svensmark hypothesis, it’s because I’ve known what was in the pipeline, from theories, observations and experiments, long before publication.

I suppose that’s better than his bitter alternative:

And there would have been less time for so many eminent folk from science, politics, industry, finance, the media and the arts to be taken in by man-made climate catastrophe. (In London, for example, from the Royal Society to the National Theatre.) Sadly for them, in the past ten years they’ve crowded with their warmist badges into a Hall of Shame, like bankers before the crash.

I haven’t read the paper yet, but at first glance it looks interesting. It’s not quite as impressive as the paper that traced the changes in seafloor sediments with distance from the mid-Atlantic ridge which convinced me that plate tectonics was real, but we’ll see how many people join Calder’s marching band.

53. rgbatduke says:

So, is it asserted that the recent return to ice age conditions (starting, gradually, 3 mya or thereabouts) was caused by a sudden increase in the number of “nearby” supernovae? Is it asserted that a truly nearby nova, e.g. the one that created the crab nebula and neutron star in 1054 (a mere 6500 LY away) modulated and/or continues to modulate the climate?

I’m afraid that I have to go along with Lief here and be deeply skeptical of this result for the time being. If it explains ice ages it should explain the most recent ice age, the one we are in now. Bear in mind that the current warm interglacial conditions are not the most stable and persistent climate state for the Earth at the moment, and that the modulators that trigger bistable oscillation warm to cold phase have absolutely nothing to do with supernova rates.

It should, however, be trivially simple to do a direct count of supernova remnants in near space and at least approximately date them to determine whether or not they are a plausible explanation for the beginning of the Pliestocene. I’d be far more inclined to consider (relatively) recent past numbers as being meaningful than to consider inferences about the very distant past indeed to be meaningful.

It should also be noted that there are competing hypotheses that explain ice ages, such as Erlich’s quite recent paper on solar diffusion waves (which I independently proposed a few days ago — in far less detail — after reading and thinking some about the fusion core and planetary tides). Erlich’s work purports to find reason to associate the process with the right frequencies to explain Pliestocene climate bistability, however, although it fails to establish a comprehensive link or fill in all the details of the causal mechanism. Longer term explanations such as oscillations in the hydrogen-helium burning fractions in the Sun with a proposed period on the order of several hundred million years is yet another one that has “some agreement” with extinction and evolution boundaries and some alignment with ice ages versus warm periods. However all of these correlations tend to be noisy because at the same time these things were going on, Pangea was breaking up, continents were sliding around, volcanism was dumping variable amounts of this and that into the air, the oceans were changing their depth over vast stretches, the land-based biosphere was exploding, the moon was receding (and tides altering), the Sun was bobbing up and down in the galactic plane, asteroids were crashing down, and there are probably a half-dozen other important modulators modulating this or that and changing e.g. global circulation patterns nearly discretely in geological time.

So at the moment, before conferring the Nobel Prize, perhaps we should sit back and try to disprove the hypothesis, or stack it up against competing hypotheses, or see if it always works or was just sometimes coincident with major events, and above all, to examine the evidentiary basis for its primary assertions for things like “nearby supernova rates” on the order of a billion years ago. I teach astronomy off and on, and have a bit of an idea of how things are dated and distances established, but I’m not sure I have a clear idea as to how one would determine near-Sun supernova rates 500 milllion years ago with any sort of precision.

rgb

54. Ian W says:

An interesting note is that the Pleiades is a very indistinct star cluster even on a dark clear night. Not particularly impressive. Yet the Pleiades seem to feature in almost every ‘ancient’ text and several ‘religions’ worldwide. This was a puzzle – but perhaps the ancients new something that we did not.

55. Scottish Sceptic says:

Jeremy says:April 24, 2012 at 8:51 am

Let’s please be cautious and not fall into the same trap as those we wish to see step down from their untenable positions of belief.

Jeremy, the key point is that this paper was published by hard science. For years people like Svensmark have been prevented from getting on which proper, measured science by eco-nutters like Mann and Hansen who run global warming “science” like some men’s club.

But in one fell swoop, Svensmark has found a way around these nutters: the world is just a planet like any other. When considering things on a global scale, it is as valid to view it from the earth surface outward as it is to view it from the aspect of the whole of space looking inward.

Just be changing the perspective … the subject remains the same, but the referee suddenly becomes real science.

Suddenly the log jam of eco-non-science & “global warming” has been broken and climate “science” now has a real competitor … over which they have no control.

56. Sherlock says:

I keep wondering if these revelations we are seeing about how CO2 does not control every phenomenon on Earth will finally give the climate pseudo-scientists and their political and media enablers the wiggle room they need to bail out of the big con they have been working – time is running out!

57. Jim G says:

So we can determine over a 400mm year period when, how energetic and the orientation in space relative to the earth supernovae blasts were as well as the condition and orientation of the suns sheltering effect relative to these bombardments at these various estimated times? My mind is open but this seems a little thin as the be all answer to the variations in life on our planet. Not that cosmic rays might not have some possibly significant effect but there are simply too many other variables which may also be in the soup as well as the potential for inaccuracies over such a long period of time. Like the CO2 as the main driver of climate this seems somewhat lacking the sniff test. And yes, correlations can, indeed, be spurious.

58. Bill Marsh says:

Hell_Is_Like_Newark says:
So are there any stars near Sol that are candidates to go supernova soon?

==========================

Don’t know, how close is Betelgeuse and, more importantly, is it ‘close enough’?

59. Berta Lane says:

So Spinoza was right: we DO live in the best of all possible worlds!

60. Ian W says:

Paul Westhaver says:
April 24, 2012 at 8:26 am

Ok so I read the paper…. all of it… even the “tricky” math. Referring to the FTP paper conclusions…

“the speculations about episodic effects of e.g. a closerthan-
usual SN (Fields & Ellis 1999) or variations in the interstellar
medium (Frisch 2000) have demonstrated no persistent influence
on life and climate.”

OK

There was a lot of babble in this paper.

You may be making the mistake of considering ‘no persistent influence’ is the same as no influence – an internittent apparently random major influence would also be described as ‘no persistent influence’.

From an evolutionary perspective a persistent influence can be protected against by nature evolving to best fit with that peristent input – an intermittent major influence cannot be coped with by normal evolution.

61. Sun Spot says:

A Cosmic game of hockey, how will the team react ?

62. Matthew R Marler says:

Let’s give it some few years more before we jump on the bandwagon, shall we? Some time for, perhaps, energetic skeptical review? And, perhaps, confirmation by future events that may or may not turn out as predicted?

Anyone who wishes to pooh-pooh any piece of it by saying “correlation is not necessarily causality” should offer some other mega-theory that says why several mutually supportive coincidences arise between events in our galactic neighbourhood and living conditions on the Earth.

On that I disagree. Just because we are ignorant is no excuse to celebrate a new mega-theory based on mutually supportive coincidences. A megatheory as grand as this requires much more evaluation: extraordinary claims demand extraordinary justification. This is a solid hit for Svensmark, but the game has many innings to go.

63. EW-3 says:

It’s as if we’ve returned to the point where the average person thought the world was flat, but a handful of people knew the truth. Trying to convince the masses of this will be like trying to convince the masses the earth is round.
To someone living in a large urban area surrounded by the sights and sounds (and smells) of human creation it’s going to be difficult to get them to believe that “tiny” distant objects can have such profound influence over us. Might be hard for their egos.
But to be fair, it still looks like the sun revolves around the earth when I look up on a sunny day. It’s difficult to imagine the ground I am standing on is in fact spinning out from beneath my feet ;)

64. MarkW says:

Hell_Is_Like_Newark says:
April 24, 2012 at 8:06 am

So are there any stars near Sol that are candidates to go supernova soon?

I believe the nearest is Betelguese (sp?) which is in it’s red giant phase. It’s close enough that it will be spectacular, far enough away that it won’t threaten life on earth. Though if Dr. Svensmark is correct, it will probably cool things off for a few decades.

I postulated a few months ago about a possible link between the supernova that formed the crab nebula and the little ice age. Can I pat myself on the back a little?

65. Marlene Anderson says:

It gives new meaning to the Pater Noster. “Our Father, who art in heaven.”

The heavens bring life to earth.

66. Werner Brozek says:

Visible to the naked eye as the Seven Sisters, the Pleiades are the most famous of many surviving clusters of stars that formed together at the same time. The Pleiades were born during the time of the dinosaurs, and the most massive of the siblings would have exploded over a period of 40 million years.

Job 38:31
“Can you bind the chains of the Pleiades? Can you loosen Orion’s belt?
Job 38:30-32 (in Context) Job 38 (Whole Chapter)

Did Job know something we don’t know?

67. Daniel Vogler says:

I think Betelguese is almost time for supernova. Will be like a second sun for a day or 2 if i remember, brightness wise.

68. Robert of Ottawa says:

So, how does he cont the number os past local supernovas?

69. Steve. says:

Thank you Anthony Watts. May you live long and prosper!

70. Bengt A says:

Leif!

If the time stamps are correct you spent six min reading before posting your first comment. A first impression is always interesting but this paper is about how super nova affects climate on earth. It is NOT about how the sun modulates cosmic rays. Did you notice? If you read Results, Discussion, Conclusion and Abstract in the article there is nothing about solar cycles. Your comment is irrelevant and you seem more eager to debunk Svenmark than to analyze this paper.

71. lgl says:

Why not; more cosmic rays > more mutations > more biodiversity ?

72. pat says:

Hmmm.this will drive the Warmists mad. Astrophysicists have been saying that the CO2 -CAGW hypothesis is wrong for years. Not because they are experts on the global toxicity of CO2, but because so many events and measures are incorrectly attributed to CO2. But they have been talking to themselves, waiting for real science to intrude into the discussion. Of course the embargo by agenda driven editorial boards on the publication of any study that even implied that CAGW was wrong meant the outlet for competeing views was very narrow.

73. anticlimactic says:

A fascinating and elegant theory. I hope it survives the many arrows which will no doubt be flung at it!

I wonder if this could tie in with the recent article questioning whether the current increase in CO2 levels is natural rather than man-made. That could finally take climate out of mankind’s hands and leave us to tackle the solveable problems of pollution, overfishing and destruction of habitat.

74. Latitude says:

Clouds??….
…we can’t have no stinking clouds

There’s got to be anouther explanation for atmospheric CO2….
if not, why did CO2 levels rise so high and then crash when it was in the thousands ppm…

75. Kev-in-UK says:

I will have to read and fully digest over a few days on this one. I’m sure the warmists will come out in their droves to pooh-pooh it though!
FWIW, I have always considered that the combined extraterrestrial influence (NO, I don’t mean ET, either!) must be significant, in some way shape or form; whether it be solar, GCR’s, obital changes, gravity, etc,etc. There is a (geo)logical reason for my ‘pre-belief’ in extraterrestrial influence – and that is because if we consider the earth as a relatively ‘closed’ system – and (from geology) we know that the climate has varied dramatically over the earths history – we can consider that once the initial cooling down took place, these kind of global wide climate changes cannot really be explained within a largely ‘closed’ system. [BTW – I love it when the warmists talk of climate equilibrium for exactly this reason – as there clearly hasn’t been any on a geological timescale!] Of course, we now know the earth is not really a closed system, but is impacted upon by various forms of ‘energy’ and its effects from lots of sources – the trick now, is to identify which are the major players and which are the minor ones.
I don’t think by any stretch of the imagination that CO2 can ever be called a driver, and have never accepted such claims. External (extraterrestrial) influences are at least more realistic, and if this paper shows that EES (Extraterrestial energy sources, LOL) are relatively easy to correlate to climate then I think the CO2 driver meme will hopefully be dead.

76. jeff says:

If one thing this proves, it would be that the science is no where near settled yet. Imagine what could be achieved for human kind if just a small percentage of the extravagance in funding of political alarmism was pointed towards real science and thinking such as this?
Thankyou Anthony and Svensmark et al , one for providing a platform and two for an astounding alternative to the rot that has been infecting the real science of late.
This is beautiful in it’s simplicity.

77. kbray in california says:

“…no matter how many years, decades, or sometimes centuries it may take, in the end the story will come out right.”

It’s the current LEFT TURN of the Science/Climate story that bugs me.
It’s time to go RIGHT.

78. Jeremy says:

My biggest question just from reading the abstract is this. How do we know what the rates of supernovas were in the past? How is that calculated? How is it verified? I seem to recall that we had to dig through Chinese history books to discover one or two in the past millenia, how do you go back in time before recorded history to discover the rates of SN explosions?

This seems like it would be mostly guesswork, or based on an unverified astronomical model. But I am not a professional astronomer.

79. Matthew R Marler says:

By taking me back to when I reported the victory of the pioneers of plate tectonics in their battle against the most eminent geophysicists of the day, it makes me feel 40 years younger.

I am reminded more of the asteroid impact that was the last blow to the lives of dinasaurs. Every where that scientists looked for the iridium layer, they found it just about where it ought to be. When they hypothesized that the iridium layer ought to be thickest nearest the impact, they searched and found the hypothesized impact crater. Here, fluctuations in the GCR are hypothesized to affect life and temperature on earch. A new source of GCR fluctuations is found and studied, namely near earth supernovae; examination reveals evidence for the fluctions on earth that ought to have occurred in consequence, and such evidence is found, correlated as it ought to be with the supernova changes. The case that GCR fluctuations in Earth’s atmosphere, modulated by the solar cycles, create the climate cycles of the present and of the past 10,000 years just got stronger.

Correlation almost always implies causation, it just doesn’t usually imply a particular simple causal model, or support an interventionist strategy without further testing. As here, when the predicted relationship is confirmed by correlation, correlation confirms (i.e., in the scientific sense, does not disconfirm in a situation where it might have disconfirmed) the causal analysis. Note that the CO2 theorists make such a claim for CO2: scientists long ago predicted that atmospheric temperature would increase as CO2 increased, and it has happened. When a predicted correlation is found in data analysis, that confirms the hypothesis that predicted the correlation. So we have competing theories, all surviving on the evidence provided by correlational analyses. Right now, I personally might, if forced to choose, give more weight to the Svensmark hypothesis than to the CO2 hypothesis, but I am eager to see the results of the next 20 years’ worth of competition among the theories and theorists.

There is some modeling — have at it model-haters; the modeling looks basically sound to me (I’ll come back to that if there is extreme criticism of the models.) There is some least-squares estimation of parameters, but with a large number of observations compared to the number of parameters, so that isn’t an obvious weakness. Overall, this is a hit.

80. AJB says:

Hmm, when is Betelgeuse likely to go pop? Better not tell the Daily Mail about this paper :-)

81. Dean says:

82. Wonderful, Nigel Calder and Henrik Svensmark. Thank you. Personally I think Svensmark will get the Nobel prize eventually. Well, of course, Anthony and Steve Mc and Tallbloke should get it too, for their parts in the advancement of real science – with Transcendent Rant © for that delicious icing on the cake :)

Steve. says:
April 24, 2012 at 8:16 am

Hello Anthony.

Please feel free to comment on the following, even if yourself refuse to publish this on your wonderful site. I can understand the flak you wish to avoid with this being promoted on your blog.
But hey, it’s in the public domain. I’m thinking you might find the story interesting.
Planetary Defense: An Extraterrestrial Imperative

All the best.

Some very interesting Transcendent Rant in between all the science there. Hope Tallbloke picks this up.

83. Ivan says:

Maybe I am missing something, but I don’t see any obvious connection between this new theory and the old “Svensmark hypothesis” in climate science. Why is anyone so excited about this?

84. AndyL says:

I really hope some sceptics will take a close look at all aspects of this paper and challenge (aka audit) the findings. After all we know that passing peer review is only the first step

85. Ian E says:

That’s truly amazing, gave me tingles up the spine! How many Nobel prizes in store for Svensmark now?!

86. John Whitman says:

Paper “Evidence of nearby supernovae affecting life on Earth”

By Henrik Svensmark
National Space Institute, Technical University of Denmark,
Juliane Marie Vej 30, 2100 Copenhagen Ø, Denmark

ABSTRACT
Observations of open star clusters in the solar neighborhood are used to calculate local supernova (SN) rates for the past 510 million years (Myr). Peaks in the SN rates match passages of the Sun through periods of locally increased cluster formation which could be caused by spiral arms of the Galaxy. A statistical analysis indicates that the Solar System has experienced many large short-term increases in the flux of Galactic cosmic rays (GCR) from nearby supernovae. The hypothesis that a high GCR flux should coincide with cold conditions on the Earth is borne out by comparing the general geological record of climate over the past 510 million years with the fluctuating local SN rates. Surprisingly a simple combination of tectonics (long-term changes in sea level) and astrophysical activity (SN rates) largely accounts for the observed variations in marine biodiversity over the past 510 Myr. An inverse correspondence between SN rates and carbon dioxide (CO2) levels is discussed in terms of a possible drawdown of CO2 by enhanced bioproductivity in oceans that are better fertilized in cold conditions – a hypothesis that is not contradicted by data on the relative abundance of the heavy isotope of carbon, 13C.

The last sentence of the abstract has reference to his idea that relative conc of the isotope 13Carbon (delta 13Carbon) is not contradicted by his hypothesis that SN rate increases bioproductivity. My nutshell interpretation is that if SN rates increase then cloud cover increases then earth cools then oceans absorb more CO2 from the atmosphere then marine life is fertilized which draws down even more CO2 from the atmosphere which will cause delta 13Carbon relative conc in the atmosphere to increase. To me Svensmark suggests that delta 13Carbon increase is what the geologic records show relative to increased SN rates.

I need to read more of the paper.

John

87. Mike Clark says:

Lief’s still riding his scientific bicycle in circles. He’s one of those who likes comfort and hasn’t the energy or the will to drive the bike out of the circle. True scientists are in a constant mode of discovery. If we followed his method of non-discovery we’d still be hiding out in the bush chucking spears to catch our dinner. Thank goodness there are a lot of us out here including Anthony of course who want to discover and learn things we yet don’t understand

88. Jeremy says:

Real Science!

Svensmark provides a way to test his theory. If he is correct then we can use the geological records and paleo-fossils to PREDICT the structure of our galaxy. Based on what his theory predicts we can go out and look at certain parts of our galaxy and try to find evidence of high numbers of SN. This way we can help prove or disprove his hypothesis.

This is REAL science!

In comparison, what CAGW researchers do is more akin to sorcery or alchemy.

89. rgbatduke,

Leif didn’t say he’s skeptical of the result. He’s saying that it doesn’t say anything about the Sun affecting GCR significantly enough to drive temperature swings on the “decadal to millenial” time frame.

90. Leif is just cautioning people about reading into this more than is there (particularly regarding recent climate). He’s right.

91. George E. Smith; says:

Well, I happen to be one who believes, that in some small way, cosmic rays on earth do influence cloud formation (and location) but I have no idea how large an effect that is. But I’m not so sure that life on earth is dependent on the Pleiades.

Given, that so far as we KNOW, there isn’t any life outside a thin shell perhaps +/- 25 km about mean sea level, on planet earth; and none anywhere else, I find it difficult to credit cosmic explosions for our existence.

After all, we evolved out of nothing after these cosmic events occurred; so why isn’t life everywhere ?

92. TRM says:

This is definately getting a re-read tonight when I have more time. Oh and if anyone is worried about too much stellar stuff these are the ones: antares & betelgeuse. Do a search and see how big those suckers are!

Great work and glad to see it published.

93. Pull My Finger says:

Betelguese could have already blown and we wouldn’t know it yet. Luckily at 600+ ly it will look super cool but probably do no damage. Now if the axis was aimed at us a Gamma Ray Burst could do some serious damange. Luckiy it doesn’t appear to be the case.

94. ari says:

Supernovas latest less than 1,000 light years: Vela supernova (800 light years) from 11 to 12,000 years ago (young dyras?). RX J0852.0-4622 (650 to 700 light years) year 1250 (little ice age?).

95. Myron Mesecke says:

A couple of comments try to suggest that there is no way that cosmic rays could have enough of an effect. There’s just not enough of them.
Yet the argument for man made climate change is that just a little bit more of something that is so little of the atmosphere (CO2) is enough to have an effect.

96. Alec Rawls says:

Shouldn’t the relation between cold and productivity flip during an ice age such as the present? At such times, cold causes ice caps to descend to mid latitudes, blocking the sun from reaching the oceans or the soil and drastically reducing the surface area where photosynthesis can take place. Of course the amount of nutrients available is a limiting factor, but so is the amount of surface available for photosynthesis. It is counter-intuitive to think that the influence of cold on the availability of nutrients would dominate the surface area effect, but this is what Svensmark’s findings seem to show. The extended Carboniferous-Permian ice age shows the highest bio-productivity in the record. Surprising.

Do we know the extent of the ice caps at that time? Maybe the C-P ice age wasn’t all that icy? Then maybe there could still be a point beyond which which cooling does become a negative for productivity. (Certainly that would be the case for “ice ball earth” conditions.)

Could allow for a jiu-jitsu interpretation of the Permian-Triassic extinction. If cold was driven by supernova activity as Svensmark suggests, and if Svensmark’s supernova activity estimates are near the mark, then the peak (or the nadir) of the C-P ice age would have been at the tail end of the Permian, just before the extinction event began. Maybe the ice age got deep enough for ice cover to have put the brakes on photosynthetic production, then when the supernova activity dropped off, the planet got too hot, again presenting poor conditions for productivity.

A one-two punch like that, swinging out of the goldilocks zone first in one direction (deep ice cover) then in the other (nutrient poor heat), would certainly be tough for larger animals to survive, and would certainly help to explain that part of the extinction event.

97. Wow! Not so much of a eurica moment as when I first saw the magnet reversals in the oceanic basalts showing the march of strips that explained how contents move. This is a very compelling explination that is probably way closer to the mark then anything before. It even fits with the “snowball earth” suggestions. Is it corrent in every detal? Hell no but it dosen’t need to be either. This is not some kind of predictive model for people to obcess about nor is it the final word on anything. Lets us all, us geologists anyway, take a deep breath and get back to trying to understand stuff instead of trying to compell nature to our faith and sophistry.

98. Dodgy Geezer says:

..Anyone who wishes to pooh-pooh any piece of it by saying “correlation is not necessarily causality” should offer some other mega-theory that says why several mutually supportive coincidences arise between events in our galactic neighbourhood and living conditions on the Earth…

NO THEY SHOULDN’T!

I know what you mean – but your use of that phrase jars. If I can find a piece of this theory which does not hang together, I can ‘pooh-pooh’ it. I don’t have to offer up an alternative. I’m not saying that I can – I haven’t even read it yet, and it sounds like an exciting proposal. But we have to respond to this false argument so often from the AGW crowd that I don’t really like to see it here – even if it is mentioned lightly or in jest…

99. Jim G says:

ari says:
April 24, 2012 at 11:09 am
“Supernovas latest less than 1,000 light years: Vela supernova (800 light years) from 11 to 12,000 years ago (young dyras?). RX J0852.0-4622 (650 to 700 light years) year 1250 (little ice age?).”

Cosmic rays do not travel at the speed of light as they are caused by particles that have rest mass. Knowing their arrival time would require knowing more than their distance of origin and date of the explosion but their launch velocity, intervening gas clouds which could inhibit them, & any angle of launch in the event the explosion was asymetrical as well. It would also be usefull to know the intensity and composition of the blast and the condition of the overall heliosphere at the time of their arrival to determine what might get through.

As I indicated earlier, correlating these issues over 400mm years would be difficult to say the least and at worst the variables involved are unknowable.

100. Ivan says:

“Leif didn’t say he’s skeptical of the result. He’s saying that it doesn’t say anything about the Sun affecting GCR significantly enough to drive temperature swings on the “decadal to millenial” time frame.”

Moreover, Leif quoted Svensmark as saying exactly that, so I am puzzled why everyone is trumpeting this new paper as having any direct relevance to the old “Svensmark hypothesis”.

101. Alec, my guess is that some of that turbulance (circulation) isn’t caused by cold from clouds, it’s caused by changes in other fluid that also are ionized.

102. Steven Mosher says:

Robert of Ottawa says:
April 24, 2012 at 9:49 am (Edit)
So, how does he cont the number os past local supernovas?

############

He Doesnt. Its estimated. And Its modelled. It’s not an observation. There are other “records”
of the count. He looks at them, calls them “similar” and doesnt test his calculations WRT the selection of records.

If Mann wrote this, people here would be hooting and hollaring.

103. Crono141 says:

Clearly, the only legitimate conclusion we can come to is that CO2 causes Supernovae.

104. Jimmy Haigh says:

If I was an AGW believer/follower/disciple/fanatic I would pooh pooh this by saying that although supernovas and cosmic rays may well have affected things up to 1970, since then it has been the evil of man and his burning of fossil fuels that have changed the cimate.

105. RonPE says:

This proud skeptic regularly boasts that humans have a limited effect beyond their local environment and that real changes are caused by geological and solar cycles. Now it appears that these changes may have even BIGGER CAUSES. I will need to add galactic cycles to that list.

106. John Blake says:

From Conjecture to Hypothesis to Theory: Svensmark’s careful depiction has it all. Two points: Given only two (2) main variables, this “bipolar” thesis lends itself not to chaotic/fractal indeterminacy but to linear extrapolation. Such over-simplification is saved, however, by noting the incidence of relatively nearby supernovae as independent random variables.

Since (for all astrophysics knows) supernovae are scalar phenomena not physically linked in any way, their math/statistical occurrence, collectively or in isolation, is not amenable to rational prediction in detail. Nor in fact are plate tectonic distributions of continental landmasses… in combination, a Permian-type extinction could begin tomorrow, recur in the indefinite future, or never trouble Planet Earth again.

Wegener, Milankovich, now Svensmark– all are subject to pure observational verification whose directly realizable consequences make nonsense of agenda-driven scholastic exercises such as AGW catastrophism. Any so-called researcher clinging bitterly to hyper-politicized grant monies betrays affinity with Aristotle’s “impetus,” Ptolemaic epicycles– with J.B. Rhine, Trofim Lysenko, Immanuel Velikovsky. Ugh.

107. Betelgeuse might go soon, about 500-600 Light Years away; it is in the red-supergiant phase. Think of a sun that fills our solar system out to between the orbit of Mars-Jupiter and you have a supergiant like Betelgeuse.

Rigel (Beta Orionis) is 700-900 Light Years away and has already transitioned to blue-supergiant phase, another candidate for a close supernova. Similar in size to Betelgeuse.

Antares is roughly 550 Light Years away and is another red-supergiant like Betelgeuse only a little larger.

If we see any one of them cook off, it’s sure going to be rough on the CAGW alarmists. If all three cook off in close sequence and we see that in the day sky (and we will). The it sure looks like hell is going to freeze over (nice to know all of those CAGW alarmists won’t have to suffer in the heat).

But, it may be all moot in a few billion years when our galaxy gets whacked by the Andromeda Galaxy. http://wn.com/The_Milky_Way's_Collision_Course_with_Andromeda. 2-4 million Light Years away and closing.

108. Nicely done. Will be a fun read. On first glance, it echoes a bit what James Marusek has been writing about over at the Impact blog, though this paper is the much longer view. Cheers –

109. NeedleFactory says:

Mike Clark at 10:49am: Lief goes in circles, is lazy, lacks drive, etc.
Sorry, Mike, but I find your post offensive and gratuitous. Offensive, because it’s 100% ad hominem — and unsupported an hominem at that! Gratuitous, because it provides neither light nor information.
I appreciate Lief’s posts here.

110. Latitude says:

Steven Mosher says:
April 24, 2012 at 11:53 am
If Mann wrote this, people here would be hooting and hollaring
====================================
No Mosh, if Mann wrote this someone would have him locked up by now…………….

111. dp says:

Cool – a “God” hypothesis. And it addresses questions I’ve had for decades regarding our galactic neighbors. This is going to make for some very interesting reading for years and years.

112. Hell_Is_Like_Newark says:
April 24, 2012 at 8:06 am
So are there any stars near Sol that are candidates to go supernova soon?

This is not a very hard question to answer. Betelgeuse and Antares are both red giants and about 600 lightyears away. These stars have an expected lifetime of about 10-million years and are about 9-million years old, give or take a couple million.
Because they are 600-lightyears away (and GCRs travel on average 40 percent the speed of light) if we were to see the light from their explosion today, it would be about 900 years later that the peak of the GCRs would reach us.
For perspective, solar wind particles travel at 0.2 to 0.3 percent the speed of light.

113. Gorgias says:

Ah…God is a Quasar.

Perhaps Neitzsche misspoke.

114. Scarface says:

It’s time for Michael Mann to start studying the treerings of his hockeystick,
which is another way to say: the damn thing is broken!

This paper by Svensmark is fantastic. He will be remembered as the modern Galileo.
The resemblance in the shift of focus caused by these two men is truly remarkable.

115. sean71 says:

Interesting, if only because it seems superficially to be a viable hypothesis for further investigation. We have correlation of some sort, and a tentative mechanism for causality. Certainly, there are big questions about the cloud causality which could easily take another 10 years of data to close out.

Most significant I think seems to be the suggestion that here we have a strong enough alternative theory which gives scientists a real possibility of making a significant breakthrough (or the chance of humiliation in 5-10 years time if they didn’t bother to check how this idea might apply to their work).

We can expect the hand-waving strawmen. It would be great to see some researched critique of this paper to get an idea of how strong it it. One for CA maybe (although cracking open a whole new dataset probably won’t appeal).

116. Gary says:

I’ll waiting for Willis to give it a going over.

117. Steven Mosher says: April 24, 2012 at 11:53 am

Robert of Ottawa says: So, how does he cont the number os past local supernovas?

He Doesnt. Its estimated. And Its modelled. It’s not an observation. There are other “records”
of the count. He looks at them, calls them “similar” and doesnt test his calculations WRT the selection of records.

If Mann wrote this, people here would be hooting and hollaring.

Svensmark’s paper actually says things like

The present results are no better than the data on which they are built, and the uncertainty of the data gets larger as one reaches further into the past. Estimated variations in SN rates are better determined for 250 – 0 Myr ago than for 500 – 250 Myr ago, because there are fewer clusters of old ages and because phase mixing tends to erase part of the memory of the birthplaces of the open clusters. On the other hand, consistencies in the comparisons with geological data lend support to the estimated SN rates, even in the earlier period. Without direct terrestrial records of the GCR variation on long time scales, the highly fluctuating flux due to nearby SNs remains a matter of numerical modelling, but again the geological record of sudden drops in sea level appears to support the analysis.

Models are unavoidable here, and have been “calibrated” against real data as far as possible, by someone who is mathematically literate, open to debate, wants the integrity of the science rather than the science-free IPCC kudos, and has paid the price.

No comparison with Mann at all.

118. Jamie says:

I’m not wise and/or clever or not to comment on the veracity of this paper. I can follow the comments and debate, but the raw technical details is too much for me, a scientifically inclined layman.

But I can appreciate the ramification of the conclusions. Every so often a theory comes along that is not only fascinating and ground-breaking from for it’s field of science, but deeply profound and thought provoking from a philosophical point of view too.

Darwin’s theory of evolution, General relativity, quantum physics, to name a few.

Carl Sagan’s quote is most certainly apt here, I immediately thought of it too. But the idea that the stars and the universe are having a direct, continual and current impact on the evolution of life on this planet is equally profound.

But of course, let’s not get carried away. All of the above is of course pre-faced with a gig “If this is true ,”… Let’s remain cautiously sceptical and see what happens here on out. As an observer, I’ll say what a truly exciting time for science. And what a terrible tragedy that these innovative ideas will be subject to the attack science we have all become familiar with in the climate debate.

119. TRM says:

Just had a weird thought or two.

Is there any way to correlate when the effects of a supernova would hit earth with our sun’s sheilding of earth at that time?

How long would a supernova’s output hit earth? Years, decades, century?

Thanks again for a very thought provoking article.

120. T. S. says:

The paper is a hoax. Figure 2a shows that the raw data is nothing but noise, and from this random noise Svensmark draws his “correlations”.

121. Dieter says:

This is exciting work. It clearly illustrates that what we call the “environment” extends far beyond the earth – and far beyond our control. It is at once both beautiful and humbling.

122. geo says:

Well, that’s certainly some Big Picture science right there.

Anyone into Astronomy are as familiar with SN as most are with breathing – the history is written in the solar system. Even the earth itself are merely star stuff of earlier SNs as are life itself on this planet. Sagan was correct – we are star stuff looking back at star stuff. Anyone into astronomy is very familiar with Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 launched during the summer of 1977 now both Voyages are at the edge of our solar system – FROM NASA: At the same time, Voyager has detected a 100-fold increase in the intensity of high-energy electrons from elsewhere in the galaxy diffusing into our solar system from outside, which is another indication of the approaching boundary.

It is perfectly understandable why this paper was first published in astronomy as its contents do indeed involve the cosmos itself and its effect on this planet. However, what strikes me to this moment in time is why we ever thought of ourselves as disconnected from the very space we find ourselves rotating in every day even before there was a sun and its assortment of planets. No doubt much of what is postulated here is not familiar to many – however, this is actual science at work. Having said that I have said here time and time again – no one has ever answered my questions on ice ages and warm intergalactic periods. This paper is the first to begin to make some sense of incredible climate changes this planet has endured. It is my sense this paper has opened a door into a deeper understanding of science going forward and perhaps even why climates change so rapidly.

124. David A. Evans says:

rgbatduke says:
April 24, 2012 at 9:07 am

I was going to say to all those calling this a theory that it is merely an hypothesis as yet. Thanks for saying it better than I.

Not until people have tried to rip it apart for decades can it ever be elevated to the lofty status of theory. Even then, it will be open to newer analises and possibly be proved wrong.

DaveE.

125. T. S. says: April 24, 2012 at 12:52 pm

The paper is a hoax. Figure 2a shows that the raw data is nothing but noise, and from this random noise Svensmark draws his “correlations”.

Read the paper. And engage brain.

126. kim says:

I think I’ve never heard so loud
The quiet message in a cloud.
======================

127. Is there an astro-physicist Stevie Mac lurking at Third Man who can try to falsify this hypothesis?

128. Jeremy says:

Scottish Sceptic says:
April 24, 2012 at 9:15 am

Jeremy, the key point is that this paper was published by hard science. For years people like Svensmark have been prevented from getting on which proper, measured science by eco-nutters like Mann and Hansen who run global warming “science” like some men’s club.

And I recall for years people like Anthony and McIntyre were shouted down because they could not get published and “Peer Reviewed”. Publication of results does not add weight to a result leaning it towards reality. It wasn’t this way before we all challenged CAGW, it shouldn’t be after.

129. otsar says:

I was an undergraduate physical geology student when the continental drift theory came out. It was laughed at and dismissed. Eventually the old fossilized geosyncline profs retired. The new profs that replaced them tried to explain everything with continental drift. Some of the old, but mentally young profs, pointed out how the two processes interacted; with continental drift (convection) being the large scale driver. If the theory holds up I expect the adoption to be similar.

130. Jimbo says:

The general theory of climatology?

131. Harvey Harrison says:

About the only thing this matches is our presumed orbit about the Milky Way. So here we have a yet vaster cycle with good data on the last two cycles. Just how you could kill off something as hardy as a trilobite has always been a mystery to me and here is a method.
If conventional cosmology is correct Earth has made 20, or so, orbits so there should be layers at 250 million year intervals all the way down.

132. We may indeed be reaching Harmonic convergence on a new Earth Science reality. What is missing in the Nigel Calder 2012 “Cosmic Ray in Action” graph is the obvious variations in the ‘box’ labeled ‘solid Earth’. As i mention in my Calder post comment as “Joseph A Olson”….is that our planet has 700,000 cubic miles of Uranium (4 PPM) and 1.2 million cubic miles of Thorium (7.8 PPM). This nuclear feedstock produces varying rates of heat and ‘elemental atom’ by-products. What was missing form Svensmarks CR-cloud hypothesis was the feedstock for the 3 mic SOx to be formed into the 50 mic necessary for cloud seeding. By adding the missing link of elemental molecules and elemental compounds, the Svensmark Theory should prove largely correct. The variable fission hypothesis proposed in “The Motive Force for all Climate Change” in May 2009. One way the planet disguises the heat production is by forming large chain molecules. The million BTU per cubic foot of petroleum is chemically STORED fission energy, per “Earth’s Missing Geothermal Flux” in April 2011. We can now transition from the Carbon Climate Forcing lie to the peak oil lie, see “Fossil Fuel is Nuclear Waste” in Sept 2010. We are blessed to have these great minds and this great forum….find and share Truth.

133. izen says:

Beautiful theory…
Ugly fact –
Lachamps PME

134. The best scientific theories tend not only to fit the data, but also to be elegant, and this is elegant.

So why am I left with the feeling that Svensmark will be mocked and ridiculed for this…

136. Big_Al says:

Douglass Adams probably came the closest to the meaning of life, the universe and everything when he identified it as being fifty-four. Then those blasted pan-dimensional beings had to shuffle the deck again and we ended up starting over again. One *could* argue that his work was only possible because he was channeling ephemeral super-intelligences who are merely toying with us all in an effort to amuse themselves. (#1 looks at #2 and begins to laugh hysterically – “They have “discovered” that cosmic rays makes it all hang together – and the two of them roll on the floor laughing their non-corporeal asses off”.

Al

• 42, dear boy, 42. The answer to Life, the Universe and Everything is 42. Check alcohol level in bloodstream before posting :)

137. Mark-London says:

I am going to suggest my daughter becomes an Astrobiologist!
On a more serious note,thanks for your amazing work Mr Svensmark.

138. ThinkingScientist says:

This makes me so proud to be a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society and not a Fellow of the Royal Society.

ThinkingScientist, FRAS

139. Willis Eschenbach says:

When one searches the geological record for symptoms of brief but severe cooling events with the magnitude, time scale and frequency appropriate for signals of the nearest SNs, the most promising are short-lived falls in global sea level, called marine regressions, for which there exists no other satisfactorily comprehensive explanation.

By exposing beaches to erosion, the marine regressions have left signatures of discontinuous strata that are used routinely for seismic stratigraphy.

The problem with that theory is that it assumes that the elevation of the edges of the continental plates haven’t changed.

But a recent paper “Relative sea-level fall since the last interglacial stage: Are coasts uplifting worldwide?“, evaluated some 890 of the paleo-shorelines worldwide. They say:

The results show that most coastal segments have risen relative to sea-level with a mean uplift rate higher than 0.2 mm/yr, i.e. more than four times faster than the estimated eustatic drop in sea level. The results also reveal that the uplift rate is faster on average for active margins than for passive margins. Neither dynamic topography nor glacio-hydro-isostasy may explain sustained uplift of all continental margins, as revealed by the wide distribution of uplifted sequences of paleoshorelines. Instead, we suggest that only plate-tectonic processes reconcile all observations of Quaternary coastal uplift. We propose that long-term continental accretion has led to compression of continental plates and uplift of their margins. Therefore this study concludes that plate-tectonics processes impact all margins and emphasizes the fact that the notion of a stable platform is unrealistic. These results therefore seriously challenge the evaluation of past sea levels from the fossil shoreline record.

Given the difficulty in establishing what the global sea level might have been as recently as say a thousand years ago, I am always concerned when such estimates are extended into deep time.

w.

140. Wijnand says:

Let’s hope he makes his code available… ;-)

141. pochas says:

Willis,
When we’re talking about interglacial sea level rise, we are talking hundreds of feet! The ‘steps’ left in the shorelines are clearly visible and cannot be mistaken.

142. Willis Eschenbach says:

Another issue. Here’s Svensmark’s Figure 21:

He’s converted from ∂13C to log(CO2), no method given for the conversion, but let’s set that aside. He also uses some other ∂13C in Figure 22, without conversion … and matches it to the same supernova data. But let’s set that aside as well.

Look at the data indicated by the blue arrow. It says that we know the CO2 level a hundred million years ago to within ±5%.

But directly above it is another measurement, and above that is another measurement … and none of the error bars overlap.

Now, at least two of those have to be wrong, either as to value or size of error …

I get nervous when people use data that contains internal contradictions.

w.

143. Jeremy says:

From the paper:

2 OPEN STAR CLUSTERS IN THE EARTH’S GALACTIC VICINITY
Avoiding any preconception of the precise structure of the Galaxy or of the Solar system’s motion through it, the present work will reconstruct the star formation in the solar neighbourhood during the
last 500 Myr from open star clusters, with a view to inferring the local SN rate as a proxy for GCR (VERITAS Collaboration et al. 2009). ….. This small fraction of surviving open clusters are likely to have been the initially mostrich clusters (Lada & Lada 2003). The formation rates of open clusters are therefore used as a proxy for the formation of SNe.

A proxy of a proxy? I like the beauty of Svensmark’s theories, but I’m afraid I would need to learn a lot of astronomy to buy into this. 500 Million years ago is 2 orbits around the galaxy for us, meaning the night sky would likely look VERY different, the stars around us could have been totally unfamiliar.

144. Allan MacRae says:

Outstanding work by Svensmark et al – but no time yet to read in detail.

Are there material differences from the following summary?

Published in January 2008 at

Excerpt:

The four parameters ST, LT, dCO2/dt and CO2 all have a common primary driver, and that driver is not humankind.

Veizer (2005) describes an alternative mechanism (see Figure 1 from Ferguson and Veizer, 2007, included herein). Veizer states that Earth’s climate is primarily caused by natural forces. The Sun (with cosmic rays – ref. Svensmark et al) primarily drives Earth’s water cycle, climate, biosphere and atmospheric CO2.

Veizer’s approach is credible and consistent with the data. The IPCC’s core scientific position is disproved – CO2 lags temperature by ~9 months – the future cannot cause the past.

While further research is warranted, it is appropriate to cease all CO2 abatement programs that are not cost-effective, and focus efforts on sensible energy efficiency, clean water and the abatement of real atmospheric pollution, including airborne NOx, SOx and particulate emissions.

The tens of trillions of dollars contemplated for CO2 abatement should, given the balance of evidence, be saved or re-allocated to truly important global priorities.

145. ThinkingScientist says:

We know a lot more about sea level rise and fall over millions of years thsan just looking at paleo shorelines. The basis of seismic stratigraphy and MASSIVE oil company geological research over the last 40 years has established estimates of sea level rise and fall on a world wide correlated basis covering huge geological time spans. Its a crucial central plank in oil exploration and so we know a lot about it. Petroleum geologists, geophysicists and seismic interpreters could give you an analysis of major marine transgression and regression sequences just by looking at seismic sections in basins from around the world. This is everyday fare for thousands of professional working geologists all over the world. There must hundreds if not thousands of papers published on the subject.

146. jonathan frodsham says:

Wow the implications are astounding. I am gob smacked.

147. Jeremy says:

Lucy Skywalker says: April 24, 2012 at 12:43 pm

Steven Mosher says: April 24, 2012 at 11:53 am

If Mann wrote this, people here would be hooting and hollaring.

No comparison with Mann at all.

Not to split off into teams and turn this into an academic battle, but I tend to agree with Mosher, just based on my previous comment alone. He’s using a proxy of a proxy, and the initial proxy relies on “modeling” the galaxy back 250 million or 500 million years… seems to be at least a little sketchy as much as I want it to be true.

148. Ian W says:

Ivan says:
April 24, 2012 at 10:26 am
Maybe I am missing something, but I don’t see any obvious connection between this new theory and the old “Svensmark hypothesis” in climate science. Why is anyone so excited about this?

I think that you are missing something.

Initial idea GCR seed clouds. More GCR more clouds.

Variance on a short timescale possibly caused by solar wind changes…

What varies GCR on a long timescale?
==Supernovae could vary GCR on a long timescale – potentially giving large overload.
==Just orbiting the galaxy could alter the background level of GCR as the solar system moves into different sectors

Can we find evidence of either of these longer term variations that were hypothesized by Nir Shaviv? If so that would provide support for the short term changes in cloud being caused by GCR. This paper states that it appears that there is some correlation with nearby supernovae which would cause large amounts of GCR.

Its a pretty hypothesis but it has caused distinct dyspepsia to some with sacred cows in play. So we can be assured that there will be some skeptical scientists attempting to falsify the hypothesis. As there should be.

149. Willis Eschenbach says:

From the introduction:

Ninety years ago the astrophysicist Shapley (1921) suggested that ice ages on the Earth might be due to the Solar System’s encounters with gas clouds in the Milky Way. That idea was revived half a century later by McCrea (1975), pursued by Talbot & Newman (1977) and developed recently using better observations by Frisch (2000).

Really? If so … why have most of the ice ages occurred in the last three million years? And when I look at Frisch (2000), it’s listed as “Frisch P., 2000, American Scientist, 88, 52”. As an aside, could people put the name of the freakin’ article in the references?

In any case, Frisch (2000) is available here … and it doesn’t mention ice ages anywhere. Not one word. It does mention climate, though … exactly once … and the temperature of the earth is not mentioned at all. Regarding climate, it says:

Although our solar system is in the process of emerging from the Local Bubble, the sun’s trajectory suggests that it will probably not encounter a large, dense cloud for at least several more million years. The consequences of such an encounter for the earth’s climate are unclear; however, one wonders whether it is a coincidence that Homo sapiens appeared while the sun was traversing a region of space virtually devoid of interstellar matter.

I’m sorry, but that has nothing to do with the claim that ice ages are due to earth encountering gas clouds. Does Svensmark think we won’t check his references?

w.

150. Steve Keohane says:

Willis Eschenbach says: April 24, 2012 at 2:40 pm
[…]
But a recent paper “Relative sea-level fall since the last interglacial stage: Are coasts uplifting worldwide?“, evaluated some 890 of the paleo-shorelines worldwide. They say:

The results show that most coastal segments have risen relative to sea-level with a mean uplift rate higher than 0.2 mm/yr, i.e. more than four times faster than the estimated eustatic drop in sea level.
After reading it, I don’t understand the relevance of the paper you linked to WRT it showing an argument against what Svensmark is saying. The paper talks about >0.2mm/ year uplift, so for 12K years you get almost 8 feet, relative to the sea level rise of ~300 feet since then. I don’t see how the former affects an assessment of the latter. We’re talking 0.2 vs. 7.62 mm/yr. Is it simply that it might supply that error in estimating a date for a layer of geographic deposition?

151. Stephen Wilde says:

Sorry but I don’t think I can go with this on any timescale that might have relevance to human existence.

We must go back to the sun and variable influences on the air circulation from the top down subsequently modulated by the oceans and ultimately affecting global cloudiness, albedo and the amount of solar energy able to get into the oceans to drive the climate.

By leaping to supernovae as a relevant factor for observed climate changes during the interglacial I think Dr. Svensmark ‘jumped the shark’ in an entirely unnecessary fashion whatever the merits of his idea that cosmic rays are capable of providing more condensation nuclei.

The historical events that he tries to link together are just too fuzzy for reliable interpretation at the proposed level of confidence.

Not only are we not really sure what happened or why, all those millions of years ago, but the estimated timings are potentially way out.

152. FrankK says:

Kev-in-UK says:
April 24, 2012 at 10:10 am

I will have to read and fully digest over a few days on this one. I’m sure the warmists will come out in their droves to pooh-pooh it though!
FWIW, I have always considered that the combined extraterrestrial influence (NO, I don’t mean ET, either!) must be significant, in some way shape or form; whether it be solar, GCR’s, obital changes, gravity, etc,etc.
———————————————————————————————————————-
Kev,
I think it is best if we use the term “celestial” or “galactic” rather than “extraterrestrial” as the latter term has too much of a Sci-Fi connotation – ET and all that nonsense as you indicate.

Willis Eschenbach says:
April 24, 2012 at 3:15 pm
Really? If so … why have most of the ice ages occurred in the last three million years?

There has only been one ice age in the last 3 million years.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ice_age#Major_ice_ages

No one seems to have observed that GCRs can potentially account for climate change over all timescales. Occam’s Razor.

154. ntesdorf says:

It is good to see that this paper was published by hard science. For so long people like Svensmark have been prevented from publishing by the greenists who have seized control by wielding global warming as a club. It is a posting which is enormously heartening to read.

It reminds us that the Earth is just a planet like any other. What happens on other planets will happen here too, as has been observed, whether we emit CO2 or not. It is a relief to see real science being written about again in an elegant theory.

I hope that this paper will break the log jam of non-science & global warming nonsense, and restore Science to its real place beyond the control of Warmistas.

155. Jeremy says:

Also, if I’m not mistaken in my initial read of this paper, his inference is that open cluster formation is a proxy for SN explosions. However, in my limited Astronomy understanding, this would only be a worthwhile for type-2 supernovas, i.e., the extremely large stars that live fast and die young. There should be almost no correlation (that I can see, again not a professional astronomer, but I know some things) between type-1(a,b or c) supernova which rely on white dwarfs orbiting close to main-sequence stars and creating mass accretion disks. Is it generally known/presumed that only type-2 supernova create GCR?

156. Bengt A says:
April 24, 2012 at 9:53 am
A first impression is always interesting but this paper is about how super nova affects climate on earth. It is NOT about how the sun modulates cosmic rays. Did you notice?
As I read it, it is not about climate on a time scale relevant to our society, but about evolution of life. Or not even on the time scale of ice ages [40,000-100,000 years] which are not related to cosmic rays or supernovae, but to the shape of the Earth’s orbit and orientation of the Earth’s axis. Did you notice that?
In spite of recent ‘climate’ not being the topic, the word occurs 95 times [so far] in this topic, so some people must have misunderstood the paper. The idea that supernovae regulates mutations and thereby indirectly evolution is furthermore not new at all.

157. noaaprogrammer says:

How would cosmic rays affect the thinner atmosphere of Mars? Would it also increase its albedo – just not as much? If so, what proxies on Mars could be used to show the same correlations for that planet? Let’s get NASA back to substantive work!

158. izen says:

grumpyoldmanuk says: April 24, 2012 at 2:33 pm
“42, dear boy, 42. The answer to Life, the Universe and Everything is 42. Check alcohol level in bloodstream before posting :)”

Ah but the QUESTION is-
What is seven times six….
-grin-

159. Garacka says:

It’s the sun stupid…. no…

It’s the suns stupid.

There…. fixed.

April 24, 2012 at 3:44 pm
There has only been one ice age in the last 3 million years.
You are splitting hairs, or just confused. Precisely spoken an ‘ice age’ is a series of individual ‘glaciations’. In loose talk ‘ice age’ is often used for ‘glaciation’. This is OK as long as one knows the difference.

161. Bruce of Newcastle says:

Congratulations once more to Prof Svensmark!

I predict an upsurge, if not supernovae, at least of exploding heads in a certain community who we know won’t like this finding at all.

162. Jeremy says:
April 24, 2012 at 4:01 pm
Is it generally known/presumed that only type-2 supernova create GCR?
GCRs are not created directly by the supernova explosion, but from acceleration of charged particles by/from shock waves created by the explosion, so the type does not matter.

163. Thanks Nigel, Dr. Svensmark, Anthony,
This is good news getting better.
Galactic cosmic rays as a driver and our Sun as a modulator make good sense, the beauty of the theory is evident, and the experimental (based in data) corroboration is mounting.

164. Ian W says: April 24, 2012 at 3:13 pm

Can we find evidence of either of these longer term variations that were hypothesized by Nir Shaviv?

For reference, Nir Shaviv wrote that;

“The density of cosmic ray sources in the galaxy is not uniform. In fact, it is concentrated in the galactic spiral arms (it arises from supernovae, which in our galaxy are predominantly the end product of massive stars, which in turn form and die primarily in spiral arms). Thus, each time we cross a galactic arm, we should expect a colder climate. Current data for the spiral arm passages gives a crossing once every 135 ± 25 Million years. (See fig. 2 on the left. Note also that the spiral arms are density waves which propagate at a different speed than the stars, that is, nothing moves at their rotation speed).”
http://www.sciencebits.com/ice-ages
http://www.phys.huji.ac.il/~shaviv/articles/long-ice.pdf
http://www.phys.huji.ac.il/~shaviv/articles/PRLice.pdf

165. Willis Eschenbach says:

Svensmark’s theory rests heavily on the idea that the source of cosmic rays is supernovae. However, I find the following (emphasis mine):

(PhysOrg.com) — NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope is making some exciting discoveries about cosmic rays and the Large Area Telescope aboard Fermi is the tool in this investigation. Scientists in the Naval Research Laboratory’s (NRL’s) Space Science Division were instrumental in the design and development of the Large Area Telescope (LAT).

Cosmic rays are electrons, positrons, and atomic nuclei that move at nearly the speed of light. Astronomers believe that the high-energy cosmic rays originate from exotic places in the galaxy, such as the debris of exploded stars.

The LAT is a wide field-of-view imaging telescope, which consists of a tracker that determines the trajectory of the gamma ray or cosmic ray being measured, and an NRL-developed cesium-iodide calorimeter that determines the energy of the incoming ray. A charged-particle anti-coincidence shield helps filter out unwanted signals, such as those produced by background particles. LAT was developed for detecting gamma rays; however, it is also proving to be a great tool for studying the high-energy electrons in cosmic rays.

Gamma rays travel in straight lines, so scientists are able to pinpoint their sources simply by measuring the direction of each gamma ray as it arrives at the LAT. In contrast, cosmic rays diffuse through our Galaxy, scattering off and spiraling through the turbulent galactic magnetic fields. Because of their movements, scientists find it challenging to determine where the cosmic rays originated. One of Fermi’s main goals is determining the sources of cosmic rays.

NRL’s highly sensitive LAT measured the energies of more than four million high-energy electrons between August 2008 and January 2009, far more high-energy electrons than have ever been studied before. This extremely large data set allowed scientists to make a precise census of high-energy electrons and led to a surprising excess in the rate of electrons striking the LAT, more than expected from earlier measurements and theoretical models. The LAT data appear to be key to understanding electron measurements made from the European satellite PAMELA and the ground-based High Energy Spectroscopic System located in Namibia.

The Fermi LAT’s results indicate that our understanding of the sources and propagation of high-energy particles in the galaxy is incomplete, and they seem to suggest that there is a nearby object beaming cosmic rays in the direction of Earth. Some scientists suggest that a nearby pulsar – the fast-spinning leftover of an exploded star – could be the source sending the electrons and positrons toward Earth. A more exotic possibility is that the particles are evidence of the existence of dark matter. For some time, astrophysicists have suggested that some form of matter – previously undetected and invisible, hence “dark” – exists to provide the extra gravity needed to keep galaxies from whirling apart. While researchers have never directly and conclusively observed dark matter, it could be that the excess electrons LAT observes are the result of interactions or decays of the theorized dark matter particles. Looking ahead, Fermi researchers will be watching for changes in the cosmic ray activity in different parts of the sky. This activity might help them piece together the puzzle in finding the source for the cosmic rays.

Call me crazy, but it sure doesn’t seem like cosmic rays are anywhere near as well understood as Svensmark makes out.

Also, there have been about 6,000 supernovae observed since 1885 … surely we should look at the ebb and flow of those w.r.t. climate before heading back half a billion years with models of models …

w.

166. This piece of research merits TV coverage. I have tried to write a simple news “package”. As an interesting exercise (which I may regret) I think I will try posting it here for comments and suggestions before I present it to my bosses for their consideration.

By the way, I am on a short leave (following minor surgery) so this would not go into production until Monday, April 30th at the earliest. Do you think so one else may beat me to it. I doubt it; nobody much covers science on the news anymore.

Any way here it is:

Here is my first draft.

ANCHORS: (INTRO)

John Coleman is classified as a global warming skeptic. He has steadfastly refused to accept the much publicized hypothesis that the carbon dioxide produced by our use of fossil fuels is the prime factor that will soon lead to uncontrollable global warming and catastrophic consequences for our civilization. Tonight he is anxious to tell us about another theory behind climate change. John.

[SCREEN LEFT OF EARTH FLOATING IN SPACE]

Sandra, Allan and everybody, the idea that carbon dioxide produced by our use of fossil fuels has enough impact to control our climate never made much sense to me. Over the years, hundreds of scientific studies have totally failed to make a convincing case. Is there another force at work with the power to dramatically alter the climate of Earth? There is new theory that may be the answer. It may turn out to explain all the dramatic changes in earth’s climate over the last four and half billion years.

PACKAGE: (COLEMAN VOICE OVER)
[WX1 MOVIE OF ZOOM OUT FROM SAN DIEGO TO FULL EARTH AND BEYOND]

This new theory doesn’t start here in San Diego or Southern California; not even on planet Earth.

[PICTURE OF SOLAR SYSTEM: SUN AND EARTH DOMINATE]

It doesn’t even begin with our Sun. I have studied several Sun based climate theories and they never quite hold up when you put them to the test.

[PICTURE OF THE MILKY WAY GALAXY]

This theory begins with the really big picture: Our solar system, a speck in the Milky Way Galaxy. There is our sun, only a dim dot of light far out in out in one of the spirals that rotate around the center.

[ADD LABEL TO THE MILKY WAY GALAXY PICTURE: OUR SUN WITH AN ARROW TO A TINY DOT]

The theory is that as Earth rotates around the Sun and as our Solar System moves through the Milky Way spiral,

[PICTURE OF WIDE SKY VIEW WITH STARS AND SUPERNOVAE LABELS: OUR SUN WITH ARROW TO DIM DOT AND SUPERNOVAE WITH ARROW TO SUPERNOVAE IN PICTURE]

that the Earth, from time to time, is engulfed in huge cosmic energy waves from exploding stars, events that are known as Supernovae.

[CLOSE UP PICTURE OF SUPERNOVAE]

These explosive masses are often many times the size of our entire Solar System. These explosions are enormously bright and powerful and spread remnants at incredible speed across the space of the universe.

[PICTURE OF HENRIK SEVENSMARK]

This man, Henrik Sevensmark, a Danish Physicist, has spend several years studying the history of the encounters by Earth with Supernovae remnants and the impact of such cosmic ray blasts on our atmosphere. He theorizes there is a excellent correlation and

[CU OF PAPER AND A PICTURE OF Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society]

in his lengthy, math formula and chart studded, peer reviewed paper published in professional journal, makes a solid case for his theory.

[MONTAGE OF PICTURES OF ICE AGES, EXTREME HEAT, TROPICAL FORESTS, RICH FIELDS, OCEANS, MOUNTAINS, STORMS]

In it’s 4.5 billion years of existence, it is clear our planet Earth has gone through a multitude of huge climate swings

[SUPER 400,000 MILLION YEAR CLIMATE CHART OVER ABOVE MONTAGE]

Clearly very powerful forces have produced our ice ages and interglacial periods, eradicated the dinosaurs, melted polar ice and frozen it up again, caused the oceans to rise and fall by 100s of feet.

[MONTAGE OF PICTURES OF MODERN CIVILIZATION]

These forces were at work for millions of years before our modern civilization developed and the age of fossil fuels began 150 years ago.

[SUPER CHART OF CO2, THE KEELING CURVE]

There is no doubt that our use of fossil fuels has increased the amount of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere, but it remains tiny by percentage,

Years of study have tried to make a case that this CO2 build up, has a huge impact on climate, far beyond it’s direct contribution to the greenhouse effect. But to me that effort has just not been at all convincing.

[ANIMATION OF SUPERNOVAE EXPLOSION]

Now we have a new theory that seems, as first study, to have a chance of explaining the past and eventually, perhaps, predicting the future of climate.

COLEMAN: (TAG)
[SCREEN LEFT OF PICTURES OF SEVENSMARK, PUBLICATION, GALAXY, SUPERNOVAE]

This is just a theory. There is plenty of skepticism about it and that is totally appropriate in science. But it may at last broaden the examination of global warming. Sandra and Allen.

167. Jeremy says:

Leif Svalgaard says:
April 24, 2012 at 4:26 pm

GCRs are not created directly by the supernova explosion, but from acceleration of charged particles by/from shock waves created by the explosion, so the type does not matter.

Well, I tend to think of shockwaves as part of an explosion, but ok.

That being stated Leif, can you offer any other explanation for open clusters being a worthwhile proxy for supernovae/GCRs ? It seems to me quite presumptuous to believe that open cluster formation can be used as a proxy for supernovae, much less historical GCR incoming to Earth.

168. Willis Eschenbach says:
April 24, 2012 at 4:53 pm
Call me crazy, but it sure doesn’t seem like cosmic rays are anywhere near as well understood as Svensmark makes out. Also, there have been about 6,000 supernovae observed since 1885 … surely we should look at the ebb and flow of those w.r.t. climate before heading back half a billion years with models of models …
Willis, the cosmic rays you are referring to are the ultra-high energy ones. These are very rare [one per square kilometer per century or so; only about 15 have ever been observed] and not at all important for life [or anything else] on Earth. The 6,000 supernova are the ones in other galaxies. The cosmic rays of interest are produced in our galaxy [about one supernova every 30 years]. Generally, cosmic rays [except the very rare ultra-high energy ones] are trapped by the magnetic field of the galaxy and stay within the galaxy where they are generated, so each galaxy has its own ‘population’ of cosmic rays. ‘Galactic’ Cosmic Rays [GCRs] are called that for a good reason.

169. Gino says:

grumpyoldmanuk says:
April 24, 2012 at 2:33 pm

42, dear boy, 42. The answer to Life, the Universe and Everything is 42. Check alcohol level in bloodstream before posting :)
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Given that you’re discussing Douglas Adams, I would guess you are suggesting his BAC was too low.

170. Legatus says:

I wonder if Lief Svalgaard has noticed some of the implications of this, specifically about the sun? Leif seems skeptical that changes in the suns activity cause changes in the climate (admittedly with some reason). There are only two options (that I know of ) for major changes in the climate due to cosmic rays, changes of the sun, or changes outside the sun. This suggests that it is not the suns fault, but other suns, ones that go supernova. There are two ways to increase cosmic rays, have the sun go quiet and let more in, or simply greatly increase the amount of incoming cosmic rays so that it doesn’t matter what the suns activity is, you will get more cosmic rays. Leif suggests that the sun cannot do enough to modulate cosmic rays in any noticeable way (enough to change the climate), this suggests that he may be right, that the major driver is the amount of cosmic rays themselves.

However…there is a problem of scale here. Svensmark is talking of a scale of tens or hundreds of millions of years, and very major changes in climate (enough to cause major extinction events), and Svalgaard is usually talking about scales of only years or at most decades, and much more minor changes in climate (or lack thereof). It could very well be that the earth has strong enough thermostats to ride out minor variations in the sun, but not strong enough to ride out major variations in cosmic ray production which may simply overwhelm the thermostats and result in major climactic changes.

Alternately, the changes in biodiversity could be not caused by climate changes, but by the radiation directly. In that case, it may not be that the rays effect clouds effect biodiversity, but the rays effect the life directly (or through some mechanism Svenmark is unaware of). He appears to have shown a correlation between supernovas and biodiversity, I am just not sure that he has proven the mechanism behind that.

One thing seems certain, Svensmark has so far shown that, in the laboratory, cosmic rays should produce clouds. Whether that translates to clouds out here is another question. He has also shown that supernova explosions produce biodiversity (assuming all his measurements, such as for sea level, are correct). Whether that is because of cosmic rays effect on climate, or some other effect on biodiversity, is at issue. It is thus quite possible that cosmic rays effect clouds, which then effect biodiversity. Thus, since he has experimental evidence to back him up to a point, if you say his conclusions are wrong, he at least has some experimental evidence, and you (whoever you are) don’t.

The only caution is, grand theories that appear to explain everything, so that suddenly everything makes sense, are theories people like. If they like them too much, they may tend to…fudge, to make them true so they can keep their theory. A theory that explains everything up to the kitchen sink should have everything thrown at it including the kitchen sink, if it survives that, we have something there. The only provision being that we should stick to attacking it by means of the scientific method, calling out the inquisition may satisfy some, but in the end tell us nothing. In the past, some grand theories have survived, example, Newtonian Physics, others, not so much…

171. Neo says:

Based on the work of Svensmark, the EPA should concentrate their efforts to regulating plate tectonics and nearby supernovae. (Good luck with that)

172. Jurgen says:

rgbatduke says:
April 24, 2012 at 9:07 am

Your comment reads very well and makes a lot of sense to me. You end with:

I teach astronomy off and on, and have a bit of an idea of how things are dated and distances established, but I’m not sure I have a clear idea as to how one would determine near-Sun supernova rates 500 milllion years ago with any sort of precision.

This points I think to a critical necessity for the Svensmark hypothesis to hold. In his abstract he says about this:

Observations of open star clusters in the solar neighborhood are used to calculate local super-
nova (SN) rates for the past 510 million years (Myr). Peaks in the SN rates match passages
of the Sun through periods of locally increased cluster formation which could be caused by
spiral arms of the Galaxy. A statistical analysis indicates that the Solar System has experi-
enced many large short-term increases in the flux of Galactic cosmic rays (GCR) from nearby
supernovae.

I have glanced through the article and would think that in section 3 he presents the “hardest evidence” for some sort of precision, the deduction of the number of supernovae (SNs) with time intervals of 8 Myr over a period of 500 Myr. This is worked out with simulation models and statistical analysis in section 4.

Not being an astronomer I cannot follow how exactly he arrives at figure 2, but from his explanation I learn it has to do with the actual spreading of clusters around the solar system and their evolution and decay, and also with the spiral structure of the galaxy.

His data are from the WEBDA database. He compares with Dias et al. and Kharchenko et al. but conclude they don’t change the picture so he stays with WEBDA.

So the WEBDA data are the only real hard data he uses. The rest are calculations, statistics and modeling. So I can understand the comment of Steven Mosher as he says April 24, 2012 at 11:53 am:

Its estimated. And Its modeled. It’s not an observation. There are other “records” of the count. He looks at them, calls them “similar” and doesn’t test his calculations WRT the selection of records.
If Mann wrote this, people here would be hooting and hollaring.

So his calculations on the data from WEBDA are critical. I am curious what astronomers would say about them. That would be the real test I would think.

173. Tobias Nysa says:

Along the line of a few other comments, I am not sure plate tectonics belongs in the discussion. The question here is cloud formation

174. Truthseeker says:

Hey Anthony, Tallbloke’s Talkshop has a new post on the exact same paper as this post. Does this mean that WUWT can now be classified as “Transcendent Rant and way out there theory” as well?

Steven Mosher says:
April 24, 2012 at 11:53 am

[…]
If Mann wrote this, people here would be hooting and hollaring.

If Mann would release his data, quit fighting state authorities, grow up and quit acting like a spoiled child, write a decent book, and tell us what he did with that money he got to study malaria and climate change, we just MIGHT consider him repentant enough for his work to be considered.

Until that happens, you’re probably right, Steven. And he would deserve it. Personally, it would take a string of merit-filled scientific articles before I’d cut him any slack and I’m not worried–I don’t think Mann has a single meritorious scientific paper in him.

176. John Coleman says:
April 24, 2012 at 5:00 pm
But it may at last broaden the examination of global warming.
This paper has very little [if anything] to do with global warming.

Jeremy says:
April 24, 2012 at 5:07 pm
Well, I tend to think of shockwaves as part of an explosion, but ok.
Since shock waves form for all types of supernovae, that answers your question.

That being stated Leif, can you offer any other explanation for open clusters being a worthwhile proxy for supernovae/GCRs ? It seems to me quite presumptuous to believe that open cluster formation can be used as a proxy for supernovae, much less historical GCR incoming to Earth.
star-forming regions often contain massive stars which go supernovae. ‘Historical’ does not apply as Svensmark’s paper is about time scales of hundreds of millions of years.

Legatus says:
April 24, 2012 at 5:15 pm
There are only two options (that I know of ) for major changes in the climate due to cosmic rays, changes of the sun, or changes outside the sun.
There is a third option: that cosmic rays have nothing to do with climate. [not on a time scale that matters for society].

Truthseeker says:
April 24, 2012 at 5:24 pm

Hey Anthony, Tallbloke’s Talkshop has a new post on the exact same paper as this post. Does this mean that WUWT can now be classified as “Transcendent Rant and way out there theory” as well?

Hmmmm… That’s kinda what they said about Einstein.

178. RoHa says:

So Cassius was wrong. The fault is in our stars, and not in ourselves, that our climate changes.

179. Willis Eschenbach says:

Steve Keohane says:
April 24, 2012 at 3:17 pm (Edit)

Willis Eschenbach says: April 24, 2012 at 2:40 pm

[…]
But a recent paper “Relative sea-level fall since the last interglacial stage: Are coasts uplifting worldwide?“, evaluated some 890 of the paleo-shorelines worldwide. They say:

The results show that most coastal segments have risen relative to sea-level with a mean uplift rate higher than 0.2 mm/yr, i.e. more than four times faster than the estimated eustatic drop in sea level.

After reading it, I don’t understand the relevance of the paper you linked to WRT it showing an argument against what Svensmark is saying. The paper talks about >0.2mm/ year uplift, so for 12K years you get almost 8 feet, relative to the sea level rise of ~300 feet since then. I don’t see how the former affects an assessment of the latter. We’re talking 0.2 vs. 7.62 mm/yr. Is it simply that it might supply that error in estimating a date for a layer of geographic deposition?

Svensmark is talking about millions of years … over which time 0.2 mm per year adds up. Here’s his Figure 19, which purports to show the correlation between sea level and biodiversity:

Over a million years, 0.2 mm/year is 200 metres …

w.

180. Hoser says:

Three cheers for Svensmark!
I was hoping someone would look deeper into the role of GCR variability beyond solar activity. Nobody answered these posts a while back:

https://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/01/24/easterbrook-on-the-magnitude-of-greenland-gisp2-ice-core-data/#comment-582103
I don’t see how a ‘quiet’ sun could be the only modulator of GCRs. It seems more likely the GCR flux is variable outside the control of the sun. Which also suggests the Milankovic cycles are not the whole story.

https://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/01/01/time-magazine-and-global-warming/#comment-563725
The Sun plays a role, but a minor one if perhaps the GCR flux could increase 10-100x as our solar system passed through a higher density ‘current’ of cosmic rays. Cosmic rays are known to be anisotropic, and that seems to be reflected in dramatically different cosmogenic isotope levels seen in the Greenland and Antarctic ice cores of the same age.

Now I have a new chew toy. This is going to be fun.

181. W: “Also, there have been about 6,000 supernovae observed since 1885 … surely we should look at the ebb and flow of those w.r.t. climate before heading back half a billion years with models of models …”

But the vast majority of those 6000 are extragalactic and would not be able to inject significant energy into the solar system unless we were sufficiently unlucky to be looking down the throat of a GRB jet.

Perhaps a way to approach this would be to look for close supernovae remains in the recent past and start walking back over the course of the last few hundred thousand years. If this theory holds some water, one of the reasons the current Holocene ice age started is when the solar system got sufficiently close to star forming regions that created large stars that aged quickly and had close supernovae starting to cook off on a semi-regular basis. If they are a driver, going back a little ways will provide a foundation (or data) for applying the same technique farther back in time.

A pair of links: One is the supernovae remnant / cosmic ray link. The other describes MHD jets from a variety of objects which will also accelerate particles to relativistic velocities. Cheers –

http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/GLAST/science/cosmic_rays.html

http://trs-new.jpl.nasa.gov/dspace/bitstream/2014/38641/1/03-2684.pdf

182. Willis Eschenbach says:

Leif Svalgaard says:
April 24, 2012 at 5:11 pm

Willis Eschenbach says:
April 24, 2012 at 4:53 pm

Call me crazy, but it sure doesn’t seem like cosmic rays are anywhere near as well understood as Svensmark makes out. Also, there have been about 6,000 supernovae observed since 1885 … surely we should look at the ebb and flow of those w.r.t. climate before heading back half a billion years with models of models …

Willis, the cosmic rays you are referring to are the ultra-high energy ones. These are very rare [one per square kilometer per century or so; only about 15 have ever been observed] and not at all important for life [or anything else] on Earth. The 6,000 supernova are the ones in other galaxies. The cosmic rays of interest are produced in our galaxy [about one supernova every 30 years]. Generally, cosmic rays [except the very rare ultra-high energy ones] are trapped by the magnetic field of the galaxy and stay within the galaxy where they are generated, so each galaxy has its own ‘population’ of cosmic rays. ‘Galactic’ Cosmic Rays [GCRs] are called that for a good reason.

Thanks, Leif, that kinda makes sense … except it doesn’t. They are studying the cosmic rays in question, the ones that they are discussing, which are the ones I was discussing, by observing them with a satellite telescope … and if there’s only one cosmic ray of the kind you are talking about per square kilometre per century, there’s no way that’s what they are studying with a telescope, they’d only see one in several millennia. So they can’t be studying the ones you are talking about.

In any case, if there’s one supernova every thirty years, where is the signature in the temperature record? For Svensmark’s theory to hold, shouldn’t we see a big dip in temperature after each and every supernova?

w.

183. Willis Eschenbach says:

Further to the previous …

“Cosmic rays, the highest-energy particles in nature, are thought to be formed when stars collapse and produce tremendous shock waves. GLAST will test this theory by measuring the spectra of gamma rays from the remnants of supernovae, where cosmic rays should be abundant,” says GLAST Interdisciplinary Scientist Charles Dermer of the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, DC.

“The theory all seems right, but we’ve never been able to prove it. The LAT might just be the telescope that’s able to do it,” adds LAT science team member David Thompson of NASA Goddard.

According to theory, shock waves in supernova remnants can accelerate protons to energies 1,000 times higher than can be achieved by the largest particle accelerators on Earth. The protons then collide with nearby interstellar material, producing a cascade of secondary particles known as pions (which are more massive than electrons, but less massive than protons and neutrons). Neutral pions (those lacking an electric charge) decay quickly into gamma rays of a characteristic energy around 67 MeV, ideal for detection with the LAT.

When previous gamma-ray observatories looked toward the galactic plane, they saw an increase in gamma-ray flux right around 67 MeV, which proves that cosmic-ray particles are interacting with interstellar material throughout the Milky Way. “But we want to see that on a local scale,” says Thompson. “We want to see it happening at the sources, which are thought to be supernova remnants. The LAT has the sensitivity and spatial resolution to do the job.”

The LAT’s energy range, however, is many orders of magnitude too low to enable scientists to decipher the origin ultra-high-energy cosmic rays, one of the great unsolved mysteries in astrophysics.
SOURCE: NOAA

So no, Leif, I’m not talking about the high energy cosmic rays, nor was the article I cited before. I’m talking about galactic cosmic rays, and according to the quote, we have a theory about the origin of GCRs … but we’re short on evidence.

w.

184. RoHa says:

And now I’ll be humming “When the moon is in the second house, and Jupiter aligns with Mars …” all day.
And you are all going to nag at me for it.

185. Willis Eschenbach says:
April 24, 2012 at 5:53 pm
So they can’t be studying the ones you are talking about.
They are not studying the ones you were referring to in your quotes which were the ultra-high ones [look for ‘ultra’]

In any case, if there’s one supernova every thirty years, where is the signature in the temperature record? For Svensmark’s theory to hold, shouldn’t we see a big dip in temperature after each and every supernova?
No, because it takes millions of years for these cosmic rays to reach us having to travel through the tangled magnetic field of the Galaxy, so everything is completely washed out. This is what a map of the cosmic ray sky looks like: http://imagine.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/science/know_l1/cosmic_rays.html

186. Jeremy says:

Leif Svalgaard says:
April 24, 2012 at 5:38 pm

star-forming regions often contain massive stars which go supernovae. ‘Historical’ does not apply as Svensmark’s paper is about time scales of hundreds of millions of years.

Yes, star forming regions often give birth to type-2 supernovae. But no such star-forming region is required for type-1a supernovae (right?). So why would star-forming open clusters be a good proxy for supernovae?

…and yes, by historical I meant earth history.

187. Willis Eschenbach says:
April 24, 2012 at 5:59 pm
“The LAT’s energy range, however, is many orders of magnitude too low to enable scientists to decipher the origin ultra-high-energy cosmic rays, one of the great unsolved mysteries in astrophysics.
SOURCE: NOAA”
So no, Leif, I’m not talking about the high energy cosmic rays, nor was the article I cited before.

You are confused. Mentioning the 6000 supernovae observed shows that you were thinking about the extragalactic cosmic rays which would the ultra-high ones. I refer you again to http://imagine.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/science/know_l1/cosmic_rays.html that shows what a map of the cosmic ray sky looks like. LAT cannot look at the sources because we don’t know where they are.

188. Jeremy says:
April 24, 2012 at 6:03 pm
So why would star-forming open clusters be a good proxy for supernovae?
they are a proxy for a good fraction of supernovae, possibly enough for an estimate.

189. Allan MacRae says:

Circa 2002, Jan Veizer showed us the data that he and Nir Shaviv had independently obtained before they agreed to publish together.

EOS and acolytes of the CAGW “Cause” (aka POS?) heaped criticism all over this paper, in a most unethical way.

I thought the paper was very worthwhile.

http://cfa.atmos.washington.edu/2003Q4/211/articles_optional/CelestialDriver.pdf

Celestial driver of Phanerozoic climate?
Nir J. Shaviv and Ján Veizer
GSA Today July 2003

ABSTRACT

Atmospheric levels of CO2 are commonly assumed to be a main driver of global climate. Independent empirical evidence suggests that the galactic cosmic ray flux (CRF) is linked to climate variability. Both drivers are presently discussed in the context of daily to millennial variations, although they should also operate over geological time scales. Here we analyze the reconstructed seawater paleotemperature record for the Phanerozoic (past 545 m.y.), and compare it with the variable CRF reaching Earth and with the reconstructed partial pressure of atmospheric CO2 (pCO2). We find that at least 66% of the variance in the paleotemperature trend could be attributed to CRF variations likely due to solar system passages through the spiral arms of the galaxy. Assuming that the entire residual variance in temperature is due solely to the CO2 greenhouse effect, we propose a tentative upper limit to the long-term “equilibrium” warming effect of CO2, one which is potentially lower than that based on general circulation models.

190. Steve. says:
April 24, 2012 at 8:16 am

“Please feel free to comment on the following, even if yourself refuse to publish this on your wonderful site. I can understand the flak you wish to avoid with this being promoted on your blog. But hey, it’s in the public domain. I’m thinking you might find the story interesting.
Planetary Defense: An Extraterrestrial Imperative”
http://larouchepac.com/node/21222

Thanks for that interesting link, Steve. I’ve sort of followed the Lyndon LaRouche saga over the last forty years or so, and I could never figure out why so many folks were out to get him. He seems to have crossed the line a few times, but the consequencews were far more savage than what someone else would have received. The punishment was far more severe than the crime warranted.

He ran for office [president, IIRC] and naturally lost because he was a fringe candidate. But he must have done something that never made the news, to have so many enemies in high places.

That aside, the LaRouche organization produces some very interesting science articles, as your link [which ties in with Svensmark’s hypothesis] shows. And they make clear that CAGW is pure politics.

191. Birdieshooter says:

Reading all these posts makes me feel as if I am in Star Trek heaven

192. Smokey says:
April 24, 2012 at 6:38 pm
I’ve sort of followed the Lyndon LaRouche saga over the last forty years or so, and I could never figure out why so many folks were out to get him.
Because what he says is shallow nonsense. An example from the link:
“When we look at another galaxy, what we see is the result of light being emitted from millions to trillions of seemingly discrete stars, yet we do not see a variety of redshifts: rather, we see one intrinsic redshift of the whole system. Since the galaxy as a whole possesses this intrinsic redshift, how does each individual star of that galaxy know to emit light of the same intrinsic redshift? Or, more simply, since each star is emitting its own light, how do they all act in harmony to a single effect?”
It apparently does not occur to him that the red shift depends not on the stars, but on the observer. And a single observer will see a single red shift. A different observer somewhere else [at a different distance to the galaxy] will see a different red shift. There is no mystery, nothing that requires that we change our worldview, etc.

193. I think the truth of this paper is not so much in what it says, as in what it infers: that there are far more variables affecting climate the most of the “climate scientists” are willing to admit, and we’re not at the point (yet, anyway) where we can truthfully say we know all the ways our climate are affected. This paper, which I haven’t read in total yet, is just another example that there are bits and pieces we still need to explain, and some of them could prove to be far greater than the effect of “doubling” the amount of a trace gas in our atmosphere. I hope heads DO explode. When you insist that you’re right, you know ALL the answers, and the “science is settled”, there is more than hubris being displayed.

194. Willis Eschenbach says:

Here’s the kind of thing that makes me skeptical of modeling the number of supernovas, from NatGeo:

The brightness of supernova remnants (SNRs) can easily be obscured from optical telescopes by gas and dust, but are usually visible to x-ray and radio telescopes.

Astronomers have been puzzled, however, by a shortage of young supernova remnants in our galaxy. Only half a dozen have been found, as opposed to the more than 30—roughly two a century—predicted to exist.

Here’s another one …

Measurements of supernova rates in other galaxies have led scientists to conclude that at least three supernovae should erupt in the Milky Way galaxy per century. However, for the most part, the remnants of such supernovae are yet to have been found.

Kind makes you think that the models underlying the predictions aren’t quite ready for prime-time … and if we can’t predict the number of supernovas in the last 1,500 years, half a billion years seems like a bridge too far.

w.

195. JimF says:

This is some great cosmogeologic arm waving on an epic scale. I like it! We’ll see how I feel after I read the paper. Regardless, there are some very interesting correlations in those hand-drawn figures. I particularly like the tie between oceanic highstands, plate tectonics and biologic diversity. One sees something like this in forested areas. Lots of unbroken forest (deep water), low diversity. Start adding fields into the forest tract (shallows, epeiric seas), much higher diversity.

As to “Plate Tectonics”: information that began leading to this idea was being gathered from the late ’40s, at a minimum (and there was Wegener’s ideas and data, which anybody with half a brain had to look at and give some credence to. Wegener’s biggest problem was that he had no plausible mechanism to power continental drift, and he made some bad assessments, for example positing that the North Atlantic Ocean had formed in the last million years, that aided those who contested him to ridicule his theory). The 1960s were a time of great excitement as some people began to put together all kinds of new data, and by about 1967-68, there were numerous additional discoveries and papers being published concerning the theory of seafloor spreading and subduction; i.e. Plate Tectonics. The idea probably became mainstream thinking around 1972-74, although there were contending driving mechanisms (Carey’s expanding earth idea, for example) and various denunciations for some time after that.

196. Anything is possible says:

Willis Eschenbach says:
April 24, 2012 at 7:00 pm
Here’s the kind of thing that makes me skeptical of modeling the number of supernovas, from NatGeo:

The brightness of supernova remnants (SNRs) can easily be obscured from optical telescopes by gas and dust, but are usually visible to x-ray and radio telescopes.

“Astronomers have been puzzled, however, by a shortage of young supernova remnants in our galaxy. Only half a dozen have been found, as opposed to the more than 30—roughly two a century—predicted to exist.”

==========================================================================

The last paragraph implies that young, supernova remnants can only be detected for a limited amount of time (1500-2000 years?) after they have exploded, which strikes me as somewhat odd.

If that is true however, it may merely be a statistical blip. In astronomical terms, 1500-2000 years is the mere blinking of an eye.

197. Clay Marley says:

Hi Mr. Coleman

I would recommend in the intro, not focusing primarily on your skepticism of AGW. I think it will immediately turn off a good chunk of your audience. It come across as adversarial. I’d say something more generic like “founder of the Weather Channel”, etc.

Early when you first talk of our sun’s movement through the galaxy I suggest bringing up the idea that the spiral arms move at a different rate than the sun, so we periodically move in and out of these arms over millions of years. This leads to a periodicity of effects that might be a factor in the ice ages and extinctions.

Instead of “eradicated the dinosaurs”, which most associate with an asteroid, mention the periodic extinctions of many species, and the periodic blooms of diversity.

Instead of the ominous Keeling curve, perhaps a curve over millions of years showing very large changes in CO2 content over history, including much higher CO2 than today. Especially since the theory attempts to explain the inverse relationship between CO2 and SN rates.

Instead of saying AGW has “just not been at all convincing” one could say AGW predictions have failed to explain the… pick your poison: lack of warming, lack of acceleration of sea level rise, near normal Arctic ice, non-melting glaciers, healthy polar bear population, lack of stronger hurricanes, lack of tropospheric temp rise…

198. Steven Mosher says:

The logical gap most folks miss is this.

1. grant that increased GCRs increases cloudiness and has a cooling effect.
2. grant that during the past there were periods where GCRs were exceptionally high
and that the earth cooled greatly effecting bio diversity.

Neither of these addresses the question: What will doubling C02 do the temperature?

Basically the CGR hypothesis is orthogonal to the central question.

199. jimboskype1939 says:

This just showed up….seems to be relevant !
” Lack of Oxygen Led to 1st Mass Extinction
By Kristian Sjogren

Editor’s Note: The content of this article was provided by our partner, ScienceNordic.

With its warm climate and plenty of food, the Earth was a good place to live for the many animals with shells, legs and teeth.

Animal life had just conquered the oceans 440 million years ago. But suddenly something happened that over the following half a million years wiped out almost 86 percent of all species of animals that lived in the oceans.

Researchers have speculated for decades about the cause of this catastrophe, which occurred towards the end of the Ordovician geological period……”.
http://www.realclearscience.com/articles/2012/04/24/lack_of_oxygen_led_to_1st_mass_extinction_106266.html

200. Steven Mosher says:

Lucy
“No comparison with Mann at all.”

It is illogical for you to focus on the differences from Mann when I point out the similarities.
Especially when I point out a specific similarity on testing the hypothesis by withholding data.
Something that both authors refuse to do.

Dont be emotional

201. PaulR says:

I would like to emphasize a point about modelling GCRs.

Because the cosmic ray sky is uniform static as shown at http://imagine.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/science/know_l1/cosmic_rays.html

then the statistical approach to modelling the earth’s varying exposure to cosmic rays is possible, valid, and mandatory (mandatory in that no other method is possible).

202. Steven Mosher says:

His data are from the WEBDA database. He compares with Dias et al. and Kharchenko et al. but conclude they don’t change the picture so he stays with WEBDA.

So the WEBDA data are the only real hard data he uses. The rest are calculations, statistics and modeling. So I can understand the comment of Steven Mosher as he says April 24, 2012 at 11:53 am:

Its estimated. And Its modeled. It’s not an observation. There are other “records” of the count. He looks at them, calls them “similar” and doesn’t test his calculations WRT the selection of records.
If Mann wrote this, people here would be hooting and hollaring.

So his calculations on the data from WEBDA are critical. I am curious what astronomers would say about them. That would be the real test I would think.

###############

Yes. I dont know how his decision gets past peer review. I would expect at least a cursory test about how his conclusions hold up if you accept the other databases. That is just grade school sensitivity testing. testing your analytical decisions 101. Its brain dead NOT to do this test.
You have 3 possible data sources. You dont just pick one and say the other two are ‘no different”
You run the math with all three and SHOW that your choice of one doesnt matter.
Sheesh. Why do you think we folks demanded that mann try his method with BCP held out or with tiljander held out. This is just basic. Now it may very well be that this choice doesnt make a difference. THAT is important to show., even if you bury it in the SI.

Especially since its the only thing that comes close to being “data” in the paper.

203. Gail Combs says:

Tobias Nysa says:
April 24, 2012 at 5:24 pm

Along the line of a few other comments, I am not sure plate tectonics belongs in the discussion. The question here is cloud formation
____________________________________
Plate tectonics have a lot to do with climate (and biology) so Svenmark does not leave it out. SEE: http://www-odp.tamu.edu/publications/202_SR/synth/synth_5.htm

One of the keys to understanding climate change on tectonic timescales is the detailed knowledge of changes in oceanic and atmospheric circulation triggered by tectonic processes such as the opening and closing of oceanic gateways and the uplift history of great mountain belts……

204. Legatus says:

Steven Mosher says:
The logical gap most folks miss is this.
1. grant that increased GCRs increases cloudiness and has a cooling effect.
2. grant that during the past there were periods where GCRs were exceptionally high
and that the earth cooled greatly effecting bio diversity.
Neither of these addresses the question: What will doubling C02 do the temperature?
Basically the CGR hypothesis is orthogonal to the central question.

The logic gap you are missing is:
If increasing GCRs increase cloudiness and cooling, then…
Decreasing GCR’s may decrease cloudiness and create more warmth.
The warmth currently attributed to manmade CO2 may be largely because of decreased GCR’s instead.
Therefor the question of GCRs is central to the idea of climate change.
Absolutly central.

205. Allan MacRae says:

Steven Mosher says: April 24, 2012 at 7:34 pm
The logical gap most folks miss is this.
1. grant that increased GCRs increases cloudiness and has a cooling effect.
2. grant that during the past there were periods where GCRs were exceptionally high
and that the earth cooled greatly effecting bio diversity.
Neither of these addresses the question: What will doubling C02 do the temperature?
Basically the CGR hypothesis is orthogonal to the central question.
_______________________

https://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/03/09/apparently-ive-irritated-the-fruit-fly/

Steven – I think I briefly covered both axes of your “orthogonal” question here:
_____________________________

My Summary – The “Mainstream” Catastrophic Humanmade Global Warming Debate:

Conventional climate theory, assuming zero feedback, suggests that a doubling of atmospheric CO2 would result in ~1 degree C of global warming.

Warming alarmists say there are positive feedbacks to increasing CO2 (and build this assumption aggressively into their climate models), whereas climate skeptics say there are negative feedbacks.

The skeptics easily win this mainstream debate, because there is no evidence of net positive feedbacks to increased CO2 in the climate system, and ample evidence of negative feedbacks.

Also, despite increased atmospheric CO2, there has been no net global warming in about a decade.

The probability therefore is that “climate sensitivity” to a hypothetical doubling of atmospheric CO2 is less than 1 degree C.

Furthermore, I suspect that a doubling of atmospheric CO2 is unlikely to happen due to human activity – so we can expect much less than 1 degree C of global warming.

The above ASSUMES that one accepts the premises of the mainstream debate.

BUT there is perhaps a bigger problem with the mainstream debate:

Atmospheric CO2 LAGS temperature at all measured time scales, from hundreds of years on a long cycle, to 9 months on a short cycle;
SO
the hypothesis that CO2 is a significant driver of global temperature, core to the mainstream debate, apparently assumes that the future is causing the past.

The popular counterarguments are:
a) The lag of CO2 after temperature is a “feedback effect”,
OR
b) It is clear evidence that time machines really do exist.
Both counterarguments a) and b) are supported by equal amounts of compelling evidence. :-)

This thorny point may not be resolved in my lifetime, but I’ll just remind you of some of the assumptions that are near and dear to the hearts and “logic” of the global warming alarmists:
1. They apparently assume that the Uniformitarian Principle has been especially exempted for their particular brand of “science”.
2. The also assume that Occam’s Razor can similarly be ignored, apparently again, just for them.

The increasing desperation of the warming alarmists is evidenced by their evermore Byzantine explanations of the observed flat or cooling global temperatures in this century. What is it this week – aerosols, dust, volcanoes. the appalling scarcity of buffalo farts… the list of farfetched apologia is endless and increasingly pathetic.

Earlier, there was Mann-made global warming, the “Divergence Problem” and “Hide the Decline”. The list of global warmist chicanery is increasingly long and unprincipled.

It is notable that not one of the very-scary global warming predictions of the IPCC has materialized. The IPCC has demonstrated negative predictive skill. All its scary predictions have proven false.
__________________
If the above post is too political, try this one:

CO2 lags temperature at all measured time scales from ~~600-800 years in the ice core records on a long temperature-time cycle, to 9 months on a much shorter time scale.

We really don’t know how much of the recent increase in atmospheric CO2 is natural and how much is manmade – possibilities range from entirely natural (~~600-800 years ago was the Medieval Warm Period) to entirely manmade (the “material balance argument”). I lean towards mostly natural, but I’m not certain.

Although this questions is scientifically crucial, it is not that critical to the current “social debate” about alleged catastrophic manmade global warming (CAGW), since it is obvious to sensible people that IF CO2 truly drives temperature, it is an insignificant driver (climate sensitivity to CO2 is very low; “feedbacks” are negative) and minor increased warmth and increased atmospheric CO2 are both beneficial to humanity AND the environment.

In summary, the “climate skeptics” are trouncing the warming alarmists in the “mainstream CAGW debate”.

Back to the crucial scientific question – is the current increase in atmospheric CO2 largely natural or manmade?

Please see this 15fps AIRS data animation of global CO2 at
[video src="http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/vis/a000000/a003500/a003562/carbonDioxideSequence2002_2008_at15fps.mp4" /]

It is difficult to see the impact of humanity in this impressive display of nature’s power.

All I can see is the bountiful impact of Spring, dominated by the Northern Hemisphere with its larger land mass, and some possible ocean sources and sinks.

I’m pretty sure all the data is there to figure this out, and I suspect some already have – perhaps Jan Veizer and colleagues.

206. Gail Combs says:

Mike Weatherford says:
April 24, 2012 at 6:59 pm

I think the truth of this paper is not so much in what it says, as in what it infers: that there are far more variables affecting climate the most of the “climate scientists” are willing to admit, and we’re not at the point (yet, anyway) where we can truthfully say we know all the ways our climate are affected…..
__________________________________

From John D. Barrow’s chapter in Design and Disorder:
The standard folklore about chaotic systems is that they are unpredictable. They lead to out-of-control dinosaur parks and out-of-work meteorologists.

Classical … chaotic systems are not in any sense intrinsically random or unpredictable. They merely possess extreme sensitivity to ignorance. Any initial uncertainty in our knowledge of a chaotic system’s state is rapidly amplified in time…. http://www.johndcook.com/blog/

Given the state of climate models “chaotic systems are not in any sense intrinsically random or unpredictable. They merely possess extreme sensitivity to ignorance” seems to be a key phrase.

207. wayne Job says:

Willis,
I mentioned some ago that our climate is controlled by outside influences and what we see is weather on Earth. You nearly bit my head off. In time we will find that our climate is modulated by very simple and robust processes, and elegantly profound. This paper is a start to a revolution in our understanding of much that has been missing and may even impact on the standard model, for it too needs a kick in the pants. Regards.

208. Entertaining and interesting. I won’t pretend to have the capacity or credibility to critique this in a serious way, but…

It does have the feel of “If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail”

Correlation almost always implies causation, it just doesn’t usually imply a particular simple causal model

Indeed, but in this case, with galactic scales, I would be astonished if there were a third phenomena causing the correlation.

In this case, if the correlation is real (not due to chance), then it is proof of causation.

210. Jeremy says:

Allan Macrae,

All your points about CAGW having lost the scientific debate are solid. However, the problem is that the propaganda war has already been won by Greens! This was driven home to me when Danielle Smith lost the Alberta election with the tipping point being when she was heckled and booed by a left wing audience on national television. Up until that point she had been handily leading in the poles. Her crime: to say that “the science is not settled” even if she supports energy savings, polution reduction and emissions reductions. The national media had a field day and spent the final days prior to voting with muck-racking articles helping to paint a rational leader as a radical “wacko”. Alison Redford, a socialist human rights lawyer, leading a spendthrift “conservative” party pounced on the issue and the Wildrose party lost their 10% points lead in a matter of days.

The popular reaction this week against Danielle Smith was similar to the reaction of climate scientists against Henrik Svenmark a decade ago. The war is clearly lost. Like harmless CFC’s, it is inevitable that draconian legislation against CO2 is on the way. There are too much politics, media and self interest groups driving the agenda to stop things now.

211. dp says:

So says Willis:

But a recent paper “Relative sea-level fall since the last interglacial stage: Are coasts uplifting worldwide?“, evaluated some 890 of the paleo-shorelines worldwide.

212. Very exciting and everything but don’t pander us a la SKS with freehand renderings to explain the highly technical paper. Confess I havn’t read it yet (I will) but real data on supernovae back a half a billion years has got to be a bit sketchy. Explain to me one more time how GCR’s affect sea level? How GCR’s affect ocean floor spreading rates? Lots of ocean is great for biodiversity of marine genera but it pretty much sucks for land critters. In both the Permian and the late Cretaceous extinctions marine genera took the biggerst hit.
The Cretaceous extinction, despite really impressive iridium aerosols, had no ice age. The Permian extinction began much earlier than the GCR’s posited with mid latitude glaciation in the late Carboniferous.

213. Willis Eschenbach says:

Leif Svalgaard says:
April 24, 2012 at 6:02 pm

Willis Eschenbach says:
April 24, 2012 at 5:53 pm

So they can’t be studying the ones you are talking about.
They are not studying the ones you were referring to in your quotes which were the ultra-high ones [look for ‘ultra’]

In any case, if there’s one supernova every thirty years, where is the signature in the temperature record? For Svensmark’s theory to hold, shouldn’t we see a big dip in temperature after each and every supernova?

No, because it takes millions of years for these cosmic rays to reach us having to travel through the tangled magnetic field of the Galaxy, so everything is completely washed out. This is what a map of the cosmic ray sky looks like: http://imagine.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/science/know_l1/cosmic_rays.html

Thanks, Leif. That helps. But the x-rays emitted by the supernova remnants should be quite visible, and we don’t find those … why is that? Where are the supernova remnants? Doesn’t the lack of said remnants argue strongly for some problems with out model of supernova production?

Further issues. Here’s Svensmarks Figure 2a:

The first thing I noticed was that the most recent 8 million years are very short on open clusters. Svensmark says:

The SN rate is normalized to the present SN rate in the solar neighbourhood by taking the average of the two 24-16 and 16-8 Myr bins, ignoring the 8-0 Myr bin rate which is misleadingly low because many new clusters are still hidden in dust.

OK, fine, that could be, dust hiding a number of new clusters … but that leads to a new problem.

IF there are actually a bunch more very young open clusters, but they’re just hidden, then the blue line of the decay of open clusters is way wrong. For example, the blue line gives a value of 9 open clusters for the period 8-16 million years ago, but there are 24 open clusters of that age. It also has pushed the blue line below a bunch of the data in the previous years. And that mismatch is due to the lack of recent clusters … but Svensmark says that the lack of recent clusters is an artifact, they’re there, but just hidden.

In other words, if the Svensmark decay formula is true and accurate, then the most recent 8 million years should have MORE open clusters than the period 8-16 million years ago …

And if that’s the case, then the blue line is no longer accurate. If we fit the exponential decay line to everything but the most recent 8 million years and use that to calculate how many recent open clusters we should see, we get something like this:

And that, of course, changes the recent shape of Svensmark’s Fig. 2b and 2c quite a bit for the most recent period … which throws a big loop into his analysis.

That’s the problem I have with this kind of analysis. There are too many tunable parameters. For example, for the decay curve we have two tunable parameters … and there are more parameters hidden in the choices of the datasets and the form of the chosen equations.

Final problem. Figure 21. I commented above on this one. It shows the estimate of the supernovas versus the CO2.

First, note that the appearance of a good fit in recent years depends entirely on the misfit of the Svensmark decay formula for the recent period as discussed above. Without that, all of the recent CO2 data wouldn’t fit the supernova data for beans.

Next, I digitized all of the paleosol CO2 data (solid circles), because it covered the entire period, and I compared it to the Svensmark supernova data. The results are shown below:

As you can see, the fit is very poor, with an R^2 of a paltry 0.17 … not only that, but a) in the left half of the graph, CO2 goes from floor to ceiling regardless of supernovas, and b) in the right half, it depends on only five data points.

Overall? I fear we’re back in the “too many tunable parameters” universe. Svensmark may be right … but I fear he’s a long, long ways from establishing that.

w.

214. Citizens, Svensmark is a good guy but his theory does not work and he will become a fall guy for the CO2 warmists: “AAh you are wrong so it must be CO2”.
It elevates proxies to a causal role. GCR is a proxy for solar scalar magnetic activity. Increases in GCR sources (supernovae) are a proxy for dust which also causes solar dimming.
SEE http://climaterealists.com/?id=9491
Thanks Piers

215. Under the “here are the main results:” I got an ad for combustion toilets. There must be some kind of advanced AI that picks these ads.

216. Steve says:

I’m just an average joe and most of the readers on this site are much “smarter” than I. But for anyone to postulate with any measure of certainty about events (be they evolution, supernova, the big bang, etc.) that may or may not have occurred millions of years ago, is just ludicrous in my mind. There are so many things that happened even just thousands of years ago that we don’t know much about that it always amazes me when scientists begin to hypothesize about events that occurred millions or even billions of years ago. I guess there’s nothing wrong with hypothesis but when I readers begin to suggest this may be some grand theory or that Svensmark be considered for a Nobel prize, I just roll my eyes. I love just about everything posted on this site but not quite sure why this post deserved a sticky.

217. Legatus says:

Legatus says:
There are only two options (that I know of ) for major changes in the climate due to cosmic rays, changes of the sun, or changes outside the sun.
Leif Svalgaard says:
There is a third option: that cosmic rays have nothing to do with climate. [not on a time scale that matters for society].

That is why I specified for major changes in the climate due to cosmic rays, it was to leave open the possibility of major changes (or lack thereof) due to factors other than comsic rays, and to specify that I was talking only about major changes (extinction level events, that sort of thing) and only due to cosmic rays (which they may or may not be related to, and may or may not be related to climactically, such as if the rays had some other effect, or if some other cause is associated time wise with the rays).

However…
The actual, expeimental evidence still shows that cosmic rays do appear to create cloud nuclea in the labratory (two different experiments have shown this now, I believe). The question then is, does that still hold true out here were we live, where thare are many other factors in play cloud formation wise.

There is also evidence for not one, but two Grand Minimums of the sun sometime during said LIA. This is not ceertain evidence, but it is hightly suggestive.

There is also some evidence that actual out here in the real world cosmic rays effect the amount of cloud cover, although it is less certain. This paper may or may not be one of those. I would be more certain if there was some way to actually show what the intensity of cosmic radiation was back then (and more recently). There are some proxies that may show that, say, during past times, cooling may be associated with increased cosmic rays, or with lower solar activity (not nessissarily the same thing).

We know that there was a little ice age, and that worldwide it was somewhat cooler. It appeared that in at least some places, that did matter to society. We cannot say for certain what caused either it, or the preceeding Medieval Warm Period, which we also know did indeed exist. Since we do not know what caused these, we also cannot therefore say what did not cause these. Since the above Svenmark cosmic ray theory has at least the above experimental evidence, we must therefore say that it is possibly true. Not certainly true, but possibly true, and some evidence for it beats no evidence. There does not appear to be any other explainations running around for the LIA and MWP, so for now, the Svenmark theory is pretty much the only game in town, at least the only one with any amount of actual experimental evidence. It will have to do untill something better comes along.

What we need is simple. We need to spend one hundred million billion gazillion dollars and make a giant comsic ray generator, send it out into space, beam those suckers at the earth, and see what happens. Simple! Send money, I’ll get right on it! Oh, and we will also need a giant cosmic ray shield, we don’t want nature to interfere with our experiment. And then, if cosmic rays actually effect climate, we will then be in complete (or as complete as is possible) control of our climate. CO2 worries will be over.

218. Roger Carr says:

Ian W: “…Pleiades is a very indistinct star cluster even on a dark clear night. Not particularly impressive. Yet the Pleiades seem to feature in almost every ‘ancient’ text and several ‘religions’ worldwide.”

Very interesting observation, Ian. I hope someone picks up on it and puzzles it further.

219. paullm says:

Great, following “combustion toilets”! Just checking in to state that I have had to stay up to try to get a nail hold on this GUT. I do recall having thoughts on this while perusing some of Henrik’s work last year. Congrats to Henrik for composing this great work and getting it through publishing. We need this great inspiration and possible guidance into the next earth/cosmological era.

220. JimF says:

gymnosperm says: “…Explain to me one more time how GCR’s affect sea level? How GCR’s affect ocean floor spreading rates?…” They don’t. They, according to this, affect the cloudiness of the planet, allowing it to heat or cool more. Plate tectonics affects sea level (big spreading times raise the sea level, like during the Cretaceous, which featured a giant intercontinental (epeiric) sea in North America, among other things). Plate tectonics, again in the active (spreading) phase, throws up mountains and such that are sources of nutrients to the sea. The GCRs are just one component of the system. Go back and look at the first color-banded chart, along its left edge: Solid Earth, Ocean, Life, Atmosphere, Solar System, Galaxy from bottom to top. Each band shows the role of its respective component in the model.

221. Willis Eschenbach says:

wayne Job says:
April 24, 2012 at 8:35 pm

Willis,
I mentioned some ago that our climate is controlled by outside influences and what we see is weather on Earth. You nearly bit my head off.

Ya know, if you have a bone to pick with me, provide a link. I haven’t a clue what you are talking about, I reply to hundreds of folks every week.

In time we will find that our climate is modulated by very simple and robust processes, and elegantly profound.

My latest motto is “Nature simply isn’t that simple” … although I do think that climate is governed by robust processes, I doubt greatly that they are simple.

This paper is a start to a revolution in our understanding of much that has been missing and may even impact on the standard model, for it too needs a kick in the pants.

Perhaps … and perhaps it’s just a sad case of too many tunable parameters leading an honest scientist astray down the primrose path …

w.

222. Willis Eschenbach says:
April 24, 2012 at 9:58 pm
But the x-rays emitted by the supernova remnants should be quite visible, and we don’t find those … why is that? Where are the supernova remnants? Doesn’t the lack of said remnants argue strongly for some problems with out model of supernova production?
I go sleep now, but here is an article on supernovae in x-rays http://arxiv.org/pdf/1112.0576v2.pdf

223. Jeremy says:

Willis,

Physics and engineering require understanding assumptions about real world processes (physics) that are then used to support analysis techniques. Svensmark uses the derivative of Co2 because his hypothesis assumes that Co2 concentrations will be self limiting which means he expects the concentration (the integral of the derivative) will not correlate as well as the derivative. As Johnny Depp might say, “Physics, you savvy?”

I would agree with you however that his hypothesis needs further testing before it can be accepted. Correlation is NOT causation and there could be coincidence/wishful thinking or analysis bias. The neat thing is that his hypothesis can be tested as it suggests that the geological record should tell us things about the galaxy -all we need do is check and see if it does!

224. ggoodknight says:

“Stephen Wilde says:
April 24, 2012 at 8:11 am

I think that variations in cosmic rays reaching the surface are merely a proxy for solar variability with no significant direct effect on global cloudiness.”

Certainly in the short term, but over tens of thousands of solar cycles that variability averages out.

In Shaviv & Veizer’s “Celestial driver of phanerozoic climate?” (2003), there’s a clear graph of galactic cosmic ray flux (from Shaviv) and ocean temperature over geologic time. This integrates out solar variability, and what we have is a clear inverse correlation of temperature with galactic cosmic ray flux, over the entire 500+ million year phanerozoic. The coldest periods coincide with our solar system being in spiral arms of the galaxy, the hottest periods coincide with our solar system being between spiral arms.

It might not yet be proven that it’s clouds that are the connection, but it sure seems to be the leading candidate.

I first read Svensmark’s Cosmoclimatology survey article a few weeks after it was published in early 2007; it seemed clear then that the general circulation models were missing an essential piece of the puzzle and the IPCC AR4 conclusions were therefore fatally flawed.

225. Willis Eschenbach says:

Leif Svalgaard says:
April 24, 2012 at 10:53 pm

Willis Eschenbach says:
April 24, 2012 at 9:58 pm

But the x-rays emitted by the supernova remnants should be quite visible, and we don’t find those … why is that? Where are the supernova remnants? Doesn’t the lack of said remnants argue strongly for some problems with out model of supernova production?

I go sleep now, but here is an article on supernovae in x-rays http://arxiv.org/pdf/1112.0576v2.pdf

Thanks, Leif, looks interesting. Sleep well.

You had sent me to a totally gray square that you said represented the map of galactic cosmic rays. Here’s the map you cited:

When you have time, perhaps you could comment on the following (emphasis mine):

Almost a century following their discovery, cosmic rays—high-energy particles from outer space—continue to confront scientists with unexpected features. Cosmic rays constitute an important part of the energy budget of galaxies and they are also known for their extremes: the cosmic-ray flux covers a range of more than 32 orders of magnitude with energies that reach up to 1020eV and beyond. Despite many important findings, the crucial questions remain unanswered: what and where are the sources of cosmic rays?

The difficulty in solving this riddle is mostly due to the fact that cosmic rays (that is, the component that is not photons) do not point back to their source but are subject to strong deflections in cosmic magnetic fields. The multiple deflections effectively result in a diffusion process of cosmic rays in the galactic environment causing a high level of isotropy at earth. In particular, no point sources of cosmic rays should be visible at TeV energy scales, where a typical Larmor radius (the radius of the circular motion of a charged particles in a magnetic field) in the galactic disc is relatively small, only about 100 astronomical units.

This generally accepted and experimentally supported picture has now come into question owing to new data from a cosmic-ray detector experiment called Milagro [1]. In a paper in Physical Review Letters [2] the Milagro research team reports two localized regions of cosmic-ray excess and they discuss different scenarios to explain their observation. However, there is currently no compelling explanation for the hot spots, suggesting that it is time to take a fresh look at galactic cosmic-ray origins and propagation, including the effects of the interaction of the solar system with the interstellar medium (in the region called the heliosphere). ( http://physics.aps.org/articles/v1/37 )

Here’s their map to compare with the one you sent me …

226. Stephen Wilde says:
Not only are we not really sure what happened or why, all those millions of years ago, but the estimated timings are potentially way out.

Henry says:
Hi Stephen! I agree with you. I think we should stay at relatively short time spans that we more or less can double ckeck with man’s record of history.

BTW, I finished that data analysis of 44 weather stations that I talked to you about some time ago and was surpised to find earth has been cooling since 1994.
I wonder what your take is on that ?
http://www.letterdash.com/henryp/global-cooling-is-here
Would appreciate to hear from you about my result.

227. Willis Eschenbach says:

Jeremy says:
April 24, 2012 at 10:55 pm

Willis,

Physics and engineering require understanding assumptions about real world processes (physics) that are then used to support analysis techniques. Svensmark uses the derivative of Co2 because his hypothesis assumes that Co2 concentrations will be self limiting which means he expects the concentration (the integral of the derivative) will not correlate as well as the derivative.

No, that’s not what he did at all. He used the logarithm of CO2, not the derivative nor the integral of CO2 … as Johnny Depp might say, “Mathematics, you savvy?”

In any case, I have no problem with him using the log of CO2. I was just surprised that in one chart he used log(CO2), and in the very next chart he used straight CO2, and in both cases he declared they were a good fit to the numbers of supernovas … I didn’t understand how that works.

w.

228. wikeroy says:

“I’ve tagged the paper as ‘Astrobiology’ because we may be very lucky in our location in the Galaxy.”

I know what you mean, Dr. Svensmark. But; It is a very ill-formed sentence. We are not here because we are lucky. We evolved here as a result of how the environtment is.

So it is quite the opposite.

Environment is as is => We evolved because each mutation that fit in got more children that survided, and therefore it looks like we fit in. So we fit in!

Not like;
Hey, this is a nice place ! We are lucky! lets live here!

But yes, I know, its just a figure of speech.

229. Willis Eschenbach says:

ggoodknight says:
April 24, 2012 at 10:58 pm

… In Shaviv & Veizer’s “Celestial driver of phanerozoic climate?” (2003), there’s a clear graph of galactic cosmic ray flux (from Shaviv) and ocean temperature over geologic time. This integrates out solar variability, and what we have is a clear inverse correlation of temperature with galactic cosmic ray flux, over the entire 500+ million year phanerozoic. The coldest periods coincide with our solar system being in spiral arms of the galaxy, the hottest periods coincide with our solar system being between spiral arms.

This is a perfect example of the kind of post-hoc fitting problems inherent in both papers, that of S&V and that of Svensmark. As you say, Shaviv and Veizer show cosmic rays matching up with temperature. What’s not to like?

Well, here’s Svensmark Figure 10 showing supernovas (and presumably cosmic rays) …

And here I’ve overlaid the Shaviv/Veizer cosmic ray history per the paper you linked to:

I’m sure you can see the problem …

w.

230. William says:

It is clear that Leif has a much better understanding on this than Willis, who is only adding confusion.

Due to the tangled galactic magnetic field, and the fact that cosmic rays are charged particles, the source of cosmic rays cannot be directly traced back to their apparent source in the sky.

However the total flux of cosmic rays received by Earth will change with the occurrence of SN’s. Each SuperNova will add to the total flux received by the Earth. This can be influenced by how active the Sun is and the extent of the heliosphere, but is probably a reasonable correlation. No local supernovas, low cosmic ray flux, supernovas, higher flux.

Knowing that the cosmic ray flux increases due to local SN’s, you can then go back in history to determine when SN’s occurred in the local neighbourhood, and assume that this corresponds to an increase in the exposure of the Earth to cosmic rays. Note that when I say local I mean within several hundreds of light-years (LY) of Earth. (As an aside, note that professionals do not use LY for measuring distances, they use parsecs).

When stars go supernova, it is believed that the resulting shock wave expands outwards and causes the formation of star clusters. Accordingly, the date of formation of a local star cluster can be used to determine when a local SN occurred. Other measures are the expanding shells of gas, faintly visible for several thousands of years, that expand outwards from the source of the event. The speed of this gas can be traced backwards to a origin point to give an estimate of age. The Vela SNR and the Crab Nebula are prime examples of this. Another measure is the existence of millisecond pulsars, which are supernova remnants (SNR’s), and whose formation date can be estimated from the slow down time of their rotation.

This lack of hard data leaves the Svensmark paper intriguing, but not compelling.

That aside, I find it more compelling than blaming plant food.

231. Matthew R Marler says:

Willis Eschenbach, I have read your comments. I would say that, whereas I called the paper a “hit”, you have proven that it is not a home run.

About this: Svensmark’s theory rests heavily on the idea that the source of cosmic rays is supernovae.

That’s too strong. This paper identifies the supernovae as one class of cosmic ray sources, and looks for their hypothesized effects. It finds them, with a degree of uncertainty. This is a good paper that, I predict, will stimulate a lot of follow-up research. Any one following up this paper would be advised to read your critiques. But as it stands, the paper is pretty good.

This is a perfect example of the kind of post-hoc fitting problems inherent in both papers, that of S&V and that of Svensmark.

Fair enough, as is your earlier comment about the number of tunable parameters. I wrote that the number of tunable parameters (not using that phrase) was not uncacceptibly large, given the lengths of the time series. More data are needed. Only time will tell. Some post-hoc fitting is good (Kepler’s Laws), some not so much.

This is not a field that will have the equivalent of the Michelson-Morely experiment. It is more like AIDS/HIV research in the early 80s, where everything is confused, but on a much larger scale. I am partial to your “thermostat hypothesis” (Gaia-lite) without the teleological implication of a designed thermostat. But overall I think that this is a good paper that will have influence.

232. Paul Vaughan says:

=—

Piers Corbyn (@Piers_Corbyn) says:
April 24, 2012 at 10:01 pm

Citizens, Svensmark is a good guy but his theory does not work and he will become a fall guy for the CO2 warmists: “AAh you are wrong so it must be CO2″.
It elevates proxies to a causal role. GCR is a proxy for solar scalar magnetic activity. Increases in GCR sources (supernovae) are a proxy for dust which also causes solar dimming.
SEE http://climaterealists.com/?id=9491
Thanks Piers

—=

Thanks for stopping by Piers.

I encourage everyone to patiently & thoroughly read all of the cautionary notes volunteered by Piers (stamped “Posted by Piers Corbyn (Twitter) on Apr 24th 2012, 7:54 PM EDT”) here: http://climaterealists.com/?id=9491

Regards.

233. Dr Svalgaard (solar scientist) and Dr. Corbyn (astrophysicist) agree !
No further comment needed.

234. Willis Eschenbach says:

William says:
April 25, 2012 at 12:08 am

It is clear that Leif has a much better understanding on this than Willis, who is only adding confusion.

Due to the tangled galactic magnetic field, and the fact that cosmic rays are charged particles, the source of cosmic rays cannot be directly traced back to their apparent source in the sky.

I have no doubt that Leif understands this better. However, both he and you appear to be wrong. If you look at the picture at the end of my post above above, you’ll notice that there is a “hot-spot” in Cygnus, which is the home of one of the most active nearby supernova remnants … could be coincidence, it’s true, but …

In any case, the article accompanying the picture is from the website of the American Physical Society. Let me repeat what the article says:

In particular, no point sources of cosmic rays should be visible at TeV energy scales, where a typical Larmor radius (the radius of the circular motion of a charged particles in a magnetic field) in the galactic disc is relatively small, only about 100 astronomical units.

Note that this is exactly the claim espoused by you and Leif. The article goes on to say

This generally accepted and experimentally supported picture has now come into question owing to new data from a cosmic-ray detector experiment called Milagro [1]. In a paper in Physical Review Letters [2] the Milagro research team reports two localized regions of cosmic-ray excess and they discuss different scenarios to explain their observation. However, there is currently no compelling explanation for the hot spots, suggesting that it is time to take a fresh look at galactic cosmic-ray origins and propagation, including the effects of the interaction of the solar system with the interstellar medium (in the region called the heliosphere).

It says quite specifically that the belief put forward by you and Leif, that there are no hot spots in the cosmic ray map, has come into question. Am I “adding confusion”? Sure, science is like that. People like you claim the answer is known, nothing to see here, move along, folks.

Me, I cause confusion by pointing out that the answer “has now come into question” … so sue me.

Finally, neither you nor Leif have solved the question of the missing supernova remnants. There should be a whole bunch of them in the MIlky Way visible in the x-ray frequencies. No one can find them, which adds even more confusion by calling into question our theories and models of supernovas.

So yes, I add confusion … when people claim that everything is understood and solved.

w.

235. [quote April 24, 2012 at 7:28 am]
Svensmark points out:
“The energetic GCR that ionize the lower atmosphere are only weakly inﬂuenced by variations in the geomagnetic ﬁeld or by solar magnetic activity. Both cause low-altitude ionization rates to vary by (≈10%) in the course of a magnetic reversal or during a solar cycle. Over decades to millennia the GCR inﬂux to the Solar System scarcely changes.”
Thus the climate scarcely changes as well.
[/quote]
I’d have to disagree. In Svensmark’s therory, clouds magnify the effects of GCRs, so small changes in GCRs can have noticeable effects.

It’s similar to magnifiers in AGW, where it’s demonstrateable that CO2 by itself can’t produce the warming alarmist claim, so a magnifier, such as water vapor, is said to cause the change.

236. Willis Eschenbach says:

William says:
April 25, 2012 at 12:08 am

Knowing that the cosmic ray flux increases due to local SN’s, you can then go back in history to determine when SN’s occurred in the local neighbourhood, and assume that this corresponds to an increase in the exposure of the Earth to cosmic rays. Note that when I say local I mean within several hundreds of light-years (LY) of Earth. (As an aside, note that professionals do not use LY for measuring distances, they use parsecs).

If only supernovas within “several hundreds of light-years” should be considered as affecting the Earth, perhaps you can explain, then, why Svensmark is using star clusters within 2,700 light years (850 parsecs), ten times as far away as you recommend?

When stars go supernova, it is believed that the resulting shock wave expands outwards and causes the formation of star clusters. Accordingly, the date of formation of a local star cluster can be used to determine when a local SN occurred.

I’d have to see a citation for that claim, William. Svensmark takes the reverse tack, saying that the star clusters begin to generate supernovas about three million years after their formation …

w.

237. To the person asking why there are differences in the two cosmic ray maps, I have two answers.

1) I’d hazard a guess that the scale on the two maps is different, with the grey map being very coarse grained and the other map being more fine grained. For example, if I drew a map of the human population over the last 10000 years with grey used to represent a population between 1 and 100 billion, the entire map would be grey.

2) The real answer is it doesn’t matter as as far as GCRSs causing cloud formations. What matters is the GCRs hitting the earth, which is known to change.

Typed on an iPad, so sorry for any ridiculous typos.

238. William says:

When stars go supernova, it is believed that the resulting shock wave expands outwards and causes the formation of star clusters. I’d have to see a citation for that claim, William. Svensmark takes the reverse tack, saying that the star clusters begin to generate supernovas about three million years after their formation …

It is a well known process Willis, see here

or
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supernova
or
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supernova#cite_note-102

This does not discount the fact that, once a star cluster forms, the most massive stars in that cluster (classified as O and B type stars) will have a very short life and go supernova fairly rapidly. Three million years may well be correct, although this is just an estimate as modelling on very massive stars has many gaps and no one has actually observed the process.

239. sophocles says:

And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!”
He chortled in his joy.

(with no apologies to Lewis Carroll at all!)

I’ve been waiting for this paper!

Anthony says:
“Don’t fret about the diehards. The glory of empirical science is this: no matter how many years, decades, or sometimes centuries it may take, in the end the story will come out right.”

Unfortunately we still have to live through these times, with all the diehards grabbing for the levers of power and taxation, so please excuse me if I continue to fret … hard …

I wonder how long it will be before the Piltdowner rethinks or resiles from his latest literary effort?

240. William says:

Willis said:

“…However, both he and you appear to be wrong. If you look at the picture at the end of my post above above, you’ll notice that there is a “hot-spot” in Cygnus, which is the home of one of the most active nearby supernova remnants … could be coincidence, it’s true, but …

In any case, the article accompanying the picture is from the website of the American Physical Society. Let me repeat what the article says:

In particular, no point sources of cosmic rays should be visible at TeV energy scales, where a typical Larmor radius (the radius of the circular motion of a charged particles in a magnetic field) in the galactic disc is relatively small, only about 100 astronomical units.

Note that this is exactly the claim espoused by you and Leif. ..”

You are very quick Willis. The Cygnus source is most likely Cygnus X-1, a black hole candidate which radiates over a wide spectrum of high energy wavelengths. Not sure how this can be confused with a cosmic ray source. If there are point sources of cosmic rays, it is likely due to funnelling by the galactic magnetic field, rather than pointing towards a defined object or source.

From Earth, cosmic rays come from all directions.

241. William says:

Willis said…”….People like you claim the answer is known, nothing to see here, move along, folks…”

is that what I claim?? You are putting words in my mouth.

242. Henry Clark says:

John Coleman says:
April 24, 2012 at 5:00 pm

This piece of research merits TV coverage. I have tried to write a simple news “package”. As an interesting exercise (which I may regret) I think I will try posting it here for comments and suggestions before I present it to my bosses for their consideration.

I think it is great that you will be covering this on the news.

In the spirit of constructive criticism, I can best note, though, with regard to this:

I have studied several Sun based climate theories and they never quite hold up when you put them to the test.

In other publications about far shorter time periods, the author (Dr. Svensmark) himself supports solar-driven variation of non-deflected GCR flux greatly affecting terrestrial climate. Indirectly, if you agree with his work here, there are other consequences. As soon as one agrees with any of the cosmic ray theory work, in terms of not denying that GCR variation affects cloud formation (unlike the CAGW side), a whole new world is opened of climate understanding on multiple time scales.

This is actually indirectly related to theories of solar variation being a major climate influence and in support of them, not as utterly the sole factor determining climate (for there is no single factor accounting for absolutely everything) but as a major influence.

On really long timescales, like hundreds of millions of years, the galactic cosmic ray (GCR) flux varies heavily from events outside the solar system, including supernovas and the very slow movement of our solar system around the galaxy. However, on far shorter timescales like decades and centuries, the flux entering the solar system is more constant, yet the solar-driven interplanetary magnetic field varies in strength. Variation in solar activity affects that magnetic field and how much it deflects the incoming GCR flux away from Earth itself.

Both are shown in one of the images for this article, the second graphic from the top of the page.

See another publication by the author of this paper, Dr. Svensmark, an article in which he gives a general overview of cosmoclimatology theory (best copy and pasted):

As he puts matters (referring in this other paper to shorter time scales):

The title reflected a topical puzzle, that of how to reconcile abundant indications of the Sun’s influence on climate (e.g. Herschel 1801, Eddy 1976, Friis-Christensen and Lassen 1991), with the small 0.1% variations in the solar irradiance over a solar cycle measured by satellites. Clouds exert (on average) a strong cooling effect, and cosmic-ray counts vary with the strength of the solar magnetic field, which repels much of the influx of relativistic particles from the galaxy. The connection offers a mechanism for solardriven climate change much more powerful than changes in solar irradiance.

As one of the examples of the “abundant indications of the Sun’s influence on climate,” Dr. Svensmark mentions Eddy 1976 in the above quote (though there are far more examples than his concise sample list alone):

Carbon-14 indirectly shows the cosmic ray flux (with such shifted by the author to account for time lag in assimilation into tree rings).

There are some who will just deny everything by saying correlation does not imply causation. However, actually, the chance that a correlation is due to mere coincidence diminishes the more correlations are seen. One peak / trough matching would not be strong evidence. Two is better. Three still better. And so on. And there are many more examples, in total adding up to way too much to be all dismissed as strange coincidences. The fact that there is a totally plausible and independently supported causation mechanism for the correlation is what solidifies the matter.

Older studies on solar variation versus temperature reconstructions tend to be more likely to be honest non-ideology-based unbiased studies, as, for instance, in the 1970s in the era of the Eddy study there was no political war over CAGW yet and no bias in funding, but, by the end of the 1990s and beyond, matters got worse. According, it is not surprising to see some recent studies making it through “peer review” completely overturn and blatantly contradict earlier results, but that does not make them the ones most probable to be accurate.

As a skeptic, you are probably familar with the hockey stick. That was the tip of the iceberg, as there are too many on the CAGW side cunning enough to realize they need to revise even cosmogenic isotope reconstructions as well as temperature history.

But, anyway, also see, among other examples of what happens with true data:

http://www.sciencebits.com/CosmicRaysClimate

Everywhere, even here, there may be some individuals denying all of that, but one can not be a skeptic without realizing that some have actual motives, ideologies, and levels of honesty (or not!) different from what they pretend in order to fit in or to get the naive trusting them.

Not every peak and trough matches exactly, particularly if shorter time scales are zoomed in upon. There are other climate influences too. For instance, the oceans have a “memory” of older time periods (quadrillions of tons of water thousands of meters deep not changing overnight), and sometimes influence of ocean circulation amplifies the result of a recent change in GCR flux / solar activity, while at other times it temporarily neutralizes one, a bit like superimposing two wave functions which sometimes reinforce each other and sometimes interfere destructively. At the very shortest time scales, average atmospheric temperature fluctuates a lot from essentially complex weather, with variations in precipitation affecting temperature. (And there is some effect from humans recently, just with it commonly vastly overrated). But plenty enough matches up.

Alternatives dismissing the effect of solar (and GCR) variation tend to be lol BS if someone ever seriously attempts to apply them to the past few centuries or millenia at once, either so vaguely unbaked that nobody can even link to a write-up in any detail or else lousy like the recently falsified attempt at trying to explain the Little Ice Age through volcano eruptions alone, neglecting the sun.

While partially admitting the effect of solar variation (though dismissing most of it by denying GCR effects), CAGW-side climate models tend to attempt backcasting only the past century or so, and even that they only superficially sometimes manage by creatively adjusting assumed aerosol values to whatever makes a curve fit under unrealistic sensitivity assumptions: GIGO in computer programming = Garbage In, Garbage Out.

And excuse my bluntness and implied annoyance, which is not directed at you at all, just appropriate parties.

243. richard verney says:

Steven Mosher says:
April 24, 2012 at 7:34 pm
///////////////////
Yes, but the reason why the IPCC claim that CO2 is a significant driver rests upon the ‘we can’t think of any other explanation for the temperature changes during the 20th century other than CO2’

If there are other explanations for those temperature changes, the claim that CO2 may be a significant driver loses force.

It could well be the case that a doubling of CO2 has little if any affect.

244. sophocles says:

“…– no one has ever answered my questions on ice ages and warm intergalactic periods”
=============================================================================
umm—do you mean “interglacial periods?”
Prof Shaviv at Jerusalem University has published some research which you may find informative in this area at:
http://www.sciencebits.com/iceages

245. J.Hansford says:

I like many aspects of Svendsmark’s new paper and hypothesis, but mainly because it confirms my own bias towards that kind of thinking….. a stance which of course isn’t scientific, but I am not a scientist, so I have the luxury of indulging myself…. However, I am also a born skeptic so I will watch with interest to see what valid arguments are presented against this new hypothesis and whether it can stand up to questioning and indeed grow stronger by it…. and of course if it doesn’t, then science still gains insights into what doesn’t have effects on our planet, life, climate and everything.

Watching the process of good science is so damn interesting.

246. J.Hansford says:

Steven Mosher says:
April 24, 2012 at 11:53 am
[…]
If Mann wrote this, people here would be hooting and hollaring.
==================================================================

I wasn’t aware that Svendsmark was hiding his data and methodology……. If so. Then he deserves the same condemnation and derision that is directed at Mann.

If Svendsmark is open about his science Steven, then why would we be “hooting and hollering”? …. Surely we would be respectfully directing his attention to mistakes and oversights….Hmmm?

247. sophocles says:

Willis said:
Really? If so … why have most of the ice ages occurred in the last three million years? And when I look at Frisch (2000), it’s listed as “Frisch P., 2000, American Scientist, 88, 52″.
====================================================================
The present ice AGE started about 2.5 My ago. It has had a number of GLACIATIONS and a number of interglacial warmings. Don’t confuse a galaciation as being an “ice age.” It isn’t—it’s part of an ice age, as an interglacial warming is too.

You could check Shaviv’s paper at
http://www.sciencebits.com/iceages

248. Bengt A says:

Leif Svalgaard says:
April 24, 2012 at 4:08 pm

The idea that supernovae regulates mutations and thereby indirectly evolution is furthermore not new at all.

Who is claiming that this is a new idea? Svensmark is referring to it as the consensus explanation to how cosmic rays affects biodiversity and offers his own new complimentary explanation that there is an effect of cosmic rays on biodiversity via climate change (s.18). You still don’t seem to have grasped the core arguments within this paper.

249. [snip . . OT, and covered extensively already . . kbmod]

250. ferd berple says:
April 24, 2012 at 8:10 am

Leif Svalgaard says:
April 24, 2012 at 7:28 am
I would take exception to equating the solar cycle change with that of a magnetic reversal. The latter having a much larger effect.

That suggests that changes in the earth’s magnetic field affects climate in non-trivial ways. Something not allowed for in the climate models.
See my modest contribution

Climate Change and the Earth’s Magnetic Poles, A Possible Connection

http://tinyurl.com/c9o7q9

251. izen says:

Legatus says: April 24, 2012 at 8:13 pm
“The logic gap you are missing is:
If increasing GCRs increase cloudiness and cooling, then…
Decreasing GCR’s may decrease cloudiness and create more warmth.
The warmth currently attributed to manmade CO2 may be largely because of decreased GCR’s instead.
Therefor the question of GCRs is central to the idea of climate change.
Absolutly central.”

Except that the measured level of both GCRs and cloud cover during the recent decades of warming show no trend.

Interesting that the analysis of the supernova rate from outside the Sun’s galactic orbit, which shows regularity, and inside the galactic orbit, which is irregular supports the solar system being very close to the co-rotation rate where the orbital velocity and the speed of the spiral density waves that form the galactic arms are the same. Svensmark uses the Reid2009 estimate for the speed of the solar galactic orbit which is generally considered on the high side. Using a more mainstream value and given the estimate of the spiral arm rotation rate the relative velocity is negligible.
Any variation in GCR comes from the outer portion of the arms going by, not the inner.

One problem with the timing is that the best reconstructions of the galactic structure have our galaxy as a barred spiral with four, asymmetric spiral arms. Svensmark uses a old estimate of the galactic structure and position/spacing of the arms. The asymmetry means the period would alternate between long and short gaps between peaks. Not an even cycle.

So what we have is a possible means by which GCRs may vary by a factor 2 over a period of 120Myr. Or possibly 80Myr of some other period depending which open cluster catalogue is used. That MAY have some influence on something on the Earth, but probably not through a direct cosmic ray effect. GCRs vary much more as a result of geomagnetic changes, and the past history of magnetic reversals and partial magnetic excursions like the Lachamp event impose much greater variation on the GCR level for far longer than any supernova.

I cannot see how this speculative association of open cluster age variation in the local region and climate on the sub-millennial timescale has ANY connection.

252. Barefoot boy from Brooklyn says:

Although I find Svensmark’s theory provocative and, to me also, hopeful, I really wish people would withhold judgement just a few weeks, if not years or millennia. His theory is going to be attacked at so many points it is going to make your head spin. For one additional thing, his measurement of biodiversity is not going to make it through a gauntlet of objections, the jury is still out on the whole ionization-to-cloud-formation mechanism, and other problems are being pointed out here. Not that there are not good counter-objections to those problems, just that it is not going to be sorted out in our lifetimes; well, not in mine anyway. If the current anthropogenic theories are to be taken down, they will be through the failure of their models to make good predictions, I don’t see how that will bear much relationship to the debate and verification procedure regarding Svensmark, as earth-shaking and appealing as it may be to me and others. On the other hand, I probably shouldn’t be concerned about taking down current theories, either. The article is an important landmark on the journey towards truth.

253. W. Sander says:

Just now we get corresponding results from thew ICE Cube Neutrino Observatory, direct from the South Pole: http://icecube.wisc.edu/news/view/52. They prove that gamma ray bursts are not the origin of cosmic rays. So there is room for new theories. An Svensmark offers one which seems to be a very good one. Two threads are meeting. And there is a third one too: The Cern-Results of the CLoud-Experiment from August 2011.
But: if you take all three threads together, you are in the realm of political incorrectness.

254. Barefoot boy from Brooklyn says:

I meant that his measurement of biodiversity is going to have to make it through a gauntlet, not that his measurement is doomed to fail.

255. Willis Eschenbach says:
April 24, 2012 at 11:08 pm
no point sources of cosmic rays should be visible at TeV energy scales
Again, this is at very high energies [of the order of 1000 times that of the bulk of the cosmic rays] and while not at the highest ones still orders of magnitude larger than the GCRs that Svensmark has in mind and hence orders of magnitudes more rare and thus irrelevant.

W. Sander says:
April 25, 2012 at 4:35 am
Just now we get corresponding results from thew ICE Cube Neutrino Observatory, direct from the South Pole: http://icecube.wisc.edu/news/view/52. They prove that gamma ray bursts are not the origin of cosmic rays.
Same confusion as Willis’s: This finding is about the rare very high-energy cosmic rays, not the ones Svensmark has in mind.

Bengt A says:
April 25, 2012 at 3:05 am
new complimentary explanation that there is an effect of cosmic rays on biodiversity via climate change (s.18). You still don’t seem to have grasped the core arguments within this paper.
The ‘core argument’ has to wait until page 18 to be presented, so seems incidental. Svensmark also offers the intriguing idea that CO2 is important in warming the Earth [page 19]:
“if a cooling reduces the loss of CO2 to geochemical weathering, that could lead to a buildup of CO2 if other sinks and sources of CO2 remain constant, and so dampen or reverse the cooling”.

256. Craig Little says:

When does the movie come out to educate the masses that there are alternative possibilities to AGW? I’m serious. If people can’t see it on the big screen they won’t believe it. Please give the politicians and university staff tickets for advance screenings. Thanks in advance to whoever does this first.

257. Henry Clark says:

April 25, 2012 at 3:25 am

See my modest contribution

Climate Change and the Earth’s Magnetic Poles, A Possible Connection

http://tinyurl.com/c9o7q9

Glancing at your paper, you might enjoy looking at this:

http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/MF.htm

For a sample extract, it argues “solar storms induce strong electric currents, acting as an electro-magnetic brake on the vortex itself, as reflected in the negative correlation between solar activity and geomagnetic field in the HB area.” There are graphs and much more discussion.

But Vukcevic, the author, is a poster here, previously active in this very comment thread (probably reading this within the next few hours), so I’m not the one to comment further on it.

A couple other notes though:

1) I’ll be frank this is a fast comment, and I have not examined your paper and its references beyond a rather quick look at the moment. However, doing a brief search for the reference #27, finding Glatzmaier 2002 online at http://www.es.ucsc.edu/~glatz/pub/glatzmaier_annrev_2002.pdf , it doesn’t appear to me to be blatantly ruling out external mechanisms on short timescales, the kind of timescales relevant to variation in solar activity within the 20th century. So, when your paper said “the possibility of some external mechanism that affects both the position of the poles and global temperatures cannot be discounted,” indeed I would particularly look into that…

2) With regard to the part on page 6 about cosmic ray flux history versus temperatures, see this, such as figure 2:

Anyway, I think your paper is interesting. Investigation of what the above is suggesting might help further avenues of research, for future papers to synthesize still more sources of data together, which could be awesome.

258. RangerRick says:

Wasn’t the relatively close supernova that created the Crab Nebula recorded in the middle of the 11th century? Wasn’t it shortly after this event that the Vikings were driven off Greenland and the Earths tempurature plummeted? Is this just coincidence? or could the two be connect with Dr. Svensmark’s theory. Interesting to say the least……

259. Steve from Rockwood says:

This is going to take awhile to chew through but if the super novae Goldilocks theory is true then suddenly there are far fewer civilizations present in our Universe.

260. Jurgen says:

Climate and weather
and in between
How it all goes
remains to be seen
As part of the cosmos
we go by its rules
But drinking a coffee
Macro and micro
do play their part
So it may be the sun
or it may be a fart

261. Bengt A says:
April 25, 2012 at 3:05 am
new complimentary explanation that there is an effect of cosmic rays on biodiversity via climate change (s.18). You still don’t seem to have grasped the core arguments within this paper.
It seems to me that the core argument is that Svensmark is using biodiversity as support for his [actually Ney’s] idea that cosmic rays influence the climate [together with CO2 as he also states].

262. Steve from Rockwood says:

sophocles says:
April 25, 2012 at 2:57 am
Willis said:
Really? If so … why have most of the ice ages occurred in the last three million years? And when I look at Frisch (2000), it’s listed as “Frisch P., 2000, American Scientist, 88, 52″.
====================================================================
The present ice AGE started about 2.5 My ago. It has had a number of GLACIATIONS and a number of interglacial warmings. Don’t confuse a galaciation as being an “ice age.” It isn’t—it’s part of an ice age, as an interglacial warming is too.

You could check Shaviv’s paper at
http://www.sciencebits.com/iceages
——————————————————–

263. Bengt A says:

Leif Svalgaard says:
April 25, 2012 at 5:11 am

The ‘core argument’ has to wait until page 18 to be presented, so seems incidental.
In my experience most researchers put their conclusions at the end of the paper.

There seems to be some confusion about what Svensmark is really saying in this paper. In my opinion the most interesting statements are these (maybe someone beg to differ?):

• A link between Super novae and climate on earth could help to refine our understanding of the structure of The Milky Way. ”… mismatches with climate might encourage a reexamination of some astrophysical data. And a foretaste of other
clues for astrophysicists comes from evidence presented in Sect. 6 that short-lived falls in sea level recorded by seismic stratigraphy promise high-resolution dating of supernova events closest to the Earth..” (s.18)

• Galactic Cosmic Rays impact on the atmosphere of the earth can be a complementary explanation of earths climatological history through geological time. ” More promising is the innovation here concerning a likely link between major short-lived falls in sea level and the nearest supernovae. The proposition that intense GCR fluxes from close supernovae caused glaciations and associated eustatic regressions in sea level finds a persuasive match in the computed high temporal resolution of GCR variation based on statistics of nearby supernovae.” (s.18)

• Galactic Cosmic Rays seems to affect biodiversity via climate change over geological time. ”On the other hand, GCR seem to exert a strong though indirect evolutionary influence by varying the climate.” (s.18)

264. Bengt A says:
April 25, 2012 at 6:06 am
There seems to be some confusion about what Svensmark is really saying in this paper.
As I read it, Svensmark is looking for supporting evidence for the faltering notion that cosmic rays control the climate. Faltering because solar activity at present is on par with that of a century ago, while the climate is not. So, he is claiming that since supernovae are the cause of high biodiversity [nothing new] and of cosmic rays in the 10-20 Gev range [again nothing new] that the causal relationship is via climate, hence supporting Ney’s contention that our climate is controlled by GCRs. But such alleged causation is not needed as there are others explanations for the relationships.

265. durango12 says:

One wonders whether the relatively distant Crab Nebula supernova explosion of 1054 might have played a role in the Little Ice Age that is denied by the alarmists.

266. Leif Svalgaard says:
Faltering because solar activity at present is on par with that of a century ago, while the climate is not.

Henry says

I have a problem with that statement,
clearly we don’t know what happened a century ago with climate
(unless you can bring me calbration certificates of thermometers that are 100 years old?)
In addition I now found that earth has alread dropped by 0.2 degrees K since the beginning of this century.
With the method I used I don’t rely much on calibration because I looked at the differences in temperature compared to its average measured over a certain time period…
I have 44 measuring points all over and I sampled in such a way that I balanced my table by latitude as well as 70/30 sea /land as much as possible. Longitude is not important as the earth rotates every 24 hour. Perhaps the only bias was in chosing weather stations that have a complete record or where the record was almost complete.

It is true that I am currently (still) the only one who is making the claim that global cooling has already started and that we dropped by 0.2 degrees C from 2000. – I fear there are perhaps too few scientists interested in climate change that finished their studies in Statistics….
http://www.letterdash.com/henryp/global-cooling-is-here

267. Willis says:
In any case, if there’s one supernova every thirty years, where is the signature in the temperature record? For Svensmark’s theory to hold, shouldn’t we see a big dip in temperature after each and every supernova?

_______________________________________
Supernova 1604, also known as Kepler’s Supernova, Kepler’s Nova or Kepler’s Star, was a supernova that occurred in the Milky Way, in the constellation Ophiuchus. As of Feb 2012, it is the last supernova to have been unquestionably observed in our own galaxy, occurring no farther than 6 kiloparsecs or about 20,000 light-years from Earth. Visible to the naked eye, it was brighter at its peak than any other star in the night sky, and all the planets (other than Venus), with apparent magnitude −2.5. It was visible during the day for over three weeks.
Johannes Kepler’s original drawing depicting the location of the stella nova, marked with an N (8 grid squares down, 4 over from the left).

The supernova was first observed in northern Italy on October 9, 1604.[2] Johannes Kepler began observing it on October 17.[3] It was subsequently named after him because of his book on the subject entitled De Stella nova in pede Serpentarii (“On the new star in Ophiuchus’s foot”, Prague 1606).
__________________________________

What happened to the Earth’s climate in the decades following 1604?
“a big dip in temperature “

268. sam says:

Wow. This reads like real Nobel prize-winning work, not crap like IPCC voodoo science and Al Gore. Can we start [SNIP: Sam, it is too early in the morning for this. How about just giving the article two thumbs up, five stars, etc. without baying for blood… -REP].

269. HenryP says:
April 25, 2012 at 6:45 am
clearly we don’t know what happened a century ago with climate
But Svensmark claims to know the climate the past billion years…

270. tallbloke says:
April 25, 2012 at 6:49 am
Supernova 1604, also known as Kepler’s Supernova, Kepler’s Nova or Kepler’s Star, was a supernova that occurred in the Milky Way, […]
What happened to the Earth’s climate in the decades following 1604?
“a big dip in temperature “

Typical for the pseudo-science going around. The cosmic rays generated by that supernova [and Tycho’s in 1572] will not arrive for another several million years.

271. durango12 says:
April 25, 2012 at 6:41 am
One wonders whether the relatively distant Crab Nebula supernova explosion of 1054 might have played a role in the Little Ice Age that is denied by the alarmists.

I doubt it, Kepler’s Nova in 1604 is a more likely candidate for that, but it might have played a role in the undoubtedly cold period in the latter half of the C11th. The Thames froze for seven weeks in 1061. In England severe winters were noted in 1020, 1032/33, 1043/44, 1047, 1061, 1063, 1067/68, 1073/74, 1076/77, 1085/86, and 1092/93.

WOW Anthony update time!! Cern wieghs in!

“In view of the CLOUD results, the treatment of aerosol formation in climate models will need to be substantially revised since all models assume that nucleation is caused by these vapours and water alone. Secondly, CLOUD has found that cosmic ray ionisation can substantially enhance nucleation of sulphuric acid/ammonia particles—by up to a factor of 10. Ion-enhancement is particularly pronounced in the cool temperatures of the mid-troposphere and above, where CLOUD has found that sulphuric acid and water vapour can nucleate without the need for additional vapours. ”

Well Svensmark is defenitely upp for the Nobelprize. And salbys article will put IPCC out of its misary

273. Leif Svalgaard says:
April 25, 2012 at 7:03 am
The cosmic rays generated by that supernova [and Tycho’s in 1572] will not arrive for another several million years.

Of course. My mistake, thanks for the reminder on the different velocities of photons and protons.

274. tallbloke says:
April 25, 2012 at 7:08 am
I doubt it, Kepler’s Nova in 1604 is a more likely candidate for that, but it might have played a role in the undoubtedly cold period in the latter half of the C11th.
The nonsense continues…

275. tallbloke says:
April 25, 2012 at 7:11 am
Of course. My mistake, thanks for the reminder on the different velocities of photons and protons.
It is not so much the difference in speed [the protons move close to light speed anyway], but the fact that the protons are charged and thus bump around in the tangled galactic magnetic fields for millions of years before arriving near us.

276. izen says:

L
@- Leif Svalgaard says: April 25, 2012 at 7:16 am
“It is not so much the difference in speed [the protons move close to light speed anyway], but the fact that the protons are charged and thus bump around in the tangled galactic magnetic fields for millions of years before arriving near us.”

Does that delay have any effect in spreading the GCRs from the close cluster supernovas over several million years?
Would it further smooth out the variations in GCRs so that the peaks modelled by Svensmark would be flattened?

277. izen says:
April 25, 2012 at 7:48 am
Does that delay have any effect in spreading the GCRs from the close cluster supernovas over several million years? Would it further smooth out the variations in GCRs so that the peaks modelled by Svensmark would be flattened?
A little bit, but the peaks are on a time scale of a hundred million years so not much.

278. John Blake says:

“Cosmic climate” has a ring… as Earth’s paltry little G2 system swings in conjunction with galactic arms, we’d like to see an animation depicting episodic SNs pulsing in rhythm with our Milky Way’s ultra long-term “respiration,” the alternate expansion-contraction common to all complex dual-dynamic systems compressing major nuclei (super Black Holes) at their variable centers.

Tying our celestial dust-mote’s climatic circumstances to phenomena on a 100,000 LY scale [a typical mid-size galaxy’s diameter] is certainly a visionary exercise. Meantime, the idea that such exo-factors have not contributed to Earth’s post-Proterozoic climate regimes seems quite far-fetched.

279. Green Sand says:

April 25, 2012 at 7:10 am

WOW Anthony update time!! Cern wieghs in!

http://cdsweb.cern.ch/record/1435746/files/SPSC-SR-101.pdf
————————————————————————————————-
Many thanks for the link, not sure if you noticed but there is a “Version 2” of the report. I do not know what, if any, the changes maybe. Time difference is only 8 mins.

http://cdsweb.cern.ch/record/1435746/files/SPSC-SR-101.pdf?version=2

Both can be seen at:-
http://cdsweb.cern.ch/record/1435746/files/?docname=SPSC-SR-101&version=all

280. Jeff B. says:

Ok so when can we stop destroying our energy future based on false science? I’m tired of waiting and what Progressives are doing to our economy.

281. ferd berple says:

April 25, 2012 at 3:25 am
Climate Change and the Earth’s Magnetic Poles, A Possible Connection
http://tinyurl.com/c9o7q9

Which suggests strongly that the IPCC “we can’t think of any other reason” rational for choosing CO2 as the climate driver is a logical fallacy. “We can’t find anyone else that could have committed the crime, so you must be the guilty party.”

It is well established that large changes in the magnetic field coincide with large changes in climate. The earth’s magnetic field is changing quite rapidly. This suggests strongly that changes in the field could be responsible for a large portion of the climate change currently attributed to CO2. If this is the case then CO2 sensitivity must be lower than current estimates.

282. ferd berple says:
April 25, 2012 at 7:53 am
It is well established that large changes in the magnetic field coincide with large changes in climate.
“It is not what we know that gets us in trouble, but what we know, that ain’t”

283. izen says:

ferd berple says: April 25, 2012 at 7:53 am
”It is well established that large changes in the magnetic field coincide with large changes in climate.”

I have seen the opposite claim, that the Lachamps PME for example has no significant climate signal associated with it.
Perhaps you could provide a link to clear evidence of large climate changes caused by geomagnetic changes?

284. Michael Reed says:

Just had a weird thought about the Svensmark Theory. Astrologers may have been right all along — the stars DO influence our lives.

285. Leif Svalgaard says:
April 25, 2012 at 7:16 am

tallbloke says:
April 25, 2012 at 7:11 am
Of course. My mistake, thanks for the reminder on the different velocities of photons and protons.

It is not so much the difference in speed [the protons move close to light speed anyway], but the fact that the protons are charged and thus bump around in the tangled galactic magnetic fields for millions of years before arriving near us.

Apart from the ones travelling down ‘flux tubes’ straight towards us of course. ;-)

“When plasma moves through a dust or gas, the cloud becomes ionized and electric currents flow. The currents generate magnetic fields that confine themselves into coherent filaments known as Birkeland currents. Birkeland currents squeeze galactic plasma into thin filaments that remain collimated over great distances. Astronomical observations reveal that the material from some galactic jets travels more than 30,000 light-years.

The charged particles that compose the currents spiral along the magnetic fields, appearing as electrical vortices. Surprisingly, Felix Aharonian of the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies suggested that “..there could be a ‘tube’ of magnetic field lines extending between the source and our solar system, funnelling the cosmic rays towards us.”

Heretical ‘pseudo-science’ as far as you are concerned I’m sure.
Hannes Alfven was a pretty smart guy though…

286. Allan MacRae says:

Jeremy says: April 24, 2012 at 9:23 pm
Allan MacRae,
All your points about CAGW having lost the scientific debate are solid. However, the problem is that the propaganda war has already been won by Greens!
________

Perhaps you are right (regarding the “war”) for the moment Jeremy, but I think the tide is turning.

The science is inexorably grinding towards a new conclusion – whether it be “low sensitivity to CO2 ” or “temperature drives CO2, not the reverse”

Regions like Western Europe, California and Ontario that have fully embraced CAGW nonsense have driven up their energy costs, and cannot afford it.

The global economic crisis is NOT over, it is temporarily in remission. We will soon need to focus on real problems, not fictitious ones.

Finally, I think Earth has entered a natural cooling cycle – even the most ardent warmists will have a difficult time explaining that reality (mind you they can always change their tune: “cooling IS warming” – it’s already starting, btw.)

“Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning. “
Sir Winston Churchill, Speech in November 1942

287. tallbloke says:
April 25, 2012 at 8:12 am
The charged particles that compose the currents spiral along the magnetic fields, appearing as electrical vortices. Surprisingly, Felix Aharonian of the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies suggested that “..there could be a ‘tube’ of magnetic field lines extending between the source and our solar system, funnelling the cosmic rays towards us.”
Heretical ‘pseudo-science’ as far as you are concerned I’m sure.
Hannes Alfven was a pretty smart guy though…

Appealing to authority, again?
Pseudo-science is not heretical, just wrong.
Think of the probability that a thin flux tube from 20,000 ly away snakes it way to just our tiny solar system. Anyway, the cosmic ray sky in the GeV range is uniform and isotropic, no point sources to be seen, so no funnels.

288. Jim G says:

Willis,

“I’d have to see a citation for that claim, William. Svensmark takes the reverse tack, saying that the star clusters begin to generate supernovas about three million years after their formation …

w.”

As an aside, I believe the more commonly accepted time frame for the life of the massive type star or star system needed to go supernova after its birth is more like 10 million years. Not very long in the scheme of stellar lives but about it for a young, very massive hot star to go supernova from everything I have read.

289. Thanks for the above pointers to further investigations, I’m still looking for a cause to explain the corr. One of the papers I came across in my research was by Shaviv and Veizer,
In 2002, Shaviv hypothesised that passages through the Milky Way’s spiral arms appear to have been the cause behind the major ice-ages over the past billion years. In his later work, co-authored by Jan Veizer, a low upper limit was placed on the climatic effect of CO2.

290. Steve Keohane says:

Willis Eschenbach says:April 24, 2012 at 5:45 pm
Steve Keohane says:April 24, 2012 at 3:17 pm (Edit)
Willis Eschenbach says: April 24, 2012 at 2:40 pm

” […]
But a recent paper “Relative sea-level fall since the last interglacial stage: Are coasts uplifting worldwide?“, evaluated some 890 of the paleo-shorelines worldwide. They say:

The results show that most coastal segments have risen relative to sea-level with a mean uplift rate higher than 0.2 mm/yr, i.e. more than four times faster than the estimated eustatic drop in sea level.”

After reading it, I don’t understand the relevance of the paper you linked to WRT it showing an argument against what Svensmark is saying. The paper talks about >0.2mm/ year uplift, so for 12K years you get almost 8 feet, relative to the sea level rise of ~300 feet since then. I don’t see how the former affects an assessment of the latter. We’re talking 0.2 vs. 7.62 mm/yr. Is it simply that it might supply that error in estimating a date for a layer of geographic deposition?

Svensmark is talking about millions of years … over which time 0.2 mm per year adds up. Here’s his Figure 19, which purports to show the correlation between sea level and biodiversity:

Over a million years, 0.2 mm/year is 200 metres …

w.
Thanks Willis. I don’t see this working at either scale. There may be some influence, and the elegance of the theory is seductive, but it looks like there should be some confounding with other influence(s). This seems similar to parsing out 1.3°F over decades with daily swings of 20-60°F. Comparing that to Δ~300 feet between glaciations, trying to find what would be .2mm/yr, assuming a constant or average flux of GCRs, seems like the old needle in a haystack.

291. tallbloke says:
April 25, 2012 at 8:12 am
there could be a ‘tube’ of magnetic field lines extending between the source and our solar system, funnelling the cosmic rays towards us.”
Furthermore, the cosmic rays are not produced by the supernovae explosion itself, but be subsequent acceleration of particles by the debris over the next several thousand years, so there will be none just a few years after the explosion, funnel or not.

292. L. Louis Lancaster says:

Well, it is over my head for sure, so I’ll avoid discussing the hypothesis and address the idea that this trumps those claiming climate change impacted by human activity.
The controversy surrounding climate change is being exploited by those industries most affected by any regulations to reduce industrial emissions. Of course those industries will work to keep the controversy alive in order to stall those regulations.

My issue is that the steps suggest to address climate change are the same ones that would reduce the toxic and particulate emissions that degrade the air we breathe, the water we drink and the soil we grow our food in. These are both immediate and undeniable.
It is a given that the Barons are more concerned about their profits than they are the life quality of everyone else, especially those living nearby and more directly affected.

If we fix the problems in evidence then we will have plenty of time to ponder the cosmic impacts on our climate. If we don’t there’s a good change that the next climactic change will have no one to witness.

293. Gary Pearse says:

“Evidence of nearby supernovae affecting life on Earth,” he does so in the context of the finding that high rates of nearby supernovae promote life’s productivity by chilling the planet, and so improving the circulation of nutrients needed by the photosynthetic organisms.”

Classic negative feedback that governs (in the mechanical sense a la Willis Eschenbach) our planets comparatively stable temperature and atmospheric chemistry.

Only thing Nigel Calder: your heroes of the 1960s regarding plate tectonics (a dental mechanic’s term?) – invented the term itself to hide the more poetic term ‘continental drift’ which was ignominiously buried with its propounder Wegener, who was thoroughly vilified by the elite of the geological professsion 40 years before the middle 1960s. Evidence for this heresy began to mount, first among South African geologists who identified similarities in the geology and fossil species in South America. Even diamonds were found in Brazil before finding them in Africa. Finally it could no longer be ignored.

294. John F. Hultquist says:

Willis Eschenbach says:
April 25, 2012 at 12:30 am
“… so sue me.

I wasn’t aware that you had gobs and gobs of money. And if not, what’s the point of sueing you?
———————————-

Personally, I thank you, Willis, and Leif and others for the contributions you make in these postings. And Anthony for providing the place to do it. And those doing the real-time moderating. So I’m a little confused by how the world works. I can live with that. It is a beautiful day for feeding the horses, digging a hole for a new post and gate, and watching my cherry trees blossom. I’ll catch up with y’all when the Sun goes down.

April 25, 2012 at 9:15 am
Super-Novae decoded
That people in this day and age can fall for this nonsense is a demonstration of the low science- literacy and gullibility of the populace at large. Sad, indeed. Perhaps you can get tallbloke to sign on to your faith, it seems he will believe anything weird, so you can continue your indulgency over there.

296. John F. Hultquist says:

Steve from Rockwood (5:53 am), sophocles, Willis . . .

How the Isthmus of Panama Put Ice in the Arctic
Drifting continents open and close gateways between oceans and shift Earth’s climate

http://www.whoi.edu/cms/files/dfino/2005/4/v42n2-haug_2272.pdf

Also, see the quote provided by Gail Combs @8:09 pm.

297. Patrick M. says:

Learning a lot from Dr. Svalgaard’s comments. Thank you!

298. Willis Eschenbach says:

Leif Svalgaard says:
April 25, 2012 at 5:11 am

Willis Eschenbach says:
April 24, 2012 at 11:08 pm

no point sources of cosmic rays should be visible at TeV energy scales

Again, this is at very high energies [of the order of 1000 times that of the bulk of the cosmic rays] and while not at the highest ones still orders of magnitude larger than the GCRs that Svensmark has in mind and hence orders of magnitudes more rare and thus irrelevant.

Many thanks as always, Leif. My point is that the claim, that the sky should be a featureless grey at Tev scales, which has been believed to be true up to now, has been shown not to be true. This indicates that our understanding of the processes controlling the generation and evolution of cosmic rays is not complete.

In addition, there is the unanswered question … where are the supernova remnants? Theory and models indicate that we should see lots of them in the Milky Way. We don’t see them. This indicates that our understanding of the processes controlling supernovas is not complete.

Both of those bear on Svensmark’s work, which rests heavily on the assumption that we do understand those processes, and not only that, but that we understand them well enough to model them accurately over a half billion years …

w.

299. Matthew R Marler says:

L. Louis Lancaster: The controversy surrounding climate change is being exploited by those industries most affected by any regulations to reduce industrial emissions. Of course those industries will work to keep the controversy alive in order to stall those regulations.

That is only part of the story. Other parts of the story include the companies who stand to gain great rewards from redirecting investment towards reducing CO2: Siemens and GE and other manufactureres of wind turbines and PV panesl; Archer Daniels Midland and other industrial agriculture who manufacture biofuels. These companies invest a lot of money in promoting the idea that AGW must be halted and reversed. Even fossil fuel companies promote the idea of AGW to gain subsidies for new ventures and promote their brands in the fossil fuel market (e.g. BP calling itself “green” to boost its fuel sales.)

300. Gary Pearse says:

What I’m impressed with is the fact that the Wilson Cloud Chamber, which was used to detect GCR and other particles in 1911 (101st birthday nearby?) didn’t impress the Luddites that are so negative on Svensmark’s theory.

301. Gary Pearse says:

I see a lot of querying of the details and timescales, etc. All we have to really do is keep track of the GCR flux now and see if we can see what happens. Svensmark may not be right on as regards geological, biological and extra-terrestrial events – but he may be in terms of the effect of GCRs on climate.

302. Willis Eschenbach says:

I would like to comment on the process here. Me, I’d like nothing better than if Svensmark’s work were shown to be 100% correct. The idea that cosmic rays affect the climate is one that could be true. By that, I mean that there is a proposed mechanism which doesn’t require any new science, and that doesn’t break any of scientific laws.

In fact, I have said in the past that cosmic rays are a possible mechanism for long-term drift of what I see as a pretty tightly governed system.

But I guess my head works differently than most folks here. For me, the theories that we should examine the most closely, the theories that we should hold up in the most unfavorable light to look for flaws, are precisely those that we would like very much to be true.

Steven Mosher commented on this issue earlier in the thread, saying:

If Mann wrote this, people here would be hooting and hollering.

But people misunderstood him, saying if Mann would only show his work and his data that he wouldn’t get attacked. That’s not Mosh’s point.

His point is that we should investigate things we would like to be true as thoroughly and with the same energy as we investigate things we believe to be false.

I couldn’t agree more. Svensmark has made what are to me a number of dubious choices, such as the choice of the WEBDA database, that he has neither justified nor explained. His claimed correlations are very dependent on those choices, including such things as the choices for the parameters of the decay function. If those decay parameters are changed even slightly, his claimed correlation disappears. The same is true about his curious choice of an 8 million year bin size. It greatly exaggerates the period 16-8 million years ago, because it happens to coincide with a clump of cluster formation. Things look quite different when you use say a 1 million year bin size.

How do I know that? Well … I went and looked at it. Boring stuff, calculate the logarithms of the ages you need, then sit there with the WEBDA open cluster search tool, one Myr period after another … but that’s the kind of dull grunt work that science requires, and I don’t have any graduate students to put on the task … here’s that result:

See, for Svensmark’s theory to pan out, he needs a big bump in the number of supernovas about 10 Myr ago. If you use 8 million year (Myr) bins, the 8-16 Myr bin gets the whole clump, and there’s the big bump his theory depends on … whereas if you used say 12 Myr bins, that doesn’t happen, the first bin is the largest.

Now, it may be that there are valid reasons for choosing 8 Myr bins. But at a minimum, Svensmark needs to investigate the effects of his various choices of parameters. Steve Mosher made this point above regarding Svensmarks choice of the WEBDA database, saying:

Yes. I dont know how his decision gets past peer review. I would expect at least a cursory test about how his conclusions hold up if you accept the other databases. That is just grade school sensitivity testing. testing your analytical decisions 101. Its brain dead NOT to do this test.

You have 3 possible data sources. You dont just pick one and say the other two are ‘no different”

You run the math with all three and SHOW that your choice of one doesnt matter.

Sheesh. Why do you think we folks demanded that mann try his method with BCP held out or with Tiljander held out. This is just basic. Now it may very well be that this choice doesnt make a difference. THAT is important to show., even if you bury it in the SI.

Especially since its the only thing that comes close to being “data” in the paper.

The same is true with his graphs that claim to show correlations. I digitized his graph and show above that the correlation between supernovas and paleosol CO2 is quite poor, R^2 = 0.17 … but Svensmark never even calculates the R^2 value, he just shows a pretty picture.

Now, please be clear that I don’t think Svensmark is setting out to fool people. I think instead that he is an honest scientist who is fooling himself. At each turn and each choice he is selecting, consciously or unconsciously, the most favorable method or the best parameter setting … but when you have a host of free parameters and open choice of methods, that can add up without you knowing it to the point where the whole edifice is built on sand.

Like I said … I’d like very much for his claim to be true, which is why I am looking so closely at it.

All the best,

w.

303. Michael Reed says:

L. Louis Lancaster said “the steps suggest to address climate change are the same ones that would reduce the toxic and particulate emissions that degrade” our environment. I call BS. Reducing CO2 emissions has NOTHING to do with reducing toxic and particulate emissions. The two types of emissions, and the methods and costs involved in reducing them, are NOT the same. Further, since more CO2 is good for green plants, especially food crops, it could argued that reducing CO2 emissions is bad for the environment. Learn a little science. Conflating CO2 emissions with “toxic and particulate emissions” is typical eco-loon ignorance.

304. Ally E. says:

This is brilliant. Truly brilliant.

305. Leif Svalgaard says:
April 25, 2012 at 6:33 am
Svensmark is looking for supporting evidence for the faltering notion that cosmic rays control the climate. Faltering because solar activity at present is on par with that of a century ago, while the climate is not.

This is a specious argument. Solar activity has *suddenly fallen* to levels it was at a century ago. The heat built up in the ocean since ~1935 by higher than average levels of solar activity over 7 decades until 2003 will not dissipate overnight.

Leif Svalgaard says:
April 25, 2012 at 9:25 am

April 25, 2012 at 9:15 am
Super-Novae decoded
http://www.holoscience.com/news.php?article=re6qxnz1#top
That people in this day and age can fall for this nonsense is a demonstration of the low science- literacy and gullibility of the populace at large. Sad, indeed. Perhaps you can get tallbloke to sign on to your faith, it seems he will believe anything weird, so you can continue your indulgency over there.

Here you go again with this ‘faith’ thing. You have ‘faith’ in the standard gravity only explanation. Adolfo thinks it inadequate. I agree with him, and remain open to alternative explanations. You are not, because you are sure you know what can be excluded. How wrong you are.

306. Willis Eschenbach says:
April 25, 2012 at 10:11 am
Many thanks as always, Leif. My point is that the claim, that the sky should be a featureless grey at Tev scales, which has been believed to be true up to now, has been shown not to be true.
Not TeV scales, but a thousand times less energetic, GeV. There are too few TeV particles to have any effect on anything. On the question, where are the SN Remnants, here is a catalog of known ones observed in X-rays: http://hea-www.cfa.harvard.edu/ChandraSNR/snrcat_gal.html
As SN Remnants expand with time and get lost in the general background these are all ‘young’.
The website also notes: “Several broken features have been fixed recently (March 2010) and since then 32 new objects have been added.”. I don’t know if those are in the catalog, but presumably they are. Anyway, I count about 100, which with 3 per century would cover a time span of 3300 years, but to be observable in X-ray they have to be young as the flux decline rapidly with age. The estimated number of observed SN Remnants in the Galaxy is 250 [ http://www.centauri-dreams.org/?p=1871 ]. The life time of a remnant is variously quoted between 30,000 [Braun,Goss & Lyne 1989] and 1,000,000 years which with 3 per century would mean a number between 900 and 30,000. But the vast majority of these are not observable because of their faintness, see e.g. http://dspace.rri.res.in/bitstream/2289/3315/17/Chapter%206.pdf
Their radio and x-ray emission really depends on the pulsar at the center which is powering the emission. The pulsars have a spin-down time of only a few thousand years, so perhaps there is no problem. I don’t see the issue rising to the level where people can say: “we don’t know anything”, “our theories and models are all wrong”, and other assorted nonsense.

307. Jim G says:

Looking for SN remnants? Looking where? If the blast occured 100 million years ago and gave the remnant a one tenth C boost in a particular direction ( not unreasonable for such a situation) it would now be 10 million light years away from its point of detonation. I believe this would give it escape velocity from our galaxy. Use 10 million years and you still have 1 million light years of travel from point of origin. What happens to any nebula that may have been generated after this much time has passed? What about the regular proper motion of the solar system and extra solar “events” within the galaxy during that time? The times and the distances involved in this exercise make it very interesting to think about but I believe very difficult to find evidence one way or the other.

308. tallbloke says:
April 25, 2012 at 12:02 pm
This is a specious argument. Solar activity has *suddenly fallen* to levels it was at a century ago.
No, it has declined steadily for some 25 years.
The heat built up in the ocean since ~1935 by higher than average levels of solar activity over 7 decades until 2003 will not dissipate overnight.
The time constant has been estimated by several people to be less than a solar cycle.

Here you go again with this ‘faith’ thing. You have ‘faith’ in the standard gravity only explanation. Adolfo thinks it inadequate. I agree with him, and remain open to alternative explanations. You are not, because you are sure you know what can be excluded. How wrong you are.
The ‘gravity only’ is specious. One could contrast that with the ‘EU only’. I would say that both Adolfo and you qualify to belong to the category of believers I mentioned. Now, there is nothing wrong in having such beliefs as long as you don’t confuse them with science. There are good physical reasons for excluding things, but if one rejects those, then, of course everything is game: “if one knows nothing, everything is possible”.

309. There is a lot of criticism of using the single database for estimating GCR levels over time here, but it does also mention that this was (somewhat) corroborated against Iron meteorites (p5, paragraph 2). I looked at a few papers relating to this, I’m no expert, but it does seem to be a fairly well explored area. Here is an interesting rebuttal to a criticism of that science, interesting in that it answers some of the questions I had about it. Specifically how it all works : ).

http://www.phys.huji.ac.il/~shaviv/ClimateDebate/RahmstorfDebate.pdf

Not saying that settles anything of course, but it does seem a lot more empirical and measurement based than your typical climate papers. Even the three databases, while certainly different, are ultimately based on measurements that can be taken again if need be. I understand there is reconstruction going on, based on theories that can change, but at least the initial data is less controversial. It isn’t surprising then that there is broad agreement in different datasets, without needing to calibrate them against each other.

310. Jurgen says:

Willis Eschenbach says:
April 25, 2012 at 11:34 am

You are doing what I hoped would happen. My central worry in my post at April 24, 2012 at 5:22 pm which was later followed up on by Steven Mosher at April 24, 2012 at 7:48 pm was that Svensmark’s correlation was an artifact of his choices and methods of calculation. His calculations have to be verified, by others, by different kind of calculations, by using alternative datasets. If some signal is there, it will come out in the end. Great work.

311. phlogiston says:

Could there be an ionizing radiation effect? More supernovae = more cosmic irradiation = more genetic point mutations in living organisms, faster speciation as a result?

312. Matthew R Marler says:

Willis Eschenbach: I digitized his graph and show above that the correlation between supernovas and paleosol CO2 is quite poor, R^2 = 0.17

There is no R^2 value that is an absolute standard. Lots of things that prolong life, like calorie restriction, exercise, and taking aspirin, have quite small R^2 values (percent of life-span “explained”), yet are important For a system as noisy and poorly measured as past climate oscillation, 0.17 is too large to neglect. It requires confirmation, of course.

313. Allen G. says:

Just when I’d begun to stop missing my old PC game called SimEarth, along comes this report and Nigel’s earth cycles graphic. The idea that sporadic bursts of ionizing energy from local supernovas could trip the switch for long-term global environmental change and the resulting well-defined geologic eons, periods and/or epochs makes more sense than thinking the odd asteroid/comet impact or even our own sun with it’s apparently regular but short-term cycles could, on their own, release sufficient energy to trigger such changes.
“Gaea’s Biorhythm Chart” – Would like to see those trying to quantify the ponderously complex dynamics involved in major global changes (e.g., extinction events, ice ages) overlay the estimated dates and effects of known asteroid/comet impacts, prehistoric mega-volcano eruptions as well as the solar cycle, compensating for the lag between such dramatic assaults and any significant prehistoric environmental change to see what if any correlation can be seen. Perhaps all 3 assaults have to occur within a relatively short period to trip the big switch (Era), 2 for a Period, 1 for an Epoch?
To any who seek to downplay the devastating impact man’s insatiable consumption and pollution has had and will have on the biosphere in the short term to stonewall going green or justify the status quo continuation of our locust-like despoiling of the planet, I have some swampland I’d like to unload cheap before it completely submerges.

314. FrankK says:

Willis Eschenbach says:
April 24, 2012 at 2:40 pm
………………..But a recent paper “Relative sea-level fall since the last interglacial stage: Are coasts uplifting worldwide?“, evaluated some 890 of the paleo-shorelines worldwide.
——————————————————————————————————

Well not around here along the Australian Sydney coastline Willis. We have “drowned” drainage valleys here of several hundred feet that during the post Triassic had cut their way through the thick layers of Triassic sandstone and shale. All the coastal headlands have had progressive erosion of those layers by the sea. So coastal uplift it not global by any means as suggested in your reference.

315. FrankK says:

Leif Svalgaard says:
April 25, 2012 at 6:57 am
HenryP says:
April 25, 2012 at 6:45 am
clearly we don’t know what happened a century ago with climate
——————————————————————————————————

The longest temperature record in Central England goes back over 350 years to 1659. The long-term trend if you plot this data is an overall linear trend of 0.25 C per Century with warming and cooling periods within that record and a flat lining to a slight decrease from 1995 to 2010.

Leif you seem to be favouring the CO2 cause for warming, is that correct?. Can you explain the sudden warming of nearly 2 deg C from 1695 to 1736 when there was no essentially no industrial activity? (This incidentally is higher than the rise from 1963 through to 1995)

Also we often hear about the warmest year on record etc. In 2010 the temperature was the same as it was in 1659 according to this record.

316. Willis Eschenbach says:

Matthew R Marler says:
April 25, 2012 at 1:23 pm

Willis Eschenbach:

I digitized his graph and show above that the correlation between supernovas and paleosol CO2 is quite poor, R^2 = 0.17

There is no R^2 value that is an absolute standard. Lots of things that prolong life, like calorie restriction, exercise, and taking aspirin, have quite small R^2 values (percent of life-span “explained”), yet are important For a system as noisy and poorly measured as past climate oscillation, 0.17 is too large to neglect. It requires confirmation, of course.

Thanks, Matthew. You are correct that their is no absolute standard. But he is not claiming the kind of incremental change your examples cover (a few percent extension in lifespan). He is proposing something very different, which is that the 17% correlation rules the climate and is the main force behind changes in biodiversity and sea level … and for that kind of very strong effect, an R^2 of 17% is greatly inadequate.

w.

317. Zac says:

I assume Wilis does not like this paper.

318. Matthew R Marler says:

Willis Eschenbach: and for that kind of very strong effect, an R^2 of 17% is greatly inadequate.

Just to remind everyone, that is 17% of the variance, not 17% of the standard deviation or the difference between the max and min. If the estimates are close enough to the true values, a 1 sd increase in the nupernova-related GCRs produced a 0.4 sd change in paleosal CO2 (if the estimated relationship is actually linear.) I restate my claim that such a relationship is too large to ignore.

319. George E. Smith; says:

“”””” Roger Carr says:

April 24, 2012 at 10:49 pm

Ian W: “…Pleiades is a very indistinct star cluster even on a dark clear night. Not particularly impressive. Yet the Pleiades seem to feature in almost every ‘ancient’ text and several ‘religions’ worldwide.”

Very interesting observation, Ian. I hope someone picks up on it and puzzles it further. “””””

You’ve obviously never seen a dark clear night. Even in downtown silicon valley, which has anything but dark skies, on a clear night at the right time of the year, the Pleiades is quite obvious even to the unaided eye.

In any ancient civilization; before TV, seeing the Pleiades; was a no brainer.

320. Zac says:

Crazy to say our climate is dependent on a trace gas reflecting the energy within and ignoring all the energy that our planet receives.

321. Willis Eschenbach says:

Matthew R Marler says:
April 25, 2012 at 4:05 pm

Willis Eschenbach:

and for that kind of very strong effect, an R^2 of 17% is greatly inadequate.

Just to remind everyone, that is 17% of the variance, not 17% of the standard deviation or the difference between the max and min. If the estimates are close enough to the true values, a 1 sd increase in the nupernova-related GCRs produced a 0.4 sd change in paleosal CO2 (if the estimated relationship is actually linear.) I restate my claim that such a relationship is too large to ignore.

Thanks, Matthew. If there were a) no errors in the CO2 dataset and b) no errors in the supernova estimates, you might be correct in paying some attention to it … although saying that it rules longterm climate and the biodiversity of earth through that small correlation is a stretch. But if you include those errors in the calculations, the R2 is sure to change, and the uncertainty in the R^2 will assuredly increase. My calculation is just a first cut.

Take a look at the error bars on the CO2 in their Figure 20. Some have no error in one direction and a huge error in the other. Others have big errors in both directions. If you include that, things change.

In addition, Svensmark has not provided us with any error estimate for his supernova numbers. Assuredly, those will be significant.

If you include all of that, you’ll get a more accurate number. I’m off to work, might get to some of it this evening.

Next, you seem to be forgetting he only and solely gets the fit of an R2 = 0.17 by virtue of his selection of three free parameters—bin size, and the two variables “a” and “alpha” in the decay function.

But my main point is, I shouldn’t be the one either making some kind of error estimate for the supernova numbers, or making a sensitivity analysis of bin size and “a” and “alpha”, or completely calculating and justifying the R2 calculation for each of his graphs.

Those are Svensmark’s jobs … and until he does them, I would strongly suggest that you don’t place any credence in any of the claimed relationships. They may be true and valid … but he’s a long, long ways from demonstrating that.

My best to you,

w.

322. Matthew R Marler says:

Willis: I would strongly suggest that you don’t place any credence in any of the claimed relationships. They may be true and valid … but he’s a long, long ways from demonstrating that.

There we agree. I called it a “hit”, not a “win”.

Until next time,

be of good cheer.

323. Willis, I thoroughly applaud your comment re the importance to test and check what you would like to be true, as much as to test and check what you do not believe is true. And I take Mosher’s point myself, in the process, and eat a little humble pie for extolling a little too much in comparison to the amount of investigation done by myself at that point. Am now more informed after reading comments. But still hopeful. And awed by the amount of good scientific process appearing here in the flow of comments. Takes time to clear the fog of naivety and misconceptions.

Now I would also like to see you apply this process to Nikolov and Zeller’s mathematical refutation of the current application of the Stefan-Boltzmann equation with regard to grey-body planets. After much head-banging and avoidance, I did finally crack the maths there myself and found the claims held up, and the Second Law too. I had a “chat” with Maxwell. If you’re interested in the “elevator pitch” I can now give (I said I needed time), please email me, I don’t want this wonderful thread derailed.

324. FrankK says:
April 25, 2012 at 2:19 pm
Leif you seem to be favouring the CO2 cause for warming, is that correct?.
No not at all, but Svensmark seems to accept that, see page 19 of his paper “if a cooling reduces the loss of CO2 to geochemical weathering, that could lead to a buildup of CO2 if other sinks and sources of CO2 remain constant, and so dampen or reverse the cooling”.

325. Jurgen says:

Leif Svalgaard says:
April 25, 2012 at 7:16 am

It is not so much the difference in speed [the protons move close to light speed anyway], but the fact that the protons are charged and thus bump around in the tangled galactic magnetic fields for millions of years before arriving near us.

Kind of compares to the photons being produced inside a star as they are constantly being absorbed and emitted, it may be many thousands or maybe even millions of years before they reach the surface. See e.g. the link: http://www.astronomycafe.net/qadir/ask/a11354.html

I want to indulge in some amateurish “creative thinking” if that is ok. A kind of thought-experiment, maybe it leads somewhere, maybe not. It is off-topic, but maybe acceptable as a spin-off?

If your mind starts playing with this phenomenon, say the intrinsic or “local” speed and the net speed or “migration” relative to the surrounding space, it makes you wonder about this phenomenon speed, maybe somehow there is always these different ways of travelling through a medium depending on the properties of the medium and the interactions of the particle with it. Maybe even travelling and speed is nothing but a constant interaction between a particle and the medium, inside a star not essentially different from outside a star – just a different interaction resulting in a different migration speed. I am not talking the old aether theory here, but I do know space is not really empty, all kind of things going on there, like the magnetic fields Leif talks about or other phenomena.

Thinking further on along these lines… unhindered by knowledge… particles may hit other dimensions, which act like different media, with again different speeds. Even exceeding the speed of light by many factors. Just like the migration speed of a photon inside and outside the sun differs by many factors … maybe “quantum entanglement” has to do with this possibility… Don’t they consider more dimensions in quantum mechanics, or was that only in mathematics?

Guess I should stop here. I am not into quantum mechanics. Guess I am saying nothing new to an insider. Maybe it is complete rubbish. Who can put me on the right track, say an article or website? Or just hit me on the head ;-)

326. It takes 240,000,000 years for us to rotate around the center of our
galaxy. So? Do we stay in the mostly-the-same place, or do we move
outside this into “clusters”, as it says in the article? And then , how often.
I think the data is there in this 16-year study.

327. Jurgen says:
April 25, 2012 at 8:18 pm
it makes you wonder about this phenomenon speed, maybe somehow there is always these different ways of travelling through a medium depending on the properties of the medium and the interactions of the particle with it.
It is quite simple actually. Image you want to cross a very crowded room [‘cocktail party’]. As you make your way, bumping into people or deviating trying to avoid that, it takes a much longer time to cross than if the room was empty.

328. Marcel Kincaid says:

If I had wanted to forge a tale that made everyone here look like a drooling hypocritical idiot by latching onto crackpotted nonsense just because it satisfies their prejudices about global warming, I could not have done a better job.

329. Marcel Kincaid says:
April 26, 2012 at 12:13 am
If I had wanted to forge a tale that made everyone here look like a drooling hypocritical idiot by latching onto crackpotted nonsense just because it satisfies their prejudices about global warming, I could not have done a better job.

And the droolers don’t even read the tale: Svensmark seems to accept that, see page 19 of his paper “if a cooling reduces the loss of CO2 to geochemical weathering, that could lead to a buildup of CO2 if other sinks and sources of CO2 remain constant, and so dampen or reverse the cooling”.

Calder’s PR job is enough, it seems.

330. Leif Svalgaard says:
April 25, 2012 at 10:11 pm

Jurgen says:
April 25, 2012 at 8:18 pm
it makes you wonder about this phenomenon speed, maybe somehow there is always these different ways of travelling through a medium depending on the properties of the medium and the interactions of the particle with it.
It is quite simple actually. Image you want to cross a very crowded room [‘cocktail party’]. As you make your way, bumping into people or deviating trying to avoid that, it takes a much longer time to cross than if the room was empty.

Hi Leif. How much does all that partygoing and bumping and grinding contribute to the cosmological background temperature of a few degrees above absolute zero?

331. Marcel Kincaid says:
April 26, 2012 at 12:13 am

If I had wanted to forge a tale that made everyone here look like a drooling hypocritical idiot by latching onto crackpotted nonsense just because it satisfies their prejudices about global warming,

Nice self introduction. Anyway, quick question: what ‘global warming are you referring to? The ‘global warming’ which hasn’t been warming the globe for a decade or so? Looks to me like the only drooling idiot here

is you.

332. phlogiston says:

Marcel Kincaid says:
April 26, 2012 at 12:13 am
If I had wanted to forge a tale that made everyone here look like a drooling hypocritical idiot by latching onto crackpotted nonsense just because it satisfies their prejudices about global warming, I could not have done a better job.

Yeah right – so if its about climate but does not headline CO2, then it was funded by the oil industry. This level of medieval, talebanic predjudiced extremism and dogmatism characterises the AGW group-think, not the skeptical side. In the 1300’s it was witches and demons behind every adverse climate event (poor harvests, etc.) Now its CO2. But the attitude and mind-set behind both (i.e. your “mind”set) – and the politics of good religion and heresy – are exactly the same.

333. Willis Eschenbach says:

Lucy Skywalker says:
April 25, 2012 at 5:36 pm

… Now I would also like to see you apply this process to Nikolov and Zeller’s mathematical refutation of the current application of the Stefan-Boltzmann equation with regard to grey-body planets. After much head-banging and avoidance, I did finally crack the maths there myself and found the claims held up, and the Second Law too. I had a “chat” with Maxwell. If you’re interested in the “elevator pitch” I can now give (I said I needed time), please email me, I don’t want this wonderful thread derailed.

Lucy, you never did understand the problems I exposed in Nikolov and Zeller’s work at “The Mystery of Equation 8“. In fact, in that thread you said:

I get the feeling that there are a number who can see Willis’ limitations who are no longer coming here to post.

… to which another poster replied about why some people, including Nikolov and Zeller, were no longer posting on that thread …

Yes, their goose has been well and truly cooked by Willis’s article, their fox has been shot. Anyone with a basic knowledge of science, or in this case,just basic mathematics, is aware that when the number of ‘fudge factors’ exceeds the number of unknowns then any ridiculous proposition can be formalised. It isn’t really a ‘Miracle’. Well done Willis – that’s what I call a game-changer.

Lucy, have you ever thought that you and Tallbloke do harm to the sceptic cause by promoting nonsense?

Indeed, the poster was right, you do harm …

In that post, you also spoke highly of Hans Jelbring and his cockamamie hypothesis that you can get ongoing energy from gravity, a hypothesis that I discussed in Perpetuum Mobile, and that Dr. Robert Brown totally blew out of the water with a formal proof in Refutation of Stable Thermal Equilibrium Lapse Rates. Jelbrings hypothesis was obviously and glaringly wrong. But you, you thought Jelbring’s hypothesis was good, solid science.

As a result, I fear that my opinion of your scientific abilities can go no lower. Sadly, I must tell you that I have no interest in your explanation of how perpetual motion machines work, or of how we can get energy from pressure as Nikolov and Zeller claim.

Heck, even Nikolov and Zeller wouldn’t answer my questions. They refused to reply, to defend their work, or to even discuss their work, they ran like vampires at sunrise from the huge problems I pointed out in their work … and now you want me to listen to you explain their brilliant science? Really?

Thanks, but I’ll pass …

w.

334. Spector says:

If this theory is correct, then I think it should be possible to relate the wet adiabatic lapse rate or the environmental lapse rate to the Galactic cosmic radiation level. The basic hypothesis is that cosmic radiation creates condensation nuclei that promote cloud formation. Cloud formation is also required to add the heat of condensation to a rising air column and enable it to rise much higher than it would if it were just dry air forced to cool at a rate of 9.8 deg C per km as it rises.

Wet air only cools at about 5 degrees C per km and so rising wet air becomes progressively warmer than the surrounding air when it begins to be heated by condensation. I believe that formula is based on the assumption that wet air begins to condense immediately when the water content saturates–no condensation nuclei required. If that is not true, then this concept needs to be revised. The more rapidly rising air cools as it rises, the higher surface temperatures must be to force complete convection.

I wonder what a plot of average cosmic radiation flux over the years would look like, if compared to the ‘official’ HadCrut3 global temperature plot.

335. Willis Eschenbach says:

Marcel Kincaid says:
April 26, 2012 at 12:13 am

If I had wanted to forge a tale that made everyone here look like a drooling hypocritical idiot by latching onto crackpotted nonsense just because it satisfies their prejudices about global warming, I could not have done a better job.

First, “everyone here” has not latched on to this. A number of us have pointed out real problems.

Second, if you want to see people “latching onto crackpotted nonsense”, take a look at the reception given the endless stream of bogus alarmist-supporting “science” that comes out every week in the journals. I just discussed another piece here … and yet that study has received wide acclaim.

Heck, you want something wild, take a look at the poll done by Yale 360 last week (discussed here), where something like 16% of the US public said they had personally experienced a hurricane, and 21% said they had personally experienced a tornado, in the last year … riiiiight … at least here folks are just agreeing with weak science, not making up false memories …

Finally, here on the skeptical side of the aisle we discuss these issues … try that at realclimate some time, there they not only latch onto nonsense, they don’t allow anyone to speak out against it …

Regards,

w.

PS—Marcel, if you want to get some traction, you might try explaining and supporting and defending your objections to the Svensmark paper, rather than just sneering at those who may not be thinking critically about the paper.

Sneering is easy and cheap, and perhaps it makes you feel superior. But for those of us who are trying to encourage critical scientific thought, if you’re not out fighting ignorance but you are bitching about what fools people are, it makes you look just as misguided as those who blindly believe.

Speaking about the issues would also let us know that you actually understand them. You may understand them quite well, but we don’t know that, for all we know your objections to the paper may be just as trivial and unscientific as those of the people you are sneering at …

336. Jurgen says:

Leif Svalgaard says:
April 25, 2012 at 10:11 pm
in reply to my post at April 25, 2012 at 8:18 pm
It is quite simple actually. Image you want to cross a very crowded room [‘cocktail party’]. As you make your way, bumping into people or deviating trying to avoid that, it takes a much longer time to cross than if the room was empty.

Thanks for the reply Leif. Your analogy is clear. I was thinking along the lines there is always some kind of party and some kind of bumping going on anywhere, and there are in actual fact no empty rooms in nature. I think Tallbloke indicated this also in his follow-up at April 26, 2012 at 12:37 am

This line of thought is akin to the fact that particles behave like waves at the same time, and a wave could be seen upon as a propagation through a medium. Two options come to mind: absorption and emitting through the medium in a wave-like pattern, or moving through a medium kind of “surfing” on the medium waves. I have to learn more of this stuff. It is addictive.

337. kbmod
thanks

April 25, 2012 at 3:19 am

[snip . . OT, and covered extensively already . . kbmod]

338. Excellent work, will take some time to digest all of it though..

339. tallbloke says:
April 26, 2012 at 12:37 am
Hi Leif. How much does all that partygoing and bumping and grinding contribute to the cosmological background temperature of a few degrees above absolute zero?
The cosmic microwave radiation is made of photons [that has been stretched some 1100 times since the last scattering when the Universe was 372000 years old and became transparent] and not protons or cosmic rays, so the grinding has no effect on this.

340. Leif Svalgaard says:
April 26, 2012 at 5:59 am

tallbloke says:
April 26, 2012 at 12:37 am
Hi Leif. How much does all that partygoing and bumping and grinding contribute to the cosmological background temperature of a few degrees above absolute zero?

The cosmic microwave radiation is made of photons [that has been stretched some 1100 times since the last scattering when the Universe was 372000 years old and became transparent] and not protons or cosmic rays, so the grinding has no effect on this.

OK, so you’re saying the heat generated by all the myriad interactions you make an analogy to with the idea of crossing a crowded room at a cocktail party is so completely negligible it doesn’t affect the observed CMBR temperature? Doesn’t sound like such a wild party anymore. How come all this multitude of interactions which make the near lightspeed CGR particles arrive “millions of years” late to the CLOUD party on Earth don’t create measurable heat which masks the CMBR?

341. tallbloke says:
April 26, 2012 at 6:52 am
How come all this multitude of interactions which make the near lightspeed CGR particles arrive “millions of years” late to the CLOUD party on Earth don’t create measurable heat which masks the CMBR?
Because the density of cosmic rays is REALLY low and the scattering is by gyration in magnetic fields which does not cause energy loss or heating. No need to put the fact of millions of years in quotes.

342. tallbloke says:
April 26, 2012 at 6:52 am
How come all this multitude of interactions which make the near lightspeed CGR particles arrive “millions of years” late to the CLOUD party on Earth don’t create measurable heat which masks the CMBR?
Another way of looking at it is to note that there are 413 photons per cubic centimeter of the CMB, but less than 0.000,000,001 cosmic rays per cc.

343. Leif Svalgaard says:
April 26, 2012 at 7:18 am
by gyration in magnetic fields which does not cause energy loss or heating.
I should have said: ‘does not cause significant energy loss’. In fact, the scattering often helps to accelerate the cosmic rays.

344. Leif Svalgaard says:
April 26, 2012 at 7:41 am
In fact, the scattering often helps to accelerate the cosmic rays.
To elaborate on this: after bouncing around for 10 millions years cosmic rays can escape the Galaxy and can then heat the intergalactic medium to 10,000 degrees by not bouncing around anymore, but that medium is so dilute that its temperature does not matter. It is a bit analogous to the thermosphere of the Earth. We don’t get any heat from it in spite of its temperature being 1000+ degrees, or from the solar wind’s 100,000+ degrees. Bottom line: it all comes down to a matter of density.

345. rgbatduke says:

I get nervous when people use data that contains internal contradictions.

Me too, Willis. Of course, if one assigns a more uniform error bar to all the data points, assuming for example that the true measure of our uncertainty increases systematically with time backwards, then the entire figure might well live in the error bars, $R^2$ might be something spectacular like 0.001, and we might conclude that while the correspondence in the curves is provocative, it is far from statistically meaningful as yet. With the error bars as they are given, $R^2$ is visibly pretty low, especially for that portion of the curve that is the primary “feature”.

And as I pointed out, there are alternative hypotheses for the variability that are supported at least as well as this one — that is to say, not yet terribly well.

Just sayin’, it might be wise not to rush out there and give Svensmark his Nobel Prize just yet. There has already been one absurd Nobel granted over climate science, one that it is very likely will go down in history as the biggest single mistake ever made by a the King of Sweden, a kind of cosmic IGNobel Prize of the sort that is usually only satire. Personally I think we don’t need another, and that we are decades away from being able to even THINK about validating the hypothesis. I get a headache even thinking about how one might proceed to reliably establish “supernova rates” over a billion year time frame into the past, and a bigger headache trying to solve the associated PDEs in my head that would indicate how e.g. GCR flux on Earth might vary.

Just a hint — the baseline assumption — even over a billion years — is that supernovae are Poissonian. That is, if one chops up something like a galaxy into cells, with each cell scaled to contain large numbers of stars, and looks at the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram:

http://casswww.ucsd.edu/archive/public/tutorial/HR.html

that gives, approximately, the expected distribution of stellar sizes, types, and ages of main sequence stars, one can actually guestimate fairly accurately how many stars one expects to be on the right part of the stellar evolution cycle to go supernova

http://casswww.ucsd.edu/archive/public/tutorial/SN.html#sn

Although small galactic volumes are somewhat inhomogeneous and often contain regions of older stars, regions of star birth (such as the aforementioned Pliades, which are not “exploding” BTW but rather igniting and which have nothing to do with Svensmark’s hypothesis so sorry to those quoting Job, or Orion, ditto), and yes, regions with more older stars. Those regions are certainly capable of producing some modulation of GCR rates due to the higher/lower rates of supernovae in the volumes in the immediate galactic neighborhood of those volumes.

However, then one has to subject the model to some rather brutal statistical analysis. The further away you are from the point of interest, the more stars there are in the time-lagged spherical shells that contribute to the total SN-linked GCR rates. The more stars there are, the smaller the statistical fluctuations around the mean. To put it another way, some fraction of the GCRs that fall upon the Earth come not from “local” exploding stars but from stars that are very far away indeed and that exploded long long ago. The entire volume of space out to just short of the big-bang radius contributes to this background flux, and given hundreds of billions of galaxies with hundreds of billions of stars, there are supernova happening all the time in this enormous contributory volume. Statistical fluctuations away from the mean scale pretty brutally over averages like this, and because the entire active volume is contributing $1/r^2$ is more or less irrelevant — all points receive roughly equal flux from sheer symmetry.

Spatial deviations from this are due to broken symmetry. Our local galaxy has a spatially inhomogeneous distribution of GCRs it produces in the plane of the galaxy, for example, at least “near” the galaxy itself. It is possible that we get some spatial modulation from the contributions from the Magellenic clouds and Andromeda in our immediate galactic neighborhood. However, the further you are away the less this matters. By the time you are order of 10 or 20 galactic radii away, little asymmetry should survive aside from — perhaps — some remnant asymmetry due to more probable axial rotation of the exploding stars in the galactic plane.

So the real question is — and I do not know how to answer it — what is the temporal inhomogeneity possible given this gross structure. To what extent are supernova not Poissonian events in an old galaxy (like our) consisting of mostly second or third generation stars, high in metals, ripe for life. Our galaxy is full of regions of star birth, but a bit sparse (as far as I know) in local clusters of stars that are all likely to die at or close to the same time. Betelguese has been mentioned — if it exploded it would have visible and easily measurable consequences on our local environment, but only for a relatively short time!. The supernova itself would “last” a matter of days and remain bright for up to a year; massive particles driven by the supernova would be temporally smeared out but also diminished by distance and by the same smearing process — I would guess that even this nearby a supernova would produce a bump in local GCR rates that lasted at most a few years. To put it another way, I doubt that we’re still getting a lot of excess GCRs from the explosion that produced the Crab nebula visible 1000 years ago. Or perhaps, we haven’t really gotten them yet — if they were produces 6000+ years ago, and they travel only 5-10% the speed of light, we might not get that burst of heavier particle radiation for tens of thousands of years!

6500 LY away is almost in our lap, but that bolus of particles will be spread out in a spherical shell with an area of $4\pi(6.5 \times 10^13)^2$ square kilometers and a depth the order of a light year. That’s a lot of volume — we won’t exactly receive a shotgun blast of GCRs at many times the baseline from it. I don’t have a good feel for how big an excess we’ll get from Betelgeuse — certainly a big chunk of contemporaneous gamma rays and lots of neutrinos, but the actual charged particle flux might still be fairly small compared to the background.

In the visible Universe, supernovae occur at roughly the rate of 1/second. That means that you are quite possibly getting hit every second or every few seconds with at least one quantum of energy that originated in a supernova — a gamma ray, a neutrino, a muon produced by a massive particle collision in the upper atmosphere. It is very difficult indeed to see how this baseline rate could secularly vary on a billion year timescale. It is very difficult to see how local fluctuations could secularly vary on a billion year timescale. The one is locked down by the laws of large numbers, barring a hypothesis that modulates synchronous galaxy formation rates in some signficant way that isn’t smeared out temporally at very large distances. The other is too local — Beteleuse might well bump our local radiation rates enough to affect climate if the various hypotheses connecting GCRs and climate are correct, but not over a timescale long enough to (probably) affect long term climate, that is be responsible for hundred million year-scale climate swings.

The only way I can imagine Svensmark’s result holding up is if there is a true all-length scale temporal fluctuation in supernova rates across the entire Universe. The problem is that there is nothing special about where the Earth is — all points are in the middle of a (practically, possibly) infinite volume. One cannot sanely hypothesize a synchronous event in a spherical shell (say) 400-500 million light years away from the Earth that produced a meaningful surplus of supernovae compared to rates at interior points or exterior points. Every time I try to mentally take rates of 1/second on a very large volume, smear the 31 million such events per year out over decades and vast contributing volumes, and then try to guestimate the poissonian fluctuations they end up coming out appallingly small, and smaller and smaller the further out you go. You get a meaningful modulation of the flux only from nearby events, but there aren’t enough of them to establish a hundred million year trend. By the time you can get enough to modulate a hundred million year trend, the modulation is literally poissonian noise and incapable of producing a significant hundred million year signal.

These are all just musings, of course — to really put teeth into them I’d have to do the computations (more likely simulations) and demonstrate that no reasonable distribution of supernovae in agreement with our time-lagged direct observations of their spatiotemporal frequency is capable of producing a significant modulation of GCR rates in turn capable of modulating the climate given that GCR rates modulate the climate at all — a hypothesis that is not yet proven, although there is some evidence to support it.

It does, however, indicate the kind of systematic doubt this paper and hypothesis should and will be subjected to. What the hell was “special” about the Universe N million years ago in a spherical shell of stars N/25 million LY in radius and N/10 LY thick (where N is order of 1000) that might have caused all of the stars in the Universe — not just stars in this geocentric shell — to have a statistically significant increase in the supernova rate compared to the present or compared to an interval (say) 2N or N/2 million years ago?

I’m guessing the correct answer is “nothing”. It is certainly the default answer. So before granting Nobel Prizes here and there, perhaps we should check the actual arithmetic.

rgb

346. rgbatduke says:
April 26, 2012 at 9:07 am
The entire volume of space out to just short of the big-bang radius contributes to this background flux, and given hundreds of billions of galaxies with hundreds of billions of stars, there are supernova happening all the time in this enormous contributory volume.
The cosmic rays we observe are almost all from our own Galaxy, not from the hundred of billions of other galaxies. This is because the Galactic Cosmic Rays [correct name] are trapped by the magnetic field of each galaxy. After 10 millions years they begin to leak out into intergalactic space and their lose their energy eventually [except the ultrahigh ones that have much more energy to lose from].

347. Willis Eschenbach says:

tallbloke says:
April 26, 2012 at 4:15 am

Willis Eschenbach says:
April 26, 2012 at 2:21 am

Yes, and since I’m banned from your site, I can’t answer … sadly, that’s altogether too typical, tallbloke. You still don’t seem to get it. Your site lost all credibility when you started banning people because you didn’t like our scientific ideas. You won’t get it back by attacking me there.

And as if that weren’t enough, perhaps as a result of now having a generally compliant readership who don’t ask the hard questions, your echo chamber now publishes astonishing things. As an example, consider the claims of a man who believes the earth’s temperature is due to “charge”, and that if you simply multiply the charge on a proton by the difference in size between the proton and the earth, you get the “charge” on the earth … I’m not kidding, that’s the claim. And if you want a real laugh, you should try to follow the man’s math, it’s absolutely priceless.

Tallbloke, after my experiences with Nikolov and Zeller, and with Jelbring, and with folks like you and Lucy Skywalker, and after my reading of some of the madness you are publishing like the paper from Miles Mathis the proton charge man, I wouldn’t comment at your site if you un-banned me and then paid me. My hipboots would not be deep enough, and I don’t have a pair of chest waders.

w.

348. pochas says:

rgbatduke says:
April 26, 2012 at 9:07 am

“It is very difficult to see how local fluctuations could secularly vary on a billion year timescale.”

Only if you believe that it makes no difference whether the solar system is in or between galactic arms. The fact that the solar system moves in and out of the galactic spiral arms indicates to me that what appears to be spiral arms are in fact density (Alfven?) waves, and that as we traverse the spiral arms the local density of galaxies and hence the density of interstellar plasmas (the coslmic rays) will fluctuate. Especially if, as Leif says, the plasma is localized by galactic magnetic fields.

349. pochas says:
April 26, 2012 at 12:55 pm
rgbatduke says:
April 26, 2012 at 9:07 am
“It is very difficult to see how local fluctuations could secularly vary on a billion year timescale.”
Only if you believe that it makes no difference whether the solar system is in or between galactic arms.

some confusion here. rgb’s argument was that if the cosmic rays came from all over the Universe, then there would be no variations, but as they don’t, the argument falls away.

350. Matthew R Marler says:

rgbatduke: The only way I can imagine Svensmark’s result holding up is if there is a true all-length scale temporal fluctuation in supernova rates across the entire Universe. The problem is that there is nothing special about where the Earth is — all points are in the middle of a (practically, possibly) infinite volume. One cannot sanely hypothesize a synchronous event in a spherical shell (say) 400-500 million light years away from the Earth that produced a meaningful surplus of supernovae compared to rates at interior points or exterior points.

It’s difficult to apply probabilistic models to events that have already happened, such as the probability that life might have originated on Earth by chance, or the probability that the MiIky Way Galaxy would have exactly this spiral shape at this lag time after the big bang. . Statistically, no part of the universe is special. However, the actual distribution of stuff is not uniform at all spatial scales; thus, Svensmarks question could be phrased: What is the conditional probability that a sequence with a particular pattern would happen on Earth by chance, given that another sequence of events had already occurred many years before in other parts of the galaxy; is the observed Earth record remarkably different from what would occur by chance?

you quote Willis: I get nervous when people use data that contains internal contradictions.

I would be extremely suspicious of a data set that did not contain internal contradictions. So many real data sets have them, that I would suspect fraud.

351. Matthew R Marler says:

Willis Eschenbach and rgbatduke: I get nervous when people use data that contains internal contradictions.

I would be extremely suspicious of a data set that did not contain internal contradictions. So many data sets have them that I would suspect extreme amounts of data massaging — “homogenization”, so to speak.

352. PaulR says:

Nigel Calder is the author of the high praise found in this thread’s original post, not Anthony Watts.

353. Willis Eschenbach says:

Matthew R Marler says:
April 26, 2012 at 2:41 pm

Willis Eschenbach and rgbatduke:

I get nervous when people use data that contains internal contradictions.

I would be extremely suspicious of a data set that did not contain internal contradictions. So many data sets have them that I would suspect extreme amounts of data massaging — “homogenization”, so to speak.

Say what? Most datasets don’t contain internal contradictions, at least the ones I use. The raw datasets often contain errors and missing data, that is indeed common.

But the errors are generally removed during early quality control, and as a result, usually we’re not looking at error bars that not only don’t overlap, but are miles apart, as in this example.

Having said that, a more accurate statement would be

I get nervous when people use data that contains internal contradictions, and never even mention, much less explain, the contradictions.

Bear in mind that the dataset under discussion is actually a collection of a variety of different proxies of CO2. Svensmark has done what Mann and others have been correctly criticized for doing—grabbing a bunch of proxies and never even considering if all of them are valid.

Svensmark’s mistake is that if you are going to use proxies, you have to have ex-ante criteria for proxy selection.

My thanks to you as always,

w.

354. Matthew R Marler says:

Willis Eschenbach: Svensmark’s mistake is that if you are going to use proxies, you have to have ex-ante criteria for proxy selection.

Now you are objecting to his selection of proxies? He selected proxies capable of testing his hypothesis.

from the paper: In this paper the aim is to use the least model-dependent approach to the course of events in the past 500 Myr, by deriving the star formation rates and supernova rates directly from open star clusters in the solar neighbourhood, and using the SN rate as a proxy for the GCR flux to the Solar System.

[Willis says:]
Bear in mind that the dataset under discussion is actually a collection of a variety of different proxies of CO2.

Are you saying that he does not in fact have a useful proxy for sea level or diversity of marine invertebrates?

• Willis Eschenbach says:

Matthew R Marler says:
April 26, 2012 at 3:46 pm

Willis Eschenbach:

Svensmark’s mistake is that if you are going to use proxies, you have to have ex-ante criteria for proxy selection.

Now you are objecting to his selection of proxies? He selected proxies capable of testing his hypothesis.

Yeah, but all proxies are not created equal …

Bear in mind that the dataset under discussion is actually a collection of a variety of different proxies of CO2.

Are you saying that he does not in fact have a useful proxy for sea level or diversity of marine invertebrates?

Heck, I haven’t even considered his evidence for those, other than my comment about the thickening of the edges of continental plates … no, I’m saying that if you have three CO2 proxies complete with error bars for a given time period, and the error bars don’t overlap, and you use all three proxies without comment, that you are engaged in guesswork rather than science.

w.

355. Matthew R Marler says:

oops, the “bear in mind” is a quote from Willis, not from the paper as it appears.

[Fixed. -w.]

356. Matthew R Marler says:

It struck me that whereas Willis has been writing, in effect, “Don’t believe this paper”, I have been writing, in effect “Don’t ignore this paper.”

357. Matthew R Marler says:

Willis Eschenbach: I’m saying that if you have three CO2 proxies complete with error bars for a given time period, and the error bars don’t overlap, and you use all three proxies without comment, that you are engaged in guesswork rather than science.

I would call it “scientific guesswork.”

358. Leif Svalgaard says:
April 26, 2012 at 7:31 am

tallbloke says:
April 26, 2012 at 6:52 am
How come all this multitude of interactions which make the near lightspeed CGR particles arrive “millions of years” late to the CLOUD party on Earth don’t create measurable heat which masks the CMBR?
Another way of looking at it is to note that there are 413 photons per cubic centimeter of the CMB, but less than 0.000,000,001 cosmic rays per cc.

Thanks Leif, this and your other replies have helped me get a handle on the way the standard model quantifies the energies involved. Since the interstellar medium is full of magnetic fields a long way from the matter generating the GCR’s, and the star generating the fields presumably a comparatively strong organised magnetic field such as the heliosphere will scatter them more. So does the heliosphere contribute a lot to the ‘coming from all directions’ nature of the GCR flux?

359. tallbloke says:
April 27, 2012 at 12:45 am
So does the heliosphere contribute a lot to the ‘coming from all directions’ nature of the GCR flux
Some, but not a lot, as the modulation of cosmic rays is only about 10% [depending on energy].

360. Pascvaks says:

‘And another drop of water fell to the floor of the cave and splattered on the rocks..’

Science takes time. Relax. Don’t be impatient. If anyone tells you the sky is falling, or not, you’ll still have enough time to live several lifetimes and be able to take all your thousands of kids to the Zoo more times than you can count. This drop of water is most important because we all got a little wet, and in this cave, things don’t dry much at all.

361. rgbatduke says:

The cosmic rays we observe are almost all from our own Galaxy, not from the hundred of billions of other galaxies. This is because the Galactic Cosmic Rays [correct name] are trapped by the magnetic field of each galaxy. After 10 millions years they begin to leak out into intergalactic space and their lose their energy eventually [except the ultrahigh ones that have much more energy to lose from].

Ah, I can see that I’m going to really have to get my mind wrapped around the turbulent dynamo concept. I would have assumed by default that the average magnetic field of a galaxy was negligible, but apparently there is a very large scale process related (perhaps) to the smaller scale process that goes on in stars and planets that produces not only magnetic fields, but fields with intriguing structure and symmetry in galaxies. Clearly I have a lot to learn here.

However, that still leaves my original “problem”, just now it is expressed on a smaller scale. GCR rates thus modulate within the galactic plane, fine, but is that modulation correlated with SN rates within the galaxy on the right time scales? Also, what precisely is the granularity of the modulation? If I understand the structure of the fields produced from the online article I found, they are highly filamentary and local even within the ISM of the galaxy(s) themselves, and if charged particles are helically following the field lines one would expect the modulation of the GCR rate to be predominantly related to the local magnetic field strength, not a global modulation of supernova rates in the galaxy. Indeed, it makes the Svensmark hypothesis less tenable, does it not, because the rate of supernovae in the visible Unverse is on the order of one per second, making the rate of supernovae in any given galaxy far, far smaller. There is still a serious problem in statistics and estimates of plausible signal to noise here.

As a matter of curiosity, does the local galactic magnetic field temporally vary on a directly measurable scale in the vicinity of the Sun (measurably over the baseline of instrumentation available to measure it)? Is there secular variation of GCR rates from non-solar sources over that same time frame? I think that I recall from Svensmark’s first paper that he was more inclined to correlate climate cycles with the bobbing of the sun up and down in the galactic plane, moving it in and out of domains of greater or lesser GCR rates, but if the GCRs are associated with localized filamentary structures in the galactic magnetic field, might they not modulate on a much shorter (and much more random) time scale?

rgb

362. Willis

I’ve followed all your links in your reply, and the links behind those, right to the end so I now understand the whole root-system that threw up your “sport” focussing on Jelbring whom I only mentioned in passing, and not even to say whether or not I actually agreed with his paper. Please note, he is a professor. Now you noted elsewhere the presence of professors on the thread – Robert Brown being one of course – with the implication that their word should not just be instantly dismissed – with which I agree.

My comments for now are “Hare and Tortoise”.

And my offer is still open. I do however think you were unnecessarily rude and unscientific in your reply, despite your claims that I am the unscientific one. But I still think you are a genius when it comes to questioning material in already-accepted stuff, like Levitus and Shakun. And your speed, wow! Just that your abilities are not always on the mark, and new science is where your blind spots show most.

cheers
LS

363. rgbatduke says:

Cher Lucy,

Just realize that my not to be instantly dismissed word on Jelbring is that his work should instantly be dismissed…;-)

As should any other work that asserts a hypothesis that overtly violates the second law of thermodynamics and ignores the dynamical open system nature of adiabatic lapse rates, etc. As I have pointed out in considerable detail on other threads.

However, I also do very much oppose rudeness — necessary or otherwise — in list replies. I’m pretty good at some parts of physics, but am a child in comparison with Lief in his primary domain of astrophysics, for example. So there I require constant correction because I can build wonderful mental models and so on but base them, sadly, on an incorrect understanding of the underlying facts, theories, and evidence. Fortunately, Lief is very gentle and systematic in providing that correction without making me feel bad (memories of Saturday Night Live, “Jane, you ignorant slut…” come to mind:-)

So might we all be to each other. It is quite possible to be rigorous and firm in our discussions of (and sometimes shredding of) individual’s work without ad hominem or ad feminem attacks on their person, their character, their motives. It is sometimes unavoidable to point out their ignorance, but even this should be done in charity. Thus do we all learn.

So while Jelbring may be mistaken — as I, myself, am often enough mistaken — I have no doubt that he is sincere in his errors. Indeed, I think most climate scientists are quite sincere in their errors. It is a sure sign of the political nature — not scientific — of the debate that there is so much incivility in it. Scientists actually almost never call each other names in public or accuse each other of being “deniers” of Newton’s Laws or Quantum Theory or the like, nor do they threaten to prosecute or persecute their rivals for being wrong or opposing their pet theories. Yet these things are far from unknown in climate science — in both directions.

rgb

364. Willis Eschenbach says:

Lucy Skywalker says:
April 27, 2012 at 11:53 am

Willis

I’ve followed all your links in your reply, and the links behind those, right to the end so I now understand the whole root-system that threw up your “sport” focussing on Jelbring whom I only mentioned in passing, and not even to say whether or not I actually agreed with his paper.

My apologies, Lucy. My problem was that when you said that Jelbring was part of ” a tradition even older than that of Arrhenius and Callendar, that has recently produced a whole spate of work, practical experiments and data fitting theoretical maths and physics”, that sounds a whole lot like praise to me. You had said:

And it’s not just N&Z talking about pressure-induced atmospheric temperature, there is a tradition even older than that of Arrhenius and Callendar, that has recently produced a whole spate of work, practical experiments and data fitting theoretical maths and physics. Graeff, following Loschmidt. Now not just Jellbring and Gilbert but also Sorokhtin. And a growing number of climate skeptics, many of whom have diverted currently to Tallbloke’s threads.

If that’s not praise for Jelbring, then you you need to reconsider your choice of words …

You also say

Please note, he is a professor. Now you noted elsewhere the presence of professors on the thread – Robert Brown being one of course – with the implication that their word should not just be instantly dismissed – with which I agree.

Hey, I didn’t “instantly dismiss” Jelbring. I dismissed him at great length, and with a host of citations and details.

Finally, my focus on Jelbring is not “sport”. As you protest, he is a professor at a university, so his totally jive hypothesis is more likely to garner attention from those who may not understand the issues. As a result, it is important to show that he doesn’t have a clue about gravity and climate …

w.

365. Spector says:

Here is an impressive video presentation on the Svensmark Theory:
“Svensmark: The Cloud Mystery”
“Uploaded by rwesser1 on Jul 24, 2011”
61 likes, 5 dislikes, 4,943 Views, 52:46 min.
“Henrik Svensmark’s documentary on climate change and cosmic rays.”

It should be noted that increased cloud formation also implies more active transport of heat from the surface by convection because cloud formation releases the heat of vaporization, which will, in turn, allow a rising column of air to rise to even higher altitudes.

366. rgbatduke says:
April 27, 2012 at 10:19 am
but apparently there is a very large scale process related (perhaps) to the smaller scale process that goes on in stars and planets that produces not only magnetic fields, but fields with intriguing structure and symmetry in galaxies.
Yes there are similar processes at work in addition to the magnetic field coming from stars. Magnetic fields are almost indestructible in dilute plasmas.

GCR rates thus modulate within the galactic plane, fine, but is that modulation correlated with SN rates within the galaxy on the right time scales?
I would think so, in the sense that the GCR flux is a time-average [over millions of years] of the SN-rate. Should we have a very close SN, that might give us a local enhancement, but we have not had any for a long time.

and if charged particles are helically following the field lines one would expect the modulation of the GCR rate to be predominantly related to the local magnetic field strength, not a global modulation of supernova rates in the galaxy.
In addition to filamentary, the field is also tangled, twisted, and turbulent, so really works as a very large set of magnetic ‘mirrors’ that scatter the GCRs rather than guide them in any organized way.

making the rate of supernovae in any given galaxy far, far smaller. There is still a serious problem in statistics and estimates of plausible signal to noise here.
The GCRs we see are produced by ~a quarter million supernovae, so will not vary much.

As a matter of curiosity, does the local galactic magnetic field temporally vary on a directly measurable scale in the vicinity of the Sun (measurably over the baseline of instrumentation available to measure it)?
No temporal variation is known.

i>Is there secular variation of GCR rates from non-solar sources over that same time frame?
We don’t know, but I don’t think so from the arguments given above.
I think that I recall from Svensmark’s first paper that he was more inclined to correlate climate cycles with the bobbing of the sun up and down in the galactic plane, moving it in and out of domains of greater or lesser GCR rates, but if the GCRs are associated with localized filamentary structures in the galactic magnetic field, might they not modulate on a much shorter (and much more random) time scale?
I don’t think so. It is an observable fact that no spatial variation has been found across the sky, and that in my book translates into no temporal variation on time scales of interest. But there is a lot of uncertainty when trying to extrapolate from no observed variation to significant changes in space and time.

367. rgbatduke says:
April 27, 2012 at 10:19 am
Is there secular variation of GCR rates from non-solar sources over that same time frame?
There is a very strong modulation by the [only approximately known] variation of the geomagnetic field, a modulation that is much larger [10X] than the solar modulation. Svensmark tries to circumvent that by claiming that only GCRs with energy higher than 10 GeV are effective climate modulators. These GeV GCRs are modulated less by the Earth’s field, but by the same token also less by the Sun, so the problem is still there.

368. Leif Svalgaard says:
April 27, 2012 at 10:09 pm

rgbatduke says:
April 27, 2012 at 10:19 am
Is there secular variation of GCR rates from non-solar sources over that same time frame?

There is a very strong modulation by the [only approximately known] variation of the geomagnetic field

On the timescale of a few hundred years, there is local variation in the geomagnetic field which is much greater than the global variation. So we might expect effects on a regional basis. Given that some 35% countries by area show a decline in temperature over the C20th rather than an increase, this might support the hypothesis, though with the caveat that there may be other regional factors to consider.

369. Willis: Finally, my focus on Jelbring is not “sport”.

My apologies. I was using an entirely different meaning of “sport” as in “vigorous new shoot (usually a tree) thrown up in unexpected place from vigorous root system.” No allusion to the other kind was meant. I assumed you would know the botanical version.

Willis and Robert, thanks to you both for your considered responses. Much appreciated.

I have been studying this Second Law of Thermodynamics. Currently there appear to be a number of serious and capable physicists and at least one capable physicist engineer challenging at least some aspects of it. My mention of Jellbring was in that context. I’m preparing an article but a deep challenge requires a thorough and context-sensitive investigation of both the science and the history and the people involved, and IMHO a lot of work on courtesy. I cannot produce an article at even a fraction of your speed, Willis!

370. Willis Eschenbach says:

Lucy, my apologies for my misunderstanding. As usual, you are more genteel and kind in your response than I deserve. Good luck with your studies, times spent studying is never wasted.

All the best,

w.

371. rgbatduke says:
April 27, 2012 at 1:13 pm
Just realize that my not to be instantly dismissed word on Jelbring is that his work should instantly be dismissed…;-)

As should any other work that asserts a hypothesis that overtly violates the second law of thermodynamics and ignores the dynamical open system nature of adiabatic lapse rates, etc. As I have pointed out in considerable detail on other threads.

Hi Robert, two points:
1) The Loschmidt paradox is still unresolved after 120 years so the question of second law violation or non-violation is still an open one. The experimental evidence from Graeff supports Loschmidt and I urge replication at a certified lab.
“Experimentum summas judex” – Experiment makes the judgement
– Albert Einstein –

2) The gedanken experiment Jelbring set up is not addressed by ” the dynamical open system nature of adiabatic lapse rates” because in Jelbring’s gedanken experiment the system is not open. This is why Willis’ thread on the topic also missed the mark.

372. tallbloke says:
April 28, 2012 at 12:43 am
On the timescale of a few hundred years, there is local variation in the geomagnetic field which is much greater than the global variation.
Well, the ‘much’ is a bit overblown, but let that slide, because for the cosmic ray variation it is the global field that matters most. This is because the cosmic rays approach the Earth from afar and therefore only see basically the global dipole. All local variations decrease rapidly with height leaving only the lowest order variations standing. On the other hand, the external field in the magnetosphere is also important, so the computation becomes very complicated.

373. tallbloke says:
April 28, 2012 at 3:46 am
The Loschmidt paradox is still unresolved after 120 years
The Big Bang takes care of that. Of course, if you are a Big Bang denier, then you set yourself up for the ‘paradox’.

374. Leif Svalgaard says:
April 28, 2012 at 5:37 am

tallbloke says:
April 28, 2012 at 3:46 am
The Loschmidt paradox is still unresolved after 120 years
The Big Bang takes care of that. Of course, if you are a Big Bang d*nier, then you set yourself up for the ‘paradox’.

The big bang theory is dead, but its zombie still staggers around trying to strangle all opponents. It’s coterie of gatekeepers and guardians can ban dissidents from using the big telescopes, but still the evidence accumulates as enterprising youngsters find better ways to use the smaller ones to confirm the crucial experiment and add further empirical evidence to it.

Interesting that you use the ‘D’ word with impugnity here on WUWT. Anthony used to frown on that. You have defined yourself now.

375. tallbloke says:
April 28, 2012 at 6:09 am
The big bang theory is dead
BB is more alive than ever. Modern precision cosmology defines a golden age for astrophysics. Humanity can be proud of that accomplishment.

You have defined yourself now.
There are times where that word is appropriate. This is one one them. I have defined myself as my fellow astrophysicists leading the way forward out of the age of superstition, ignorance, and pseudoscience. You have defined yourself as well-mired in that swamp and you tarnish ‘the Best Science Blog’ with your nonsense.

376. Spector says:
April 27, 2012 at 8:30 pm
Here is an impressive video presentation on the Svensmark Theory:
“Svensmark: The Cloud Mystery”
“Uploaded by rwesser1 on Jul 24, 2011″
61 likes, 5 dislikes, 4,943 Views, 52:46 min

I watched this video embedded in Spector’s comment, this morning, and I so very much enjoyed it. I found that it helped me greatly to understand Dr. Svensmark’s theory and his research. . . and his struggle to overcome the PCness that resists any opposing voices in the climate change forum. I posted an article on my own blog embedding this video, and I am passing it to as many of my contacts and acquaintances as possible.

You may disagree with Dr. Svensmark’s theory, but the video is fascinating in its own right for the understated way in which the opposition to other voices is documented.

I very highly recommend watching this video.

377. Mike Jonas says:

Willis – you say “Svensmark has made what are to me a number of dubious choices, such as the choice of the WEBDA database, that he has neither justified nor explained“. Not so, he does just that in para 3. You might not like it, you might not think he does it well, you might disagree with his decision, but he does it. Steven Mosher criticises differently, saying that Svensmark should have used every available dataset separately. Given the inherent lack of precision in data on ancient times, I would have thought that Svensmark’s approach was quite reasonable – he looks at all four, he finds that WEBDA is a close match to the average of the other three, so he goes with WEBDA. If the precise wiggles in WEBDA are of crucial significance, then there is merit in SM’s criticism, but I haven’t worked right through the paper yet in order to judge. There’s a lot of it…

378. Willis Eschenbach says:

Mike Jonas says:
April 28, 2012 at 6:08 pm

Willis – you say “Svensmark has made what are to me a number of dubious choices, such as the choice of the WEBDA database, that he has neither justified nor explained“. Not so, he does just that in para 3. You might not like it, you might not think he does it well, you might disagree with his decision, but he does it.

Svensmark says:

Figure 4 show the WEBDA result (red curve) together with the widely used Dias et al. (2002, 2010) catalogue (green curve) and the Kharchenko et al. (2005) catalogue (blue curve). Although there are differences, the main features are similar and the average of the three data sets (black curve) follows the WEBDA results closely.

Thanks, Mike. Perhaps things are different where you live, but saying that they look “similar” is neither a justification nor an explanation on my planet. It is handwaving.

w.

• Pierre says:

If the “justification” by Svensmark is dubious (which Willis admits), then the explanation fails. Correct? The hand-waving is done in the Svensmark paper. Would you accept this sort of “similarity” in a AGW article? No–you demand perfection in their arguments.

379. rgbatduke says:

I have been studying this Second Law of Thermodynamics. Currently there appear to be a number of serious and capable physicists and at least one capable physicist engineer challenging at least some aspects of it.

Dearest Lucy,

There are various ways of describing the second law, but if I were you I would — literally — not bet against it. Your odds of winning the lottery a dozen times in a row are far, far greater than the odds of observing a macroscopic violation of the second law.

I would be most interested in knowing the actual names of “serious and capable” physicists who challenge the second law. My own favorite quote on the subject is this:

The law that entropy always increases holds, I think, the supreme
position among the laws of Nature. If someone points out to you that
your pet theory of the universe is in disagreement with Maxwell’s
equations then so much the worse for Maxwell’s equations. If it is found
to be contradicted by observation — well, these experimentalists do
bungle things sometimes. But if your theory is found to be against the
second law of thermodynamics I can give you no hope; there is nothing
for it but to collapse in deepest humiliation.

Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington, The Nature of the Physical World
(1915), chapter 4.

Once you understand why entropy always increases, you will understand why no competent physicist to my knowledge would ever challenge the second law on a macroscopic scale in a system with many degrees of freedom. It simply describes the evolution in time of a complicated system from less probable to more probable states. And when I say “less”, and “more” I mean almost infinitely — the probability that the entropy of the Universe (or any isolated subset thereof with more than a very few bodies) will spontaneously decrease is a number so small that, while it isn’t quite zero, it lives just around the corner from zero and their kids attend the same schools, that sort of thing. Numbers so small that you could spend a lifetime just writing out the zeros before the first nonzero digit in the probability.

There are very simple experiments you can do to learn about entropy. Put some salt in a (closed, sealed) glass of water. Stir it. The salt dissolves. Stir all you want to — the salt will not ever turn back to salt and precipitate out. It isn’t quite as good (because the particles aren’t identical) but put some salt and pepper in a sealed jar and shake it. Shake all you want, once the salt and pepper have mixed they won’t unmix. Take a deck of cards and sort it out into all red cards and all black cards (we won’t even care about value). Do a fair shuffle of the deck. The red and black cards mix. You can shuffle the deck over and over again and not see it ever sort out into all red followed by all black again.

The latter is probably the easiest to understand. There are many, many card orderings with red and black cards mixed. There are far, far fewer that have all of the cards sorted out red first then black. If you start in one of them, and have almost any “interaction” with the deck that results in the cards moving around and swapping places, after a bit the chances are near unity that if you take a peek at the deck at any given instant, red and black will be all mixed up, not sorted.

That’s it, the second law in a nutshell. So when people postulate exotic results that can only be true if the second law is violated, ask yourself — what are the odds? Because in general the odds are far, far larger that you’ll pick up a deck of cards at random, shuffle it three or four times, and deal out all of the cards in perfect suit order, low card to high card, than they are that you’ll observe a macroscopic violation of the second law of thermodynamics.

rgb

380. Jurgen says:

Leif has been the only one reacting to a question of me in this tread, and this shows I think both my question was a bit OT and Leif’s patience and generosity in sharing information.
On the other hand, there have been more sidesteps here, say regarding thermodynamics, big bang and things. So I think I may share an informative link here. It’s a lecture of Renate Loll on the quantum origin of space and time. I found this jewel looking for the use of dimensions in quantum mechanics. It is very basic and directed to a general audience. As her approach depends on the use of computers it is instructional and relevant to a central topic on WUWT, the limitations and pitfalls with the use of computer models. To avoid them in her approach the “input ingredients” are kept as limited and simple as possible. Ockham would smile here.

381. rgbatduke says:

Hi Robert, two points:
1) The Loschmidt paradox is still unresolved after 120 years so the question of second law violation or non-violation is still an open one. The experimental evidence from Graeff supports Loschmidt and I urge replication at a certified lab.
“Experimentum summas judex” – Experiment makes the judgement
– Albert Einstein –

2) The gedanken experiment Jelbring set up is not addressed by ” the dynamical open system nature of adiabatic lapse rates” because in Jelbring’s gedanken experiment the system is not open. This is why Willis’ thread on the topic also missed the mark.

Dearest Tallbloke,

In my opinion, the question of second law violation is not open, and see absolutely no “paradox”. Indeed, it is rather trivial to formally prove that there is no paradox, because the Universe itself is necessarily in a zero entropy state and remains there at all times, classically or quantum mechanically. However, to properly address universal entropy in the first place it is necessary to first understand Jaynes’ derivation of statistical mechanics from the Cox axioms and Shannon’s theorem, and to be able to address it in any partitioned subvolume of spacetime it is also necessary for you to work through the Nakajima-Zwanzig formalism and understand the Generalized Master Equation, and then apply either Keynes’ “principle of indifference” (old form) or Jaynes’ “maximum entropy” principle (same thing, new form) to formulate the quantum statistical mechanics of open systems.

On the other hand, even without doing all that, you could read over my previous post working through the first few steps in understanding it as they might be presented in an undergrad intro course in thermodynamics. In the end, what matters is the odds — the probabilities. It is not impossible for the second law to be violated. It is very, very, very (iterate for the lifetime of the Universe repeating “very”) very improbable for a macroscopic, persistent violation of the second law to be observed in any nontrivial system. Working through the detailed algebra that proves this (and fully understanding the result) is one of the most painful and difficult experiences of a physics Ph.D.’s education, and sadly, a very few never quite make it, but I assure you that it is so and that you can understand it yourself at least semi-heuristically if you try.

Jelbring’s gedanken experiment is absolute nonsense no matter how you slice it or dice it. It is simply wrong from the beginning to the end. Both Willis and I spent a rather long and patient time demonstrating that. Adiabatic lapse rates only exist in open turbulent systems being warmed at the bottom. Thermal gradients are invariably associated with the flow of heat, unless you literally block all possible channels for the transmission and sharing of energy.

Finally, as Lief observes, the Big Bang does explain the temporal entropic asymmetry (which is, bear in mind, itself a matter of perspective). What explains the Big Bang, what determined the microscopic details of the initial state, whether those details were inherited from a still earlier or still larger Universe are all open, and very difficult indeed, questions. Whether or not there exists “true randomness” in the Universe (including in the context of quantum theory) is similarly an open question, and in the end, the same question.

But even without true randomness, even ignoring the “big” question about the entropy of the Universe itself, citing Loschmidt does not in any way explain how an adiabatically isolated gas could end up in a thermodynamically stable state with a stationary thermal gradient.

rgb

382. Paul Tanksley says:

PaulT .. says.. Note how this ties in with Dinesh D’Souza’s book, “GODFORSAKEN” !!

383. Spector says:

I note that Piers Corbyn, in his 22 minute, Weather Action Meeting 27/4/12, is saying that this paper and the theory behind it are flawed. He points out that the eleven year solar cycle does not show up in temperature the record but a twenty-two year cycle does and he thinks that Svensmark is using a deceptive average of the solar magnetic intensity to hide this mismatch. (Of course, when combined with the Earth’s magnetic field, there really is a 22 year magnetic period–with one opposing 11-year cycle and one assisting 11-year cycle. ) Corbyn apparently thinks that publication of this ‘defective’ paper might be some ‘warmist’ plot to discredit opposition to the carbon-dioxide climate driver theory.

384. Spector says:
May 1, 2012 at 12:42 am
I note that Piers Corbyn, in his 22 minute, Weather Action Meeting 27/4/12, is saying that this paper and the theory behind it are flawed.
Corbyn predicted strong tornadic activity in the US the past week. Instead we got a large snow storm, no tornadoes. So perhaps Corbyn should not be taken too seriously.

385. Leif Svalgaard says:
April 28, 2012 at 8:13 am
There are times where that word [denier] is appropriate.

Not in scientific debate there isn’t. It’s an ugly slur with fascist connotations and you invoke Godwins law by using it. No excuses are viable. It’s just appalling behaviour, end of.

I have defined myself as my fellow astrophysicists leading the way forward out of the age of superstition, ignorance, and pseudoscience. You have defined yourself as well-mired in that swamp and you tarnish ‘the Best Science Blog’ with your nonsense.

Haughty pride goes before a fall. Your attacks against those whose research leads in directions you disapprove of shows nothing more than the narrowness of your perspective. It reflects more on you than the people you attack.

There is more in Heaven and Earth, Horatio, than is dreamt of in your philosophy.

386. rgbatduke says:
April 29, 2012 at 8:27 am
Jelbring’s gedanken experiment is absolute nonsense no matter how you slice it or dice it. It is simply wrong from the beginning to the end. Both Willis and I spent a rather long and patient time demonstrating that. Adiabatic lapse rates only exist in open turbulent systems being warmed at the bottom. Thermal gradients are invariably associated with the flow of heat, unless you literally block all possible channels for the transmission and sharing of energy.

Neither you nor Willis actually addressed Jelbring’s gedanken experiment, as I pointed out previously. You view thermodynamics in terms of heat. Along with modst of the rest of the physics and engineering world I view it in terms of energy. A given volume of air in a gravitational field contains kinetic and potential energy. The lower you are in the field, the less potential energy is part of the total. If the total energy is even throughout, then there is more kinetic energy lower down and more potential energy higher up.

What explains the Big Bang, what determined the microscopic details of the initial state, whether those details were inherited from a still earlier or still larger Universe are all open, and very difficult indeed, questions. Whether or not there exists “true randomness” in the Universe (including in the context of quantum theory) is similarly an open question, and in the end, the same question.

The discovery by astronomers of large scale quantum structure in the universe is a big problem for big bangers. So are Halton Arps anomalous redshift galaxies. The establishment got away for long enough with the tiny probability that the quasar in the blob of gas at the end of the tendril of gas joining it to the parent galaxy was a chance alignment of two objects at different distances, and refusing to publish Arps study with the appropriate wavelength images, and banning him from using the telescope. But since the two Spanish researchers found two more quasars in the tendril in 2002 also with different redshifts, that possibility has diminished essentially to zero. There are plenty of other falsifying discoveries, once you look under the rug where they got swept.

But even without true randomness, even ignoring the “big” question about the entropy of the Universe itself, citing Loschmidt does not in any way explain how an adiabatically isolated gas could end up in a thermodynamically stable state with a stationary thermal gradient.

You should take a read of the Loschmidt thread on my website Robert. Some pretty high powered physicists and maths experts had an excellent discussion there.
http://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2012/01/04/the-loschmidt-gravito-thermal-effect-old-controversy-new-relevance/

Cheers

TB.

387. tallbloke says:
May 1, 2012 at 4:31 am
“There are times where that word [denier] is appropriate.”
Not in scientific debate there isn’t.

You are not conducting scientific debate, but ideology, so very appropriate.

Haughty pride goes before a fall. Your attacks against those whose research
You are not conducting research even with a generous definition of that word.

tallbloke says:
May 1, 2012 at 4:48 am
So are Halton Arps anomalous redshift galaxies
Not at all, as there is nothing there that cannot be explained by chance, see e.g.
http://iopscience.iop.org/0004-637X/633/1/41/pdf/62464.web.pdf

388. It’s interesting to see the various tactics deployed by the big bang ideologist gatekeepers.
Here we have Leif offering a red herring misdirection and clipping my comment in the hope no-one will notice that the paper he links doesn’t address the evidence I discussed.

Stay cool Leif.

389. tallbloke says:
May 1, 2012 at 8:16 am
clipping my comment in the hope no-one will notice that the paper he links doesn’t address the evidence I discussed.
The ‘evidence’ was about chance QSOs and the paper was on QSOs, but we don’t need to limit ourselves to those. Observations of a million ordinary galaxies show the redshift is cosmological, so the QSOs are indeed a red herring. These must be hundreds of far away ordinary galaxies in that tendril. Astronomers do not take your arguments [or the ones you parrot] serious because they simply do not hold up. Now, the real gatekeepers are the ones who ban people from their websites…

390. tallbloke says:
May 1, 2012 at 8:16 am
clipping my comment in the hope no-one will notice that the paper he links doesn’t address the evidence I discussed.
Here is the conclusion from the paper I linked to:
“In summary, using samples from SDSS and 2QZ, we demonstrate that not only is there no periodicity at the predicted frequency in log (1 þ z) and z, or at any other frequency, but there is also no strong connection between foreground active galaxies and high-redshift QSOs. These results are against the hypothesis that QSOs are ejected from active galaxies or have periodic intrinsic noncosmological redshifts.”

391. Leif says
Not at all, as there is nothing there that cannot be explained by chance…
Henry says
You know I am reasonably with stats and probabilities…
In fact I am currently still the only only one who has reported cooling since 1994
(remember my name)
http://www.letterdash.com/henryp/global-cooling-is-here

Let me explain one of the problems if you reason that way:
you are exactly one in a 5 million shot if we go by the average count of sperm after a love making session…
Now work out the probability for me that you are alive today by going back in time until the arrival of the first humans on earth, with that chance level…
It is something I actually forgot to mention here:
http://www.letterdash.com/HenryP/why-do-i-believe-in-god

392. Spector says:

I do not know if anyone can make something of this, but there are three lapse rates defined for the atmosphere. First, there is the dry or non-condensing lapse rate of 9.8 °C/km cooling as a parcel of air moves upward. This rate of cooling will quickly arrest the upward movement of dry air as soon as it cools below the temperature of the air around it. Next, there is the saturated or wet lapse rate of 5 °C/km, which assumes that the heat of vaporization is added to the rising parcel of air and water vapor condenses out of the air as soon as saturation occurs.

Finally, there is the environmental lapse rate of 6.5 °C/km actually observed in the atmosphere near the surface. This could indicate that, typically, about 69 percent of the rising air cools at the wet rate and about 31 percent cools at the dry rate. Could this fraction be cosmic ray dependent?

If Galactic cosmic radiation is required to initiate condensation, then it seems reasonable that the environmental lapse rate might also depend on this radiation. Perhaps Galactic cosmic radiation not only causes more clouds reflecting solar radiation but also helps cool the surface of the Earth by assisting convection and reducing the lapse rate—that is, assuming the tropopause temperature and altitude remain more or less constant.

393. Willis Eschenbach says:

tallbloke says:
May 1, 2012 at 4:48 am

rgbatduke says:
April 29, 2012 at 8:27 am

Jelbring’s gedanken experiment is absolute nonsense no matter how you slice it or dice it. It is simply wrong from the beginning to the end. Both Willis and I spent a rather long and patient time demonstrating that. Adiabatic lapse rates only exist in open turbulent systems being warmed at the bottom. Thermal gradients are invariably associated with the flow of heat, unless you literally block all possible channels for the transmission and sharing of energy.

Neither you nor Willis actually addressed Jelbring’s gedanken experiment, as I pointed out previously.

Say what? Cite?

Because as near as I can tell, both Robert and I were discussing nothing but Jelbring’s gedanken experiment. I discussed it here, Robert discussed it there … what on earth do you think we were talking about?

You just don’t like the fact that we’ve conclusively shown it to be another failed perpetual motion machine.

w.

394. Trick says:

Willis says at 12:51pm:

“Robert and I were discussing nothing but Jelbring’s gedanken experiment. I discussed it here, Robert discussed it there …we’ve conclusively shown it to be another failed perpetual motion machine.”

Ahhh… the non-GHG ideal gas column contest restarts. Team Tallbloke & Trick et. al. vs. Team Willis & Robert et. al.

Willis means Fig. 1 in link “there” as “it”, so interested readers can therein discover in l-o-o-o-n-g comments that Team Willis & Robert did NOT conclusively show “it” (Fig.1) “…to be another failed perpetual motion machine.”

Q: “Cite?”

A: Again, the conclusive citation being a 2004 peer reviewed published paper by Verkley & Gerkema 1st cited by poster Roberto Caballero in “there” thread:

http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/pdf/10.1175/1520-0469(2004)061%3C0931%3AOMEP%3E2.0.CO%3B2

Robert’s Fig. 1 is exactly the construct in Verkley & Gerkema Part 2b where their paper rigorously shows the temperature profile (of Fig. 1 in “there” WUWT post) in z is non-isothermal, isentropic in compliance with 0th, 1st & 2nd thermo laws. No perpetual motion. Robert manifestly misses this by classically assuming T(z) constant with dz to perform the integration right before his eqn. 6.

Assuming that T is constant to perform the dz integration then writing T is shown manifestly constant in z by the integration doesn’t cut it.

Verkley et. al. 2004 paper cited above still stands as doing the T(z) integration properly based on Bohren&Albrecht 1998 text cited therein. Team Willis & Robert et. al. have NOT cited any later rigorous proof conclusively showing Robert’s Fig 1 (“it”) “another failed perpetual motion machine”.

395. HenryP says:
May 1, 2012 at 9:21 am
Let me explain one of the problems if you reason that way:
you are exactly one in a 5 million shot if we go by the average count of sperm after a love making session… Now work out the probability for me that you are alive today by going back in time until the arrival of the first humans on earth, with that chance level…

You are confusing a priori and a posteriori chance. I would but it differently: the chance that I’m here today is that every single one without fail of my ancestors from the first green slime to me have been successful in having a descendant and every one of those again, and so on until I came to be, so the chance is precisely 100%. And God had nothing to do with it.

396. Leif says:
so the chance (of being alive today) is precisely 100%. And God had nothing to do with it.

Henry says:
That is the wrong answer. First of all, we express probability as a fraction; it is number between 0 and 1. So, you are in the wrong dimension (s).
2nd, you are simply denying that there were 5 million odd potential brothers and sisters competing with you to get to be the first onto your mothers egg. If you had argued that you were simply the strongest or the quickest you may have had a point; in that case I would have asked you: who gave you the grace to be simply the best?
(although I cannot shake off the picture that perhaps being in the first squirt might have given you an unfair advantage to the others…..)

What we do know is that nobody knows for sure what came before the Big Bang.

Note that if you believe there is no God, you are actually saying that you believe that out of absolutely nothing and guided by absolutely nobody, an incredible intelligent and intellectual person (like yourself) with a material body came into being. Now, for you to believe that such a miracle could have happened, you must actually have a much bigger faith than that of a person simply believing and admitting that there is a Higher Power, a God who created him for a specific plan and purpose.

We will leave it there, but I predict that you too, one day, will end up in a deep, deep, black hole, and on that day you will eventually find out there is only one Person who can get you out of there.(Ps. 22).

http://www.letterdash.com/HenryP/why-do-i-believe-in-god

397. sophocles says:

Steve from Rockwood said:

sophocles says:

You could check Shaviv’s paper at
http://www.sciencebits.com/iceages
——————————————————–

========================================================================

http://www.sciencebits.com/ice-ages

It may be my typing or may be Shaviv’s — I have a recollection of copying and pasting to try and ensure its accuracy….. but

398. HenryP says:
May 1, 2012 at 11:20 pm
“so the chance (of being alive today) is precisely 100%.”
That is the wrong answer. First of all, we express probability as a fraction; it is number between 0 and 1.

We express chances in percent, like in 50-50 chance. 30% chance of rain.

who gave you the grace to be simply the best?
I’m just the luckiest, not the best. And I don’t need somebody’s grace for anything.

God who created him for a specific plan and purpose
If I am the best a god can come up with, he is not very good at this game. And you are right, there is no purpose and no need for one. On a more optimistic note, one might say that a being who wants purpose can inject as much purpose into his own life as he feels is needed.

399. HenryP says:
May 1, 2012 at 11:20 pm
“so the chance (of being alive today) is precisely 100%.”
That is the wrong answer. First of all, we express probability as a fraction; it is number between 0 and 1.

We express chances in percent, like in 50-50 chance. 30% chance of rain.

who gave you the grace to be simply the best?
I’m just the luckiest, not the best. And I don’t need somebody’s grace for anything.

God who created him for a specific plan and purpose
If I am the best a god can come up with, he is not very good at this game. And you are right, there is no purpose and no need for one. On a more optimistic note, one might say that a being who wants purpose can inject as much purpose into his own life as he feels is needed. And I don’t like or want to be part of someone’s crummy plan.

400. Pamela Gray says:

I would have to agree that if I am the best a god can come up with, I have a bone to pick with that entity. Being female and short, something I don’t mind at all, appears to be something the world is not keen on. The christian bible clearly defines and limits my role, as do many other religious texts. At every turn, women have had to fight through these blatantly stupid restrictions and limits on our freedoms. And the fight ain’t near over.

I am not enthralled with this specific “plan and purpose” this entity had in mind for me. Unless it is to fight against it! It is not that much different from what we are experiencing regarding the powers that be using the stupid CO2 argument to limit our freedoms. It is just an excuse for another agenda. Just like the label “female” is an excuse for another agenda. Neither makes a lick o’sense.

[Moderator’s Note: Please, Pamela, Henry P and Dr. Leif, while this is interesting, it is also off-topic. If we could get back to the topic of the thread, please…. -REP]

401. Pamela Gray says:
May 2, 2012 at 6:39 am
It is not that much different from what we are experiencing regarding the powers that be using the stupid CO2 argument to limit our freedoms. It is just an excuse for another agenda.
[Moderator’s Note: Please, Pamela, Henry P and Dr. Leif, while this is interesting, it is also off-topic. If we could get back to the topic of the thread, please…. -REP]

Pamela nicely steered it back to the climate topic

402. Henry@moderator
You are right. Completely off-topic. Of course. Sorry.
Pam just raises something interesting that I would like to respond to,
if you would just allow me to refer her to my own webspace

then we will carry on waffling over there.
thanks!
Henry

403. Trick says:
May 1, 2012 at 2:46 pm

Willis says at 12:51pm:

“Robert and I were discussing nothing but Jelbring’s gedanken experiment. I discussed it here, Robert discussed it there …we’ve conclusively shown it to be another failed perpetual motion machine.”

Ahhh… the non-GHG ideal gas column contest restarts. Team Tallbloke & Trick et. al. vs. Team Willis & Robert et. al.

Willis means Fig. 1 in link “there” as “it”, so interested readers can therein discover in l-o-o-o-n-g comments that Team Willis & Robert did NOT conclusively show “it” (Fig.1) “…to be another failed perpetual motion machine.”

Q: “Cite?”

A: Again, the conclusive citation being a 2004 peer reviewed published paper by Verkley & Gerkema 1st cited by poster Roberto Caballero in “there” thread:

http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/pdf/10.1175/1520-0469(2004)061%3C0931%3AOMEP%3E2.0.CO%3B2

Robert’s Fig. 1 is exactly the construct in Verkley & Gerkema Part 2b where their paper rigorously shows the temperature profile (of Fig. 1 in “there” WUWT post) in z is non-isothermal, isentropic in compliance with 0th, 1st & 2nd thermo laws. No perpetual motion. Robert manifestly misses this by classically assuming T(z) constant with dz to perform the integration right before his eqn. 6.

Assuming that T is constant to perform the dz integration then writing T is shown manifestly constant in z by the integration doesn’t cut it.

Verkley et. al. 2004 paper cited above still stands as doing the T(z) integration properly based on Bohren&Albrecht 1998 text cited therein. Team Willis & Robert et. al. have NOT cited any later rigorous proof conclusively showing Robert’s Fig 1 (“it”) “another failed perpetual motion machine”.

Trick, thank you for staying on the case with this important issue. I fear that the opposing team believe the issue can be settled by shouting longest and loudest and most repetitively, whilst intermingling the most ad hominem arguments in their voluminous output, rather than by addressing the actual science.

They also studiously ignore the experimental evidence and ignore all calls for replication at an accredited lab. Instead, they dismiss the experimenter as a “crank”. This is just more ad hominem attack which attempts to divert attention from the key issue. One of our group is heading to Germany in a fortnight to meet the experimenter at a seminar he is giving. I will be publishing a full report afterwards. prior to that, I will be making a call for questions to put to him, so please visit my site and pitch in.

404. Willis Eschenbach says:

Tallbloke, your citation says (emphasis mine)

If one assumes that there is no net heat exchange between the column and its surroundings—implying that the vertical integral of the absolute temperature remains constant— an isothermal profile is obtained in accordance with classical thermodynamics and the kinetic theory of gases. If instead the vertical integral of the potential temperature is kept fixed—as argued by several authors to be appropriate in the case of convective mixing—an isentropic profile results.

Note that in the case Jelbring and Robert Brown and I are discussing there is no convective mixing … and in that case your own citation says that the profile is isothermal. Does the term “hoist by your own petard” ring a bell?

You go on to say that “I fear that the opposing team believe the issue can be settled by shouting longest and loudest and most repetitively …”

Robert has given you a formal proof that Jelbring’s claim is not true. If the column of air is not isothermal, a silver wire connecting the top and bottom of the column will conduct heat forever, which would be a perpetual motion machine.

Neither you nor anyone else has found anything that contradict’s Robert’s proof. Claiming that we think that the issue can be “settled by shouting” is an insult to the careful and interesting work that Robert put into his proof. It also ignores the fact that no one has found any problems with Robert’s proof.

Look, I know it must piss you off immensely that Robert Brown’s proof is airtight. But slandering him doesn’t advance your case.

You really should restrict your posting to the Talkshop, where people will pat your tummy and blow in your ear. Here, we do science. If you have some kind of objection to Robert’s proof, trot it out … otherwise, you’re just making yourself look foolish.

w.

405. Trick says:

Willis says at 12:28am:

This is probably not the best thread to relitigate the issues. Especially in the fine detail required to achieve an accurate understanding of Robert’s Fig.1 T(z) profile provided by 1) classical thermodynamics approximate isothermal solution math vs. 2) the exact rigorous non-isothermal, isentropic solution math for Robert’s Fig. 1 shown in 1998 and 2004 part 2b cites.

Willis continues:

“”

Where is Willis discussing another construct besides Robert’s Fig. 1? Fig. 1 non-GHG ideal gas column HAS vigorous convective mixing as does 2004 Verkley et. al. part 2b. Robert’s Fig. 1 is inaccurate to the classical isothermal solution since allows no work performed on the air column above and below the adiabatic control volume (see Verkley Fig.1) but Robert’s math is ok assuming the classical solution of constant T(z) for integration.

Note the real standard tropospheric atmosphere lies always between Robert’s Fig. 1 approx. isothermal math solution and the exact non-isothermal, isentropic math solution (excepting the crossover point Verkley Fig. 2) and discussed in Verkley part 3 b/c the exact non-isothermal, isentropic solution of constraints as shown in Robert’s Fig. 1 “… lead to a temperature profile that corresponds remarkably well to the tropospheric part of the Standard Atmosphere.”

Any, ANY proper real experiment designed to emulate Robert’s Fig. 1 will only approach the exact non-isothermal, isentropic solution but never get there as the idealizations do not exist in nature (no ideal gas w/inelastic collisions, no perfect adiabatic container). The idealizations & experimenting do allow a lot of learning about nature with proper effort applied along with an informed, critical reporter.

406. Willis Eschenbach says:

Trick, we are not talking about gas which has convective mixing. For that to occur you need to add heat at the bottom, and neither Jelbring, Robert, nor I are discussing that situation.

Nor are we discussing the “real standard tropospheric atmosphere”.

Here’s the crux of Robert’s lovely proof.

If, as you content, an isolated, thermally insulated cylinder of air stratifies thermally due to gravity, you could connect a silver wire between the hot and cold ends. The wire would conduct heat from the hot to the cold end. Of course, this would cool the hot end and warm the cool end.

But according to you, Jelbring, and tall bloke, the column of air would simply re-stratify by gravity. As a result the process would go on forever … which is a perpetual motion machine.

Now, if you find fault with that logic, please let me know. I know of none, and nobody has been able to provide one to date … but heck, you might be the first.

If you, Jelbring, and tall bloke are right, it would mean perpetual motion, free energy forever, and a Nobel Prize for y’all.

However, I’m not holding my breath waiting for your invitation to Stockholm …

w.

407. Trick says:

Improving my quotation implementation, Willis says at 1:45pm:

“Now, if you find fault with that logic, please let me know.”

Very gracious. Yes, this is fun; guess we can hijack this thread for awhile.

Willis’ logic:

“As a result the process would go on forever … which is a perpetual motion machine.”

Surprisingly good logic Willis, Robert’s Fig. 1 IS perpetual motion as the idealized process in there will go on forever at constant entropy, no entropies or energies are being harmed. But Fig. 1 is NOT a buildable perpetual motion machine in that no work can be extracted from Fig. 1. Dropping in a silver wire will not cause anything unphysical, the wire (or anything else) will simply drop to rest on the bottom and equilibrate in non-isothermal, isentropic T(z) long term equilibrium according to Verkley et. al. part 2b.

The 2nd law allows constant entropy thought stuff but any, ANY, real experiment emulating Fig. 1 will of course not be perpetual motion or a perpetual motion machine b/c the real container can’t be adiabatic and the ideal gas collisions can’t be inelastic. Any real Fig. 1 loses energy, entropy increases. Anything that can’t really go on forever, will stop.

Willis continues:

“If you…are right, it would mean perpetual motion, free energy forever, and a Nobel Prize…”

No, Verkley 2b is right. This is not new stuff. Do not hold your breath; if nominated I will not run, if elected I will not serve. As I wrote above, no free energy comes out of Robert’s Fig. 1, there is no prize here. Robert’s Fig. 1 just sits there processing collisions, vigorously convecting & generating frustratingly long threads. No science is new here, just cited.

408. Trick says:

Willis says at 1:45pm:

“Trick, we are not talking about gas which has convective mixing. For that to occur you need to add heat at the bottom.. if you find fault with that logic, please let me know…”

I find fault with this logic. Robert’s Fig. 1 has no heat added at the bottom and there is vigorous convective mixing of the non-GHG ideal gas molecules under reasonable circumstances (p0=avg. earth surface, T=earth global mean in kelvin, n=a column of earth’s tropospheric atmosphere (less GHG) from p = 1000hPa up in z to ~200hPa, R, cp, g).

In other threads, posters have shown the science of the time & distance between gas constituent collisions, all quite reasonably vigorous.

409. Willis Eschenbach says:

Trick says:
May 3, 2012 at 4:26 pm

Willis says at 1:45pm:

“Trick, we are not talking about gas which has convective mixing. For that to occur you need to add heat at the bottom.. if you find fault with that logic, please let me know…”

I find fault with this logic. Robert’s Fig. 1 has no heat added at the bottom and there is vigorous convective mixing of the non-GHG ideal gas molecules under reasonable circumstances (p0=avg. earth surface, T=earth global mean in kelvin, n=a column of earth’s tropospheric atmosphere (less GHG) from p = 1000hPa up in z to ~200hPa, R, cp, g).

In other threads, posters have shown the science of the time & distance between gas constituent collisions, all quite reasonably vigorous.

You appear to be confusing the random movement of the molecules (sometimes called “Brownian movement”) with convective mixing. For convective mixing to occur, you need a gas that is warmer at the bottom than at the top. However, both Brown and Jelbring deny there is convective mixing. Jelbring’s claim is that the gas is thermally stratified. Brown (and I) say the gas is isothermal.

But in neither case is there convective mixing.

w.

410. Trick says:

Willis says at 5:02pm:

“For convective mixing to occur, you need a gas that is warmer at the bottom than at the top.”

That would be forced convective mixing. For free convective mixing to occur, all nature needs is the reasonable initial condition ideal gas column with a gravity field turned on. I double checked, Robert’s Fig. 1 has the g field arrow turned on. There is vigorous free convective mixing naturally occurring in Robert’s Fig. 1.

For a cite, once again Verkley part 2b detail discusses the math representation of this free convective mixing.

411. Willis Eschenbach says:

I give up, Trick. Come back when you have learned the difference between convective mixing and molecular diffusion. The latter is not called “free convective mixing” because it’s not convective mixing of any kind.

Yes, Verkley discusses convective mixing. It also states quite clearly that the resulting distribution is isothermal given the conditions specified by Jelbring or Brown (emphasis mine):

The question of what vertical temperature profile cor- responds to the state of maximal entropy was posed more than a century ago. At first, the discussion took place within the framework of classical thermodynam- ics; one considers an ideal gas in a gravitational field and seeks the state of maximum entropy under the con- straints of 1) a constant mass and 2) a constant energy (internal plus potential). The answer—the profile will be isothermal—was rigorously proven by Gibbs (in 1876, see Gibbs 1961, p. 144ff) for arbitrary types of fluids. In the framework of the kinetic theory of gases, Boltzmann (1896, p. 136) arrived at the same conclusion by using his H theorem. Despite these proofs, the issue remained a source of contention and confusion; for example, a common misconception was that gravity would change the nature of thermodynamic equilibrium so as to create a vertical temperature gradient.

See the part about “common misconception” there? Since that is exactly the claim you are making (gravity will create a vertical temperature gradient) and since they call it a “common misconception” (e.g. you, Jelbring, tall bloke, and lots of others share the misconception so it is “common”), your own reference says you are wrong.

If you don’t understand what “common misconception” means, please come back and ask.

w.

412. Trick says:

Willis says at 6:26pm:

“I give up, Trick. Come back when you have learned the difference between convective mixing and molecular diffusion.”

Ok, I have learned and come back. But I already knew free convective mixing occurs away from the surfaces in Fig. 1 and molecular diffusion dominates near the surfaces because of the boundary layer effects driving fluid velocities down.

Willis says:

“See the part about “common misconception” there? …If you don’t understand what “common misconception” means, please come back and ask.”

Exactly Willis. I’ll ask & as usual Verkley et. al. paper gives the answer. The common misconception being talked about in your clip is THE big deal now settled by Verkley et. al. paper part 2b, continuing past your clip with more of the paper’s points:

“Exner pointed out that the confusion arose from defining the problem in an inconsistent way…(Maxwell) discusses the classical formulation of the problem and its answer (the profile will be isothermal) but then he argues that convective motions…will be important…. Bohren and Albrecht…consider an ideal gas in a gravitational field, and seek the state of maximal entropy… result in an isentropic profile. This can be regarded as a confirmation of Maxwell’s idea… This brings us outside the domain of classical thermodynamics, and hence one can expect that the temperature profile will no longer be isothermal; we will derive below what profile forms the outcome.”

In part 2b, Verkley paper derives “what profile forms the outcome” showing the common misconception of an isothermal profile must be replaced by a non-isothermal, isentropic profile.

413. Spector says:

One thing the people doing experiments on cosmic radiation induced condensation might do is see if they can also detect far infra-red, water vapor radiation being triggered by their simulated cosmic radiation or just by the process of condensation alone. One possible explanation for the difference between the 5°C/km wet adiabatic lapse rate and the 6.5°C/km environmental lapse rate in the lower atmosphere might be heat lost by radiation from condensing water molecules to outer space.

414. Myrrh says:

Spector says:
May 6, 2012 at 3:52 am
One thing the people doing experiments on cosmic radiation induced condensation might do is see if they can also detect far infra-red, water vapor radiation being triggered by their simulated cosmic radiation or just by the process of condensation alone. One possible explanation for the difference between the 5°C/km wet adiabatic lapse rate and the 6.5°C/km environmental lapse rate in the lower atmosphere might be heat lost by radiation from condensing water molecules to outer space.

=====

Would that be the Water Cycle currently missing from the AGWScience Fiction comic cartoon energy budget?

Of which carbon dioxide fully part, all rain is carbonic acid. Without which, the Water Cycle, the Earth would be around 67°C, it brings temps down to 15°C – think deserts.

415. Spector says:

RE: Myrrh: (May 6, 2012 at 4:34 am)
“Would that be the Water Cycle currently missing from the AGWScience Fiction comic cartoon energy budget?”

They do include about 102 W/m² for “Thermals” and “Evapo-transpiration,” but provide no explanation of how this energy gets to outer space. It has to be as thermal radiation, somehow, from the upper atmosphere. My thought of the moment is this this could be as radiation stimulated by the process of condensation or directly by cosmic radiation. As there are no water vapor ‘holes’ in MODTRAN plots of radiative forcing, I assume that, on the whole, it is a rather leaky greenhouse gas.

416. Spector says:

BTW, the reason that I have mentioned the possible cosmic ray effect on convection is that viewed in isolation, the effect of clouds may, by some, be said to be neutral, stopping both solar radiation coming in and earth radiation going out. But clouds are not isolated entities; they usually indicate that some form of upward motion is going on with condensation (driven by adiabatic cooling) beginning at the base of the cloud and uplift stopping at the cloud tops. Thus, clouds usually indicate that a convection process is actively removing heat from the surface.

If galactic cosmic rays are causing more clouds to form, I think they also must be increasing the rate of convective activity.