New study claims low solar activity caused "the pause" in global temperature – but AGW will return!

This is on a tip from Dr. Leif Svalgaard, WUWT’s resident solar expert. It was just published in the journal Atmospheric and Climate Sciences, and is open access. I found this study’s conclusion a bit amusing, because there are numerous claims that solar activity (and the slight increase in TSI seen in the last 30 years) can’t explain the global warming we’ve seen, but yet somehow the recent period of low solar activity can explain the pause, and when solar activity resumes, global warming will return anew. Dr Svalgaard gives the author, Peter Stauning, high marks for his work in general, but disagrees with him on this paper.

I’m also more than a little bit puzzled how the journal editor and the peer reviewers let this sentence pass, everybody makes typos, but this one takes the cake. I kid you not:

But secondly, there must be a fair global coverage such that localized climate variations like the North-Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), or the El Ninjo/La Ninja in the Pacific would not affect the result too much.

Yes, I really want to see what the La Ninja effect looks like.

Here’s the paper abstract and excerpts:

Reduced Solar Activity Disguises Global Temperature Rise

DOI: 10.4236/acs.2014.41008  Author: Peter Stauning

ABSTRACT

The question whether human activities seriously affect climate is asked with increasing voice these days. Quite understandable since the climate appears to be out of control with the significant global temperature increases already seen during the last three decades and with still heavier temperature increases to come in the future according to prognoses, among others, in the recent comprehensive IPCC reports [1].

However, the most recent climate data [2], show global temperature development levelling off or even turning negative since 2001 in contrast to the anticipated course related to the steady increases in the concentration in the atmosphere of green-house gasses, primarily carbon dioxide and methane [1]. The purpose of this communication is to demonstrate that the reduced rate in the global temperature rise complies with expectations related to the decaying level of solar activity according to the relation published in an earlier analysis [3]. Without the reduction in the solar activity-related contributions the global temperatures would have increased steadily from 1980 to present.

  1. Introduction

The alarming rise in global temperatures from about 1980 to 2000 gave much concern around possible serious future climate changes, global warming, that could result from the increasing levels of carbon dioxide, methane and other greenhouse gasses in our atmosphere. However, as shown in [2] the strong rise in global temperatures faded after year 2000 and was replaced by a rather steady level or even small decreases in the global temperatures from around 2001 to present (2013). This development took away some of the incitement to cut down on human-induced growth in greenhouse gasses.

The question is now whether the present fading of the temperature rise is related to the concurrent decrease in solar activity scaled, for instance, by the sunspot numbers. Scientists have linked past climate changes to solar activity. The so-called “Little Ice Age” in the 17’th century was linked to the Maunder minimum in solar activity by [4]. Many later works have linked climate changes to changes in solar activity (see reviews [5,6]).

In the earlier analysis [3] from the Danish Meteorological Institute (DMI) a quantitative assessment was made of the relation between solar activity represented by the cycle-average sunspot numbers and the terrestrial climate represented by the global temperatures averaged over the same interval length but delayed by 3 years. In the present communication the anticipated effects of the developments in solar activity on the recent global temperature changes are analyzed.

2. Sunspots and Global Temperatures

The former analysis [3] and the present work assume that solar activity can be represented through the classical international sunspot number SSN = k·(s + 10·g), where s is the number of sunspots, g the number of sunspot groups while k is a calibration parameter to ensure that different observatories derive the same sunspot number regardless of observational qualities. A discussion of this index and of modified versions of the sunspot number is provided by [7]. The sunspot number is used here rather than satellite-based observations of solar radiation be- cause of the extended length of the time interval of available data.

Presently (2013) we are about 4 years into cycle 24. Figure 1 also displays the extensions through 1.5 years derived at SIDC with different models (kfsm “clas- sical standard” and kfcm “combined” models). The fig- ure, furthermore, displays the predictions prepared by the Australian IPS Radio and Space Services [10] and the NASA solar cycle 24 predictions [11] as of October 2013.

STAUNING_fig1

The mean of the two SIDC extrapolations [8] 1.5 years ahead as well as the NASA prediction places the maxi- mum of cycle 24 in mid-2013. The currently observed and predicted sunspot numbers makes this sunspot cycle the weakest since cycle 14 which had a maximum in the smoothed data of 64.2 in February of 1906. When final sunspot data become available they may turn out still lower to make cycle 24 even weaker than cycle 14.

Sunspot numbers have been reconstructed back to around 1850 with quite good accuracy based on as- tronomers’ careful and detailed recordings of the ap- pearance of the solar surface. The yearly sunspot num- bers since 1850 available from SIDC [8] are shown by the thin blue line in the bottom panel of Figure 2. The extension shown by the dashed line from present through the remaining solar cycle 24 to 2020 is based on the mean of the IPS [10] and the NASA [11] predictions.

The bottom panel of Figure 2 also displays the averages of sunspot number from minimum to minimum (usual solar cycle) marked by squares and from maxi- mum in a cycle to maximum in the next cycle marked by filled circles.

The top panel of Figure 2 displays global temperature variations since 1850 through the deviations from aver- age level 1961-1990.

STAUNING_fig2

Presently, the series are extended up to October 2013 and comprise the combined land-surface/sea-surface global temperature series, HadCRUT-4gl [2], shown in the up- per panel of Figure 2, which is used here for the analyses. For the discussions here it should be noted that following

the steep rise between 1980 and 2000, the global average temperatures flatten out after year 2000. The extension of the temperatures beyond present shown by the dashed line represents the average of global temperatures from 2001 to 2013.

3. Relations between Solar Activity and Global Temperature

It should be recalled that solar activity-related changes in global temperatures must arrive after the activity changes. The former DMI analysis [3] examined the correlation between sunspots and global temperatures for the interval from 1850 to 1980 and derived a value of 3 years for the delay that provided optimum correlation. In Figure 2 the cycle-average global temperatures are presented by the squares and filled circles, respectively, for the min-to- min and max-to-max intervals shifted 3 years.

The averaging presented in Figure 2 over min-to-min or max-to-max solar cycle intervals delayed by 3 years include years beyond present for the last two points. In the summations a reference value equal to the mean value of global temperatures from 2001 to 2013 has been substituted for values beyond 2013. Error bars extending from the two points represent the results obtained with global temperatures beyond 2013 systematically defined 0.1˚C higher or lower than the reference value.

In Figure 3 the individual cycle values of the sunspot number, SSNA, averaged over either min-to-min or max- to-max intervals of the solar cycle (appr. 11 years) and the change in global temperatures, ΔTA, averaged over the same interval length but delayed by 3 years, are shown by filled squares and circles, respectively. This way of averaging reduces the scatter and makes it easier to se the persistent relation between sunspots and global tempera tures. The relation was found statistically in the former analysis [3] to be: ΔTA = 0.009 (±0.002)·SSNA − 0.70˚C.

STAUNING_fig3

6.  Conclusions

The decaying solar activity makes the recently recorded global temperatures flatten out and thus disguises the real climate development. With a steady level of cycle-average solar activity the global temperatures would have shown a steady rise from 1980 to present (2013) in agreement with the increasing atmospheric concentrations of green-house gasses, primarily carbon dioxide and methane [16], and not the levelling-off actually observed since 2001.

The solar activity is now at the lowest level seen in the past 100 years and could not go much lower. Thus, the observed global temperatures may soon resume the steady rise observed from around 1980 to 2001. If solar activity starts increasing then the global temperatures may rise even steeper than that seen over the past three decades.

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

Open access to the full paper here: PDF (Size:544KB) PP. 60-63

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“La Ninja” Is where the Western Pacific Warm Pool suddenly appears in the Bearing Sea.

“The former DMI analysis [3] examined the correlation between sunspots and global temperatures for the interval from 1850 to 1980 and derived a value of 3 years for the delay that provided optimum correlation. ”
But we are also told in a primer on global warming aka climate change that “The reason the planet takes several decades to respond to increased CO2 is the thermal inertia of the oceans. ”
So which is it, several years or several decades? Also doesn’t solar shortwave warm the oceans more effectively that longwave from increased CO2? So there should be more lag more solar than from CO2…

Lawrence13

El Ninjo and La Ninja? Blimey he should be for the chop if that’s in the paper. There’s no self defence for mistakes like that, actually if I’m right La Ninja is self defence!!

The Sun explains 95% of climate change over the past 400 years
http://hockeyschtick.blogspot.com/2013/11/the-sun-explains-95-of-climate-change.html

Mark Hladik

That’s why we can’t find the ‘missing heat’. It has disguised itself as a La Ninja (or is it El Ninja?), and we’ll all be dead before we even know it is there… … … …

Lawrence13

Isn’t La Ninja the massive cooling of pacific ocean that seriously affects leather backed turtles, you know heroes in a half shell.

ossqss

That is a significant error. Makes me wonder if anyone actually read it for review. You don’t miss stuff like that in review. You just don’t. C’mon man! ……
Do we have a case of PAL review here or what?

graphicconception

Ninjas are famous for stealth and invisibility.
Now we know how all that heat got into the oceans!
And why Kevin is struggling to find it.
It’s a travesty.

Paul Westhaver

I am of the opinion that the sun’s activity dominates the climate on earth. Why? It is blatantly obvous. Night temps verses day temps. I get evidence nearly every day. It is hotter when the sun is out.
What I don’t see is a salient model for the immediate pause in warming though it seems that it must originate in the earth-sun energy exchange.
I don’t see it.

Bob Diaz

Looking at Global Warming is REAL but NOT a Big DEAL: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/01/12/global-warming-is-real-but-not-a-big-deal-2/
and this article, yes there’s reason to believe that a drop in solar activity will cause a drop in temperature, but the reverse should also be true. If we are entering a “mini-ice age” due to a Dalton Minimum type of solar reduction, once we exit this, we still won’t see that major rise predicted by the IPCC.

Lawrence13: Teenage Mutant La Ninja Turtles?

davidmhoffer

I haven’t done a detailed read of AR5 yet, but the SOD said that temps would only vary by about 0.1 degrees due to solar activity. So… did they change their minds in the final draft? Or is this paper saying that AR5 is wrong?
Either way, a comparison from 1850 on? Are they serious? Line up a few centuries of sun spot data and a few centuries of ice core data, and I bet the correlation goes POOF! and disappears.

Louis Hooffstetter

“solar activity (and the slight increase in TSI seen in the last 30 years) can’t explain the global warming we’ve seen, but yet somehow the recent period of low solar activity can explain the pause…”
They want to have their cake and eat it too.

Bill Illis

We are at the top of the solar cycle. How can the top of the solar cycle produce cooling?
TSI is currently about 0.7 W/m2 higher than the low point of the previous solar cycles so this paper must be designed to “communicate” to the followers.

Louis

“The solar activity is now at the lowest level seen in the past 100 years and could not go much lower. Thus, the observed global temperatures may soon resume the steady rise observed from around 1980 to 2001.”

How do they know that solar activity “could not go much lower” based on just the past 100 years? That’s just a blink in history. Is there any scientific basis for assuming the past 100 years represents the lowest lows solar activity is capable of?

davidmhoffer

davidmhoffer says:
January 13, 2014 at 5:40 pm
I haven’t done a detailed read of AR5 yet, but the SOD said that temps would only vary by about 0.1 degrees due to solar activity. So… did they change their minds in the final draft? Or is this paper saying that AR5 is wrong?

Ooops, I forgot part 2 of my question.
And if this paper is right, then this is yet another paper showing that the models are wrong?

timetochooseagain

Let’s be clear here: warming needs to do a *lot* more than return to it’s general rate since 1980. In order to catch back up to warming predictions, it needs to go significantly *faster* than that, and that increased pace needs to be *sustained* not transient due to increased solar activity.
Even if this is right, which is highly questionable, it is far from rescuing the model projections.

Don Newkirk

Of course, Ninjo and Ninja are transliterations of the Spanish words as they would be spelt in any if a number of northern or eastern scripts of the Latin alphabet. Google accepts these spellings implicitly. (Try it!) That I am a theoretical linguist might bias my eye, but this is not only no serious error, it is no error at all. Back to the contents….

John Greenfraud

More proof that the models are wrong. The “AGW will return” part was thrown in at the last minute so years of hard research didn’t get tossed into the rubbish bin. Also, the La Ninja effect is almost impossible to observe, I personally believe the effect is hiding in the deep ocean, fighting with the missing heat.

Lew Skannen

LA Nijas? I assume they are one of Los Angeles minor sports teams..?

Don Newkirk

“Any of…”, not “any if”. Now, that was a serious (smartphone) error!

Leon Brozyna

Turning science on its head … solar activity has no impact on the climate except when it does.
That La Ninja must be really powerful stuff.

Steve Fitzpatrick

Anything, and I mean ANYTHING, to explain away ‘the pause’ without admitting climate sensitivity to GHG forcing is probably pretty low. The simplest answer is the most likely: climate sensitivity is far lower than the climate modelers have calculated (probably about half), so natural variation is easily able to dominate GHG driven warming for decadal and longer periods.
I wonder if many climate scientists, like the author of this paper, realize that they would be better off just accepting low climate sensitivity as most likely correct and then moving on? Insisting on high climate sensitivity in the face of clear and ever growing contrary evidence simply discredits them as scientists. Heck, it discredits them as people capable of rational thought. Climate sensitivity is most likely low… get over it.

TimTheToolMan

Anthony quotes “the El Ninjo/La Ninja in the Pacific would not affect the result too much.”
That statement makes a joke of the whole paper. Clearly they have no idea what the impacts of El Nino/La Nina might be because the’re not even familiar enough with them to spell them right…and yet they made the statement. Unbelievable.

Louis

I think we can all guess what is going to happen next as a result of this study. Climate alarmists will use it as cover to come out of their hiding places to tell us how lucky we are that the Sun has given us this temporary reprieve from warming. But we must use this time to make drastic cuts to our carbon output, or we are all doomed!

Londo

There you finally have it, La Ninja is cutting down the temperature with a katana. I know climatologist would get this one right one day.

John F. Hultquist

Louis says:
January 13, 2014 at 5:52 pm
? lower solar activity ?

I took this to mean “sun spots” because of section
2. Sunspots and Global Temperatures
. . . and, if that is what is meant, then it cannot go below zero, and that has been contemplated – see
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2008/06/02/livingston-and-penn-paper-sunspots-may-vanish-by-2015/

p@ Dolan

“The question is now whether the present fading of the temperature rise is related to the concurrent decrease in solar activity scaled, for instance, by the sunspot numbers.”
I find it interesting that researchers with a CAGW bent refuse to use the term “cooling” when describing the last 17 years (or that the lack of warming goes back further than 2001). “Fading of the temperature rise.” That IS a very graceful euphemism, I must admit. Bonus points for creativity.

James at 48

Whether or not AGW returns the end of the interglacial cannot be avoided. It is a matter of when not if. If one agrees with Zeng 2007, ever tree planted to “mitigate Co2” speeds the inevitable end. We have met the enemy …

James at 48

Ever -> Every.

jones

I’m going out on a limb here but I suspect the missing heat is in that spherical fusion reactor in the sky….

Mike Maguire

Agree with Louis.
Maybe they mean that during the last minimum, some months passed with hardly any sunspots and we can’t bottom out less than 0 during a minimum. However, I don’t see why maximums can’t be substantially lower yet or the sun going without sunspots for years if the geomagnetic field gets much lower.
Like many others, they overlook the fact that CO2’s greenhouse gas warming effect is exerted in logarithmic fashion as concentrations increase in the atmosphere.
http://www.junksciencearchive.com/Greenhouse/co2greenhouse-X4.png
We’re at 400 ppm CO2 right now and from here on up, that warming curve continues to flatten!
Who the heck knows what the sun will be doing in 10 years. It could become more active or less active. To me, this study is mainly stating that the sun, at times can be at least as powerful as CO2’s effect. Since we have no idea what the sun will be doing in 20 or 50 years(or even 10 years) despite the really silly statement that it can’t go lower, then, knowing that the unpredictable sun has maybe a 50% chance of offsetting ALL the warming from CO2 and the warming curve flattens as CO2 increases, then why would we spend trillions of dollars and take extreme actions if one side is admitting that the unpredictable sun has this much power and has a good chance of being in the drivers seat.
Should the position be “we need to act now, in case the sun becomes active again?”
If the sun stopped the warming for over a decade, which is their position, then if they were to admit that it actually could get weaker would be promoting no action because an even weaker sun and the consequences being global cooling, would suggest no need for any action regarding CO2 at this time.
In fact, based on their analysis, if the sun would get weaker yet(which they assume won’t happen) then increasing CO2 to balance the suns cooling effect would be something desirable.
After all, humans know what the right temperature of the planet should be…………………which apparently is just a tad cooler than where we are today but not falling slightly like in the 50’s-70’s because that makes humans fret that another Ice Age might be coming.

Jeff Alberts

Quite understandable since the climate appears to be out of control with the significant global temperature increases already seen during the last three decades and with still heavier temperature increases to come in the future according to prognoses, among others, in the recent comprehensive IPCC reports

Oh, right. Because before the last three decades we had the climate completely under control.
Of course, when he says “prognoses” he really means digital entrails.
And that’s the news from planet Alarmia in the 97th Dimension.

RoHa

“Yes, I really want to see what the La Ninja effect looks like.”
The way ninjas operate, by the time you see the effect, it will be too late!

bones

“Dr Svalgaard gives the author, Peter Stauning, high marks for his work in general, but disagrees with him on this paper.”
What is the substantive disagreement? Is it that Leif doesn’t think that the global temperature anomaly is correlated with sunspot numbers? That would accord with his view that TSI has not varied much in the era of satellite observations and perhaps never has. But that would not exclude other physical coupling relationships between sunspot numbers and earth’s climate.

Streetcred

De HEAT … she ‘wax-on’, ‘wax-off’ …

Damian

You can’t see the La Ninja. It comes in , does its business and is gone undetected. You know, just like rest of AGW.

Pippen Kool

El Ninjo/La Ninja is just an English spelling for El Niño/La Niña. Sort of like, for a German word, writing Tuebingen for Tübingen. It’s not a typo.
Get with it!!

REPLY:
Fake dude, I challenge you to find any climate science paper written in English that uses your imagined variance.
Until then when you can present such evidence, kindly stifle yourself. Get with it then. – Anthony

Bill Hunter

If Dr Svalgaard gave high marks for his work here, its very much an “academic” grade meaning he understands the tools but clearly still lacks the common sense of how to use them. Even Foster and Rahmstorf, who jacked up solar to help explain the pause didn’t go so far. They just did it then sat back to enjoy the bourhaha it created while counting new grants coming in the door.
this is the basic problem. Grants are not given for quality results they are given to support political initiatives. Who is going to be the “Thomas Nast” that cleans this misappropriation of authority and taxpayer dollars up?.

Streetcred

Crouching CO2, Hidden heat.
http://youtu.be/vD7mt8F4Yiw

Streetcred

January 13, 2014 at 7:04 pm | Pippen Kool
—————
Like, hey man get with it ! Your ice and my ice are different, tiger.

timetochooseagain

@ Steve Fitzpatrick; Something tells me the author of this paper has never even heard the words “climate sensitivity.”

“Extreme Ninja weather is now the new norm we have to live with because we fill the atmosphere with to much carbon”
Al Gore’s next slogan!

Janice Moore

Don Newkirk says on January 13, 2014 at 5:58 pm “…
Ja!
(I never would have thought of that, though. Thanks for the informed insight.)

agfosterjr

Ninjo is Slavic. –AGF

bones says:
January 13, 2014 at 6:53 pm
What is the substantive disagreement? Is it that Leif doesn’t think that the global temperature anomaly is correlated with sunspot numbers? That would accord with his view that TSI has not varied much in the era of satellite observations and perhaps never has. But that would not exclude other physical coupling relationships between sunspot numbers and earth’s climate.
There is no doubt that the sunspot cycle has a 0.1C cycleic climate response. It is not known if there is a much larger long-term ‘background’ variation which could have impact on the climate; personally I think there is no such background, buy see my discussion here
http://www.leif.org/research/Long-term-Variation-Solar-Activity.pdf
The ‘other’ mechanisms are just straws to grasp at IMHO, but proponents will of course reach for any straw, no matter how weak.

Tom in Florida

Paul Westhaver says:
January 13, 2014 at 5:31 pm
“I am of the opinion that the sun’s activity dominates the climate on earth. Why? It is blatantly obvous. Night temps verses day temps. I get evidence nearly every day. It is hotter when the sun is out.”
It is the Earth’s orbital parameters that dominate the climate on Earth. Is the Sun less active during the night? Is the Sun more active during the day? Does the Sun become less active during NH winter? Does the Sun become more active during NH summer?
Of course not. By the way, it will be warmer tonight here in my area than it will be during the day on Wednesday. It’s called weather.

Janice Moore

James at 48 at 1838 today — Re: “Whether or not AGW returns… .”
What never was cannot return. The AGW conjecture is utterly, completely, and for all time dead (moreover, it was never alive).
CO2 UP. WARMING STOPPED.
Game over.
***********************************************************
Re: Bones at 6:53pm, today: “Is it that Leif doesn’t think that the global temperature anomaly is correlated with sunspot numbers? … But that would not exclude other physical coupling relationships between sunspot numbers and earth’s climate.”
I’m sure Dr. Svalgaard will make an appearance to speak for himself before long, but, in the meantime…. I think he would say:
Yes, there is correlation, not always strong. More significantly, correlation is not causation.
One of the many papers Svalgaard has written which may be helpful here:
http://www.leif.org/research/Does%20The%20Sun%20Vary%20Enough.ppt
********************************************
@ P@t Dolan — glad to see you again, sailor man. In port for the winter? Hope all is well. Re: creative writing, you should know (NOT sarcasm).

p@ Dolan

“Books are read, the sky is blue; el Ninjo is hot, la Ninja so cool…”
To some other critiquers: to me, the abstract read as if written by a scholar in other than his native language (some of the sentences seemed a bit pedantically dense; similar to many papers I’ve read in English from people studing ESL–or in many cases, third or fourth language). If so, it’s that much more impressive, regardless the conclusions, no? I know a woman did her B.A. in Warsaw in her native tongue, her Masters in Leipzig in German, and her PhD in English in Australia. That I don’t agree with most of her theories—and since I was only married to the one with the degrees in Applied Linguistics, my opinion was frequenly overlooked, and the band played on….doesn’t lessen my admiration (and envy) of her scholarship!
Still, let’s preserve, just a little longer, the absurd vision of el Ninjo and la Ninja, dicing up the Climate…
@Janice Moore:
Greetings!