Paper demonstrates solar activity was at a grand maximum in the late 20th century

Solar activity measured by isotope proxies revealed the end of 20th century was the highest activity in 1200 years

A 2010 paper (that I somehow missed) was recently highlighted by the blog The Hockey Schtick and I thought it worth mentioning here even if a bit past the publish date.

The work by Ilya G. Usoskin of the Sodankyla Geophysical Observatory at the University of Oulu, Finland was published in Living Reviews of Solar Physics. The paper examines records from two isotope proxies (Be10 and C14) and finds that solar activity at the end of the 20th century was at the highest levels of the past 1200 years. Excerpts follow along with a link to the full paper.

A History of Solar Activity over Millennia

Ilya G. Usoskin, Sodankyla Geophysical Observatory (Oulu unit), University of Oulu, Finland

image

Figure 17: Sunspot activity (over decades, smoothed with a 12221 filter) throughout the Holocene, reconstructed from 14C by Usoskin et al. (2007) using geomagnetic data by Yang et al. (2000). Blue and red areas denote grand minima and maxima, respectively.

Abstract:

Presented here is a review of present knowledge of the long-term behavior of solar activity on a multi-millennial timescale, as reconstructed using the indirect proxy method. The concept of solar activity is discussed along with an overview of the special indices used to quantify different aspects of variable solar activity, with special emphasis upon sunspot number.

Over long timescales, quantitative information about past solar activity can only be obtained using a method based upon indirect proxy, such as the cosmogenic isotopes 14C and 10Be in natural stratified archives (e.g., tree rings or ice cores). We give an historical overview of the development of the proxy-based method for past solar-activity reconstruction over millennia, as well as a description of the modern state. Special attention is paid to the verification and cross-calibration of reconstructions. It is argued that this method of cosmogenic isotopes makes a solid basis for studies of solar variability in the past on a long timescale (centuries to

millennia) during the Holocene.

A separate section is devoted to reconstructions of strong solar–energetic-particle (SEP) events in the past, that suggest that the present-day average SEP flux is broadly consistent with estimates on longer timescales, and that the occurrence of extra-strong events is unlikely. Finally, the main features of the long-term evolution of solar magnetic activity, including the statistics of grand minima and maxima occurrence, are summarized and their possible implications, especially for solar/stellar dynamo theory, are discussed.

image

Figure 15: 10-year averaged sunspot numbers: Actual group sunspot numbers (thick grey line) and the reconstructions based on 10Be (thin curve, Usoskin et al., 2003c) and on 14C (thick curve with error bars, Solanki et al., 2004). The horizontal dotted line depicts the high activity threshold.

4.4 Grand maxima of solar activity

4.4.1 The modern episode of active sun

We have been presently living in a period of very high sun activity with a level of activity that is unprecedentedly high for the last few centuries covered by direct solar observation. The sunspot number was growing rapidly between 1900 and 1940, with more than a doubling average group sunspot number, and has remained at that high level until recently (see Figure 1). Note that growth comes entirely from raising the cycle maximum amplitude, while sunspot activity always returns to a very low level around solar cycle minima. While the average group sunspot number for the period 1750 – 1900 was 35 ± 9 (39 ± 6, if the Dalton minimum in 1797 – 1828 is not counted), it stands high at the level of 75 ± 3 since 1950. Therefore the modern active sun episode, which started in the 1940s, can be regarded as the modern grand maximum of solar activity, as opposed to a grand minimum (Wilson, 1988b).

image

Figure 1: Sunspot numbers since 1610. a) Monthly (since 1749) and yearly (1700 – 1749) Wolf sunspot number series. b) Monthly group sunspot number series. The grey line presents the 11-year running mean after the Maunder minimum. Standard (Z¨urich) cycle numbering as well as the Maunder minimum (MM) and Dalton minimum (DM) are shown in the lower panel.

Is such high solar activity typical or is it something extraordinary? While it is broadly agreed that the present active sun episode is a special phenomenon, the question of how (a)typical such upward bumps are from “normal” activity is a topic of hot debate.

6 Conclusions

In this review the present knowledge of long-term solar activity on a multi-millennial timescale, as reconstructed using the indirect proxy method, is discussed.

Although the concept of solar activity is intuitively understandable as a deviation from the “quiet” sun concept, there is no clear definition for it, and different indices have been proposed to quantify different aspects of variable solar activity. One of the most common and practical indices is sunspot number, which forms the longest available series of direct scientific observations. While all other indices have a high correlation with sunspot numbers, dominated by the 11-year cycle, the relationship between them at other timescales (short and long-term trends) may vary to a great extent.

On longer timescales, quantitative information of past solar activity can only be obtained using the method based upon indirect proxy, i.e., quantitative parameters, which can be measured nowadays but represent the signatures, stored in natural archives, of the different effects of solar magnetic activity in the past. Such traceable signatures can be related to nuclear or chemical effects caused by cosmic rays in the Earth’s atmosphere, lunar rocks or meteorites. The most common proxy of solar activity is formed by data from the cosmogenic radionuclides, 10Be and 14C, produced by cosmic rays in the Earth’s atmosphere and stored in independently-dated stratified natural archives, such as tree rings or ice cores. Using a recently-developed physics-based model it is now possible to reconstruct the temporal behavior of solar activity in the past, over many millennia. The most robust results can be obtained for the Holocene epoch, which started more than 11,000 years ago, whose stable climate minimizes possible uncertainties in the reconstruction.

An indirect verification of long-term solar-activity reconstructions supports their veracity and confirms that variations of cosmogenic nuclides on the long-term scale (centuries to millennia) during the Holocene make a solid basis for studies of solar variability in the past. However, such reconstructions may still contain systematic uncertainties related to unknown changes in the geomagnetic field or climate of the past, especially in the early part of the Holocene.

Measurements of nitrates in polar ice allow the reconstruction of strong solar energetic particle (SEP) events in the past, over the five past centuries. Together with independent measurements of the concentration of different cosmogenic isotopes in lunar and meteoritic rocks, it leads to estimates of the SEP flux on different timescales. Directly space-borne-measured SEP flux for recent decades is broadly consistent with estimates on longer timescales – up to millions of years, and the occurrence of extra-strong events is unlikely.

In general, the following main features are observed in the long-term evolution of solar magnetic activity.

• Solar activity is dominated by the 11-year Schwabe cycle on an interannual timescale. Some additional longer characteristic times can be found, including the Gleissberg secular cycle, de Vries/Suess cycle, and a quasi-cycle of 2000 – 2400 years. However, all these longer cycles are intermittent and cannot be regarded as strict phase-locked periodicities.

• One of the main features of long-term solar activity is that it contains an essential chaotic/stochastic component, which leads to irregular variations and makes solar-activity predictions impossible for a scale exceeding one solar cycle.

• The sun spends about 70% of its time at moderate magnetic activity levels, about 15 – 20% of its time in a grand minimum and about 10 – 15% in a grand maximum. Modern solar activity corresponds to a grand maximum.

• Grand minima are a typical but rare phenomena in solar behavior. Their occurrence appears not periodically, but rather as the result of a chaotic process within clusters separated by 2000 – 2500 years. Grand minima tend to be of two distinct types: short (Maunder-like) and longer (Sp¨orer-like).

• The modern level of solar activity (after the 1940s) is very high, corresponding to a grand maximum. Grand maxima are also rare and irregularly occurring events, though the exact rate of their occurrence is still a subject of debates. These observational features of the long-term behavior of solar activity have important implications, especially for the development of theoretical solar-dynamo models and for solar-terrestrial studies.

Full paper here: A History of Solar Activity over Millennia  (PDF)

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

However, according to the IPCC, none of this has nothing to do with 0.7C of global warming since the end of the Little Ice Age in 1850. And, even if you were to point it out to them for AR5, they have now clearly demonstrated they have no intention of paying any attention to any factual data that doesn’t fit the ‘CO2 and nothing else’ meme.

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jorgekafkazar

Maxima is plural; minimum is singular:
Paper demonstrates solar activity was at a grand maximum in the late 20th century

george e smith

So who was counting sunspots, 9,000 years ago ? And what happened to the all time historicrecod sunspot peak during the IGY in 1957/8, that was pushing up toward 200 ?
Just asking.
REPLY: Be10 and C14 records, not sunspots. See the captions.

ursus augustus

Why should The Team or The Match Committee bother to pay any attention to such information. We are now in the grand minimum certainty period of “post normal science” according to a cluster of geniuses and there is no place for anything but uncertainty because without uncertainty there could be no post normal science. Don’t you get that? (/sarc)

Jim Arndt

Not that I don’t agree or disagree with the paper but SSN is very subjective and using proxies is also subjective since the solar community can not agree on what is or is not a good proxy for solar activity. Also the graph looks a little too similar to the “Al Gore ” graph in that spoof film. Proxies also fall apart after the post atom bomb testing. If L an dP are correct then the SSN is not a good proxy but flux is a better way for looking at past solar activity. Seems a bit to convenient.

AleaJactaEst

looks like a hockey schtick….funny that.

Looks like a hockey schtick…. Funny that.

ConfusedPhoton

I am not sure what can really be deduced from this – the medieval warm period doesn’t look particularly active.
No doubt Leif will tell us it is all wrong and link to his papers.

Kasuha

Figure 15 looks quite like a hockey stick to me. Where did the MWP go?
Of course they clearly did not use Leif’s reconstruction (the GSN curve).
And the other thing coming on my mind is how reliable the 10Be proxy might be after the era of atomic bomb tests.

Anybody remembers, Solar Max came down earlier than expected because solar activity was stronger than expected
Ps the lunar regolith should help quite a lot in reconstructing solar activity for a few billion years

Typo alert: should read “highest in the last 12000 years”, not 1200.

Aussie Luke Warm

Looking at the graph, did you mean to say 12,000?

Aussie Luke Warm

Sorry, you were referring to figure 15. First comment of mine withdrawn.

old construction worker

It’s a better correlation than CO2. As a mater of fact the Moon’s orbit has a better correlation than CO2.

Latimer Alder

Wow
Even the sun responds to increasing CO2 on earth! Is it ‘teleconnections’ again?
The devil gas has a lot to answer for.
/sarc

My view is that we should be cautious about 10Be and 14C is accurate indicators of solar activity amplitudes over the longer term (500 years or more). However, the periodicity does seem to be a reliable indicator according to the observational record. It fits well with the hindcast created using our solar-planetary theory too.
Proponents of the dynamo only theory of solar activity changes don’t seem to have come up with any model which can be compared to these proxy records.

omnologos says:
September 14, 2012 at 12:44 am
Ps the lunar regolith should help quite a lot in reconstructing solar activity for a few billion years

Interesting comment, could you explain further please.

Steve C

Most interesting – I shall read this one over the weekend, as 88 pages is a little much for reading over breakfast. It’s a pity we’ve only had radio for a century or so, as a radio enthusiast I’d love to know more about what our ionosphere does under different solar conditions, if the last century has been untypically active the next few should be interestingly different (and, one suspects, quieter, apart from all the human pollution of the EM spectrum).
Another grammar pedant’s point (not sure whether it’s yours or theirs): phenomena is plural, phenomenon is singular.

sophocles

Latimer Alder says:
September 14, 2012 at 12:50 am
Wow
Even the sun responds to increasing CO2 on earth! Is it ‘teleconnections’ again?
The devil gas has a lot to answer for.
/sarc
=================================================================
yep, and so too do the outer planets, with their warmings.
Gosh: that fossil-oil CO2 really does get around!

Fernando

ConfusedPhoton says:
September 14, 2012 at 12:24 am
No doubt Leif will tell us it is all wrong and link to his papers

Yes, for several reasons.
Some repeated several times.
Leif’s work is very good.
A solar cycle lost in 1793–1800:
Early sunspot observations resolve the old mystery
http://www.leif.org/EOS/Lost%20Cycle%205.pdf

I was under the impression that C14 has been heavily affected by the nuclear age because it is difficult to know how much of the C14 is from cosmic and how much man-made sources of radiation. So, before even reading I searched for the section on nuclear testing and how this error was accommodated. E.g. it may have said “man-made levels are negligible particularly now nuclear testing has stopped”.

Steven Devijver

When did this grand maximum end?

I’d like to see what the graph looks like when extended backwards through the Younger Dryas ie back further than the Holocene. That might shed light on the hockey-stickish look to the graph.
IPCC use three hockey stick curves on page 3 of their Summary for Policymakers, all taken from ice core records – CO2, methane and nitrous oxide. But I strongly suspect these have not been adequately corrected for effects of slow compression of the firn over recent centuries and rapid decompression of the ice core on extraction – just as Jaworowsky and Segalstad claim. So my immediate reaction is to suspect the HS-look – as by the same term, I suspect the ice hockey sticks thrust in my face in the IPCC SfP.
It would be nice to believe we’ve had exceptional solar activity. But recent warmth appears to have been less than MWP warmth, which in turn appears to have been less than Roman WP warmth, which was less than the one before that… according to these ice core records. Unfortunately I did not note the proxy or proxies used for that study – but at least there is no significant hockey stick when put in context.

I’m sorry this article is highly misleading and is leading people to make comments which are ill-informed, without reading the following section the article about the quality of the reconstruction (not the quality of work I hasten to add which looks good) it is impossible to make an informed comment about the importance of this maximum.
It is quite literally a hockey stick, one the author has clearly signal, but one which for reasons I do not understand have not been flagged here.
3.2.4 The Suess effect and nuclear bomb tests
Unfortunately, cosmogenic 14C data cannot be easily used for the last century, primarily because of the extensive burning of fossil fuels. Since fossil fuels do not contain 14C, the produced CO2 dilutes the atmospheric 14CO2 concentration with respect to the pre-industrial epoch. Therefore, the measured Δ14C cannot be straightforwardly translated into the production rate 𝑄 after the late 19th century, and a special correction for fossil fuel burning is needed. This effect, known as the Suess effect (e.g., Suess, 1955) can be up to −25h in Δ14C in 1950 (Tans et al., 1979), which is an order of magnitude larger than the amplitude of the 11-year cycle of a few per mil.Moreover, while the cosmogenic production of 14C is roughly homogeneous over the globe and time, the use of fossil fuels is highly nonuniform (e.g., de Jong and Mook, 1982) both spatially (developed countries, in the northern hemisphere) and temporarily (WorldWars, Great Depression, industrialization, etc.). This makes it very difficult to perform an absolute normalization of the radiocarbon production to the direct measurements. Sophisticated numerical models (e.g., Sabine et al., 2004; Mikaloff Fletcher et al., 2006) aim to account for the Suess effect and make good progress. However, the results obtained indicate that the determination of the Suess effect does not yet reach the accuracy required for the precise modelling and reconstruction of the 14C production for the industrial epoch. As noted by Matsumoto et al. (2004), “. . . Not all is well with the current generation of ocean carbon cycle models. At the same time, this highlights the danger in simply using the available models to represent state-of-the-art modeling without considering the credibility of each model.” Note that the atmospheric concentration of another carbon isotope 13C is partly affected by land use, which has also been modified during the last century.
Another anthropogenic activity greatly disturbing the natural variability of 14C is related to the
atmospheric nuclear bomb tests actively performed in the 1960s. For example, the radiocarbon concentration nearly doubled in the early 1960s in the northern hemisphere after nuclear tests performed by the USSR and the USA in 1961 (Damon et al., 1978). On one hand, such sources of momentary spot injections of radioactive tracers (including 14C) provide a good opportunity to verify and calibrate the exchange parameters for different carbon -cycle reservoirs and circulation models (e.g., Bard et al., 1987; Sweeney et al., 2007). Thus, the present-day carbon cycle is more or-less known. On the other hand, the extensive additional production of isotopes during nuclear tests makes it hardly possible to use the 14C as a proxy for solar activity after the 1950s (Joos, 1994).
These anthropogenic effects do not allow one to make a straightforward link between preindustrial data and direct experiments performed during more recent decades. Therefore, the question of the absolute normalization of 14C model is still open (see, e.g., the discussion in Solanki et al., 2004, 2005; Muscheler et al., 2005).
Living Reviews in Solar Physics
http://www.livingreviews.org/lrsp-2008-3
32 Ilya G. Usoskin

Sorry in my rush to get this key information to you I said: “It is quite literally a hockey stick”. What I meant is its gluing two very different sets of data together – I didn’t mean that its a false upswing.

Skeptic’s view:
The cosmic rays count is impacted by the Earth’s magnetic field oscillations to the extent which could be equal or greater (by an order of magnitude) than that of the changes in the Heliospheric magnetic field. Scientists (NASA-JPL) only now trying to understand impact of Earth’s magnetic field changes.
At this point in time it is difficult to resolve differences which can be attributed to either of two quoting Dr. Jean Dickey of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena:
One possibility is the movements of Earth’s core (where Earth’s magnetic field originates) might disturb Earth’s magnetic shielding of charged-particle (i.e., cosmic ray) fluxes . ……
My small but pioneering effort in that direction is shown here:
http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/TMC.htm

David, UK

Double-negative alert(!)
However, according to the IPCC, none of this has nothing to do with…

cRR Kampen

“the indirect proxy method” wow that is really far out 🙂

steveta_uk

Mike Haseler, from the grpah it would appear that C14 was not used from 1900 onwards, so the nuclear age concern doesn’t apply.

Sorry my comments are in pieces. I clearly need to expand on what I’m saying:
If we are trying to assess cosmic ray flux by measuring a proxy, the amount of various isotopes, given the potential effect of atomic testing, we have to discount the possibility that some of the isotopes do not stem from man-made sources.
For Carbon two are suggested in the paper, the effect of nuclear testing and from burning coal which has not been exposed to recent cosmic rays so dilutes Carbon 14 in the atmosphere.
However, potentially similar problems exist with all isotopes. I do not personally now how much Beryllium or other elements could have been affected by nuclear testing & whether it may contaminate the results or whether mining and extraction may also have significantly affected the result. But even if the effect is negligible, in a paper dealing with a current maximum that coincides with problematic human activity that effect should have been discussed and then, & only then, discounted.
Reading the paper I find: “The global production rate of 10Be is about 0.02 – 0.03 atoms cm–2 s–1 (Masarik and Beer, 1999; Webber et al., 2007; Kovaltsov and Usoskin, 2010), which is lower than that for 14C by two orders of magnitude (about 2 atoms cm–2 s–1; see Section 3.2.2).”
So, we are talking about very low levels which may be more easily contaminated. Searching for nuclear testing and Beryllium quickly revealed that Beryllium was used in weaponry:
“Once the critical mass is assembled, at maximum density, a burst of neutrons is supplied to start as many chain reactions as possible. Early weapons used an “urchin” inside the pit containing polonium-210 and beryllium separated by a thin barrier.”
There is no way I can say in the many papers cited about Beryllium, no author hasn’t dealt with this question thoroughly without reading the lot, but it seems to me that if you are suggesting we are at a solar maximum, you have to demonstrate that feasible alternative explanations can be discounted. This author has not done this in this paper. It may be “common knowledge” in his subject that Beryllium and any other proxies you care to use are not affected by modern human influence, but we have seen where “common knowledge” about the “problems” of warming have got us.

polistra

Judging by the first graph, it looks like we’re repeating 9000 BC. It also looks like we’re about to drop down to a low number again, just as happened after that peak.
Aside from the obvious Svensmark weather connection, there are also some pretty good connections to human civilization. Organized agriculture developed after that 9000 BC peak went away, and in recent times the highest peaks correspond to times of widespread war and revolution. Clearly humans are more stable when we get more rain. Might be a more direct connection too… Major spots mess with electrical activity, and our nervous systems have a lot of electrical activity.

Re: Skeptic’s view
Speculative ?
As already posted: The cosmic rays count is impacted by the Earth’s magnetic field oscillations to the extent which could be equal or greater (by an order of magnitude) than that of the changes in the Heliospheric magnetic field.
Here I show that the 400 years bi-decadal changes in the Earth’s magnetic field-GMF (by an order of magnitude larger) closely mirrors the solar magnetic field’s trend. http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/GSNvsGMF.htm
There is no data base of a sufficiently high resolution for period before 1600.
Conclusion must be is that cosmic rays count is reflection in change of the GMF rather than the GSN variability.
Dr. Jean Dickey of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena:
One possibility is the movements of Earth’s core (where Earth’s magnetic field originates) might disturb Earth’s magnetic shielding of charged-particle (i.e., cosmic ray) fluxes . ……
See also
http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/TMC.htm

AndyG55

“solar activity was at a grand maximum in the late 20th century”
And most unfortunately, it is now on the way down.
WARM + CO2 = GOOD
COLD = VERY BAD !!! especially when you have destroyed all the RELIABLE sources of electricity !!

AndyG55

ps.. the climate change myth really is going to be VERY bad for our children and grand-children 🙁
just not in the way that the alarmists prophesize.
cold , NOT warmth,
famine, NOT plenty

Terry

Re Mike Haseler at 1:58 am
Point taken about C14 but Be10 looks pretty good as well

DirkH

Re fig 15: Probably Leif will tell us that modern sunspot counts have to be reduced by about 20%. That would, IMHO, make the graph more plausible, as we would be closer now to MWP levels in that case.

peter Miller

This is the sort of thing which seriously undermines the machinations of the Global Warming Industry.
As Anthony comments, this is yet another inconvenient series of facts which will be sneered at/ridiculed/ignored/decreed to be heresy by the high priests of the Climate Establishment.
Just think of the hundreds of billions wasted on ‘climate research’ when the reason was shining in the face of all the CAGW believers all along.
It would be funny if it wasn’t so sad.
That recent sunspot maximum looks suspicously like a Hockey Stick.

wayne Job

The graphs depicted do tend to line up with historic records and many other proxy studies of hot and cold periods from pre history. Thus it is not hard to believe that the sun does warm the earth and it’s bad behaviour can have some influence on our climate.
Re-thinking the magic qualities of CO2 may be appropriate for erstwhile climatologists at this time in our history. Failure to do so will make them seem less than scientific in their chosen field.
Holding my breathe waiting is not an option.

Henk Kraa

Did anyone ever assess the sun spot count? Can we be sure enough that the number of sun spots counted in say 1700 were accurate or is it possible that due to lower resolution they were counting lower numbers?

The chart shows a rough 1,000 year sunspot peak and the warmest periods seems to coincide with those peaks at least he last four sunspot peaks anyway.
Hmmm….

Ninderthana

The authors of this paper are dills. They have arbitrarily used a constant sunspot number (based upon Be10 and C14 measurements) to define Grand Minima and Maxima. This assumes that it is not possible to have a Grand Minimum during a period of above average solar activity or a Grand Maximum during a period of below average solar activity.
In other words, they assume that short term variations in solar activity (~ centuries) have to be linked to long term variations in solar activity ( ~ millennial). The two phenomenon may not be directly related.

Slabadang

Shapiro came to a similar conclusion!
I think Leif S have made an exeption when it comes to the method measuring BE10 and didnt sign off Shapiros reconstruction on the similaf basis/methód. To compere uncertainties and error bars on the different reconstruction methods is essential and just counting sunspots is a very unprecise and “buckshot” like. The human inpact on C14 is known but hard to qantify. Be10 seems to be much less influensed contrary to what “warmist” try to argue. But this paper is very intresting and ofcorse not popular in main stream CAGW.

DirkH says:
September 14, 2012 at 4:14 am
Re fig 15: Probably Leif will tell us that modern sunspot counts have to be reduced by about 20%. That would, IMHO, make the graph more plausible, as we would be closer now to MWP levels in that case.
Not only that but the group sunspot number is just plainly wrong. Progress has happened since 2010. Here is the current status [btw Usoskin is member of our team too]:
http://www.leif.org/research/Reconstruction%20of%20Sunspot%20Number.pdf

About the Beryllium record:
http://www.leif.org/EOS/2009GL038004-Berggren.pdf
“Recent 10Be values are low; however, they do not indicate unusually high recent solar activity compared to the last 600 years.”

pat

14 Sept: UK Telegraph: Nick Collins: Met Office better placed to predict ‘big freezes’
Predicting a “mild winter” before the harshest conditions in 30 years was hardly the Met Office’s proudest moment.
While the snow, ice and temperatures of -22C were impossible to anticipate at the time, an upgraded forecasting model could have predicted what was coming, experts said.
In 2009-10, Britain was hit by two bursts of Arctic conditions which resulted in an average winter temperature of 1.5C (35F), well below the 30-year average of 3.7C (39F).
The failure of forecasters to foresee the icy conditions, months after their “barbecue summer” proved to be a washout, was widely interpreted as the main reason for the agency’s decision to stop releasing long-range forecasts…
A new study by the agency found that the unexpected nature of the “deep freeze” lay in the inability of its seasonal forecasting equipment to simulate phenomena known as sudden stratospheric warmings (SSWs)…
However, they added that the technology would not lead to perfect predictions. While cold winters caused by the wind changes were now more predictable, other combinations of conditions could still cause freak cold spells.
In the new study, published in the Environmental Research Letters journal, the team compares forecasts made ahead of the “deep freeze” against a new, retrospective prediction based on the same data but using the new technology…
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/science-news/9541307/Met-Office-better-placed-to-predict-big-freezes.html

RockyRoad

old construction worker says:

September 14, 2012 at 12:50 am
It’s a better correlation than CO2. As a mater of fact the Moon’s orbit has a better correlation than CO2.

Indeed! Had the Warmistas hooked their CAGW wagon to the Moon’s orbit, even now they’d be advocating spending ungodly sums of money justified by PNS to take it out. That’s how crazy they are.

Crispin in Waterloo

@Mike Hasler
I appreciate all the implications of your longer explanation. However,
“There is no way I can say in the many papers cited about Beryllium, no author hasn’t dealt with this question thoroughly without reading the lot, but it seems to me that if you are suggesting we are at a solar maximum, you have to demonstrate that feasible alternative explanations can be discounted. This author has not done this in this paper.”
The contamination possiblity is real, the numbers are indeed very low. My reading of the paper suggests that the claim to be in a solar grand maximum is based on the subspot count, not the 10Be level. If the 10Be supports the sunspot count, then this is one indication that the contamination level is low. It may be that from 1945 onwards, there is an issue with using 10Be but we have excellent sunspot counts instead, which is in any case a direct proxy. I admit I have not read of any use of 10Be collected in the past 100 years or so. If it has been done, any contamination would easily be detectable because the dates of nuclear explosions are well known, and they would have to correlate exactly with other isotopes from the tests.
10Be as an indirect proxy has certainly been looked at for ages and seems to give pretty reliable correlation (inverse relationship) to temperature, not so? One of the interesting graphs that convinced me the ‘problem’ was solar and no CO2 was a 520m yr plot of temperature, 10Be and CO2. There is an obvious inverse correlation between 10Be and temperature, with CO2 wandering all over the place showing no obvious correlation to either of the other two.
I don’t say that 1/10Be : Temp is a no-brainer, but it is a heck of a lot better than CO2 : Temp in spite of what is claimed for ice cores (delay or no delay). The shorter term charts (10k yr) seem to indicate a good correlation of Temp : Co2 with a delay for the CO2, but looking closely at the ice core data there are clear, repeated inverse relationship moments which require an explanation. Have a look at the ice core data at the temperature inflection points. Definitely not in keeping with the standard GHG explanation.

Rob Potter

Reading the comments, (I have not read the ‘meat’ of the paper – just what is posted here), many people have reservations about the values given for recent years. This seems to be a problem stemming from the title of the post – which refers to the last few years as being a grand maximum – which is focussing attention on the last millenium.
Given that Mike Hasseler has noted that the paper needed to use a different calculation for recent years (thus his reference to a hockey stick – which is a nice one), it does seem that the author is aware of the problems and their own title doesn’t refer to a grand maximum in the last century.
Since the paper was actually published in 2010, I suspect that it has been widely reviewed and critiqued by the solar activity people and – almost certainly – Leif. Has anyone had a chance to dig around for these reviews?

Jeff Norman

Lucia,
Isn’t the Younger Dryas represented in the big trough about 11,500 y.a. in the first graph?

Robbie

Is this article peer-reviewed?
If that is the case then this is wonderful news and can explain much of the 20th century warming. If not all of it. This is the reason why I keep coming back to WUWT.

Mike Haseler says:
September 14, 2012 at 1:45 am
I was under the impression that C14 has been heavily affected by the nuclear age
============
Funny, when I was a kid we were told that the climate was being heavily affected by nuclear testing.
After the nuclear testing stopped, scientists had to find another excuse to explain their failed predictions. The one explanation they never seem to consider is that just maybe the fault doesn’t lie with other people, that it is the scientists themselves that do not understand climate.