Learning From The Monsoon

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

Inspired by a claim made on WUWT that

A new study led by Professor K.M. Hiremath of the Indian Institute of Astrophysics shows the strong, possibly causative correlation between variations in solar activity (red curve) and in monsoon rainfall (blue curve) in Figure 1.

I decided to see what I could find out about the Indian monsoon. I thought I might tell the story by describing the path I walked. I started out with a huge advantage—I knew nothing about the timing, size or pattern of the Indian monsoon rains, other than that they occur during the summer. I knew that when land gets hot in summer, hot air rises, wet air is drawn in from the ocean. Result? Monsoon rainfall. Other than that I had no knowledge, a great advantage in exploration of a new dataset. Preconceptions are the enemy of science …

A Google search led to the Hockey Schtick, which fortunately reproduced two pages from the study. In turn, that identified the data source as the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology. Another google search located the IITM data page. I used the “Sontakke” dataset for this analysis, the page is here.

Now, on that page the rainfall data for India is divided into seven regions, three on the peninsula and four in the north. The Hiremath et al. study used all three peninsular datasets, plus the north-west region. Simply because it was higher in the list, I started by analyzing the dataset for North West India (NWI). The Sontakke dataset ends in 2006, unfortunately, but it’s what the authors used. Here are the last two decades of that record:

india rainfall nwi 1987 2006

Figure 1. Rainfall in the North West region of India over the two decades 1987-2006. The monsoon rains come in June, July, August, and September. The top panel is the raw data. The middle panel is the average monthly component of the rainfall. The lower panel is the raw data minus the seasonal component. The trend over this period is not statistically significant. The blue line is the loess average of the data.

Yes, there is a huge difference between the four monsoon months and the dry two-thirds of the year. There is also no statistically significant trend in the two decades of data. Having seen that, I took a look at the same analysis, but for the entire period of the data.

india rainfall nwi 1844 2006

Figure 2. As in Figure 1, but for the longer period of 1844 to 2006.

What stands out in the full dataset is the lack of much long-term variation at all. There is no significant long-term trend to the data, nor any obvious variation over the century and a half of data.

Is there a solar signal in there? Well … perhaps, but if so it’s neither large nor obvious. However, this shows the whole year, not just the monsoon months (JJAS) analyzed by Hiremath et al.

So I then looked  at just the monsoon months. Why did I not start with just the monsoon months? Because I first want to see the entire signal before I start sub-setting it.

In any case, here is the total rainfall of just those four months, year by year, compared with the sunspot record.:

monsoon rainfall nw india sunspots

Figure 3. Rainfall and sunspots. Upper data is the total of the monsoon rains (JJAS) for that year. Lower data is the total sunspot count by year.

At first glance, that looks kinda hopeful … but a closer examination shows that significant correlation simply doesn’t exist. Perhaps the simplest way to demonstrate this is the cross-correlation function. This shows the correlation at a variety of lags, with positive lags showing rainfall lagging the solar changes.

ccf monsoon rainfall nw india sunspotsFigure 4. Cross-corrlation of sunspots and NW Indian monsoon rainfall. 

As you can see, the correlation at all lags is trivially small.

Now, does this show that the paper by Hiremath et al. is wrong? By no means. They looked at an average of four monsoon areas, and I’ve only looked at one of them, NW India. I haven’t examined the rest. However, it isn’t looking good for the solar theory.

I also haven’t taken a close look at their formula relating the solar activity to future rainfall. Why not? Well, I don’t have their paper.

In addition, I couldn’t verify the following from the abstract of the paper:

Those internal forcing variables are parameterized in terms of the combined effect of external forcing as measured by sunspot and coronal hole activities with several well known solar periods (9, 13 and 27 days; 1.3, 5, 11 and 22 years).

Instead, here’s what I found for the cycles inherent in the data.

periodogram monsoon rainfall nw india sunspots

Figure 5. Periodogram of the NW Indian Rainfall. 

Note that there are no long-period cycles that are larger than two percent of the peak-to-peak swings of the data, so we’re way down in the noise. This is trivially small. In addition, there are no peaks at the periods mentioned of 1.3, 5, 11, or 22 years …

So, that’s the investigation to date. Still lots to do. I’ve only looked at one of the four datasets so far. Hiremath et al. looked at the total for the four areas. And I don’t have a copy of the underlying Hiremath paper, so I’m doing my own investigation.

Sadly, my time is quite short these days. I’ve taken a new job, as is my wont, but it has bizarre hours—5:30 AM until 2 PM. Now me, I’m a night owl by nature, so this has played havoc with my available time.

In addition, I’m doing strenuous physical work. We’re doing a rebuild on the lobby and facade of the local movie theater, and there has been a lot of demolition work. The lobby has 11-foot (3.3 metre) ceilings, which we’re ripping sections out of and rebuilding. Much of the work is up in the ceiling, or working up on a two level scaffolding … another part of life’s rich pageant. Now me, I’m sixty-seven, what I call my “middle youth”, so this is, well, somewhat consuming.

Not that I’m complaining, mind you. People sometimes ask me what I do for exercise … I say “I don’t pump iron … I pump wood.” So I’ve been spending my days in the gym, climbing ladders, doing the low crawl in the ceiling, and pumping wood.

However, no matter how cardiovascularly stimulating my work might be, to date it has cut heavily into the time for my climate research and investigations. So, for a while at least, I’ll be contributing less to the discussion.

My best to all,


The Usual: If you disagree with someone, please have the courtesy to quote the exact words that you disagree with. That way all of us can be clear exactly what you are objecting to.

Data and code: The data (including the three datasets I haven’t analyzed yet, plus other indian rainfall datasets) and R code are all in a zipped folder called “Indian Rainfall Folder“. To run the code, set your R workspace to the folder, and it should be pretty turnkey.

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October 8, 2014 8:45 pm

Many studies find the link between Asian monsoons & solar activity on various time scales. I’ve previously linked some on this blog, but here are some others:
Solar influence on the Indian summer monsoon during the Holocene
Anil K. Gupta,1 Moumita Das,1 and David M. Anderson2
Received 23 February 2005; accepted 27 July 2005; published 10 September 2005.
[1] The large (8%) changes in the past seasonal
insolation have a well-documented influence on the
Indian summer monsoon. However, the effect of the
small (<1%) decade to century scale solar variability is
less certain. Evidence is emerging that Earth’s climate is
sensitive to small changes in solar output on centennial
time scale during the Holocene. Comparison of a recently
published proxy record for sunspot activity with our
newly-revised higher-resolution record of the Indian
summer monsoon winds reveals multiple intervals of
weak summer monsoon during the Holocene at
multidecadal to centennial scales. Weak summer
monsoon winds correlate with reduced solar output. Our
results suggest that small changes in solar irradiance can
bring pronounced changes in the tropical monsoon. The
multidecade to century scale variations in the monsoon
winds were much larger in the early Holocene coincident
with increased sunspot numbers. Citation: Gupta, A. K.,
M. Das, and D. M. Anderson (2005), Solar influence on the
Indian summer monsoon during the Holocene, Geophys. Res.
Lett., 32, L17703, doi:10.1029/2005GL022685.

James Bull
October 8, 2014 9:23 pm

Willis interesting read thank you.
I like the description of being in your “middle youth” my Mum when in her seventies used to say she and my Dad were in late middle age as they kept seeing in the news that someone had reached 100 plus years. My Dad only gave up his allotment garden 2 years ago at 89 (still has a garden 120×55 ft) and Mum gives lifts and does errands for the old folks in her car (some of the old folk are 10/20 years her junior)
As a friend of mine says “You’re only as old as you feel and if you feel old you’re obviously feeling the wrong bit”
All the best
James Bull

October 8, 2014 9:34 pm

Similar to exploratory factor analysis – there may be little ripple across the various measures, but the FA will find factors for you, however subtle the profile.

October 8, 2014 10:14 pm

If after 1860 you have 14 peaks in one data set and 12 in the other, do you really expect to have much correlation? Are the usual trick going to make any difference?

October 8, 2014 10:27 pm

Even IF there is something more in it than strong correlation. Who are the man/woman to judge if it’s A that effects B or if there is other factors on the route to B? In other words IF A -> C1 (+C2 and so on) and Cx leads to D that leads to B…..

Peter Sable
October 8, 2014 10:44 pm

“Figure 5. Periodogram of the NW Indian Rainfall. ”
I see you are still using the “slow Fourier Transform” code which I’ve shown distorts the signal badly and is not a valid analysis tool.

Peter Sable
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
October 9, 2014 10:12 pm

I have previously posted “what’s wrong” for the sunspot data. Data and code is still up on dropbox. It’s the same tool, same wrongeness. Why would I have to do it again for a different data set?
Also, you have the burden of proof wrong. When doing signal processing, the burden of proof is on the author: As previously posted, you need to sweep sine waves and make sure you are getting the correct result, make sure the windowing function is correct with low frequency sign waves and make sure aliasing isn’t happening with high frequency sign waves. Showing the impulse response is also normal.

Peter Sable
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
October 9, 2014 10:19 pm

Also, how do we know you implemented DCDFT correctly? We don’t. you have to test your code. You have to provide the tests as proof. I have 10 years of signal processing and 25 years of software engineering as a background here. I’ve shipped numerous bugs to the field and been caught out by PhDs making basic “where’s your test code” mistakes – in the medical device field, where if you get it wrong, someone dies (or stays dead in what I was working on).
Generally I would barely trust built-in Matlab and R functions, though for our purposes they are probably good enough.

Peter Sable
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
October 10, 2014 5:02 pm

> To do that, you’d have to show us how to do it right, and then show the difference between your results and mine.
Well, actually the source code for my method is sitting up on dropbox. It’s an early draft version so I’m still updating it. (the shape is correct but the magnitude has a bug, plus there’s anomalies near zero period I have to deal with)
output of 11 year sine wave my code: comment image
output of 11 year sine wave your code: comment image?dl=0
source: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/5wh9dbja6x37nfa/AADhfZFr6JXWF2vCDAj407Hoa?dl=0
I believe what you are forgetting to do is window the data. Read http://www.edn.com/electronics-news/4383713/Windowing-Functions-Improve-FFT-Results-Part-I, The sidelobes I see in your code look exactly like leakage due to windowing issues in that article.
(btw the thread depth is limited I can’t reply directly to your post which is current below… )
(also if I could get some help on formatting in wordpress I’d appreciate that)

Peter Sable
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
October 10, 2014 5:26 pm

Not sure why I didn’t think of this before, but I disabled windowing on my code and got almost exactly what you got. Lots of side-lobes.
So I think your periodogram code just needs a window function added.
I’m still flummoxed as to why you would implement an FFT in a different manner though… FFT is built in to scilab, matlab, Octave, and probably R.

Peter Sable
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
October 11, 2014 1:44 am

Okay, now I understand the missing data part, though typically interpolation is what a signal processing person would use as a separate step.
You are still not windowing your data and that’s creating plenty of artifacts

Peter Sable
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
October 11, 2014 2:18 am

This shows what happens when you don’t window a sine wave. It doesn’t look like the single period you would expect, it looks like energy scattered all over the spectrum.comment image?dl=0
source (lots of other fun stuff like period resolution limits):

Peter Sable
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
October 11, 2014 8:32 pm

Here’s what happens when you window the data before feeding it to your slow Fourier Transform” code. I believe this proves that you need to window your data. Nice clean spike at the correct period of the sine wave:comment image?dl=0

October 8, 2014 11:13 pm

Simple correlations with the sun will never be statistically detectable unless combined with ocean oscillations.
The strength of monsoons have been clearly linked to pattern changes in ocean surface temperatures. When the Pacific is in a LA NIna like state monsoons are stronger and there are more floods in Asia and droughts in the Americas. When in an EL Nino like state monsoons are weaker and there are more droughts in Asia and more floods in the Americas.
During the Medieval Warm period there was high solar activity and the ocean were in a La Nina like condition with the appropriate pattern of droughts and floods. During the Little Ice Age when solar activity was reduced with the appropriate effect on monsoons and droughts.
The position of the ITCZ is also a factor and it is well established that the ITCZ moved southward during the LIttle Ice Age and low solar activity.

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
October 9, 2014 8:47 am

“Note also that the monsoons have a huge cooling effect on the surface…”
Another fact that gives the lie to the positive feedback of water vapor assumed in all the GCM’s.

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
October 10, 2014 8:02 am

Willis says “that claim of yours assumes that 1) there are “simple correlations with the sun” [and the weather], and 2) they are being hidden by the ocean oscillations.
I don’t notice any evidence for either of those claims. Do you have any?”
There are numerous papers showing the oceans absorb heat during La Nina like conditions, the lack of clouds and clearer skies in the eastern Pacific during La Nina can allow 5 to 200 more W/m2.
I don’t argue that there is a simple correlation with the sun, I argue attempts to determine one will never be detected in the short term of decades to centuries because absorption and ventilation of heat and changing sea surface patterns will obscure the sun’s contribution. But a stronger correlation emerges over longer timescales and the paleoclimate is littered with studies showing changes in cosmogenic nuclides like Be10 correlate with climate change.
A most pertinent paper is Asmerom et al (2007) Solar forcing of Holocene climate: New insights from a speleothem record, southwestern United States. Geology
They claim “We show that periods of increased solar radiation correlate with decreased rainfall, the opposite to that observed in the Asian monsoon, and suggest that a solar link to Holocene climate is through changes in the Walker circulation and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation and Kl Nino-Southern Oscillation systems of the tropical Pacific Ocean. Given the link hetween increased warniing and aridity in the southwest, additional
warming due to greenhouse forcing could potentially lead to persistent hyperarid conditions, similar to those seen in our record during periods of high solar activity.

Joel O'Bryan
October 8, 2014 11:30 pm

If you want the Hiremath in pdf, my email is: joel(dot)obryan(at)gmail(dot)com
I will reply with the pdf of the Hiremath doc.
Joel (in tropical soggy Tucson Arizona)

M Courtney
October 9, 2014 1:02 am

At first glance that figure 3 looks more than “kinda hopeful”.
There are parts of that time period that look very hopeful.
Perhaps it would make sense to look at the periods that seem to work (1850-1900ish and a century later) and see if those periods seem to work in the other regional data as well?
It is possible that there is a real solar effect on the Indian Monsoon but that it is swamped by other effects at some times.

M Courtney
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
October 10, 2014 12:34 am

I was saying that the data that does agree with the theory may actually indicate that that the theory only applies at certain times. Other factors are more significant at other times.
So I described a test that would check that… if it applies in one region it should apply in all regions when the theory is applicable.
If it only applies at sometimes in some places, sometimes, then we have no support for the theory. The evidence is picked to support the theory not the theory picked as it is supported by the evidence.
But saying that a theory is not the whole answer so it can’t be any part of the answer? That is a illogical.

October 9, 2014 1:54 am

I agree with Jim Steele.
Weather originates in the oceans with nearly all rain arising from and descending back into it. Land masses are merely interruptions between oceans. It is why rain forest removal etc will not alter climate, which more than anything else is a function of latitude, i.e. angle of sun’s rays. The ocean is controlled by the moon, which directs currents according to its declination cycles. The SOI is the result. Current reversal is called El Nino and the weakened winds that result together with slacker currents retard monsoonal activity.and also cyclone development
For a very rough rule of thumb there are two approx El Ninos per sun cycle, with each return averaging about half a decade. But it is not regular. EN may vary between 2-7 years and one solar cycle may vary between 9-14 years. Longer term, 10 lunar cycles equate approximately to 17 sun cycles.
Ken Ring

October 9, 2014 2:22 am

“However, it isn’t looking good for the solar theory.”
Well, how’s it looking for CO2?
I’d say the BS detector needle is pegged at 11.
What say you Willis?

Henry Galt
October 9, 2014 2:29 am

Another anti-cycle-clone.

Reply to  Henry Galt
October 9, 2014 2:44 am

You didn’t read my post. I said lunar cycles would be a more reliable guide to monsoon periodicity

October 9, 2014 5:46 am

I agree, taking a job sure sucks (up your time 😉
Since I’ve been chasing money, my time for thought and posting is way off. But, gotta eat… (STILL waiting for all that Big Oil money that is supposedly sloshing around…. /sarc)
On the monsoons vs solar: An ‘eyeball’ of the rain pattern looks like a (poor) about 80 year cycle with peaks about 1875 – 1960 (yes, I know that is 85 years… I said “about’ 😉 so maybe longer cycle time has some promise, but the data only has one cycle in it (and that one is lousy and could be a random excursion).
On Fig.5 it looks like about a 16 year lag from the drop of sunspots to the plunge of rain in about 1910. The larger envelope of the two both seem to ’round over’ in similar fashion on each side of that drop (with the lag). Perhaps “period” isn’t quite so important as overall ‘envelope’ ( plot lagged rain vs sunspots and check R value?) When you have multiple not quite regular thing interacting, looking for a regular period will fail. Sunspots have an average 11.1 (or so) period, but actually studiously avoid having that average in any one cycle. Clusters both sides of it ( 9 ish and up to about 12-14 ish). Add in quasi-cycle lunar movements (it wanders over long terms) and you want a wiggle match more than a periodicity peak. Will it find anything? While I suspect so, it is just speculative on my part.
Jevons (of Jevons Paradox) studied the British Empire grain production/price data from India and found a significant coorelation between solar cycles and grain production. Yes, more than just Monsoons involved, but the data are what they are. There is some kind of connection, just a murky one. It has been ‘found’ several times since the 1800s and Jevons. ( IIRC he was follwing up on Herschel. )
Does any of that have enough strength to make any real difference? I doubt it. There have been some grain traders who claimed to use sunspots to make predictions and thus money. Then again, some of them claim to use all sorts of crazy stuff…
IMHO, the reality will likely end up back at Lunar / Tidal and the solar connection just being due to orbital resonance causing a slight coorelation between spots and the moon cycles; but even that is entirely speculative. Still, doing a comparison of tide patters (long term) in the area to monsoons and ocean cycles might be useful.
Thanks for the story and the analysis. Hope the theatre turns out well!

October 9, 2014 5:51 am

kenmoonman October 9, 2014 at 1:54 am
I agree with Jim Steele.
And I agree with both.
The Temperature of the Ocean off India’s coast is going to be what determines the Monsoon.
You heard it hear ‘third’ folks : )

October 9, 2014 6:02 am

In Australia, we have folk at the Bureau of Meteorology who are capable of homogenising this data to ensure there is a strong trend – up or down – it doesn’t matter – whatever pleases you.

October 9, 2014 6:44 am

Now, does this show that the paper by Hiremath et al. is wrong? By no means. They looked at an average of four monsoon areas, and I’ve only looked at one of them, NW India. I haven’t examined the rest. However, it isn’t looking good for the solar theory.
I also haven’t taken a close look at their formula relating the solar activity to future rainfall. Why not? Well, I don’t have their paper.

Why then are we seeing this essay at all?

Reply to  Kip Hansen
October 9, 2014 8:27 am

Good question. Hiremath’s 2004 paper on the same topic is available in its entirety in .pdf simply by Googling “Hiremath monsoon”. Can’t recall if I’ve linked to it on this blog before or not, among the many instances of the influence of the solar cycle on weather & climate I’ve cited in the past.
From New Astronomy, via Science Direct:
Influence of the solar activity on the Indian Monsoon rainfall
K.M. Hiremath a,*, P.I. Mandi b
a Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Bangalore 560034, India
b Basaweshwara Science College, Bagalkot, Karnataka, India
Received 5 March 2004; received in revised form 21 March 2004; accepted 1 April 2004
Available online 22 April 2004
Communicated by W. Soon
We use 130 years data for studying correlative effects due to solar cycle and activity phenomena on the occurrence of
the Indian Monsoon rainfall. We compute the correlation coefficients and significance of correlation coefficients for the
seasonal and the annual data. We find that: (i) for the whole years 1871–2000, the spring and southwest monsoon rainfall
variabilities have significant positive correlations with the sunspot activity during the corresponding period, (ii) the FFT
and the wavelet analyses of the southwest monsoon rainfall variability show the periods 2.7, 16 and 22 year, respectively
(similar to the periods found in sunspot occurrence data) and, (iii) there is a long-term trend indicating a gradual
decrease of occurrence of rainfall variability by nearly 2.31.3 mm/year and increase of sunspot activity by nearly
3.91.5 sunspots/year compared to the activity of previous solar cycle.
We speculate in this study a possible physical connection between the occurrence of the rainfall variability and the
sunspot activity, and the flux of galactic cosmic rays. Owing to long-term positive and significant correlation of the
spring and southwest monsoon rainfall variabilities with the sunspot activity, it is suggested that solar activity may be
included as one of the crucial parameter in modeling and predicting the Indian monsoon rainfall.
2004 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Solar cycle and activity phenomena; Indian Monsoon rainfall; Flux of the galactic cosmic rays

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
October 9, 2014 5:08 pm

Reply to Willis ==> To me, this type of premature, superficial “hack-and-slash” criticism of papers you haven’t read adds nothing to our greater knowledge, says nothing about the paper being discussed, and serves only to muddy the scientific waters.
It might be better for to wait until you know what they are saying before you start in.

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
October 10, 2014 6:18 am

Personally investigating questions that inspire you is perfectly valid — I do it all the time, often on points and across fields of knowledge a bit esoteric — approaching bizarre — so that my wife and friends think I’ve lost it. They may be right.
Whatever you call the thing you do when you write this type of piece, it is not science — science requires understanding what knowledge we have already gained in a field; taking advantage of the years of work other colleagues have put in on a question; reading, understanding, questioning, probing and testing to see what part of their work answers valid questions about the world around us with probably valid answers; and attempts to replicate their work. Spending an otherwise idle evening or two playing with one’s “Maths and Graphs Toolkit” and using easily accessed vaguely related datasets found under your local lamppost where the light is good is not the same as years of hard work on a narrow question — and writing up the “results” you obtain from your interesting play is not science — it is sophomoric pretension.
I enjoy your travel travelogues — but not your pseudo-science travelogues.

October 9, 2014 6:47 am

Willis, is there a simple algorithm to back convert your cycle-length/amplitudes (i.e. Figure 5) into a signal vs time format?

Crispin in Waterloo
October 9, 2014 6:51 am

Excellent, Willis. I wondered about India because the Indian Ocean seems to have a mind of its own and doesn’t change temperature the way the others do (I am basing that on Tisdale’s work).
I also appreciate the straightforward methods that ‘finds things’ but which are in the mud. The usefulness of that is of someone finds a powerful multiplier the initiating impulse is already demonstrated.
Is there a cloudiness data set v.s. Temp or rainfall?

October 9, 2014 8:20 am

I subscribe all or in part to the hypothesis advanced by Happ, et al, that the 100% swing in the UV component of TSI over solar cycles, combined with associated solar magnetic flux variation (as indicated by sunspots), is a major driver of both weather & climate change on earth, via these solar effects on ozone, clouds, air pressure, SST & other atmospheric & oceanic parameters.
These influences are brought home to me every year during the Pineapple Express & Chinook winds in Oregon (& on longer timescales by PDO switches, most memorably in 1977), & by ENSO swings in Pacific coastal South America.
Monsoons in China, SE Asia, the Indian Subcontinent & the Arabian Peninsula however are also strongly correlated with these fluctuations, as are droughts & floods on opposite sides of the Pacific.
CO2, not so much.

Reply to  milodonharlani
October 9, 2014 2:40 pm

Experience of the North American monsoon in AZ & NV also reinforces this view, IMO.

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
October 9, 2014 4:18 pm

The evidence for solar influence on climate is overwhelming to self-evident.
Did you read the link? UV affects ocean T directly & via its effect on ozone, which also affects air pressure & winds. The correlation is highly statistically significant, but if you don’t think so, no worries.

Reply to  milodonharlani
October 10, 2014 9:17 am

The ‘100% swing’ you refer to is only in the EUV which is a tiny fraction of the total UV emitted by the sun. The EUV isn’t involved in stratospheric O3 production and in fact barely makes it into the thermosphere.

October 9, 2014 8:30 am

Thanks for the preliminary analysis, Willis.
And good luck with the theater lobby.

October 9, 2014 9:09 am

Al Gore shares a Nobel Prize while Willis Eschenbach works construction. Maybe climate change really is more dangerous than Ebola. Maybe climate changed caused it. Maybe Ebola will go extinct and it will be all our fault. And maybe it won’t. –AGF

Reply to  agfosterjr
October 9, 2014 9:24 am

I’m sure that Willis is in better physical condition than Fat Albert.

Reply to  milodonharlani
October 9, 2014 9:25 am

And unlike Prince Albert, Willis isn’t dependent on Big Oil money.

Steve McIntyre
October 9, 2014 9:28 am

Willis, this topic is almost as old as both statistics and meteorology. The Yule-Walker equations, well known in statistics, combine the names of Udny Yule, a statistician remembered today in respect to spurious regression, and Gilbert Walker of the Walker circulation. Both sunspots and Indian monsoons crop up in early studies. You’ll find some interesting articles if you combine the topics and author names.

Reply to  Steve McIntyre
October 9, 2014 10:05 am

Something good out of NCAR:
Entire .pdf open access.
The eponym “Walker Circulation” refers to a concept used by atmospheric scientists and oceanographers in providing a physical explanation for the El Niño–Southern Oscillation phenomenon, whereas the eponym “Yule–Walker equations” refers to properties satisfied by the autocorrelations of an autoregressive process. But how many statisticians (or, for that matter, atmospheric scientists) are aware that the “Walker” in both terms refers to the same individual, Sir Gilbert Thomas Walker, and that these two appellations arose in conjunction with the same research on the statistical prediction of climate? Like George Udny Yule (the “Yule” in Yule– Walker), Walker’s motivation was to devise a statistical model that exhibited quasiperiodic behavior. The original assessments of Walker’s work, both in the meteorology and in statistics, were somewhat negative. With hindsight, it is argued that his research should be viewed as quite successful.

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
October 9, 2014 4:19 pm

Herschel was right.

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
October 9, 2014 8:15 pm

IIRC, I provided you with the grain price data to which you refer. By all means, please publish.
My statements have been repeatedly supported by the studies which I keep linking but which you keep ignoring, to include in this very comment section. Before posting on incomplete data, you still need to do a thorough literature search before making false assertions about the influence of solar cycles. Your failure to read what others have done means that you keep reinventing the wheel, as Dr. Spencer showed with respect to tropical ocean updrafts.

October 9, 2014 10:15 am

Willis, may I suggest you update your definition of a monsoon because this “I knew that when land gets hot in summer, hot air rises, wet air is drawn in from the ocean. Result? Monsoon rainfall. ” is truly outdated.
Here is a primer regarding atmospheric circulation: http://ddata.over-blog.com/xxxyyy/2/32/25/79/Leroux-Global-and-Planetary-Change-1993.pdf
I invite you to read Leroux Dynamic Analysis of Weather and Climate 2010, Springer-Praxis, chapter 4 on Tropical Circulation:
“• Monsoon circulation
The intervention of the continental thermal factor alters this symmetrical distribution. The Sun’s yearly motion displaces maximum warming from one tropic to the other, the theoretical maximum displacement being 46° 54′) (cf. Fig. 3-B). The thermal factor can certainly affect the pressure field, though this is not possible over the oceans, where Anticyclonic Agglutinations dominate and warming is never excessive. Over continents, however, the ITL corridor is locally very deep, and displaced by moving thermal lows, which distort the meteorological equator, lagging more or less behind the Sun’s zenithal motion. The trade wind coming from an AA is thus caused to cross the geographical equator by way of a transequatorial pressure declivity between high pressure in one hemisphere and low pressure in the other. The Coriolis or geostrophic force, a function of the sine of the latitude, is nil at the Equator, and the initial trade wind can cross the Equator under the effects of inertia and of the pressure gradient. Progressive penetration into the opposite hemisphere, towards the axis of the thermal low which is moving away from the equator, increases the geostrophic force, now of opposite sign: the flux is diverted eastwards as a monsoon (photo 19), and the lines of flux are now perpendicular to the isobars (Fig.22).
Genetically, a monsoon is therefore the extension into one hemisphere of a trade wind originating from an AA in the opposite hemisphere, or directly from an MPH, drawn across by a thermal low in the summer hemisphere. The term summer monsoon is thus tautological. The monsoon meets, along the ME, a (continental) trade wind from the opposite hemisphere, and the area of extension of this trade is considerably reduced.”

Reply to  TomRude
October 9, 2014 10:52 am

ITL: Intertropical Low Pressure
ME: Meteorological Equator
MPH: Mobile Polar High
Please correct me if wrong.

Reply to  milodonharlani
October 9, 2014 5:52 pm

Indeed thanks for the precision…

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
October 9, 2014 6:04 pm

The thermal low help draw the monsoon air deeper inside continents but the key point is the strength of of the circulation from the opposite hemisphere, driving MPHs passed the ME, transforming trades into monsoon winds. Thus it ties to the balance of the two hemisphere’s circulation modes. As long as there is no understanding of what triggers at short, medium term the switch between slow and rapid modes, we do not get to the bottom of it. For instance regarding a short term switch, why would we have during a winter, a sudden strengthening of all expulsed MPHs from the Arctic or Antarctic for a 3 weeks period then a reprieve then again another increase? Same if we look at a few years were indeed the Milankovitch explanation cannot explain them. So I think there is much more to consider and that has yet to be explained before ruling solar influence in or out based on teleconnections. The merit of Leroux was to describe the geometry of the circulation especially critical in the lower troposphere.

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
October 9, 2014 8:27 pm

There are advantages and disadvantages to being an autodidact. On the one hand, it perhaps frees you to think outside the box, but on the other it raises the likelihood that your idea may already have been thought of by others and written about extensively without your notice, and that you may not have learned enough about the topic to comment on it knowledgeably. That goes double for subjects as complex as climatology and meteorology.
In the case of how monsoons work, the description in your post lacks certain important observations which Tom has pointed out. What he said is not what you entirely said, not that your description was necessarily wrong as far as it went, but merely incomplete. IMO yours describes better the weak, subtropical American SW Monsoon than the powerful, more tropical monsoons of Asia and Africa.

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
October 10, 2014 8:06 am

Tom Rude, Sturgis Hooper,
Reading your comments (and Willis’) I have to conclude that the monsoon is initiated and maintained by continental thermal low pressure, without which there is no monsoon, and the other natural effects that you describe all depend on that. Those effects may intensify the monsoon but they do not initiate it nor maintain it.

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
October 13, 2014 11:31 am

mpainter, the thermal lows over continents do help drawing the monsoon air deeper YET genetically a monsoon is a a trade wind that has crossed the equator. Hence its origin depends on the dynamics of the hemisphere circulation from which the trade wind initiated. Thus you’ve got it backward! In fact the intensity and aerial extension of regions affected by the Monsoons every year-widespread or narrow band of highly concentrated rains- depends on the circulation dynamics.

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
October 13, 2014 12:55 pm

Willis Eschenbach
October 13, 2014 at 12:35 pm
The Atacama Desert of Chile is closer to the equator than the US Southwest, which also experiences monsoonal flows. Once across the ME, the phenomenon can carry to pretty high latitudes. The Pineapple Express, which brings heavy rain from around Hawaii to the Pacific NW, results from the Madden-Julian Oscillation, so might in effect be considered a mid-latitude monsoon, yet occurs typically when the land is cold.

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
October 13, 2014 10:51 pm

Willis, I’ll take Leroux’s work versus the AMS glossary especially because 1) he had studied and explained monsoon’s influence on the meteorology and climate of tropical Africa for his PhD the publishing of which was sponsored by the OMM, 2) because after years of following satellite images and animations, Leroux’s description is so obviously accurate and 3) because you claim asking for respectful discussion but the “anonymous internet commenter” is quite demeaning, especially since I provided a more complete reference (his 2010 book) that you should bother to read. It would in fact help you understand that the definition you just gave did not disprove anything and alluded to the balance of the circulation’s dynamics between the two hemispheres: “The monsoons are strongest on the southern and eastern sides of Asia, the largest landmass, but monsoons also occur on the coasts of tropical regions wherever the planetary circulation is not strong enough to inhibit them.”

October 9, 2014 10:31 am

Sadly I wont be around to see Monsoons return to the Sahara.
“Strange as it may seem 8000 years ago when the cave paintings in Wadi Sora were made the Sahara was getting more sunlight than it is now. And that extra heat helped bring the monsoon rains to this desert. But how did the Sahara get more solar energy?
But over a 41,000 year period it changes, wobbling between 22.1 and 24.5 degrees. Back when the Sahara was green, the tilt was close to its largest possible angle, 24.2 degrees. Which meant that 8000 years ago the Sun shone more directly, more intensely over the Northern hemisphere.
“This precessional wobble takes 23000 years to complete one cycle, so it will be 23000 years before Polaris will come back round to be our northern star again”

Reply to  richard
October 9, 2014 10:55 am

Tilt & precession are parameters in the Milankovitch Cycle of orbital & rotational mechanics ruling glacial & interglacial cycles.

Reply to  richard
October 9, 2014 12:10 pm

I confess that it never ocurred to me that the Sahara is a desert because it is not getting enough sunlight.
I guess that I am pretty behind ward on the latest findings in climate.;)

October 9, 2014 10:34 am

“Buried in the Cambodian jungle lie the lost remains of the great medieval city of Angkor, once the capital of one of the world’s greatest civilisations. Today, only the great stone temples like Angkor Wat survive. But Angkor was once a teeming metropolis, full of life – the biggest city on Earth. ”
It would appear that during the 14th century the Monsoons became erratic and the rains failed.
Coincides with the start of the LIA????

Reply to  mwhite
October 9, 2014 11:06 am

Yes. North American cultures like the Mississippian (eg. Cahokia) & Anasazi however suffered severe, prolonged droughts during the Medieval Warm Period, leading to their decline or disappearance before the onset LIA.

John F. Hultquist
October 9, 2014 2:20 pm

“… a huge advantage—I knew nothing about the timing, size or pattern of the Indian monsoon rains,…” [Willis; 10 8 14]
The following links make for interesting reading:
a. https://www.saudiaramcoworld.com/issue/197402/ghosts.ships.in.the.gulf.htm
One of many things in Aramco World. Photos and images not with the link.
Simple heating and cooling (think coastal sea breeze) is no longer the preferred explanation of the monsoons:
b. http://sohra.net/monsoon-magic/somali-jet-stream-current-and-tropical-jet-streams/

Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy
October 9, 2014 8:06 pm

IITM scientists, Pune brought out a book in which the precipitation data at sub-divisional level are given for 1871 to 1994 [monthly, seasonal, annual] — the main author was now retired. From this book it is clear that 78% of the annual precipitation occur during the Southwest Monsoon season – SWM [June to September] at all India level. 1090 mm is average annual rainfall and 852 mm is the average SWM rainfall with a Coefficient of Variation of 9.9%.
The SWM data present a 60-year sine curve. This data completed two full cycles and the third cycle starting with above the average 30 year part of the cycle in 1987 – this coincides with the Indian Astrological 60-year cycle and lagging by 3 to Chinese Astrological cycle of 60-years. This will end by 2016 and then from 2017 starts the below the average 30 year cycle part up to 2046.
The 30 year period averages are given as: 873, 828, 868, 837, 860 mm with wet [> 110% of the average] and dry [< 90% of the average] years : 7/2, 3/7, 5/2, 5/10, 7/3 years in each 30-year periods. The 10-year averages are given as: 850.1, 881.8, 865.9; 822.7, 821.7, 837.6; 871.7, 889.1, 871.7; 844.5, 840.4, 829.7 mm up to 1990. This clearly shows the sine curve pattern.
The frequency of occurrence of floods in the Northwest Indian Rivers follows this pattern. The global temperature follows this pattern in opposite direction. Hurricanes follow this pattern and typhoons follow the opposite pattern. However, the precipitation of Andhra Pradash state presents a different pattern as this part of the country receives precipitation during two monsoons [SWM & northeast monsoon — NEM]. The SWM & NEM precipitation follows opposite pattern but follow the 56-year cycle. The cyclonic activity in Bay of Bengal follows the NEM precipitation pattern. These show an increasing trend but it is not really an increasing trend but part of a 132 year cycle present in the annual rainfall. This cycle [dry/wet] completed by 2001 and the next cycle of dry/wet started around 2002.
In such data series, if we use truncated data set it leads to misleading conclusions. This is exactly what is happening in collaborative studies between Indian Institutions and Western Institutions. None of them knew the reality. But Indian Institutes use the collaborative mode to publish their work in reputed journals.
Sometime contradicting findings: (1) Air pollution increases river flows: Study; (2) Air pollution behind decline in monsoon rains; (3) Warming of Indian ocean may weaken monsoon: study; (4) Global warming driving migration of species in India. — poor review.
We must remember the fact that before 1957 the unit of measurement was in inches and from 1957 onwards the unit of measurement is in millimeters. This introduces certain error in measurements.
We must also remember that the deviation around the mean depends up on the estimation of mean. Several groups are using different data sets and thus arrive at different means.
Ecological changes, – deforestation, irrigated agriculture/reservoirs development, mining, etc –, impact precipitation [climate] at local/regional levels.
Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy

Reply to  Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy
October 10, 2014 4:55 am

Dr Reddy,

This data completed two full cycles and the third cycle starting with above the average 30 year part of the cycle in 1987 – this coincides with the Indian Astrological 60-year cycle and lagging by 3 to Chinese Astrological cycle of 60-years.

Americans, and in particular American scientists, sneer at these Indian and Chinese cycles (not even knowing that there are both lunar and solar calculations within each) and assume that the Indians and Chinese would stupidly cling to something over the centuries that doesn’t work.

Reply to  policycritic
October 10, 2014 9:52 am

The Chinese Astrological Cycles are tightly coupled with the I Ching, and it’s far too complicated to explain how here. Liebniz acknowledged Fu Xi’s prior invention, centuries ago, of the I Ching’s binary system that he replicated with his binary number system. Similarly, Niels Bohr openly acknowledged that the 64 hexagrams of the I Ching replicated quantum theory.
About rhinos
When the brothers Frank (biologist-Alaska) and Bill (psychologist-Australia) von Hippel wrote their conjecture in a 1998 letter to Science that Viagra would eliminate the need for natural sources–von Hippel, F. A., & von Hippel, W. (1998). Solution to a conservation problem? Science, 281, 1805.—they were just making it up. Neither was a Traditional Chinese Medicine expert (TCM), or they would have known that the traditional use for rhino horn for over 400 years was for “typhoid, headache, colds, carbuncles, food poisoning, arthritis, smallpox, and dysentery,” but most importantly, fever relief. Impotence had nothing to do with it, other than as an old wive’s tale that someone exploited.
The real market for rhino horn was knife handles, highly prized in the Middle East. North Yemen, alone, constituted half the world’s market for rhino horn during the last half of the 20th C.
Nonetheless, Viagra’s manufacturer, Pfizer, took note of the brother’s publication and funded the bros, who interviewed ~250 men with penis problems in downtown Hong Kong whose opinions formed the basis for a published paper in 2002, and they rode that horsie with another paper in 2005.
Von Hippel, Frank A. and Von Hippel, William. “COMMENT: Sex, drugs and animal parts: will Viagra save threatened species?” Environmental Conservation 29.3 (2002): 277–281.
Von Hippel, William et al. “Exploring the use of Viagra in place of animal and plant potency products in traditional Chinese medicine” Environmental Conservation 32.3 (2005): 235–238.
The 2002 paper did note that rhino and tiger products had nothing to do with solving impotence. But I guess they managed to convince you.

October 9, 2014 8:12 pm

I think more would be gained by looking at how lunar declination affects monsoon periodicity, and then how the sun affects moon. If we want to go back further we can look to Jupiter, Saturn and Uranus for sunspots. And it doesn’t end there but each system away introduces more noise.
There’s an old saying, your shirt is closer to you than your overcoat.

Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy
Reply to  kenmoonman
October 9, 2014 9:40 pm

The following studies were made by me in early 70s:
Lunar atmospheric tides in surface winds at six Indian Stations — Indian J. Met. Geophys. (1972), 23:189-194
Solar and lunar atmospherictides in rainfall at Poona — Indian J. Met. Geophys. (1972), 23: 535-536
Lunar and solar atmospheric tides in surface winds and rainfall (1974) Indian J. Met. Geophys., 25: 499-502
Effect of solar flares on lower tropospheric temperature & pressure, Indian J. Radio & Space Physcs, 6: 44-50 [1977]
Power spectral analysis of lower stratospheric meteorological data of H, T, u & v, Indian J. Radio & Space Physics, 6: 51-59 (1977)
Power spectral analysis of Total and net radiation intensities, Indian J. Radio & Space Physics, 6: 60-66 (1977)
Forecasting the onset of southwest monsoon over Kerala, Indian J. Met. Geophys. 28: 113-114 (1977)
A method of forecasting the weather associated with Western disturbances, Indian J. Met. Hydrol. Geophys, 29: 515-520 (1978)
Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy
[Thank you. .mod]

October 10, 2014 3:55 am

Just an odd thought, I read that the Moon has to be accounted for by the satellites that measure TSI (In the most accurate data sets) presumably due to orbital changes in the instrument itself. I wonder if it is a long shot to imagine that in a non-linear system this small atmospheric tide might be more than a butterfly wing’s worth of influence when combined with the seasonal shape/distortion of the energy flows induced by the Coriolis force.

October 10, 2014 12:55 pm

In the oceanic system the daily vertical displacement of water is small compared with the size of the water body, but the erodal effects on coastlines are enormous.The vertical displacement of the crust due to the Land (or Earth) Tide is small, about half a metre, compared with the thousands of kilometres of expanding and contracting strata beneath the earth’s surface, but is responsible for earthquakes which continually reshape the Earth’s contours, creating mountains, valleys, rivers, lakes and plains. The atmospheric tide is on the same scale, controlling most daily weather. Size and scale of effect would be in the eye of the beholder. The atmosphere does also twist and distort around equinox, creating turbulence in all three tides, but there is no energy sourcing from Coriolis which is just a description of perceived flows, anymore than a sharp bend produces a road . And I would venture that butterflies as well as weather would be acted upon by the moon.

October 10, 2014 4:09 pm

Well, the peaks appear to be in sync, but that’s the only corralation I can see.

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
October 11, 2014 10:38 am

Willis you focused on the wrong segment “Gosh, you mean you’ve found another paper that says that we’re on the primrose path to Thermageddon from global warming? … color me unimpressed”
I read the Amersom statement regards ‘ additional warming due to greenhouse gases’ was just to satisfy the gatekeepers because the study had nothing to to with greenhouse gases. The study simply correlated changes in aridity and solar activity and linked a La Nina like temperature gradient to higher solar activity.
Although you should rightfully question the 10Be correlations, I again argue looking at power of 11 and 22 year sunspot cycles those short time scales suffer from too much noise. The 10Be record is a function of both production that is global and well correlated with solar activity, and transport and deposition that varies with the weather and locale. The greatest difference in deposition occurs between the seasons. Deposition can happen in both wet and dry conditions and varying seasonal and weather patterns can create deposition patterns that are very noisy and not reflective of 10Be production. Either you need to average over a greater spatial coverage or average longer timescales to separate production from the noise. I dont think ice core data has enough spatial coverage to reliably detect short term variations in the sunspot cycle, but I feel more trusting of longer term 10BE patterns that suggest increased solar activity during the Medieval warm Period and less solar activity during the Little Ice Age.

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
October 11, 2014 11:04 am

Willis how do you compare your statistical methodology to that used by Van Loon (2004) A decadal solar effect in the tropics in July–August. They compared the average state of the tropical oceans during sunspot maximums with the average state during minimums can concluded
“In the northern summer (July–August), the major climatological tropical precipitation maxima are intensified in solar maxima compared to solar minima during the period 1979–2002. The regions of this enhanced climatological precipitation extend from the Indian monsoon to the West Pacific oceanic warm pool and farther eastwards in the Intertropical Convergence Zone of the North Pacific and North American Monsoon, to the tropical Atlantic and greater rainfall over the Sahel and central Africa. The differences between solar maxima and minima in the zonal mean temperature through the depth of the troposphere, OLR, tropospheric vertical motion, and tropopause temperature are consistent with the differences in the
rainfall. The upward vertical motion is stronger in regions of enhanced tropical precipitation, tropospheric
temperatures are higher, tropopause temperatures are lower, and the OLR is reduced due to higher, colder cloud tops over the areas of deeper convective rainfall in the solar maxima than in the minima. These differences between the extremes of the solar cycle suggest that an increase in solar forcing intensifies the Hadley and Walker circulations, with greater solar forcing resulting in strengthened regional climatological tropical precipitation regimes.”

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
October 11, 2014 3:34 pm

Willis part of our confusion may be explained in the 2014 paper Cosmogenic Isotope Variability During the Maunder Minimum: Normal 11-year Cycles Are Expected in Solar Physics. Amplitude of 11 years cycles are remarkably similar during high and low solar activity years. Suggesting there is “reason to merrily assume that this is different in the long term.”
“The amplitude of the 11-year cycle measured in the cosmogenic isotope 10Be during the Maunder Minimum is comparable to that during the recent epoch of high solar activity. Because of the virtual absence of the cyclic variability of sunspot activity during the Maunder Minimum this seemingly contradicts an intuitive expectation that lower activity would result in smaller solar-cycle variations in cosmogenic radio-isotope data, or in none, leading to confusing and misleading conclusions. It is shown here that large 11-year solar cycles in cosmogenic data observed during periods of suppressed sunspot activity do not necessarily imply strong heliospheric fields. Normal-amplitude cycles in the cosmogenic radio-isotopes observed during the Maunder Minimum are consistent with theoretical expectations because of the nonlinear relation between solar activity and isotope production. Thus, cosmogenic-isotope data provide a good tool to study solar-cycle variability even during grand minima of solar activity.”
Also consider Steinhilber et al (2012) 9,400 years of cosmic radiation and solar activity from ice cores and tree rings, PNAS they combined records to eliminate the noise from transportation and deposition.
“We combined a new 10Be record from Dronning Maud Land, Antarctica, comprising more than 1,800 data points with several other already existing radionuclide records (14C from tree rings and 10Be analyzed in polar ice cores of Greenland and Antarctica) covering the Holocene. Using principal component analysis, we separated the common radionuclide production signal due to solar and geomagnetic activity from the system effects signal due to the different transport and deposition processes. The common signal represents a low-noise record of cosmic radiation, particularly for high frequencies, compared to earlier reconstructions, which are only based on single radionuclide records. On the basis of this record, we then derived a reconstruction of total solar irradiance for the Holocene, which overall agrees well with two existing records but shows less high-frequency noise.”
Looking at Asian climate records from the Dongge Cave likely driven by monsoons they concluded “A comparison of the derived solar activity with a record of Asian climate derived from δ18O in a Chinese stalagmite reveals a significant correlation. The correlation is remarkable because the Earth’s climate has not been driven by the Sun alone. Other forcings like volcanoes, greenhouse gas concentrations, and internal variability also have played an important role.”

October 11, 2014 1:13 pm

Some studies showing the connection between solar activity & 10Be & 14C:
Stuiver, 1961, 1994; Stuiver and Quay, 1979; Stuiver et al., 1991, 1995; Stuiver & Brasiunas, 1991, 1992; Matter et al., 2001; Beer et al., 1994, 1996, 2000; Neff et al., 2001; Bard et al., 1997; Usoskiin et al., 2004.
As well as the Maunder Minimum during its depths, the LIA included the earlier Spoerer (AD ~1410-1540) & later Dalton (~1790-1830) Minima. A cold snap during the Medieval Warm Period also coincided with the Wolf Minimum (~1290-1320). Conversely, the LIA interval between the Maunder & Dalton Minima saw two spells of great & rapid warming, interrupted in the mid-18th century.
During the Modern Warm Period, there were also snaps of less severe global cooling during less pronounced drops in SSN from c. 1890 to 1915 & 1945-77.

October 11, 2014 1:17 pm

Willis, I have not read all the papers on 10Be production but in Pedro (2011) Beryllium-10 transport to Antarctica: Results from seasonally resolved observations and modeling, they write, “The global production rate of 10Be is proportional to the flux of cosmic rays to Earth, which is in turn is modulated by variations in both solar activity and the Earth’s geomagnetic field (see Lean et al. [2002], Webber and Higbie [2003], McCracken et al. [2004], Muscheler et al. [2007], Masarik and Beer [2009], and Kovaltsov and Usoskin [2010] for details and complexities). Globally, 50 to 75% of 10Be production occurs in the stratosphere, with the remainder in the upper troposphere [Masarik and Beer, 1999; Heikkilä et al., 2009].”
So the question is why do summarily say “No. 10Be is totally uncorrelated with solar activity in the short term” ? What did those studies get wrong?

October 11, 2014 1:18 pm

Please excuse extra “i” in Usoskin.

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
October 11, 2014 10:15 pm

They are all worthwhile. If you want to post or comment on a scientific discipline, you should first put yourself through a course in it.
Where did you get the idea that selecting just one of many studies constitutes a sufficient educational background in a scientific field? Commenters here have advanced degrees & often lifetimes of work in the subjects upon which you presume to write without any prior study. Asserting that there is no connection between isotope production & solar activity out of willful ignorance without having studied the question is about as unscientific as it’s possible to get.
So start at the beginning with Stuiver, Variations in radiocarbon concentration and sunspot activity, Journal of Geophysical Research, Volume 66, Issue 1, pages 273–276, January 1961, AGU & work forward. Or, if you want to skip ahead on the cheap, Cliff Notes fashion, try Beer, et al, Quaternary Science Reviews 19 (2000) 403}415 The role of the sun in climate forcing.
The Sun is by far the most important driving force of the climate system. However, only little is known how variable this force is
acting on di!erent time scales ranging from minutes to millennia and how the climate system reacts to changes in this forcing. Changes
of the global insolation can be related to the nuclear fusion in the core of the Sun, the energy transport through the radiative zone and
the convection zone, the emission of radiation from the photosphere, and the distance between Sun and Earth. Satellite based
measurements over two decades show a clear correlation between the solar irradiance and the 11-year sunspot cycle. The irradiance
amplitude is about 0.1%. This is too small to affect significantly the climate. However, there are indications that, on longer time scales,
solar variability coluld be much larger. The analysis of cosmogenic nuclides stored in natural archives provides a means to extend our
knowledge of solar variability over much longer time periods.
The response of the climate system to solar forcing depends not only on the amount of radiation, but also on its spectral
composition (e.g. UV contribution), seasonal distribution over the globe, and feedback mechanisms connected with clouds, water
vapour, ice cover, atmospheric and oceanic transport and other terrestrial processes. It is therefore difficult to establish a quantitative
relationship between observed climate changes in the past and reconstructed solar variability. However, there is growing evidence that
periods of low solar activity (so called minima) coincide with advances of glaciers, changes in lake levels, and sudden changes of
climatic conditions. These findings point to an active role of the Sun in past climate changes beside other geophysical factors, internal
variability of the climate system, and greenhouse gases. In fact a non-linear regression model to separate natural and anthropogenic
forcing since 1850 is consistent with a solar contribution of about 40% to the global warming during the last 140 years.

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
October 11, 2014 11:48 pm

Please show the source for your SSNs. Mine show strong correlation of cooling with lower SSNs & induced isotopes during the Wolf, Spoerer, Maunder, Dalton, 1880 or ’90 to 1915 &, as I said, to a lesser extent, during the post-War cooling. If indeed the warming of the 1920s-40s occurred during a lower SSN interval than the cooling of the 1940s-70s, it hardly signifies, since both were minor fluctuations in any case.
The fact is that the LIA consisted of three major SSN minima, interrupted by strong warming trends in between those minima. Please address the main point of my response to your claim that the Maunder can’t explain the LIA because it occurred after its start.
And please read all the studies Jim & I have cited. Your usual anti-scientific tactic of demanding a single be all & end all study wore thin a long time ago.
Your false religion (the opposite of sun worship) & lack of study of climatology have clearly blinded you to reality.

October 11, 2014 11:49 pm

Willis Eschenbach
October 11, 2014 at 11:05 pm
No fantasy, but your sick reality. That’s what you always say & demand.

October 13, 2014 2:47 am

“For heavens sake, Beer et al. in the study you quote from are still flogging the long-dead idea of an 88-year solar “Gleissberg Cycle” … that’s your idea of solid science?”
Actually the 88-year is the Uranus-Saturn return which equates to 8 sunspot cycles. It’s actually surprisingly regular.

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
October 13, 2014 1:46 pm

Richard Feynman’s sister disagrees with you. She & her colleague find the 90-100 year solar cycle alive, well & a sound basis for making predictions:
The Centennial Gleissberg Cycle and its association with extended minima
J. Feynman* and
A. Ruzmaikin
Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics
Volume 119, Issue 8, pages 6027–6041, August 2014
The recent extended minimum of solar and geomagnetic variability (XSM) mirrors the XSMs in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries: 1810–1830 and 1900–1910. Such extended minima also were evident in aurorae reported from 450 A.D. to 1450 A.D. This paper argues that these minima are consistent with minima of the Centennial Gleissberg Cycles (CGCs), a 90–100 year variation observed on the Sun, in the solar wind, at the Earth, and throughout the heliosphere. The occurrence of the recent XSM is consistent with the existence of the CGC as a quasiperiodic variation of the solar dynamo. Evidence of CGCs is provided by the multicentury sunspot record, by the almost 150 year record of indexes of geomagnetic activity (1868 to present), by 1000 years of observations of aurorae (from 450 to 1450 A.D.) and millennial records of radionuclides in ice cores. The aa index of geomagnetic activity carries information about the two components of the solar magnetic field (toroidal and poloidal), one driven by flares and coronal mass ejections (related to the toroidal field) and the other driven by corotating interaction regions in the solar wind (related to the poloidal field). These two components systematically vary in their intensity and relative phase giving us information about centennial changes of the sources of solar dynamo during the recent CGC over the last century. The dipole and quadrupole modes of the solar magnetic field changed in relative amplitude and phase; the quadrupole mode became more important as the XSM was approached. Some implications for the solar dynamo theory are discussed.

October 13, 2014 4:22 pm

The ~88-year cycle isn’t dead. It never was strictly 88 years but averages out to around that over thousands of years, visible in the isotope record, as recovered over & over again in analyses of that record. The forces that operate on that cycle are naturally modulated by other factors.
I wonder what makes you think that the many papers finding this cycle are now dead. I cited Feynman because hers was from this year. Please state why, contrary to those who study it, you imagine the Gleissberg cycle is dead. Thanks.

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
October 13, 2014 9:29 pm

I always provide volume & quality. Before commenting on conclusions, the scientific method requires that you read all the relevant papers.
Why is it that I have to do all your research for you? You make unsupported assertions without any basis, then insist that I supply you with a single be all & end all paper opposing your baseless assertion. There are at least dozens of papers from the past few decades showing the Gleissberg cycle. Again, please show why you imagine it dead.
Why isn’t Feynman 2014 sufficient? Anyway, here are just the first three that come up when Googled:
Persistence of the Gleissberg 88-year solar cycle over the last 12,000
years: Evidence from cosmogenic isotopes
Alexei N. Peristykh1 and Paul E. Damon
Department of Geosciences, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, USA
Received 15 March 2002; revised 2 July 2002; accepted 9 July 2002; published 3 January 2003.
[1] Among other longer-than-22-year periods in Fourier spectra of various solar–
terrestrial records, the 88-year cycle is unique, because it can be directly linked to the
cyclic activity of sunspot formation. Variations of amplitude as well as of period of the
Schwabe 11-year cycle of sunspot activity have actually been known for a long time and a
ca. 80-year cycle was detected in those variations. Manifestations of such secular periodic
processes were reported in a broad variety of solar, solar–terrestrial, and terrestrial
climatic phenomena. Confirmation of the existence of the Gleissberg cycle in long solar–
terrestrial records as well as the question of its stability is of great significance for solar
dynamo theories. For that perspective, we examined the longest detailed cosmogenic
isotope record—INTCAL98 calibration record of atmospheric 14C abundance. The most
detailed precisely dated part of the record extends back to 11,854 years B.P. During this
whole period, the Gleissberg cycle in 14C concentration has a period of 87.8 years and an
average amplitude of 1% (in 14C units). Spectral analysis indicates in frequency
domain by sidebands of the combination tones at periods of 91.5 ± 0.1 and 84.6 ± 0.1
years that the amplitude of the Gleissberg cycle appears to be modulated by other longterm
quasiperiodic process of timescale 2000 years. This is confirmed directly in time
domain by bandpass filtering and time–frequency analysis of the record. Also, there
is additional evidence in the frequency domain for the modulation of the Gleissberg cycle
by other millennial scale processes. Attempts have been made to explain 20th century
global warming exclusively by the component of irradiance variation associated with the
Gleissberg cycle. These attempts fail, because they require unacceptably great solar
forcing and are incompatible with the paleoclimatic records.

October 19, 2014 2:31 pm

Solar Impulse is the only airplane of perpetual endurance, able to fly day and night on solar power, without a drop of fuel.
The chances of succeeding at the first attempt to build a solar airplane capable of flying around the world were judged to be slim, so a more rudimentary prototype, HB-SIA (Solar Impulse 1), was first constructed. Lessons learned from this prototype are incorporated in Solar Impulse 2, the Round-The-World Solar Airplane.
If you would like to read more about Solar Impulse 2, you can access to my blog on: worldofinnovations.net/2014/10/19/solar-impulse-2-on-the-way-round-the-world/

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