NASA on the sun: '…tiny variations can have a significant effect on terrestrial climate."

Researchers have considered the possibility that the sun plays a role in global warming.

From NASA GSFC:  Solar Variability and Terrestrial Climate

In the galactic scheme of things, the Sun is a remarkably constant star.  While some stars exhibit dramatic pulsations, wildly yo-yoing in size and brightness, and sometimes even exploding, the luminosity of our own sun varies a measly 0.1% over the course of the 11-year solar cycle.

There is, however, a dawning realization among researchers that even these apparently tiny variations can have a significant effect on terrestrial climate. A new report issued by the National Research Council (NRC), “The Effects of Solar Variability on Earth’s Climate,” lays out some of the surprisingly complex ways that solar activity can make itself felt on our planet.

Sun-Climate (cycle, strip)

These six extreme UV images of the sun, taken by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, track the rising level of solar activity as the sun ascends toward the peak of the latest 11-year sunspot cycle. More

Understanding the sun-climate connection requires a breadth of expertise in fields such as plasma physics, solar activity, atmospheric chemistry and fluid dynamics, energetic particle physics, and even terrestrial history. No single researcher has the full range of knowledge required to solve the problem.  To make progress, the NRC had to assemble dozens of experts from many fields at a single workshop.  The report summarizes their combined efforts to frame the problem in a truly multi-disciplinary context.

One of the participants, Greg Kopp of the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics at the University of Colorado, pointed out that while the variations in luminosity over the 11-year solar cycle amount to only a tenth of a percent of the sun’s total output, such a small fraction is still important.  “Even typical short term variations of 0.1% in incident irradiance exceed all other energy sources (such as natural radioactivity in Earth’s core) combined,” he says.

Of particular importance is the sun’s extreme ultraviolet (EUV) radiation, which peaks during the years around solar maximum.  Within the relatively narrow band of EUV wavelengths, the sun’s output varies not by a minuscule 0.1%, but by whopping factors of 10 or more.  This can strongly affect the chemistry and thermal structure of the upper atmosphere.

Sun-Climate (tsi, strip)

Space-borne measurements of the total solar irradiance (TSI) show ~0.1 percent variations with solar activity on 11-year and shorter timescales. These data have been corrected for calibration offsets between the various instruments used to measure TSI. SOURCE: Courtesy of Greg Kopp, University of Colorado.

Several researchers discussed how changes in the upper atmosphere can trickle down to Earth’s surface.  There are many “top-down” pathways for the sun’s influence.  For instance, Charles Jackman of the Goddard Space Flight Center described how nitrogen oxides (NOx) created by solar energetic particles and cosmic rays in the stratosphere could reduce ozone levels by a few percent.  Because ozone absorbs UV radiation, less ozone means that more UV rays from the sun would reach Earth’s surface.

Isaac Held of NOAA took this one step further.  He described how loss of ozone in the stratosphere could alter the dynamics of the atmosphere below it.  “The cooling of the polar stratosphere associated with loss of ozone increases the horizontal temperature gradient near the tropopause,” he explains. “This alters the flux of angular momentum by mid-latitude eddies.  [Angular momentum is important because] the angular momentum budget of the troposphere controls the surface westerlies.”  In other words, solar activity felt in the upper atmosphere can, through a complicated series of influences, push surface storm tracks off course.

Sun-Climate (sep, strip)

How incoming galactic cosmic rays and solar protons penetrate the atmosphere. SOURCE: C. Jackman, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, “The Impact of Energetic Particle Precipitation on the Atmosphere,” presentation to the Workshop on the Effects of Solar Variability on Earth’s Climate, September 9, 2011.

Many of the mechanisms proposed at the workshop had a Rube Goldberg-like quality. They relied on multi-step interactions between multiples layers of atmosphere and ocean, some relying on chemistry to get their work done, others leaning on thermodynamics or fluid physics.  But just because something is complicated doesn’t mean it’s not real.

Indeed, Gerald Meehl of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) presented persuasive evidence that solar variability is leaving an imprint on climate, especially in the Pacific. According to the report, when researchers look at sea surface temperature data during sunspot peak years, the tropical Pacific shows a pronounced La Nina-like pattern, with a cooling of almost 1o C in the equatorial eastern Pacific. In addition, “there are signs of enhanced precipitation in the Pacific ITCZ (Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone ) and SPCZ (South Pacific Convergence Zone) as well as above-normal sea-level pressure in the mid-latitude North and South Pacific,” correlated with peaks in the sunspot cycle.

The solar cycle signals are so strong in the Pacific, that Meehl and colleagues have begun to wonder if something in the Pacific climate system is acting to amplify them. “One of the mysteries regarding Earth’s climate system … is how the relatively small fluctuations of the 11-year solar cycle can produce the magnitude of the observed climate signals in the tropical Pacific.”  Using supercomputer models of climate, they show that not only “top-down” but also “bottom-up” mechanisms involving atmosphere-ocean interactions are required to amplify solar forcing at the surface of the Pacific.

Sun-Climate (pacific anomaly, strip)

Composite averages for December-January-February for peak solar years. SOURCE: G.A. Meehl, J.M. Arblaster, K. Matthes, F. Sassi, and H. van Loon, Amplifying the Pacific climate system response to a small 11 year solar cycle forcing, Science 325:1114-1118, 2009; reprinted with permission from AAAS.

In recent years, researchers have considered the possibility that the sun plays a role in global warming. After all, the sun is the main source of heat for our planet. The NRC report suggests, however, that the influence of solar variability is more regional than global.  The Pacific region is only one example.

Caspar Amman of NCAR noted in the report that “When Earth’s radiative balance is altered, as in the case of a chance in solar cycle forcing, not all locations are affected equally.  The equatorial central Pacific is generally cooler, the runoff from rivers in Peru is reduced, and drier conditions affect the western USA.”

Raymond Bradley of UMass, who has studied historical records of solar activity imprinted by radioisotopes in tree rings and ice cores, says that regional rainfall seems to be more affected than temperature.  “If there is indeed a solar effect on climate, it is manifested by changes in general circulation rather than in a direct temperature signal.”  This fits in with the conclusion of the IPCC and previous NRC reports that solar variability is NOT the cause of global warming over the last 50 years.

Much has been made of the probable connection between the Maunder Minimum, a 70-year deficit of sunspots in the late 17th-early 18th century, and the coldest part of the Little Ice Age, during which Europe and North America were subjected to bitterly cold winters.  The mechanism for that regional cooling could have been a drop in the sun’s EUV output; this is, however, speculative.

Sun-Climate (sunspot numbers, strip)

The yearly averaged sunspot number for a period of 400 years (1610-2010). SOURCE: Courtesy of NASA Marshall Space Flight Center.

Dan Lubin of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography pointed out the value of looking at sun-like stars elsewhere in the Milky Way to determine the frequency of similar grand minima. “Early estimates of grand minimum frequency in solar-type stars ranged from 10% to 30%, implying the sun’s influence could be overpowering.  More recent studies using data from Hipparcos (a European Space Agency astrometry satellite) and properly accounting for the metallicity of the stars, place the estimate in the range of less than 3%.”   This is not a large number, but it is significant.

Indeed, the sun could be on the threshold of a mini-Maunder event right now.  Ongoing Solar Cycle 24 is the weakest in more than 50 years.  Moreover, there is (controversial) evidence of a long-term weakening trend in the magnetic field strength of sunspots. Matt Penn and William Livingston of the National Solar Observatory predict that by the time Solar Cycle 25 arrives, magnetic fields on the sun will be so weak that few if any sunspots will be formed. Independent lines of research involving helioseismology and surface polar fields tend to support their conclusion. (Note: Penn and Livingston were not participants at the NRC workshop.)

“If the sun really is entering an unfamiliar phase of the solar cycle, then we must redouble our efforts to understand the sun-climate link,” notes Lika Guhathakurta of NASA’s Living with a Star Program, which helped fund the NRC study. “The report offers some good ideas for how to get started.”

Sun-Climate (faculae, 200px)

This image of the Sun’s upper photosphere shows bright and dark magnetic structures responsible for variations in TSI. SOURCE: Courtesy of P. Foukal, Heliophysics, Inc.

In a concluding panel discussion, the researchers identified a number of possible next steps.  Foremost among them was the deployment of a radiometric imager.  Devices currently used to measure total solar irradiance (TSI) reduce the entire sun to a single number:  the total luminosity summed over all latitudes, longitudes, and wavelengths.  This integrated value becomes a solitary point in a time series tracking the sun’s output.

In fact, as Peter Foukal of Heliophysics, Inc., pointed out, the situation is more complex.  The sun is not a featureless ball of uniform luminosity.  Instead, the solar disk is dotted by the dark cores of sunspots and splashed with bright magnetic froth known as faculae.  Radiometric imaging would, essentially, map the surface of the sun and reveal the contributions of each to the sun’s luminosity.  Of particular interest are the faculae.  While dark sunspots tend to vanish during solar minima, the bright faculae do not.  This may be why paleoclimate records of sun-sensitive isotopes C-14 and Be-10 show a faint 11-year cycle at work even during the Maunder Minimum.  A radiometric imager, deployed on some future space observatory, would allow researchers to develop the understanding they need to project the sun-climate link into a future of prolonged spotlessness.

Some attendees stressed the need to put sun-climate data in standard formats and make them widely available for multidisciplinary study.  Because the mechanisms for the sun’s influence on climate are complicated, researchers from many fields will have to work together to successfully model them and compare competing results.  Continued and improved collaboration between NASA, NOAA and the NSF are keys to this process.

Hal Maring, a climate scientist at NASA headquarters who has studied the report, notes that “lots of interesting possibilities were suggested by the panelists.  However, few, if any, have been quantified to the point that we can definitively assess their impact on climate.” Hardening the possibilities into concrete, physically-complete models is a key challenge for the researchers.

Finally, many participants noted the difficulty in deciphering the sun-climate link from paleoclimate records such as tree rings and ice cores.  Variations in Earth’s magnetic field and atmospheric circulation can affect the deposition of radioisotopes far more than actual solar activity.  A better long-term record of the sun’s irradiance might be encoded in the rocks and sediments of the Moon or Mars.   Studying other worlds might hold the key to our own.

The full report, “The Effects of Solar Variability on Earth’s Climate,” is available from the National Academies Press at http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=13519.

Author: Dr. Tony Phillips  | http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2013/08jan_sunclimate/

See also the December Solar slump here

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jlurtz

Should I respect NASA again???

From the report [page 7]:
“Ongoing discussion of the role of solar variations in the early 20th century has given rise to the unfounded conjecture that the observed increase in temperature in the last half century could also be due to changes in TSI rather than to anthropogenic influences”
REPLY: That’s an important point readers should embrace. They should also embrace the fact that NASA is considering the possibility and has convened a group to study it. One mechanism I see as a possibility is related to UV variation and ocean algae/plankton variation changing the albedo. NASA is keeping an open mind, looking for mechanisms. To me, that’s a good thing, and the way of science. – Anthony

Stephen Wilde

Very similar to my work of the past 5 years.

oldseadog

“Researchers say ….”.
When NASA researchers say something it is big news; when an independant researcher says the same thing here on WUWT it is ignored.

Kelvin Vaughan

Now where did I read it’s not the Sun?

David Schofield

In the tags at the bottom of the post I read ‘leave a comment’ as ‘Leif, a comment?’

temp

“The cooling of the polar stratosphere associated with loss of ozone increases the horizontal temperature gradient near the tropopause,” he explains.
This sounds like they are already making up excuses as to why global warming failed but its still man’s fault.

Whoa, I thought the science was settled. This sounds like “We” need a great deal more study. pg

Mark Bofill

It’s nice to hear that solar amplification mechanisms are getting some research attention, despite the genuflection to the IPCC altar of CO2 (“…This fits in with the conclusion of the IPCC and previous NRC reports that solar variability is NOT the cause of global warming over the last 50 years…”). I guess I’ll take what I can get.

So, it seems like there are more influences and more complications to the Earth’s climate than just CO2 abundance in our atmosphere?

Bravo to NASA and NRC.
Only true scientists with an open mind and without prejudice can deal with this interesting problem.

commieBob

… “The cooling of the polar stratosphere associated with loss of ozone increases the horizontal temperature gradient near the tropopause,” …

This is nice to hear. The CAGW alarmists have taken the cooling of the stratosphere to prove that an increased greenhouse effect is preventing radiated heat from getting to the stratosphere.

Solar and the Earth magnetic fields act in concert – result is natural temperature variability.
Solar magnetic field effect is at its strongest in the high geo-latitudes, where also geo-polar temperature amplification is the greatest.
http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/ATO.htm

Leif Svalgaard says:
January 9, 2013 at 8:34 am
REPLY: They should also embrace the fact that NASA is considering the possibility and has convened a group to study it.
NASA has always been considering the possibility. Here is a report from 1978: http://www.leif.org/EOS/Sun-Weather-Climate.pdf
where, by the way, my work [with colleagues] on this has a prominent place.
‘Open mind’ has nothing to do with science. I would say, rather the opposite, namely healthy skepticism, not blindly accepting any ideas that comes your way.

Mark and two Cats

http://sdo.gsfc.nasa.gov/gallery/main.php?v=item&id=164
I’m getting: “server not found”.
Did obama and hansen make them take it down?

pochas

Leif Svalgaard says:
January 9, 2013 at 8:34 am
“From the report [page 7]:
“Ongoing discussion of the role of solar variations in the early 20th century has given rise to the unfounded conjecture that the observed increase in temperature in the last half century could also be due to changes in TSI ”
And I agree that TSI alone will not change anything very much. This is about rays and UV. Time to think about changing your tune, Dr S.

Reblogged this on Public Secrets and commented:
From the “We’ve been trying to tell you” department. The exact mechanism may be in dispute, but it defies reason to assert that that great big ball of flaming plasma in space has less influence on the Earth’s climate than the very questionable influence of human-introduced CO2. Very interesting article, well worth reading.

john robertson

Hansen is losing his grip? Models are giving way to data?
Makes the claims of AR4 even more dubious.
Has NASA and NRC gone back to trying to do science?
Budget Cuts are imminent?
Of the 16 identified drivers of climate… CO2 done it.
Sorry to be flippant but the number one rule of bureaucracy is cover your butt.
From the idiocy of claiming to rule out solar influence on our climate, allowing staff to operate Real Climate on paid time, to Moslem outreach, NASA and its sub-departments are not looking so good.
If the NRC is doing good science here, my thanks to the staff, but do we have adequate information, to make useful correlation that hint at causation?
Does the data from the new solar satellites help yet?

Gail Combs

Sounds like another tiny step away from the CAGW altar.

No mention of Svensmark here. I really dislike people who don’t give others their due.

Wow, who would have thunk it. Small variations in the big energy source are more significant than small variations in the immeasurable.

richardscourtney

Anthony:
Thankyou for this report.
The article includes these statements

A new report issued by the National Research Council (NRC), “The Effects of Solar Variability on Earth’s Climate,” lays out some of the surprisingly complex ways that solar activity can make itself felt on our planet.

and

In other words, solar activity felt in the upper atmosphere can, through a complicated series of influences, push surface storm tracks off course.

Some years ago, during a conversation at a RS meeting in London where he was a speaker, Henrik Svensmark told me that relatavistic effects enabled galactic particles – modulated by solar effects – to penetrate to the lower atmosphere. Thus, they can affect cloud nucleation low in the atmosphere. However, he was unwilling to discuss these effects because any mention of relatavistic effects induced suspicion of his hypothesis.
If solar-induced climate effects are “complex” then they will be difficult to unravel when some occur in the upper atmosphere (as the article says) while some happen in the lower atmosphere (as Svensmark claims). All the solar effects are likely to interact with each other and with other climate effects.
In these circumstances simple correlations are not likely to disprove any hypothesis of solar effects in the atmosphere.
Richard

O, NOW you tell us. (If I had a dime for every time, over the past ten years, an Alarmist told me the sun had no effect on temperatures, I’d really be jingling. Worst, they always sneered as they said it.)

Tim Clark

{ REPLY: That’s an important point readers should embrace. They should also embrace the fact that NASA is considering the possibility and has convened a group to study it. One mechanism I see as a possibility is related to UV variation and ocean algae/plankton variation changing the albedo…………Anthony }
And increasing cloud cover in response to UV. More here on DMS.
http://www.whoi.edu/oceanus/viewArticle.do?id=45946&sectionid=1000

Finally, NASA seem to have broken free of the “settled science” that the IPCC imposed. Climate science was effectively frozen for thirty years and NASA are now getting back to where they were in the 1970s. The last valuable contribution they made was Herman and Goldberg’s, “Sun, Weather and Climate”, in 1978.
It was an article about this scientific block by IPCC that triggered the first of my current lawsuits. Here is that article, slightly amended so Anthony and I likely don’t have to worry about another lawsuit.
http://drtimball.com/2011/corruption-of-climate-science-has-created-30-lost-years/
It appears this publication also marks the breaking of the control Hansen had over climate research at NASA. The comments of Hansen’s boss indicate the degree of political power Hansen had as a bureaucrat. What Hansen was doing publicly and politically probably should have been censured, even prosecuted under the Hatch Act.
http://drtimball.com/2012/nasa-scientist-out-of-control/
I understand that upper management were advised by much higher authority not to touch Hansen. When you look at the manipulations used by Senator Wirth for his appearance before Al Gore’s committee it is not surprising.
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/hotpolitics/interviews/wirth.html
This article is a small break through scientifically, but its political implications are profound. Put this with the revisions at the UKMO, and it marks an even greater shift. Can the mainstream media be far behind? They will all want to be on the winning side, especially if it affects funding and credibility.
Ironically, some of the scientists will have more trouble adjusting. As Tolstoi reportedly said,
“I know that most men, including those at ease with problems of the greatest complexity, can seldom accept even the simplest and most obvious truth if it be such as would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions which they delighted in explaining to colleagues, which they have proudly taught to others, and which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabric of their lives.”
This will particularly apply to those scientists who also hold the political view of those who hijacked climate science for a political agenda.
I think NASA and others who let themselves be bullied must be held accountable. I remember in Winnipeg three Environment Canada employees telling me after a presentation that they agreed with me but would lose their jobs if they spoke out. I used to have sympathy for this position – not any more. It is precisely this type of coercion that must be countered at all levels. Why is there need for a whistleblower law in a supposedly open and democratic society.
Maybe now the person(s) who leaked the emails from the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) will reveal themselves.

mpainter

Nothing that can be construed as conclusive. Looks to me heavy on PR “see what we do” stuff. Where do they address the SST increase?

>>Meehl and colleagues have begun to wonder if something in the Pacific climate system is acting to amplify them.
The suspected amplification was measured before and after AR4. Stott, et al, “Do Models Underestimate the Solar Contribution to Recent Climate Change?”, 2003, was dismissed by IPCC from AR4 on irrelevant grounds. Will IPCC recognize Tung, et al., “Constraining model transient climate response using independent observations of solar-cycle forcing and response”, 2008, in AR5?
A most likely cause is obvious. It is variable cloud cover, and hence variable Bond albedo. It is bipolar: a negative feedback to global warming from all causes, and a positive feedback to solar radiation.
Cloud cover albedo is the most powerful feedback in all of Earth’s climate because it gates the Sun. Clouds are perpetually building in proportion to Earth’s effective surface temperature and the Clausius-Clapeyron relation. At the same time, clouds are perpetually burning off on the morning side of Earth in proportion to solar radiation intensity.
The absence of variable cloud cover is just one of a bunch of fatal flaws in the pre-AR5 GCMs.

David Y

Slightly OT, but really, we need to silence denier skeptics like this (given that all this science is settled):
http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/01/09/us-usa-cancer-watson-idUSBRE90805N20130109

Slightly OT, but really, we need to silence denier skeptics like this:
http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/01/09/us-usa-cancer-watson-idUSBRE90805N20130109
/sarc;>

Keith

Blimey, a Wikipedia graph linked to climate that doesn’t ascribe to CAGW and hasn’t been removed by Willy & Co:
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/60/Solar_Activity_Proxies.png
Beryllium-10 as a proxy for solar activity does indeed suggest a grand maximum of notable proportions (I hesitate to use the word’unprecedented’…) in the second half of the 20th century.
Dr Svalgaard, what’s your view on Be10 versus SSN as a proxy for solar activity and potential impact on Earth’s climate please? To my layman’s eyes it certainly seems to be a better fit to records of observed temperatures than the CO2 record is. I know there’s no single factor in determining climate, but is Be10 a better candidate than CO2 for a starring role?

mpainter

Agust Bjarnason says: January 9, 2013 at 8:57 am
Bravo to NASA and NRC.
Only true scientists with an open mind and without prejudice can deal with this interesting problem.
=================================
Well, they have some of those, too.. maybe.

Grant

This subject fasinates me because as the onion is pealed, a new, unkown layer is exposed. It serves to remind even the most intellegent among us that we have just begun to explore the mysteries of our universe. NASA, of all oranizations, should not be surprised at this revelation.

DirkH

“Caspar Amman of NCAR noted in the report that ”
Caspar Amman: http://bishophill.squarespace.com/blog/2008/8/11/caspar-and-the-jesus-paper.html

Duster

The fact that scientists work for a government bureau or a corporation doesn’t necessarily mean their scientific results are biased. In fact while a group may superficially accept a certain position, e.g. AGW, doesn’t mean that the individual members are in intellectual lock step. This fact was clear in the CG-1 email release. Also, within a given domain, say NASA, there are always entrenched individuals and a number of others who would like to displace the entrenched “leaders” from their position. The self-evident general weakness of existing AGW theory – it is obviously too simple for a nonlinear system, it is not nearly as well stocked with multidisciplinary backup as it needs to be, etc., – leaves you wondering how Hansen has managed to retain his position as long as he has. It is fairly clear that he is losing influence within NASA. Since he is in his seventies, it’s likely that many other scientists are looking ahead to his retirement RSN. This is classic Kuhnian style paradigm change.

Moderator–I intended to note that my comment was sarcastic (for those who might not pick up on that); pls feel free to add “sarc” to it. Thanks!
[Reply:OK. -ModE]

Matt G

Tiny variations do have significant effect on climate and weather, the NH weather especially since 2007 is evidence of it. The mechanism involving the sun and positional changes in the jet stream are unknown and need researching. Decreasing albedo likely is at least in part the result of general changes in the jet stream positions. This is where a mechanism involving the sun has significant changes, when decreasing global low cloud albedo, increases TSI over the surface area of the land/ocean.

Stephen Wilde

This is getting very close to the narrative set out in my New Climate Model:
http://climaterealists.com/index.php?id=6482
“A New Climate Model – First Review ”
and I went into the likely mechanisms here:
http://climaterealists.com/index.php?id=6645
“How The Sun Could Control Earth’s Temperature”
Whatever defects may be found it seems that my work might well have been a lot closer to the truth than that from any of the climate professionals.
“Using supercomputer models of climate, they show that not only “top-down” but also “bottom-up” mechanisms involving atmosphere-ocean interactions are required to amplify solar forcing at the surface of the Pacific. ”
Been saying just that for several years. Didn’t need a supercomputer.
“If there is indeed a solar effect on climate, it is manifested by changes in general circulation rather than in a direct temperature signal.”
Ditto
“The NRC report suggests, however, that the influence of solar variability is more regional than global. ”
Ditto.
The bit they fail to get as yet is that those circulation changes alter global cloudiness to alter the amount of solar energy able to enter the oceans which skews ENSO towards El Nino or La Nina for an effect on global tropospheric temperatures until the solar changes fade away again.
It would have been nice to have had some attribution given the overlap with my earlier work and the similarity of the language used.

NASA saying this: Look, we are very, very smart and have assembled a team to consider whether the sun can affect climate change. It’s very complex and we have the people who are uniquely qualified to understand this, which until now, we didn’t even consider.
I believe NASA knows the jig is up, and want to save face by doing the research they have been in “denial” of. The true deniers/NASA are starting to change course –but they will need more funding to unravel the truth. Sickening that it’s taken this long for them to jump on that which they have denied in the most anti-science way for so long.
I am sad that NASA has become a political scheming tax drain worth less than the sum of its parts.

davidgmills

I notice that once again, in an important paper Svensmark is not mentioned, at least I couldn’t find his name mentioned where one might expect it.

David Oliver Smith

Interesting, but they’re not accounting for the energy from the solar wind. The solar wind puts a positive charge on the ionosphere. The earth has a negative charge. During high solar activity (high sunspot count, high sfu) the solar wind has greater net positive charge, putting a larger positive charge on the ionosphere. The earth’s atmosphere is a leaky capacitor. Lightning is a spark (charge equalization) between the positive ionosphere and the negative earth surface. Clouds are the conducting medium. Lightning is not formed in the clouds as current theory holds. The energy from lightning heats the atmosphere. This energy source is not accounted for in current theories and models. IMHO.

SAMURAI

I find it comical that NASA can finally admit that other non-TSI solar phenomena like high energy solar protons/electrons, solar wind/galactic cosmic ray flux, UV flux, etc., play a role in Earth’s climate, yet won’t attribute last century’s 0.6C of warming to solar influences, despite the strongest solar cycles in 11,400 years occurred between 1933 and 1996.
When the strong solar cycles ended, the warming trend ended the following year, so we now have 16 years of no warming despite the fact that yearly CO2 emissions have increased 60% since 1997. Hmmmm…. Something seems amiss.
We’re now in the lowest solar cycle since 1906 and the next solar cycle 25 will be the weakest since the Maunder Minimum ended in 1715.
How long will this CAGW charade go on? This year looks to be heading for another La Niña cycle, which will most likely lead to 17 years of no warming…..
And so it goes……until it doesn’t.

The arrogant audacity! How dare these researchers say that the Earth’s climate is complex. We have been told CO2 drives the climate and it’s very simple : CO2 rise = temperature rise.
Now as the truth emerges, Rube Goldberg would indeed envy any true graphical representation of the hugely complex and interwoven stimuli that drive our climate.

Tex

I posted this on the Solar activity thread, but it is pertinent here too:
I think something that has been missed in the attempts to prove a GCR climate linkage is that the comparisons to cloud coverage data have been done mainly using a global scale. The reality is that the GCR cloud linkage should only be seen strongly in areas of the atmosphere where lack of cloud formation nuclei is the limiting factor in cloud formation. In areas where moisture content of the atmosphere is the limiting factor, changes in GCR flux should not have a noticeable effect, and may actually have a reverse effect on cloud formation by providing even more nuclei for limited moisture volumes to condense around, thus further reducing the moisture available to form clouds that would have any impact on climate.
With regard to that concept, I have always looked at the tropical pacific as the most likely place to be able to see GCR flux amplification of the solar impact on climate, because the abundant moisture in the atmosphere and the relative lack of land areas make cloud formation nuclei likely to be the limiting factor on cloud formation. I find it interesting that NCAR is out looking for a mechanism for the larger than expected effect of the 11 year solar cycle in this area. My advice is to stop sampling water and start sampling air and GCRs in the tropical pacific troposphere.
Adding to this is that lower energy particles emitted by our own sun are most affected by Earth’s magnetic field at the equator, so changes in GCR flux should be more clearly measured at the equator and more subject to changes in the relatiosnhip between the solar and terrestrial magnetic fields.

Leif Svalgaard says:
January 9, 2013 at 9:10 am
‘Open mind’ has nothing to do with science.
No comment.

Jimbo

Leif Svalgaard says:
January 9, 2013 at 9:10 am
…………………
‘Open mind’ has nothing to do with science. I would say, rather the opposite, namely healthy skepticism, not blindly accepting any ideas that comes your way.

And that is why we are in such a muddle at the moment with co2 insanity. The models are failing and they don’t know why. Ha.

@Lief Svalgard: ‘Open mind’ has nothing to do with science. I would say, rather the opposite, namely healthy skepticism, not blindly accepting any ideas that comes your way.
An open mind has ?nothing? to do with science?! I submit that the greatest scientific discoveries were done with a mind open to unconventional theories that better fit observations than the accepted conventional theories/dogma.
Do you really think an “open mind” = “Blindly accpting any ideas” that come your way?
An open mind coupled with healthy skepticism is the very driver of science.

Tex

Something else I forgot to mention is that I believe there was some noise recently about changes in sulfate concentrations in the lowest levels of the tropical atmosphere in relation to changes in water temperature. If so, fluctuations in sulfate aerosols over the tropics could boost or reduce the effect of GCR impacts on cloud formation and would have to be corrected for in any study looking for correlation. If a simple relationship between tropical water temps and sulfate concentrations in the air exists (somewhat doubtful I think), it could be an easy proxy to use to make the adjustment.

3x2

Interesting read. Grabbed the full report – nice to see an option on the NAP download ‘registration’ for ‘private citizen’.

David Schofield says:
In the tags at the bottom of the post I read ‘leave a comment’ as ‘Leif, a comment?’

And you were not alone.

Bill Illis

I think to make sense of solar energy’s potential impact on the climate, we have to take it down to very, very tiny rates of energy that can accumulate in / be lost to the Earth system over time, each day, and/or over many years.
For example, the amount of energy which is accumulating in the Oceans and Land-Ice-Atmosphere is on the order 0.5 X 10^22 joules/m2/year. And there is 5 X10^14 m2 on the planet.
But the Sun’s energy is 386.4 X 10^22 joules/m2/year (+/- 0.14 10^22 in the solar cycle).
So if we can measure a 0.5 10^22 joules/m2/year there should be no reason to not assume some of the Sun’s energy can accumulate each year. There is no way every single 0.1 10^22 joules/m2 is balanced out by the emitted radiation ALL the time. We are talking about photons of energy here and they are not going be exactly balanced all the time.
A tiny, tiny difference in the Sun’s energy received versus the energy emitted each day is going to accumulate over time. I’m just saying, noone has ever looked at the issue this way that I am aware of.

DesertYote

NASA is just laying groundwork to build a new narrative. The sun causes cooling that HIDES AGW! The fact that they are entertaining some science at this early stage is just obfuscating cover.