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  1. I agree with the tenor of this post, but I’d like chapter and verse on how we know “the Milky Way is a completely normal spiral galaxy.” It’s only recently been established that it is average sized for as disc galaxy!

    John Gribbin

    Comment by John Gribbin — 10 Mar 2008 @ 7:42 AM

  2. Sure, I couldn’t understand in those claims why the sun would move much relative to spiral arms – isn’t it part of the stars making those arms? But in any case, we have to take dark matter into account (or MOND if that offbeat theory turns out to be true) whenever we talk about rotation in galaxies. BTW, how about the idea that now the sun is primed for a cool spell, and that will compensate to whatever extent for global warming stimuli? It had a big splash recently, but I haven’t heard much since.

    Comment by Neil B. — 10 Mar 2008 @ 7:54 AM

  3. Thank you for addressing this issue.

    It amazes me how quickly and unquestionably the skeptically hopeful accept the minimally substantiated claims of Svensmark, yet refuse to believe science that has been much better substantiated.

    Comment by Arch Stanton — 10 Mar 2008 @ 9:06 AM

  4. It seems that a couple of years ago, that new evidence suggested that the Milky Way was likely a barred spiral type.

    Also something else that I seem to remember is that our Solar system is likely slightly inclined from the galactic plane ecliptic. The slight pertubations of the gravitational field as the solar system make’s it’s transit through the plave could be a good source of comets from the Oort cloud.

    Comment by Gsaun039 — 10 Mar 2008 @ 9:50 AM

  5. The two different rotating velocities of arms and stars have a different radial dependence – to first order the arms get preserved as entities while the stars further out have much smaller angular velocities than stars further inside – so the relative velocity of a star with respect to the nearest spiral arm will depend on its distance from the centre of the galaxy. At a certain radius, the radius of co-rotation, the two velocities are identical and a star at this radius has zero relative velocity with respect to the spiral arm pattern. It stays “forever” in the same spiral arm – or outside of it.

    Actually, it doesn’t. You’ve made a whooping assumption that the star stays in the glactic plane

    In the case of the sun, it doesn’t. It ossilates from above to below the galactic plane over time.

    As such it periodically passes though the plane, and that’s where the gasses are concentrated.

    Comment by Nick — 10 Mar 2008 @ 9:50 AM

  6. I am reminded of Pauli’s comment when showed a paper – “This isn’t right. This isn’t even wrong.” Denialists such as Shaviv and the producers and broadcasters of this piece of drek have serious ethical issues. They don’t have a standard of proof, they merely spread disinformation with an agenda. The bar for publication of denialist nonsense is set far lower than that for publication of science in a respected journal such as Nature or Geophysical Letters.

    Comment by John P — 10 Mar 2008 @ 9:52 AM

  7. Knud Jahnke and Rasmus Benestad says “The rotation is not rigid, but depends on the encircled mass inside the orbit of a star, including the Dark Matter, a yet unknown but solidly established source of gravitational attraction.”

    I am curious when something is unknown and close to impossible to measure, what does it mean to be solidly established.

    Dark matter was created because current explanations regarding orbital velocities were missing the required mass for gravitational calculations to work. Now every time there is a gravitational anomaly it becomes “verification” of this unknown dark matter.Dangerous circular reasoning, and not very scientific.

    [Response: You are confusing matters quite seriously. The point is simply the gravitational attraction of dark matter (whatever it is) is known, and so can be used in calculations. See #33 below for a more detailed explanation from an astronomer.--eric]

    Comment by gusbob — 10 Mar 2008 @ 10:32 AM

  8. Going out on a limb here:

    An analogy for how galaxy arms and stars can move at different speeds can be found found in weather patters. I have noticed on my local online weather radar loop that clouds and storms move a lot faster than the cloud bands in which they form. I assume that the cloud bands are troughs in atmospheric pressure waves and that clouds and storms form as air mass passes across the waves. Obviously the physics of the weather patters has no connection with the dynamics of galaxies, but it demonstrates how structures at different scales in a medium such as air, water or space can move at different speeds.

    Comment by Craig Allen — 10 Mar 2008 @ 10:56 AM

  9. > barred
    Perfectly normal, innit?

    “Bars in spiral galaxies seem to be ubiquitous in our local universe. Up to two-thirds of all spirals contain bars. …”
    http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/astronomy/hubble_bar_010302.html

    > ossilates
    Oscillates? We assume this? or we know this how?
    Cite, please?

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 10 Mar 2008 @ 11:02 AM

  10. Amazingly,

    Still no post on the differences between Hadley and GISS anomalies.

    Instead, a steady stream of “Why the debunkers are full of it” posts.

    Is RC in the business of discussing climate science, or being the repository for anti-denialist rebuttals?

    It’s almost as though you guys sit around exclaiming “Look what they wrote about us TODYAY! Let’s get right to work on that one…”

    Quit taking your eyes off the ball, please. There are no doubt legitimate topics worthy of your brainpower and expertise.

    In the 2 years I’ve been coming here, your focus on refuting what “the other guys” say has never been narrower, and you are attracting an enormous crowd who want nothing more than to bash denialists. This is ceasing to become a “climate science” blog and becoming just another back-and-forth blog, as if we (a) could afford to lose the former and (b) needed another of the latter.

    [Response: Hey you know what? I have a real job as well and sometimes things just need to be done. This is on my to do list because it's of interest - but the nature of a volunteer spare time blog is that one doesn't get to devote unlimited resources to it. Sorry about that, but he who pays the piper... - gavin]

    Comment by Walt Bennett — 10 Mar 2008 @ 11:35 AM

  11. I could buy Shaviv’s argument to a point, but it doesn’t change the fact that human influence is causing warming as well. If anything, it means we picked a really lousy time to start heating up our planet.

    Comment by Ben M — 10 Mar 2008 @ 12:05 PM

  12. Re Nick @ #5:

    Actually Rasmus is right. Even if is a body oscillates “up and down” through the galactic plane (as our sun does) if the body is located at “the radius of co-rotation” it will remain indefinitely (essentially ‘forever’ for the purposes of this discussion) within (or without) of a spiral arm. Perhaps he could have been more accurate by saying “aligned with”. A body can remain in the spiral arm even as it oscillates up and down thorough the center of it. The “arm” is not limited to the “plane” within it.

    Comment by Arch Stanton — 10 Mar 2008 @ 12:25 PM

  13. Do we really have to know all about this? I got to “But is this true? Most likely not,” and took your word for it. Not even looking further to see what it had to do with global warming.

    Seems to me a good old ploy of the denialists is to come up with far-flung, convoluted hypotheses that side-track us to such an extent, we don’t have time to deal with the real issue of GW.

    So while scientists may have to be on hand to refute these hypotheses, it seems to me a waste of precious time for the laypersons out there who need to keep on (or start) reducing their GHGs.

    So if a denialist crosses my path using this “galactic cosmic ray hypothesis,” I’ll just say I don’t have time for those kind of far-fetched hypotheses, but I know it’s been roundly refuted at RealClimate, and here is their webpage…..

    Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 10 Mar 2008 @ 1:12 PM

  14. What happened to your paper submitted to A&A in 2005 that also criticized Saviv’s work?
    http://de.arxiv.org/abs/astro-ph/0504155
    Was it rejected by A&A or is it still being revised?

    I think that New Astronomy has reasonable standards in general (although I never published or referred anything for that journal myself).

    Comment by Henry — 10 Mar 2008 @ 1:19 PM

  15. Astrophysics, gentlemen, is in it’s infancy. What is unknown far exceeds what is “known”. Cosmic rays, for example, are unknown as to source or what accelerates them. Gravity waves from theorized radiative sources like black holes have never been confirmed to exist and thus black holes themselves have never been triangulated as to location, not one. Leonard Krause extrapolates 100 billion years into the future and boldly states that our local group of galaxies will have coalesced into an “island universe” ( with nothing else in sight) and forecasts that the whole kit and kaboodle will eventually collapse into a black hole! We think we do know something about interstellar dust that is now flowing thru our solar system in larger amounts because of the reversed polarity of the sun that cyclically occurs. I would like to see this apparent fact discussed if it is true because that dust could have cooling effects?

    Comment by Vern Johnson — 10 Mar 2008 @ 1:33 PM

  16. Re Nick’s suggestion in 5, claiming that oscillation above and below the galactic plane causes variation in GCR flux:

    If find it hard to believe that the amplitude of this oscillation is great enough to significantly vary the galactic magnetic field incident on Earth. Do you have any evidence that this is the case?

    Comment by Jim Galasyn — 10 Mar 2008 @ 1:37 PM

  17. Re: #10 inline,

    Gavin,

    I appreciate the entirety of your comment, and I look forward to that post.

    My point this time was about what has become of the orientation of this blog: pugnacious, defensive, and heavily “interested” in debunking denialism. Less and less original commentary on the work you and others do.

    I miss that, personally.

    Comment by Walt Bennett — 10 Mar 2008 @ 2:16 PM

  18. Perhaps the post by Tamino on his blog “Open Mind” might satisfy Walt’s impatient demand:

    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2008/01/24/giss-ncdc-hadcru/#more-556

    Comment by Paul Middents — 10 Mar 2008 @ 2:36 PM

  19. f find it hard to believe that the amplitude of this oscillation is great enough to significantly vary the galactic magnetic field incident on Earth.

    Possibly of relevance is this paper:

    http://arxiv.org/abs/astro-ph/0602092
    Do extragalactic cosmic rays induce cycles in fossil diversity?
    Authors: Mikhail V. Medvedev, Adrian L. Melott

    Abstract: Recent work has revealed a 62 (+/-) 3-million-year cycle in the fossil diversity in the past 542 My, however no plausible mechanism has been found. We propose that the cycle may be caused by modulation of cosmic ray (CR) flux by the Solar system vertical oscillation (64 My period) in the galaxy, the galactic north-south anisotropy of CR production in the galactic halo/wind/termination shock (due to the galactic motion toward the Virgo cluster), and the shielding by galactic magnetic fields. We revisit the mechanism of CR propagation and show that CR flux can vary by a factor of about 4.6 and reach a maximum at north-most displacement of the Sun. The very high statistical significance of (i) the phase agreement between Solar north-ward excursions and the diversity minima and (ii) the correlation of the magnitude of diversity drops with CR amplitudes through all cycles provide solid support for our model. Various observational predictions which can be used to confirm or falsify our hypothesis are presented.

    Comment by Henry — 10 Mar 2008 @ 2:39 PM

  20. What’s the point in looking a the hypothetical impact of the galaxy given the stated lack of a trend in the GCRs with the climatology (http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2004/12/recent-warming-but-no-trend-in-galactic-cosmic-rays/)!!

    Comment by Khebab — 10 Mar 2008 @ 2:46 PM

  21. Nothing like giving you a reference or two

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milky_Way

    Sun’s location

    The Sun (and therefore the Earth and Solar System) may be found close to the inner rim of the Galaxy’s Orion Arm, in the Local Fluff or the Gould Belt, at a hypothesized distance of 7.62±0.32 kpc from the Galactic Center.[28][29][30][31] The distance between the local arm and the next arm out, the Perseus Arm, is about 6,500 light-years.[32] The Sun, and thus the Solar System, is found in what scientists call the galactic habitable zone.

    The Apex of the Sun’s Way, or the solar apex, is the direction that the Sun travels through space in the Milky Way. The general direction of the Sun’s galactic motion is towards the star Vega near the constellation of Hercules, at an angle of roughly 60 sky degrees to the direction of the Galactic Center. The Sun’s orbit around the Galaxy is expected to be roughly elliptical with the addition of perturbations due to the galactic spiral arms and non-uniform mass distributions. In addition the Sun oscillates up and down relative to the galactic plane approximately 2.7 times per orbit. This is very similar to how a simple harmonic oscillator works with no drag force (dampening) term.

    It takes the Solar System about 225–250 million years to complete one orbit of the galaxy (a galactic year),[33] so it is thought to have completed 20–25 orbits during the lifetime of the Sun and 1/1250th of a revolution since the origin of humans. The orbital speed of the Solar System about the center of the Galaxy is approximately 220 km/s. At this speed, it takes around 1400 years for the Solar System to travel a distance of 1 light-year, or 8 days to travel 1 AU.[34]

    http://www.americanscientist.org/template/AssetDetail/assetid/21173/page/2

    a bit longer quote, because of some of the details

    Our sun is also in motion. Relative to the average motion of the most commonly measured nearby stars, the sun moves with a speed of about 16.5 kilometers per second, or nearly 50 light-years per million years. The sun’s path is inclined about 25 degrees to the plane of the galaxy and is headed toward a region in the constellation of Hercules near its border with Lyra. The sun oscillates through the plane of the galaxy with an amplitude of about 230 light-years, crossing the plane every 33 million years. However, the sun’s motion relative to the local stellar neighborhood should not be confused with its movement around the center of the galaxy, since the whole solar neighborhood (including the sun) orbits the galactic center once every 250 million years. Just as we do not include the earth’s velocity around the sun when calculating the speed of an airplane (we are only interested in the ground-speed), astronomers do not include the sun’s galactic orbital velocity when describing its local motion.

    The interstellar cloud currently surrounding the solar system—often referred to as the Local Interstellar Cloud—is warm, tenuous and partially ionized. Like all interstellar clouds, our local cloud is made of dust and gas, with the dust fraction making up about one percent of the cloud’s mass. The elemental composition of interstellar clouds is much like that of the sun, about 90 percent hydrogen and 9.99 percent helium. The heavier elements make up the remaining 0.01 percent.

    The sun is on the edge of what is sometimes called the Local Bubble, a great void in the distribution of interstellar gas in the nearby galactic neighborhood. As voids go, the Local Bubble interior is one of the most extreme vacuums yet discovered. The very best laboratory vacuum is about 10,000 times denser than a typical interstellar cloud, which in turn is thousands of times less dense than the Local Bubble. The Local Bubble is not only relatively empty (with a density of less than 0.001 atoms per cubic centimeter); it is also quite hot, about one million degrees kelvin. By comparison, the interstellar cloud around the solar system is merely warm, about 7,000 degrees, with a density of about 0.3 atoms per cubic centimeter.

    The Local Bubble lies within a ring of young stars and star-forming regions known as Gould’s Belt. The Belt is evident in the night sky as a band of very bright stars that sweeps in a great circle from the constellations Orion to Scorpius, inclined about 20 degrees relative to the galactic plane. The north pole of Gould’s Belt lies close to the Lockman Hole, a region in the sky with the least amount of intervening interstellar gas between the sun and extragalactic space. Star formation regulates the distribution of interstellar matter, including the boundaries of the Local Bubble. The closest star-forming region on the outskirts of the Local Bubble is about 400 light-years away in the Scorpius-Centaurus association. The molecular clouds from which stars are formed are both cooler (less than 100 degrees) and denser (over 1,000 atoms per cubic centimeter) than the Local Interstellar Cloud.

    A plot of the sun’s course through our galactic locale shows that the sun has been traveling through the Gould’s Belt interior in a region of very low average interstellar density for several million years. The sun is unlikely to have encountered a large, dense interstellar cloud in this relatively benign region during this time. Although our solar system is in the process of emerging from the Local Bubble, the sun’s trajectory suggests that it will probably not encounter a large, dense cloud for at least several more million years. The consequences of such an encounter for the earth’s climate are unclear; however, one wonders whether it is a coincidence that Homo sapiens appeared while the sun was traversing a region of space virtually devoid of interstellar matter.

    Despite the absence of massive clouds within 100 light-years, it seems likely that the local galactic environment changes in subtle ways on much shorter time scales. The low density of the Local Bubble permits the products of supernova explosions—such as superbubbles and shock fronts—to expand easily into the void and sweep past the sun. Indeed, within the past 250,000 years the sun has entered the outward flow of material from the star-forming region of the Scorpius-Centaurus association. There is even some suspicion that the interstellar environment may have changed within the past 2,000 years! This is uncertain, however, because astronomers have an incomplete understanding of the structure of the local interstellar cloud complex.

    Comment by Nick — 10 Mar 2008 @ 3:00 PM

  22. This is rather old — 1984.

    “… the time needed for the Solar System to oscillate vertically about the plane of the Galaxy, which is 33 plus/minus 3 Myr according to the best current astronomical evidence.”

    Has anyone the time to follow citing publications forward in time, or to find another cite to look into?

    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v308/n5961/abs/308709a0.html

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 10 Mar 2008 @ 3:52 PM

  23. Papers on solar variability and cosmic-rays continue to surface even though many would prefer they go away from the climate variability debate. We find yet another case for solar variability and cosmic rays in an article in Physics Today March, 2008, pgs 50-51, “Is Climate sensitive to solar variability?” by Nicola Scafetta and Bruce West. References therein detail considerable work in progress. I would like to see a discussion of the method these folks are using who come to the conclusion that 15-70% of the warming is due to solar variability.

    Comment by tom ward — 10 Mar 2008 @ 4:09 PM

  24. Lynn (13) This is significant due the galactic cosmic ray (GCR) hypothesis popularized by Svensmark and others (and popular with some denialists). Accordingly; as our solar system passes through the more dense parts of the Milky Way galaxy found in the arms and along the center of the galactic plane, it is subject to increasing amounts of GCRs. According to the hypothesis; during these increased periods of terrestrial GCR bombardment the earth experiences increased high clouds (and subsequent cooling) because the GCR- ionized atoms in the upper atmosphere (allegedly) make dandy cloud droplet/crystal nuclei.

    The timing of these events is very significant to the hypothesis.

    Fans of the GCR hypotheses often tend to cite them as gospel and are frequently not aware of the tenuousness of the components they are based on are.

    Comment by Arch Stanton — 10 Mar 2008 @ 4:31 PM

  25. Seems a comment went missing.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milky_Way

    he Sun (and therefore the Earth and Solar System) may be found close to the inner rim of the Galaxy’s Orion Arm, in the Local Fluff or the Gould Belt, at a hypothesized distance of 7.62±0.32 kpc from the Galactic Center.[28][29][30][31] The distance between the local arm and the next arm out, the Perseus Arm, is about 6,500 light-years.[32] The Sun, and thus the Solar System, is found in what scientists call the galactic habitable zone.

    The Apex of the Sun’s Way, or the solar apex, is the direction that the Sun travels through space in the Milky Way. The general direction of the Sun’s galactic motion is towards the star Vega near the constellation of Hercules, at an angle of roughly 60 sky degrees to the direction of the Galactic Center. The Sun’s orbit around the Galaxy is expected to be roughly elliptical with the addition of perturbations due to the galactic spiral arms and non-uniform mass distributions. In addition the Sun oscillates up and down relative to the galactic plane approximately 2.7 times per orbit. This is very similar to how a simple harmonic oscillator works with no drag force (dampening) term.

    It takes the Solar System about 225–250 million years to complete one orbit of the galaxy (a galactic year),[33] so it is thought to have completed 20–25 orbits during the lifetime of the Sun and 1/1250th of a revolution since the origin of humans. The orbital speed of the Solar System about the center of the Galaxy is approximately 220 km/s. At this speed, it takes around 1400 years for the Solar System to travel a distance of 1 light-year, or 8 days to travel 1 AU.[34]

    Comment by Nick — 10 Mar 2008 @ 4:59 PM

  26. More references

    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v308/n5961/abs/308712a0.html

    Raup and Sepkoski1 have recently reported evidence fora 26-Myr periodicity in the occurrence of mass extinctions based on a study of marine fossils. The data baseline of 250 Myr suggests events of variable amplitude, with some of the strongest peaks associated with boundaries between major geological periods which have been defined by previous palaeontological studies. In a more limited quantitative study, Fischer and Arthur2 earlier cited evidence for a 32-Myr period of major extinction events. Hatfield and Camp3 were among the first to suggest that mass extinctions might be correlated with periodic galactic phenomena, noting intervals of 80−90 Myr between major mass extinctions with an exceptionally strong mass extinction every 225−275 Myr. Here we point out a possible correlation between the 26-Myr extinction period and the Sun’s oscillation about the galactic plane.

    Comment by Nick — 10 Mar 2008 @ 5:00 PM

  27. As Mach as I like to find mistake in shaviv theory the last paragraph is enough.
    I can live without paleozoic climate and skip the mesozoic. I guess that if someone will put error bars on the radiation in that time they will fill the the page.

    as a Hebrew climate blogger who write 10% of what I would like I can’t complaint But I’l be glad to have more on non deniers things.

    P.S. Surely I will put link to this post in my shaviv post

    Comment by Eyal Morag — 10 Mar 2008 @ 5:04 PM

  28. Re 10) Hadley and GISS anomalies
    I’m not familiar with the history of your prior posts but the
    subject is discussed well at:
    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2008/03/02/whats-up-with-that/#more-614

    Seems ok!

    Comment by dws — 10 Mar 2008 @ 5:05 PM

  29. Vern Johnson–It would appear that you know neither what we know, nor what we do not know. We have seen black holes, and we know GCR are accelerated by supernovae. We know that the density of interstellar dust is infinitesimal and has no effect on solar irradiance (which we can measure), and we know that GCR fluxes are not varying appreciably. What nobody knows is how you would take a putative tiny variation in said GCR flux measuring on average 6 particles per cm^2 per second and turn it into a global effect–especially one that only made clouds during the daytime. Neat trick, that.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 10 Mar 2008 @ 5:51 PM

  30. The orbital inclination of the solar orbit is about 5.5 deg with respect to the galactic plane. Simple trig gives an “oscillation” amplitude such that the solar system moves +2,600 l.y. above and -2,600 l.y. below the galactic plane at the semimajor axis of the solar system during its 250 million galactic year. Two import points derived from orbital mechanics: (a) the sun spends most of its time above or below the galactic plane and transitions only twice (up one, down once) per galactic year and (b) the “velocity” of the sun perpendicular to the galactic plane is highest during the transit through the galactic plane which means the sun spends very little time passing through the disk. We would expect two “short” periods of increased GCR exposure every 250 m.y.

    Dark Matter: the presence of dark matter was known ever since astronomers in the early 20th century recognized the odd orbits of the stars around the Milky Way and eventually other galaxies (via Doppler spectroscopy of the “gross” spiral arms — stars do not need to be resolved). The Dark Matter was known to be large quantities of mass exterior, but in close proximity, to the galaxy that was not luminous (hence “dark”). The issue has always been “what is it?” Not, is it really there. 20th century theories included dark (nonluminous) H regions, nonluminous substars (e.g., MACHOs), neutrinos, etc., but not until cosmology and particle physics began to converge in the late 20th century (and the other theories were ruled out by observation) did the “weirdness” of dark matter come to the forefront (weird in that it does not interact with the rest of the mass in the universe except through gravity. We can see evidence of dark matter, as a primordial substance, in galactic cluster collisions, thanks to the Great Observatories (Hubble, Chandra, Spitzer and Compton) combined with ground-based radio astronomy (e.g., http://www.nasa.gov/audience/forstudents/postsecondary/features/F_NASA_Great_Observatories_PS.html)

    Astrophysics as an immature science: age is relative. Read both the history and current status — not in popular science, but in the real world, and you will find a robust, young adult.

    Comment by Jon Gradie — 10 Mar 2008 @ 5:53 PM

  31. Regarding comment #10. This is an unjust accusation(about ‘being the repository for anti-denialist rebuttals’). Several of the most recent posts didn’t take issue with the basic premise and/or the conclusions of the paper reviewed- e.g. ’536 AD and all that’,The papers on Tropical Cyclone History, and ‘A Day When Hell Was Frozen’, to name a few.

    On this particular topic, the astronomers gave their results and conclusions based on their findings and Rasmus and Knud Jahnke, gave theirs in more mathematical detail than presented in the film. The latter presenters are on more solid ground in rebutting the spike in temperatures over the last 2 and a half decades than the cosmic ray people.

    If you disagree with this, present your findings and conclusions, or establish a site where you can choose the subject matter. Don’t expect volunteers working without remuneration to march to the beat of your drummer.

    When I was sick a while back, the Dr. asked my wife what my main symptoms were and she answered “Whining and complaining.” Instead of that, set up your own site and pick your own topics.

    Comment by Lawrence Brown — 10 Mar 2008 @ 6:13 PM

  32. Walt,
    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2008/01/24/giss-ncdc-hadcru/
    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2008/03/02/whats-up-with-that/#more-614

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 10 Mar 2008 @ 6:32 PM

  33. I am an astronomer, so I hope I can help clear up some of the confusion here.

    Post #1: “I agree with the tenor of this post, but I’d like chapter and verse on how we know “the Milky Way is a completely normal spiral galaxy.” It’s only recently been established that it is average sized for as disc galaxy!”

    Chapter and verse are way too specific — you need a whole book. Try Galactic Astronomy by Binney & Merrifield. The size scale of the Milky Way has been established for many decades — the existence of spiral arms was discovered over 40 years ago and has been confirmed numerous times since then. Pulsars, molecular gas, and atomic gas all trace the spiral structure very nicely (and independently). As for the galaxy being a disk, look for a google image of “COBE galaxy” to put the nail in that coffin. That the Milky Way is a typical-sized spiral is beyond dispute at this point. It’s not a “new” result.

    Post #2:”Sure, I couldn’t understand in those claims why the sun would move much relative to spiral arms – isn’t it part of the stars making those arms? But in any case, we have to take dark matter into account (or MOND if that offbeat theory turns out to be true) whenever we talk about rotation in galaxies.”

    No, the Sun is not part of the stars that make up the spiral arms. Spiral arms are obvious because the brightest stars are formed in them. These stars have very short lives, however, compared to the pattern speed of the arms. There are almost as many stars between the arms as in them (the Sun is between arms right now). The arms trigger star formation, which creates bright, short lived stars, which quickly burn out. When the arm moves on, the bright stars go away.

    No, you don’t need to worry about dark matter here (or MOND, which has been repeatedly shown to be an inaccurate description of gravity, despite its success in limited applicaitons). The rotational velocity of the Galaxy is well measured for both the stars and the gas. It is what it is — WHY it has that speed doesn’t change the arguments made in the main post. You don’t have to buy that dark matter is an exotic weakly interacting massive particle to believe that the Sun orbits the Milky Way every 250 million years.

    #4:”It seems that a couple of years ago, that new evidence suggested that the Milky Way was likely a barred spiral type.

    Also something else that I seem to remember is that our Solar system is likely slightly inclined from the galactic plane ecliptic. The slight pertubations of the gravitational field as the solar system make’s it’s transit through the plave could be a good source of comets from the Oort cloud.”

    Current evidence of the kinematics of stars near the Galactic Center indeed suggests the Milky Way is a barred spiral. It also could be the case that as the Sun bobs up and down through the Galactic plane it may encounter more stars during plane crossings, which may induce more comets. It’s not clear if this is a strong effect, though.

    #5:”Actually, it doesn’t. You’ve made a whooping assumption that the star stays in the glactic plane
    In the case of the sun, it doesn’t. It ossilates from above to below the galactic plane over time.
    As such it periodically passes though the plane, and that’s where the gasses are concentrated.”

    It’s true that the gases are concentrated in the plane, but it’s very patchy (and concentrated in the arms) — most of the time the Sun will pass through the plane without encountering much molecular gas.

    #7:”I am curious when something is unknown and close to impossible to measure, what does it mean to be solidly established.

    Dark matter was created because current explanations regarding orbital velocities were missing the required mass for gravitational calculations to work. Now every time there is a gravitational anomaly it becomes “verification” of this unknown dark matter.Dangerous circular reasoning, and not very scientific.”

    The existence of a smooth source of gravity in galaxies is overwhelming. This conclusion is completely scientific. We know that the stars in the Galaxy orbit at a rate that cannot be explained by adding up the gravity of the stars themselves. This is not a small effect. Either gravity operates differently at large scales, or there is matter that isn’t bright. Evidence for the former option is strongly lacking. Evidence for the latter option is ubiquitous and self-consistent (not circular — there’s a difference). If there dark matter in the Universe, then our models of cosmology, galaxy clusters, and the Galaxy itself are essentially complete and very simple. Occam’s razor dictates that the easiest explanation is that there is simply matter we cannot see. The alternative is that, although Einstein’s theory of General Relativity has been demonstrated to amazing levels of accuracy in some places, it somehow fails spectacularly in others. This would be very hard to understand. Dark matter requires no new physics. Neptune was the original dark matter (look up the story of its discovery). The neutrino was another.

    #8: I don’t know much meteorology, but that sounds like an excellent analogy.

    #9:”> barred
    Perfectly normal, innit?

    “Bars in spiral galaxies seem to be ubiquitous in our local universe. Up to two-thirds of all spirals contain bars. …”
    http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/astronomy/hubble_bar_010302.html

    > ossilates
    Oscillates? We assume this? or we know this how?
    Cite, please?”

    Yes, barred spirals are common, as large galaxies go.
    The bobbing of the Sun through the Galactic plane is firmly established by measurements of what is known as the “local standard of rest”. The Sun has significant velocity in the direction perpendicular to the plane of the Galaxy (as most G stars do). This is expected from stellar dynamics, and produces a small, slow oscillation. We are now about 30pc or so from the plane, although that number has big error bars.

    #15:”We think we do know something about interstellar dust that is now flowing thru our solar system in larger amounts because of the reversed polarity of the sun that cyclically occurs. I would like to see this apparent fact discussed if it is true because that dust could have cooling effects?”

    The dust in the Galaxy is nothing like “dust” that would effect climate for several reasons. 1) It’s not “dust” like in your room. It’s many times finer than cigarette smoke. 2) It’s incredibly sparse. There isn’t nearly enough of it to have any effect on the atmosphere compared to the amount of much bigger particles in the atmosphere naturally, to say nothing of the man-made contribution.

    #16: The magnetic field near the Earth is dominated by the Earth’s own field. This field is strongly distorted by the magnetic field and “wind” of the Sun. The galactic field is stopped many billions of miles away by the Sun’s field. The Voyager and Pioneer spacecraft are just now starting to find this boundary (called the “heliopause”). The galactic field cannot penetrate the heliopause (far beyond the orbit of Pluto) so the galactic field is not important here.

    [Response: Ralph, thanks for stopping by RealClimate. Your helpful and clear responses are much appreciated. --eric]

    Comment by Ralph — 10 Mar 2008 @ 6:44 PM

  34. Gusbob, your “dangerous circular reasoning” is the same type of reasoning that Enrico Fermi employed to posit the neutrino. It is the same sort of intuitive leap Newton made from the falling apple to the motion of the planets. In a self-correcting discipline like science, being wrong is not the greatest sin–and taking the risk of being wrong is the only way to fundamentally advance understanding.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 10 Mar 2008 @ 6:58 PM

  35. Interesting. But I am hard pressed to figure out why if astrophysicists should not be commenting on climate, why climatologists (physicist for Rasmus) should be commenting on astrophysics?

    Comment by Gary — 10 Mar 2008 @ 7:19 PM

  36. Let’s clarify a couple things.

    Re #5, 9, 12, 16: The vertical oscillation of the sun is moderate. It results in a ~50% change in local galactic density at the extreme vertical displacement relative to the plane of the disk. This is enough to matter, but one would have a semantic argument about whether a 50% drop is really large enough to say that the sun ever meaningfully leaves the disk of the galaxy. Medvedev and Melott, writing after Shaviv and for entirely different reasons, suggest that this much oscillation translates to as much as a factor of 5 change in cosmic ray flux with a 50-80 Myr timescale. (For those keeping track, this factor of 5 change would actually be larger and on a different timescale than the factor of ~3 that Shaviv and Veizer suggested occurs on a 140 Myr timescale.) I’m not entirely convinced Medvedev and Melott are right about the magnitude, but it is a point to be aware of.

    Re #1: If the Milky Way is really a four armed spiral (as opposed to the more mundane two armed variety), then we are actually living in a fairly rare type of galaxy. That has no bearing on the validity of the co-rotation argument however.

    Re #2: The spiral pattern is created by a “supersonic” “shock wave” in the gas of the galaxy. The shock front moves at its own speed seperate from the velocities of stars, much the same way that ripples on a pond move faster than the water itself. In fact, the concentrations of stars we see in spiral arms are actually created that way. The passage of the shock front leads to compression that squeezes the gas just enough that some of it collapse to form new stars, and it is this concentration of new stars that make the spiral arms appear brighter. After the shock wave passes, the normal motions of the stars will cause them to disperse. (Note: both “supersonic” and “shock wave” have technical meanings that aren’t really important to the qualitatively understanding.)

    Re #4: The solar system is highly inclined relative the galactic plane, making an angle of nearly 60 degrees.

    Comment by Robert A. Rohde — 10 Mar 2008 @ 7:37 PM

  37. Scafetta and West have been eviscerated on RC previously:
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/11/a-phenomenological-sequel/

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2006/03/solar-variability-statistics-vs-physics-2nd-round/

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2006/10/how-not-to-attribute-climate-change/

    The biggest problem with this work is that it completely ignores the known physics of greenhouse forcing and adopts a “blackbox” approach of comparing time series–epidemiology applied to physics devoid of a mechanism.
    It is numerology. I look forward to the future editorials in Physics Today on astrology, phrenology and other pseudoscientific topics. I would have expected better.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 10 Mar 2008 @ 8:12 PM

  38. The article above presents a link to this paper,

    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v448/n7149/full/448008a.html

    , which purports to show that solar changes were not responsible for a significant portion of the 20th century warming. The paper in question looks at only two of the three mechanisms by which solar changes affected planetary temperature. These are the three mechanisms.

    1)Solar irradiation changes. (No the sun did not get hotter in the 20th century.)

    2)Solar heliosphere modulation of Galactic Cosmic Rays. (No, for the time period in question, GCR changes did not cause global warming. The strength and the extent of the solar heliosphere changes throughout the solar cycle, which modulates the amount of GCR that strikes the atmosphere. Changes in GCR has been shown to affect planetary cloud cover. More GCR more clouds colder planet and visa versa.

    3)Electroscavenging. Yes that is mechanism by which the solar magnetic field is purported to have caused a significant portion of the warming in the 20th century. Solar wind bursts (caused by coronal holes moving towards the solar equator for example, particularly at the end of the solar cycle.) create a space charge in the ionosphere which removes cloud forming ions. Less ions, less clouds. Less clouds warmer planet.

    Look at figure 12 in the attached which shows the number of solar magnetic storms per year, from 1865 to present and the solar cycle number. There is roughly a 10 times increase in the number of magnetic storms at the end of the solar cycles, when comparing the 20th century to the 19th century. It is not just the number, but the magnitude of the solar storms.

    http://www.geomag.bgs.ac.uk/earthmag.html#_Toc2075558

    This paper by Brian Tinsley and Fangqun Yu “Atmospheric Ionization and Clouds as Links Between Solar Activity and Climate” outlines solar mechanisms 2) and 3), if you are interested in more details concerning the mechanisms.

    http://www.utdallas.edu/physics/pdf/Atmos_060302.pdf

    Now as the sun appears to be entering a long term minimum the solar wind bursts should drop off, in frequency and magnitude. There will therefore be less electroscavenging to remove cloud forming ions. In addition, with the solar magnetic cycle in a minimum, the large scale magnetic field and solar heliosphere should be reduced. A reduced solar heliosphere should result in increased GCR.

    The following is a link that shows GCR has increased by about 12%.

    http://cosmicrays.oulu.fi/Request.dl…=00&mR=00&PD=1

    If there was more cloud forming ions, there should be more clouds over the ocean which should over time result in colder ocean surface temperatures. What are your thoughts?

    http://www.osdpd.noaa.gov/PSB/EPS/SST/data/anomnight.3.10.2008.gif

    Comment by William Astley — 10 Mar 2008 @ 9:51 PM

  39. #10, Walt, I find debunking contrarians just as instructive as any other topic here. A contrarian stance is always seriously flawed in one way or another, and knowing this error is just as good as being taught about climate reality in some topical way… Keep up the good work RC!

    Surface temperatures should be taken with the idea that they represent the bottom of an ocean of air. It is hardly possible to determine what is going on from just surface information, or to say that surface temperature leads and what happens above follows.

    Comment by wayne davidson — 10 Mar 2008 @ 10:05 PM

  40. Ralph said, “The existence of a smooth source of gravity in galaxies is overwhelming. This conclusion is completely scientific. We know that the stars in the Galaxy orbit at a rate that cannot be explained by adding up the gravity of the stars themselves. This is not a small effect. Either gravity operates differently at large scales, or there is matter that isn’t bright. Evidence for the former option is strongly lacking. Evidence for the latter option is ubiquitous and self-consistent (not circular — there’s a difference).”

    Ralph thank you for your thoughtful post. However I must disagree that it is not circular reasoning. I agree that the Dark Matter hypothesis is scientific but only in the sense that it is a hypothesis to explain current astronomical conundrums. And I agree that the missing gravity is not a small effect. It is huge! But what we are observing in outer space is evidence of “attractive forces” that can not be explained by the calculations of observable mass. Yes, the evidence is indeed ubiquitous, that this force is accounted for by visible mass.

    However it is most definitely circular reasoning to hypothesize this missing force is the result of dark matter and then every time you observe the missing force to claim it must be the very same hypothesized dark matter.

    I find it easier to believe, and eventually prove or disprove, that the missing force results from electromagnetic interactions. The electromagnetic force is at least a trillion, trillion, trillion, times more powerful than gravity. Occam’s razor suggests to me, that a theory that incorporates electromagnetic forces is an easier explanation than creating a new form of matter that has not been observed and so far is impossible to observe.

    The idea of Birkeland currents (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Birkeland_current) connecting the sun to the earth and elsewhere in outer space was believed to be impossible because space was believed to be a vacuum. It seems then Occam’s razor made it was easier to deny their existence than let go of the erroneous idea of the “space vacuum”. Dark matter only serves Occam’s razor because we need not re-think our theories. Electromagnetic ideas do not replace gravitational effects or nuclear effects but fills in the holes with a force that is observable and testable.

    And now we know that space is filled with plasma and our Local Bubble of plasma is being investigated by CHIPS. And Themis cinfirms what Birkeland suggested 100 years ago: “”The satellites have found evidence for magnetic ropes connecting Earth’s upper atmosphere directly to the Sun,” says Dave Sibeck, project scientist for the mission at the Goddard Space Flight Center. “We believe that solar wind particles flow in along these ropes, providing energy for geomagnetic storms and auroras.”

    http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2007/11dec_themis.htm

    Magnetic fields are caused by electric currents and as Themis and Ulysses reveal, the evidence mounts that electromagnetic forces must be incorporated into our cosmological understanding. Much of the electromagnetic ideas can be demonstrated and tested in plasma labs and are scalable. meanwhile the actuality of dark matter remains a fairy tale, a nice story of inferences but not testable and nor falsifiable. And thus it is not science. It is a galactic glitch.

    Comment by gusbob — 10 Mar 2008 @ 10:17 PM

  41. RL,

    “Gusbob, your “dangerous circular reasoning” is the same type of reasoning that Enrico Fermi employed to posit the neutrino. It is the same sort of intuitive leap Newton made from the falling apple to the motion of the planets. In a self-correcting discipline like science, being wrong is not the greatest sin–and taking the risk of being wrong is the only way to fundamentally advance understanding.”

    In my above post I relate why I think the risk of exploring an electrical idea of the universe is at least as valid as seeking a dark matter solution. And it would be in keeping with Fermi and Newton’s risk taking.

    I responded to your aggressive denunciation of the electric universe on the Antartica thread but those posts were deleted. So perhaps you missed the 3 questions I asked you to answer w(ithout evoking elctromagnetic forces). I think the elctromagnetic answers to those questions are plausible and testable.

    First why does the solar wind accelerate away from the suns and past the planets. Gravitational theory alone suggests it should decelerate.

    Second why does the temperature beginning at the photosphere,5800K , drop in the chromosphere and then jump to over 1 million K in the corona. Shouldn’t we get cooler as we stand further from the fireplace.

    And 3rd if Themis’ magnetic ropes are not Birkeland currents then what are they?

    And since you mention the neutrino, why are we missing the predicted neutrinos postulated for a strictly nuclear sun?

    Comment by gusbob — 10 Mar 2008 @ 10:36 PM

  42. If we could shift the discussion to clouds, Nexus6 pointed out over a year ago with the problems with the ISCCP cloud dataset. That the decrease in cloud cover is either mostly or entirely due to the addition of satellites, improving the field of view. This is described in this paper:
    http://cimss.ssec.wisc.edu/clavr/amato/2006GL028083.pdf

    Joel Norris recently did a presentation on cloud cover, i.e. satellite vs surface observations:
    http://meteora.ucsd.edu/~jnorris/presentations/12469 (real video)

    This data is described in this paper:
    http://meteora.ucsd.edu/~jnorris/reprints/NorrisGwattRevised.pdf

    In particular, look at the graphs on page 4 (figure 1) and the map of the cloud cover anomalies on page 6 (figure 2). I don’t see how anyone can still cling to the cosmic ray theory of climate change (at least as an explanation for current warming) given these facts.

    Comment by cce — 11 Mar 2008 @ 12:03 AM

  43. Thanks to Ralph in 33 for helpful explanations. Re my suggestion about the galactic magnetic field, this was the only relevant variable I could imagine that would affect the GCR flux as the Sun oscillates about the galactic plane.

    Very interested to know what other effects might modulate the GCR flux. Surely not dust and gas…?

    Comment by Jim Galasyn — 11 Mar 2008 @ 12:09 AM

  44. #36:
    Re #2: The spiral pattern is created by a “supersonic” “shock wave” in the gas of the galaxy. The shock front moves at its own speed seperate from the velocities of stars, much the same way that ripples on a pond move faster than the water itself. In fact, the concentrations of stars we see in spiral arms are actually created that way. The passage of the shock front leads to compression that squeezes the gas just enough that some of it collapse to form new stars, and it is this concentration of new stars that make the spiral arms appear brighter. After the shock wave passes, the normal motions of the stars will cause them to disperse. (Note: both “supersonic” and “shock wave” have technical meanings that aren’t really important to the qualitatively understanding.)

    Actually, the spiral pattern is probably a combination of this and a gravitational density wave in the old and young stars. Many young stars are indeed born in the compressed gas, and their light makes the arms stand out, especially in blue light (young stars are generally hot, and thus blue).

    But the arms in many spirals can still be seen when one looks in the infrared, where the light comes more from older stars. Faint spiral arms can even be seen in disk galaxies that lack gas and young stars entirely (and such arms also produced in gravitational n-body simulations of galaxies, without needing gas).

    A gravitational density wave like a spiral arm can be thought of as something like a traffic jam: it’s a moving region of higher density, which stars join and then leave.

    Comment by Peter Erwin — 11 Mar 2008 @ 12:56 AM

  45. Sorry I do not belive on the astronomy.

    Comment by vijay — 11 Mar 2008 @ 3:43 AM

  46. Re#1 is this John Gribbin of popular science writing fame in the UK and quantum theorist / scientist ?

    Comment by pete best — 11 Mar 2008 @ 4:32 AM

  47. Shouldn’t that r0 * 3 be r0 ^ 3? If it were a scalar coefficient it would come before the variable, not after it. I’m pretty sure the 3 should be an exponent.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 11 Mar 2008 @ 7:35 AM

  48. gusbob says:

    [[I am curious when something is unknown and close to impossible to measure, what does it mean to be solidly established.]]

    Dark matter is easily measured by its gravitational effect.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 11 Mar 2008 @ 7:40 AM

  49. The idea that the Sun “oscillates” above and below the galactic plane seems to me to defy celestial mechanics. What would make it do that?

    If it has a nonzero orbital inclination, it would pass the galactic midplane exactly twice per orbit — once on the way down and once on the way up — at the descending and ascending “nodes,” respectively. For a galactic orbital period of 225 million years, that would be once every 113 million years. And Shaviv’s 250 MY (which I think is too high) => once in 125 MY, not 150.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 11 Mar 2008 @ 7:43 AM

  50. gusbob writes:

    [[I find it easier to believe, and eventually prove or disprove, that the missing force results from electromagnetic interactions. The electromagnetic force is at least a trillion, trillion, trillion, times more powerful than gravity.]]

    Doesn’t matter how powerful it is if the electric charges involved are balanced, and they are. There is no good evidence for huge charge differences on a galactic scale. Enough to account for the galaxy’s differential rotation would have other noticeable effects which we don’t see (e.g. the galaxy either expanding or contracting).

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 11 Mar 2008 @ 7:55 AM

  51. gusbob says:

    [[First why does the solar wind accelerate away from the suns and past the planets. Gravitational theory alone suggests it should decelerate.]]

    Because we’re not dealing with “gravit[y] alone.” There’s photon pressure.

    [[Second why does the temperature beginning at the photosphere,5800K , drop in the chromosphere and then jump to over 1 million K in the corona. Shouldn’t we get cooler as we stand further from the fireplace.]]

    No, that’s simplistic. It depends on what the radiative balance of the corona is, and that isn’t well modeled at this time. But a hot corona is certainly not ruled out by distance. By that logic, temperature inversions should never happen in Earth’s atmosphere, and the ozone layer should have a positive lapse rate.

    [[And since you mention the neutrino, why are we missing the predicted neutrinos postulated for a strictly nuclear sun?]]

    We aren’t. Your information on this appears to be obsolete (1960s or so). Neutrinos appear to switch type with time and that accounts for the missing neutrinos.]]

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 11 Mar 2008 @ 7:59 AM

  52. Gusbob,
    What you fail to realize is that electromagnetic forces are important in stellar dynamics–there’s just no way they can explain the energy generation of stars. And it is the nuclear forces that drive the plasma that is responsible for the electromagnetic interactions–not the other way around.
    As to neutrinos, why would there be neutrinos at all unless there were nuclear interactions going on? And the missing neutrinos have been accounted for in terms of neutrino oscillations.

    Heating of the solar corona is likely due to magnetic recombination and wave heating–both of which have been observed occuring. In my opinion, magnetic recombination seems to be a strong candidate–as it becomes significant as a transport mechanism when the magnetic field lines extend far enough to have significant energy. BTW, the energy here is not huge–only about .0025% of TSI.
    As to the magnetic connection of Earth and the Sun, I’m not sure what you even mean. The Sun has a magnetic field as does Earth, it is not surprising that some of the field lines should connect. However, the energy exchange here is trivial. You are falling victin here to a common pitfall among interested laymen–you don’t want to do the math. If you did, you would quickly see that the “electric Universe” simply isn’t energetically viable–there is no energy source that can power the sun except fusion–and we know fusion is going on from the spectrum of neutrinos we receive here on Earth.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 11 Mar 2008 @ 8:11 AM

  53. Re #41 [gusbob] “why are we missing the predicted neutrinos postulated for a strictly nuclear sun?”

    I thought that had been resolved through the discovery that neutrinos can change type (electron neutrino / muon neutrino / tau neutrino), and the detectors were only picking up the electron neutrinos. Or are you saying there are still some missing?

    Comment by Nick Gotts — 11 Mar 2008 @ 8:22 AM

  54. Re #23 “Papers on solar variability and cosmic-rays continue to surface even though many would prefer they go away from the climate variability debate.”

    Why??? What are you afraid of that you would wish ligitimate science to “go away”? This is what dogmatic orthodoxy does, not ligitimate science. If solar has an influence, major or minor, we MUST let science do it’s work!!

    Comment by Richard Wakefield — 11 Mar 2008 @ 9:30 AM

  55. Barton Paul Levinson #49 wrote:

    [[If it has a nonzero orbital inclination, it would pass the galactic midplane exactly twice per orbit — once on the way down and once on the way up — at the descending and ascending “nodes,” respectively. For a galactic orbital period of 225 million years, that would be once every 113 million years. And Shaviv’s 250 MY (which I think is too high) => once in 125 MY, not 150.]]

    This is an interesting point. According to Svensmark (The Chilling Stars) the sun passes the midplane of the disc every ~34MY (a cycle period of ~68MY). Is it possible that the sun can “…dive through the midplane of the Milky Way Galaxy like a dolphin.” (Svensmark) independent of its galactic orbital cycle?

    Thanks.

    Comment by Arch Stanton — 11 Mar 2008 @ 10:03 AM

  56. Re Barton #49:

    If it has a nonzero orbital inclination, it would pass the galactic midplane exactly twice per orbit — once on the way down and once on the way up — at the descending and ascending “nodes,” respectively. …

    Your intuition is based on the orbital dynamics of a small mass orbiting around a large point mass, e.g. the Earth around the sun. Unlike the solar system, much of the mass of the galaxy is smeared out across the disk. This gravitational potential function is far more complicated than the gravitational potential from a simple point mass, and leads to more complicated results. In particular, orbits do not close into simple ellipses and there is no expectation that as one completes one revolution that you will end up back where you started.

    Think of it this way, if you move above the disk, you aren’t merely being pulled back towards the center of the disk, but you are also being pulled vertically towards the portion of the disk nearest to you. In this way the potential for vertical oscillations is largely decoupled from the orbital motions around the center of the disk.

    Comment by Robert A. Rohde — 11 Mar 2008 @ 10:20 AM

  57. Re #49:
    Barton Paul Levenson, this would only hold, if the galactic mass would be spheric symmetric or concentrated in the center.
    Due to the massive disc the force on the sun is not in the direction to the galactic center but more towards the disc plane.

    Values of about 30Myr for the oscillation are from overestimated masses of the disc prior to recognizing a massive dark matter halo. A recent value, I cite
    “A by-product of this study is the determination of the half period of oscillation by the Sun through the Galactic plane, 42+/-2Myr …” from [1].

    Due to the small amplitude of this oscillation for the sun no remarkable effects are expected.

    [1] Vertical distribution of Galactic disk stars – III. The Galactic disk surface mass density from red clump giants
    O. Bienaymé, C. Soubiran, T. V. Mishenina, V. V. Kovtyukh, and A. Siebert
    Astronomy & Astrophysics 446 (3) 933 (2006)
    DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20053538

    Comment by Uli — 11 Mar 2008 @ 10:35 AM

  58. gusbob’s comments made me curious enough to do some poking around and learn a bit about this “electric universe” idea. It seems to not work in its basic assumptions, for example it necessarily predicts a big influx of electrons going to the sun which is simply not there: (from http://www.bautforum.com/against-mainstream/28596-electric-universe-model-2.html)
    “In the case of the absence of evidence of electrons approaching the sun, this absence is compelling. It’s not just one, or even a few spaceraft, in a few choice locations. It’s literally dozens of spacecraft, scattered all over the solar system, but concentrated mostly at the equator. That’s why Thornhill changed his tune some years ago, pointing to the solar pole as the place where the electron influx would be, since he knows as well as anyone else does, that the absence of electrons in the equatorial plane is too severe to deal with. Granted Ulysses is only one spacecraft, but it has covered both solar poles twice now, and nary an inbound electron in sight. But the magnetic field is streched radially even at the pole, and does not show a polar cusp. There is only one way anyone knows to do that, a steady outbound flow of electrons (an inbound flow would bend the field in the opposite direction). So all of the evidence, for decades, and both particles & fields, clearly indicates an absence of incoming electrons. But more than that, the configurations of fields & particles that we actually obvserve constitute an intolerable conflict with the hypothesis that there is an incoming stream. For one thing, an incoming flow of electrons would either rip the solar wind apart, or be ripped apart by the solar wind (the bigger flow wins). The radial magnetic field can only be maintained by an outward flow of electrons. The electrons cannot have an “undetectable energy” for several, simultaneous spacecraft (you might pull that off for one, but not two or more at once).” (Tim Thompson)

    Also, proponents of this theory also posit that Saturn used to be the center of the solar system, and the Earth and all the other planets orbited it. Also, one site made frequent breathless mention of “the Light of Creation” which was exhaled by Yahweh. So, My impression at this point is that gusbob has hold of a superficially interesting idea that is at odds with physical observation and gets odder the deeper one digs.

    So gusbob, now that your neutrino question has received a few responses, allow me to pose a couple of questions to you: 1) Why are we unable to detect any influx of electrons to the sun, either equatorially or at the poles? 2) Did the planets orbit Saturn in the past?

    Comment by kevin — 11 Mar 2008 @ 10:42 AM

  59. So is the orginal blog going to be changed?

    It is claimed in ‘The Cloud Mystery’, the book ‘The Chilling Stars’, and related articles that our solar system takes about 250 million years to circle the Milky Way galaxy and that our solar system crosses one of the spiral arms about every ~150 million years (Shaviv 2003).

    But is this true? Most likely not. As we will discuss below, this claim is seriously at odds with astrophysical data.

    It clearly isn’t at odds with the data, since the logic ignores the inclination aspect to the suns movement.

    Given that this is wrong, the whole article falls.

    It’s also a pretty daft argument about climate change anyway. The timescales of current climate change are short, and these changes are of a different timescale.

    Comment by Nick — 11 Mar 2008 @ 11:04 AM

  60. you often claim on this website that there is no trend in cosmic radiation but as I understand it, isn’t it the modulation of cosmic rays from the sun that is worthwile to take a look into?

    Comment by Jan Lindström — 11 Mar 2008 @ 11:11 AM

  61. Re Barton’s question in 49, I believe the answer is that stars don’t follow Keplerian orbits. Iirc, the trajectory is called a “rosette” and comprises a wacky, non-repeating curve around the galactic center, as various gravitational influences tug on it.

    Comment by Jim Galasyn — 11 Mar 2008 @ 12:08 PM

  62. Rather than calculating where the earth was precisely throughout time, I thought Shaviv used metorites and other proxies to calculate the perodicity empirically. Like described in his papers.

    Comment by aaron — 11 Mar 2008 @ 12:18 PM

  63. “Not even wrong”

    Delightful to rediscover Wolfgang Pauli’s comment: “That’s not right, it is not even wrong.”

    from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Not_even_wrong

    “An apparently scientific argument is said to be not even wrong if it is based on assumptions that are known to be incorrect, or alternatively theories which cannot possibly be falsified or used to predict anything…Such theories are non-scientific, even when they are speaking in scientific language”

    Comment by Richard Pauli — 11 Mar 2008 @ 12:28 PM

  64. Re #35 (Gary): “But I am hard pressed to figure out why if astrophysicists should not be commenting on climate, why climatologists (physicist for Rasmus) should be commenting on astrophysics?”

    Possibly because the climatologist co-authored this post with an astrophysicist specializing in galaxies? Could be! Physics is a very common degree type for climatologists, BTW.

    Re #10 (Walt): Re your feeling that there’s excessive debunking here lately, I would remind you that the very name of this blog suggests that there will be quite a lot of that. I haven’t noticed a major change in the proportions, BTW.

    Regarding articles by the authors on their own work, I think it’s been said that there’s a conscious effort to avoid doing too much of that. Since the realities of limited time mean that there’s no way this blog can comprehensively cover all of the important new developments in the science anyway, I don’t see the relative lack of self-referential material as being a particular problem. In case you didn’t know, if you follow the links to the personal web pages of the authors you’ll find that for the majority their papers are available to be read.

    Comment by Steve Bloom — 11 Mar 2008 @ 1:13 PM

  65. gusbob writes:

    I find it easier to believe, and eventually prove or disprove, that the missing force results from electromagnetic interactions. The electromagnetic force is at least a trillion, trillion, trillion, times more powerful than gravity. Occam’s razor suggests to me, that a theory that incorporates electromagnetic forces is an easier explanation than creating a new form of matter that has not been observed and so far is impossible to observe.

    Where do I begin? I picked this one as the most obviously absurd to refute. How do you explain the rotation of the galaxy by electrostatic forces? It has to be an attractive force to do the job. Dark matter gravitation is. Electrostatic forces are repulsive between like charges, so we must have a distribution of opposite charges to do the job.

    The smaller problem here is to find a distribution of positive and negative charges that would produce the observed change in rotational behaviour: you won’t. The bigger problem is that the net electrostatic charges won’t stay put: as they attract each other, they will flow together (as in electric current; plenty of conductive plasma out there) and will annihilate each other on a very short notice.

    …and don’t even think of bringing up an electromagnetic explanation: we know how strong the galactic magnetic field is, by a variety of observation techniques. Not even close.

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 11 Mar 2008 @ 1:46 PM

  66. Interesting.
    The authers mentions ONE point from this film – i had the same thought when i saw the film, and i may agree about the galaxy argument.

    BUT BUT BUT:
    WHY IS THIS THE ONLY THING YOU MENTION??
    It is not at all the central point in the film, its just a little corner you for some reason chooses to focus on!
    Why do you not deal with the SUBSTANCE of their SPLENDID WORK??

    Are you afraid to touch the 99% of topics where they have made a very very good point?
    This theory explains practically ALL historic temperatures 1000 times better than the CO2 hypothesis.

    Please be objective, honest and scientific.

    Comment by Frank Lansner — 11 Mar 2008 @ 2:57 PM

  67. Google:
    +solar +”missing force” “electromagnetic interactions”

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 11 Mar 2008 @ 3:00 PM

  68. gusbob:

    You are correct about one thing: it is much easier to disprove that electromagnetic effects are responsible for the rotation rate of the Galaxy than to understand the dark matter. The charge of the Sun is approximately known (planetary probes have measured the interplanetary magnetic and electric fields well). The field strength of the Galaxy is approximately known (by many methods, including studies of cosmic rays and the polarization of starlight). The resulting force of the charged Sun moving through the Galactic field, is infinitessimal compared to that of the gravitational force of the other stars, which itself is still only 10% or so of the force required to explain the rotation rate.

    Put another way, there are many observable consequences of charges or electromagnetic fields of the strength required to explain the rotation curve of the Galaxy. People have looked for these consequences and they have not just failed to find them — they have definitively shown their absence.

    Ergo, electromagnetic forces cannot be responsible.

    Comment by Ralph — 11 Mar 2008 @ 3:08 PM

  69. gusbob wrote:
    [First why does the solar wind accelerate away from the suns and past the planets. Gravitational theory alone suggests it should decelerate.]

    The solar wind is composed of subatomic particles. The solar magnetic field accelerates them as they move away from the Sun, because the magnetic forces are stronger than gravity on these particles. This process does not scale to larger objects though. The charge to mass ratio of an electron is enormous compared to a star or planet. Stars and planets are not appreciably accelerated by magnetic fields. This is both a firm theoretical result and an observed fact.

    Comment by Ralph — 11 Mar 2008 @ 3:16 PM

  70. Given that the transient ionizing radiation flux from short lived fission products raised the condensation track density in the downwind wake of above ground nuclear tests, one would expect those adducing cosmic ray modulation of climate to show off photos of contrails following fallout around the globe, and cloud cover indices spiking after major H-bomb tests

    I don’t see Fred Singer volunteering . Where are they ??

    Comment by Russell Seitz — 11 Mar 2008 @ 3:48 PM

  71. Lynn at 13: “if a denialist crosses my path using this “galactic cosmic ray hypothesis,” I’ll just say I don’t have time for those kind of far-fetched hypotheses, but I know it’s been roundly refuted at RealClimate, and here is their webpage…”

    But you just said you didn’t even read the post, meaning you will believe anything with the RC seal of approval on it. A scientific attitude?

    Comment by Dodo — 11 Mar 2008 @ 4:16 PM

  72. Other authors appear to support Shaviv’s hypothesis. (The authors of this paper reference four spiral arms.)

    “Ice Age Epochs and the Sun’s Path Through the Galaxy” by D. R. Gies and J. W. Helsel

    Center for High Angular Resolution Astronomy and Department of Physics and Astronomy, Georgia State University

    “We present a calculation of the Sun’s motion through the Milky Way Galaxy over the last 500 million years. The integration is based upon estimates of the Sun’s current position and speed from measurements with Hipparcos and upon a realistic model for the Galactic gravitational potential. We estimate the times of the Sun’s past spiral arm crossings for a range in assumed values of the spiral pattern angular speed.”

    “We find that for a difference between the mean solar and pattern speed of … the Sun has traversed four spiral arms at times that appear to correspond well with long duration cold periods on Earth. This supports the idea that extended exposure to the higher cosmic ray flux associated with spiral arms can lead to increased cloud cover and long ice age epochs on Earth.”

    http://arxiv.org/abs/astro-ph/0503306

    Comment by William Astley — 11 Mar 2008 @ 10:15 PM

  73. Nick @ 59:

    There’s nothing wrong with the blog post. Shaviv’s argument is that the flux of GCRs should increase when the Solar System is close to supernovae, and this should happen when the Sun passes through spiral arms, since that’s where you find the most supernovae. Shaviv argued for a particular value of the spiral arm pattern speed, such that the Sun would pass through spiral arms every 150 million years or so. Jahnke and Benestad argue that Shaviv has the wrong value for the spiral arm pattern speed (or, to put it another way, the wrong value of the corotation radius), and therefore the wrong periodicity for when the Sun passes through spiral arms.

    The Sun’s vertical oscillations are irrelevant to Shaviv’s argument, and to J & B’s counter-argument.

    Comment by Peter Erwin — 11 Mar 2008 @ 10:18 PM

  74. Re #66 (Frank Lansner): RealClimate has already discussed the problems with the cosmic ray hypothesis a few times before. One of the posts is linked to in the first paragraph of this post. Also relevant to this is the Rahmstorf et al. 2004 paper that is linked to in the 3rd-to-last paragraph here.

    I think the point of this post was to note one additional failing that they had not previously discussed.

    Since your opinion that “this theory explains practically ALL historic temperatures 1000 times better than the CO2 hypothesis” does not seem to be shared by most of the experts in the field, perhaps it is you and not the authors of this post who are being less than “objective, honest and scientific” in evaluating the relative merits of these two explanations.

    Comment by Joel Shore — 11 Mar 2008 @ 10:19 PM

  75. At the risk of muddying the galactic waters further and veering further off-topic, what’s the general opinion of the Cooperstock-Tieu model?

    I personally find it ineluctably attractive to do away with dark matter in favor of relativistic effects.

    Comment by Jim Galasyn — 11 Mar 2008 @ 10:24 PM

  76. Dodo ejects:

    “But you just said you didn’t even read the post, meaning you will believe anything with the RC seal of approval on it. A scientific attitude?”

    To date, natural sciencs form a large body of knowledge. An individual can study deeply only a minor part of it. On the subjects when there is simply not enough time to comprehend some topic, it is justified to take a stance established scientists has created with scientific method.

    How then distinguish a scientific blog? Well, avoiding trivial errors in math and statistics and basing argumentation in observations and logic is a good indication for a scientific attitude in blog.

    Comment by Petro — 12 Mar 2008 @ 12:01 AM

  77. The neutrino problem and its “resolution” is a very good illustration of just how some confuse hypothetical evidence with reality.

    • Ray Ladbury Says: As to neutrinos, why would there be neutrinos at all unless there were nuclear interactions going on? And the missing neutrinos have been accounted for in terms of neutrino oscillations.

    Nick Gotts Says: I thought that had been resolved through the discovery that neutrinos can change type (electron neutrino / muon neutrino / tau neutrino), and the detectors were only picking up the electron neutrinos. Or are you saying there are still some missing?

    • Barton Paul Levenson Says: We aren’t. Your information on this appears to be obsolete (1960s or so). Neutrinos appear to switch type with time and that accounts for the missing neutrinos.]]

    RL you must have missed the post where I said electrical hypotheses support fusion. They just suggest that it is not due to gravitational confinement by electromagnetic z-pinch. And to generate neutrinos here on earth don’t we use particle accelerators created by electromagnetic forces?

    Three of you interpret the neutrino problem as resolved. Let me present my interpretation of the SNO conclusion and then we can compare realities vs possibilities.

    First a snippet of SNO’s announcement in 2001(not 1960):

    http://www.sno.phy.queensu.ca/sno/first_results/

    “We now have high confidence that the discrepancy is not caused by problems with the models of the Sun but by changes in the neutrinos themselves as they travel from the core of the Sun to the earth,” says Dr. Art McDonald, SNO Project Director and Professor of Physics at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. “Earlier measurements had been unable to provide definitive results showing that this transformation from solar electron neutrinos to other types occurs. The new results from SNO, combined with previous work, now reveal this transformation clearly, and show that the total number of electron neutrinos produced in the Sun are just as predicted by detailed solar models.”

    My interpretation:

    The Standard Solar Model states that the PP fusion in the sun will generate a specific type of neutrino, the electron neutrino. However only one third of that amount had been detected. Detectors were “seeing “ 1 every 3 days. Thus the SSM had a big observational hole in its theory. To the rescue comes SNO with “neutrino oscillation”. Although neutrinos were once thought to be mass-less and move at the speed of light, another theory had to be proposed that neutrinos can oscillate but this meant they must have mass and therefore also need to move slightly lower speeds. It’s hard enough to detect neutrinos never mind weigh them, but if you need to save your theory Occam’s razor says invent the ecliptic or equant or dark matter of oscillating neutrinos. But now SNO had results that revealed neutrino “transformation clearly” . They now measured all 3 types of neutrinos, the other 2 types were harder to detect. Thre only real evidence is that all three types added up to what the SSM predicted. Except SSM predicts electron neutrinos, not all 3 types. So the solution was that all three types can change into any other type. I must admit that having all three add up to the predicted value is an attractive coincidence.

    So I ask myself questions to make sure I understand as should any good critical thinker. “How could they tell they changed flavors?”. They certainly did not follow the neutrinos from the sun’s core all the way to the earth monitoring changes. So how do they “know”. Well they don’t know. They speculate because it fits their SSM theory.

    But more disturbing I then ask, “if these oscillating neutrinos can change back and forth, maybe the measured electron neutrinos are the result of transformed tau neutrinos or muon neutrinos.How do we know hich ones changed into which other one. So to be fair I’ll first assume they all can interchange equally. But then we are right back to having only 33% of the needed electrons.

    I even wondered how they knew that the one electron neutrino they detected about every 3 days is a solar neutrino? Why not from neutrinos proposed in the cosmic radiation background. Why not from the center of the earth or the atmosphere or left over from ancient supernovas? But you guys seem dang sure the accounting is done and solid proof. Maybe I don’t know what science is as RL gently suggested.

    So perhaps you could answer my questions so I too can feel so positive. Right now it seems like this proof is “turtles all the way down”

    Comment by gusbob — 12 Mar 2008 @ 12:55 AM

  78. Kevin,

    I appreciate that you would be interested enough to investigate what I suggest. But any minority theory as well as any consensus theory has many adherents that are odd bedfellows. Your mention of the breath of Yaweah, etc has never been something I have discussed here. Others have used the association with fringe elements as a means of “scientific argument” to debase what I say. I know a man who was an astronomer, believer in the SSM and a convicted child molester. For me to offer that as evidence against the SSM would be totally absurd. I would hope we all can avoid such nonsense.

    You asked, “1) Why are we unable to detect any influx of electrons to the sun, either equatorially or at the poles? I will get the links when I can but there was at least one paper that told of electrons flowing back towards the sun after a maybe a flare. I forget all the specific. The source of the electrons wasn’t clear. But the migration of electrons towards the sun is in keeping with the electric sun’s model of a positive sun .

    2) Did the planets orbit Saturn in the past? That specific question I have not seen before, except as a discussion that if the solar system found itself in the middle of a strong plasma stream that exerted electromagnetic attractions or repulsions on the planets then could that re-arrange the current solar system’s orbital arrangement. I don’t know and it is low on my list to explore as there would be too many ifs. Is it as theoretically as possible as the big bang? Maybe.

    But one solar system question that I have entertained I will share for those of you that have ever put a telescope on the moon or seen pictures of the craters on other planets. yYou must be struck by the near perfect circularity of those craters. Literally sitting on a mountaintop peering through my dobsonian, I was struck with the question. The theory of meteorite formed craters implies to me that there should be a lot of craters more elliptic in shape. This being so because the causative space debris would most likely be captured and fall at an angle to the surface. To be so circular they would need to fall straight down. However if instead, electric arcing is attributed to these craters, that would make sense as arcs like lightning do strike at very perpendicular angles. And that suggest a lot of electric activity in the solar system’s past.

    Comment by gusbob — 12 Mar 2008 @ 1:36 AM

  79. Martin Vermeer Says: Where do I begin? I picked this one as the most obviously absurd to refute. How do you explain the rotation of the galaxy by electrostatic forces? It has to be an attractive force to do the job. Dark matter gravitation is. Electrostatic forces are repulsive between like charges, so we must have a distribution of opposite charges to do the job.”

    Martin you can begin you should really begin with this youtube clip for a homopolar motor

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3aPQqNt15-o

    then try http://www.electric-cosmos.org/galaxies.htm
    Martin Vermeer Says: “The smaller problem here is to find a distribution of positive and negative charges that would produce the observed change in rotational behaviour: you won’t”.
    Plasma labs and computer simulations would beg to differ. They can generate galaxy type behavior.
    Martin Vermeer Says: The bigger problem is that the net electrostatic charges won’t stay put: as they attract each other, they will flow together (as in electric current; plenty of conductive plasma out there) and will annihilate each other on a very short notice.”
    Martin I once held those same assumptions. Have you ever heard of the Van Allen belts? One is mostly positive ions, the other mostly electrons. Yes there is diffusion and leakage of charge but the charge is replenished via at least 2 mechanisms. And for another analogy perhaps think of the transistor. In plasma physics there is the double layer that separates to differentially charged plasma fields. This double layer sets up an electric field analogous to transistors where which prevents the further diffusion of charges. It is at the boundaries of double layers that high voltages can build. Here is a diagrammatic representation
    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/0/07/Double_layer_formation.png/320px-Double_layer_formation.png
    and discussion
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Double_layer_%28plasma%29

    Comment by gusbob — 12 Mar 2008 @ 2:10 AM

  80. Ralph Says: The solar wind is composed of subatomic particles. The solar magnetic field accelerates them as they move away from the Sun, because the magnetic forces are stronger than gravity on these particles.”

    Ralph I suggest that you may confuse a magnetic field with an electric field. A magnetic field according to Maxwell’s equations should lead these charged particles in a motion as seen in Coronal Loops or similar to iron filing, that leave one pole and reconvene at the other.Magnetic fields loop around with zero net flux.

    http://atmos.nmsu.edu/~nchanove/images/sun_coronal_loop.jpg

    But the solar winds leave the sun and keep accelerating out to the ends of the heliosphere. This suggests not a magnetic field but an electric field with one end anchored in the sun and the other at the heliosphere’s edge.

    And if you could be so kind, I would appreciate a few links to your sources on how well the electric fields have been measured. The explosive failed results of the space tether or “space elevator” experiments from the shuttle, suggests that your putative accurate measurements were woefully underestimated. And that was close to home. So I would suspect the error bars on galactic and intergalactic measurements would be even greater.

    Comment by gusbob — 12 Mar 2008 @ 2:28 AM

  81. William @72:

    The Gies & Helsel paper is *not* independent evidence of Shaviv’s claim. On the contrary, they use ice age data to judge whether they can infer the spiral arm pattern speed, so this is the same as Shaviv, just starting at the other end. They explicitely state that current studies predict a much smaller difference in the arm pattern speed and the sun’s motion than Shaviv claims to have found.

    Knud

    Comment by Knud Jahnke — 12 Mar 2008 @ 4:44 AM

  82. Gusbob, I worked on a neutrino oscillation experiment back in the 80s. I can assure you, that the measurements that established neutrino oscillations are solid. Several different experiments report consistent results.
    Your suggestion that some acceleration mechanism accounts for neutrino production is risible. It shows we can add accelerator physics to the list of processes of which you are ignorant.
    Those of us who have pointed out the errors in your arguments are certain precisely because we have “done the math”. I suggest you do the same.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 12 Mar 2008 @ 5:28 AM

  83. gusbob writes:

    [[The theory of meteorite formed craters implies to me that there should be a lot of craters more elliptic in shape. This being so because the causative space debris would most likely be captured and fall at an angle to the surface. To be so circular they would need to fall straight down. ]]

    No. When something falls from space onto a planetary surface, at whatever angle, the speed at impact is so great that it blows up, and you get a circular crater pretty much every time. Even large bodies tend to get vaporized, and they simply do not have enough time to form noticeably elliptical craters.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 12 Mar 2008 @ 7:30 AM

  84. I am in the odd (for me) and strangely exciting position to have carried out my own scientific experiment that bears on one of the topics brought up on this thread. Gusbob asserts that “The theory of meteorite formed craters implies to me that there should be a lot of craters more elliptic in shape. This being so because the causative space debris would most likely be captured and fall at an angle to the surface. To be so circular they would need to fall straight down.” He goes on to speculate that maybe these craters are caused by electric arcing rather than meteorites.

    Well, the summer between my 6th and 7th grade years, my family took a road trip in the Western US. One of the sites we visited was Meteor Crater (AKA the Barringer crater) in Arizona. This guy Daniel Barringer was the one to suggest it was formed by a meteor, and he mined the crater trying to find it, digging hundreds of feet straight down, never finding anything. The conventional wisdom now seems to be that the meteor mostly vaporized, but at the time, according to our tour guide at least, it was thought that perhaps the main mass was off-center, since (as gusbob notes) a non-perpendicular strike seems much more likely than a perpendicular strike. “But…,” I asked, “wouldn’t the crater be elliptical?” I was assured that impacts from any angle resulted in a circular crater. This was very counterintuitive to me. I thought is was B.S. So, for my 7th grade science project, I tested the theory. I made pans of fairly wet (but not soupy) modeling clay, and used a BB gun to fire into them from a variety of angles. It was a pump gun, i.e. the more pumps, the more compressed air propelling the projectile, so I also varied the impact speed by using different numbers of pumps. The result? Lo and behold, all the craters were circular. The ejecta patterns were asymmetric, but the holes were all circular.

    Now, I realize that modeling clay isn’t a perfect analogue for every different surface on which we observe impact craters. I also realize that BB guns aren’t perfect simulators of meteor strikes. But nonetheless I proved to myself that non-perpendicular impacts, even at low angles, could produce circular impact craters, and I failed to come up any way to create an elliptical impact crater. Go figure. It’s a little weird to me even today, but there you are.

    BTW I got first place at my school, and I think I did OK at the county level as well, but I don’t remember that part exactly. :)

    BTW gusbob, I completely see your point about guilt by association, and I apologize for playing that game.

    Comment by Kevin — 12 Mar 2008 @ 8:28 AM

  85. gusbob: I looked at your links, and none of them appear relevant to your claim. Especially not the monopolar motor one (fun though). The others contain lots of hand waving, pretty pics, but no real (relevant) explanations. The galaxy’s rotation curve isn’t even mentioned. Yes, plasma physics is deeply involved with galactic jets and the like, no surprise there.

    I see another problem: the EM force you’re postulating should affect gas, dust and stars (and comets, and planet-like objects) orbiting in the galaxy in exactly the same way. Only gravitation does that. Within the solar system, celestial mechanics based on gravitation only is uncannily precise. Robert Dicke established the equivalence principle (on Earth) to within 1:10^8. That’s also how much smaller EM effects acting on the Earth should be than gravity.

    It just doesn’t work, and we have perfectly good theories that do. Give it up already.

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 12 Mar 2008 @ 9:31 AM

  86. Kevin #84:

    But nonetheless I proved to myself that non-perpendicular impacts, even at low angles, could produce circular impact craters, and I failed to come up any way to create an elliptical impact crater. Go figure. It’s a little weird to me even today, but there you are.

    I’m not sure how relevant your clay experiments are :-) but for meteorite impacts, the simple reality is that the speed of impact is so great (at least 11 km/s, even up to 45 km/s for parabolic cometary objects hitting frontally), that they just vaporize explosively, with a lot of ground rock too. Barringer was like a small nuclear explosion, without the radiation.

    http://www.barringercrater.com/science/

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 12 Mar 2008 @ 9:42 AM

  87. Re #78 [gusbob] On crater shape – when I read your post I recalled reading that angled impacts produce circular craters, although I don’t know why, and knew more knowledgeable people would respond, so didn’t post myself. However, human motivation and reasoning are within my professional purview, and in the interests of scientific understanding, I’d be grateful if you would tell me whether you thought either:

    a) That the entire planetary astronomy community had never noticed such a problem with the meteoritic theory of crater origins?

    or

    b) That they knew it was a problem, but pretended not to?

    or

    c) Something else? (Please specify)

    Whatever your answer, do you still hold to the same opinion?

    Comment by Nick Gotts — 12 Mar 2008 @ 9:54 AM

  88. meteorites and elliptical craters: Again, gusbob, you aren’t doing the math. A meteorite comes in at about 7 km per second, so for every kg of mass, it has 49 million joules of energy. If it has any hope of surviving entry through the atmosphere, it must be massive indeed. Another internship I did was looking at cratering on icy satellites of Jupiter. The PI for the project had taken old DOD code for modeling nuclear explosions and scaled the energy UP several orders of magnitude to do the calculations. The shape of the crater will have more to do with the profile of the shockwave of the vaporizing projectile and target material than it will with incident angle of the projectile. Also, keep in mind that if a projectile comes in with too steep an angle to the vertical, it will ricochet off the atmosphere.

    Logic is a funny thing: If not backed up by solid theoretical understanding and a willingness to do the math, it will lead you astray.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 12 Mar 2008 @ 10:15 AM

  89. # Ray Ladbury Says:
    12 March 2008 at 5:28 AM

    Gusbob, I worked on a neutrino oscillation experiment back in the 80s. I can assure you, that the measurements that established neutrino oscillations are solid. Several different experiments report consistent results.
    Your suggestion that some acceleration mechanism accounts for neutrino production is risible. It shows we can add accelerator physics to the list of processes of which you are ignorant.
    Those of us who have pointed out the errors in your arguments are certain precisely because we have “done the math”. I suggest you do the same.

    Ray a classy condemnation but it never answers any of my questions other than saying you feel comfortable that neutrino oscillation exists. Although I have not done the math and will be a skeptic until I have done so, that is the least of my worries about the solved solar neutrino problem. Accepting oscillation, I raised several other questions about the assertions regarding the missing solar electron neutrinos. You failed to address them at all. You prefer to snipe at me with aggressive speculation about my ignorance. I don’t think that is the behavior we should model for this board.

    Comment by gusbob — 12 Mar 2008 @ 10:30 AM

  90. Re #84
    Drifting way off topic here, but a second experiment that demonstrates the circularity of craters is to lob pebbles, from varying angles, into a box filled with flour. A third one is to fire your BB rifle, from varying angles, at the windows of your house (or your neighbor’s house). The spalling craters produced in the window glass will always be circular cones.

    Comment by spilgard — 12 Mar 2008 @ 10:51 AM

  91. Re #75 Jim Galasyn:

    I remember looking at a predecessor of this article, and concluding that it couldn’t be right… don’t remember why though. Figuring out where they take the wrong turn may be quite a project :-)

    The “conclusions” in the article state

    One might be inclined to question how this large departure from the Newtonian
    picture regarding galactic rotation curves could have arisen since the planetary
    motion problem is also a gravitationally bound system and the deviations there
    using general relativity are so small. The reason is that the two problems are
    very different: in the planetary problem, the source of gravity is the sun and the
    planets are treated as test particles in this field (apart from contributing minor
    perturbations when necessary). They respond to the field of the sun but they
    do not contribute to the field. By contrast, in the galaxy problem, the source of
    the field is the combined rotating mass of all of the freely-gravitating elements
    themselves that compose the galaxy.

    A common-sense objection would be: OK, but what then about the gravitational perturbations between Jupiter and Saturn? Yes, they’re much smaller, also in relative terms, than between different parts of the Galactic disk; but they would also be a lot more precisely measurable. The precision with which celestial mechanics works within the solar system is downright horrific — with Mercury being the only place where GR is actually needed.

    It may not be worth investing more effort in this until it appears in a reviewed journal :-)

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 12 Mar 2008 @ 11:02 AM

  92. Atmosphere would also burn up far more objects that did get deep in the atmosphere on low-angle trajectories, as well as causing those on very flat paths to ‘skip’ back out — remember how critical the angle of return was for the Apollo astronauts as they encountered Earth’s atmosphere?

    Are more elliptical craters noticeable on bodies lacking significant atmosphere? Let’s look:
    http://scholar.google.com/scholar?q=craters+impact+elliptical

    I also recall weathering makes a great difference in appearance on Earth. The Arizona Meteor Crater, if you look at it
    http://www.satimagingcorp.com/galleryimages/quickbird-barringer-arizona-crater-web.jpg
    looks like it’s trying to be a square. No elaborate answer necessary, that’s the structure of the surrounding rock emerging with erosion.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 12 Mar 2008 @ 11:10 AM

  93. gusbob wrote:
    Ralph I suggest that you may confuse a magnetic field with an electric field. A magnetic field according to Maxwell’s equations should lead these charged particles in a motion as seen in Coronal Loops or similar to iron filing, that leave one pole and reconvene at the other.Magnetic fields loop around with zero net flux.

    No, I am not confusing these issues. The magnetic field of the Sun is dynamic, not static. Particles trapped on field lines go where the lines go, so when the field lines accelerate, they accelerate. The exact mechanism of this acceleration is poorly understood not because we don’t understand physics, but because the geometry is complex and hard to measure.

    gusbob again: And if you could be so kind, I would appreciate a few links to your sources on how well the electric fields have been measured. The explosive failed results of the space tether or “space elevator” experiments from the shuttle, suggests that your putative accurate measurements were woefully underestimated. And that was close to home. So I would suspect the error bars on galactic and intergalactic measurements would be even greater.

    Your understanding of the shuttle experiment is incorrect. The tether was a dynamo experiment, not a “space elevator” experiment. The excess current was caused not by too much magnetic field, but too little resistance in the tether. It was an engineering problem. This is not a post-hoc guess at what “must” have happened — the tether was studied carefully and shown to have a different resistance than assumed when it was launched. The magnetic field strength of the Earth is very well known. There are many, many satellites in orbit which measure it all the time. Freshmen in college measure it in physics lab — astronauts can certainly measure it in orbit.

    Indeed, the error bars on the Galtic field are large. I did not say that the Galactic field strengths were known to great accuracy (although the Solar System’s fields have been measured to high precision by multiple, independent probes). Indeed, the Galactic field SHAPE is still somewhat uncertain, but it doesn’t matter. These uncertainties are infinitessimal compared to the fields you would need to move planets and stars. Any field that strong would have multiple, unobserved effects. To name just two: such a field would trap every charged subatomic particle on a tiny orbit, yet we do not see the radiation that would cause, and we receive charged particles in the form of cosmic rays all the time (so they aren’t trapped on strong field lines).

    Try this: look up the charge of the Earth or Sun (there are many ways to calculate this — exactly which number you use won’t matter). Look up typical astrophysical field strengths (hint — the Galactic field has to be less than the Sun’s field, or we wouldn’t have to look beyond the Solar System to measure it). Calculate the acceleration of the Earth by this field. Compare to the acceleration the Earth gets from the Sun, or the Sun gets from the Galaxy. These are simple, Physics 101 calculations. If you don’t know the formulae, a used textbook can be had for less than $100.

    This should give you an idea of why electromagnetic fields are not important for planets (or stars, or anything larger than a speck for that matter), and why guessing that maybe the measurements are wrong can’t save the theory. Until you have done this calculation, you won’t understand why astronomers are so dismissive of the idea. After you’ve done the calculation (assuming you understand it) you’ll probably dismiss the theory, too. You’ll understand that the field strengths you need are so large, we couldn’t possibly have missed them. They’d manifest themselves in many, many more ways (and more-easy-to observe ways) than the rotation curves of galaxies.

    This is the next step you need to take — not asking scientists to point you to references that don’t matter.

    Comment by Ralph — 12 Mar 2008 @ 11:15 AM

  94. Since it is unlikely that anything like a tree exists on another planet it’s hard to imagine what a large intelligent animal life would be like. I think if life exists elsewhere in the universe it is very far away and relatively rare. Thermodynamically this would make sense. The number of galaxies is small compared to the size of the universe, the number planets capable of sustaining life must be smaller, the number of planets that do evolve intelligent life must be smaller yet. Also there’s the problem of what scientists mean when they say “intelligence”. North American Indians had no written language and no math does that mean they were unintelligent? Nor would they have understood what is meant by the Darwinian conception of “the struggle for existence.” This is just Darwin’s excuse of the industrial pathologies that were developing in the England of that time. Hunting and gathering were not experienced as a “struggle” by North American Indians, it was an enjoyable and indeed a religious experience. Probably the early Germanic tribes as described by Tacitus were the apex of European civilization. The only people who have to struggle to survive are modern industrialized Europeans (and those derived from Europe) which is increasingly difficult as the global energy reserves become exhausted. More complex technology only expedites the depletion.

    Comment by Jake — 12 Mar 2008 @ 11:28 AM

  95. Kevin (84):
    You made me think of skipping stones on water and how they provide concentrice circles as opposed to elliptical despite being at an angle. Just pondering.

    Comment by Mike — 12 Mar 2008 @ 11:41 AM

  96. Kevin,

    I like your style and applaud your inquisitive efforts.

    May I suggest one caveat to your crater interpretation. If a circular body enters the clay or whatever medium that is appropriate here, it should create a cylindrical path at a angle. If I look at x-sections of that pathway, each 2 dimensional planar x-section would look circular. But when incorporating the third dimension of depth we would see a more elliptical appearing craters. I suspect that since you were using clay, your observations were restricted to the entry level plane. If you scraped away a little bit of one side it would start to look more ellipitical.

    The vaporization theory doesn’t satisfy me for at least 3 reasons. First the penetrating cylinder would exist unless you argue that vaporization happened only at the immediate surface.

    Second even with a generous calculation, and perhaps RL will do the math for us, most people would predict that about 16% of the trailing edge of the meteorite would not vaporize. Missing fragments are still an issue(some explain the missing fragment weighing thousands of tons were carried away by ancient people)

    Third there is an assumption that vaporization will only happen from a meteor impact. So people prematurely conclude that findings of pellets of iron or nickel are proof of a meteor caused vaporization.But good science always ask is there other explanations that also fit. If you have ever used an arc welder you know that “vaporization” happens and impurities in the metal can create lots of spattering. I neglected to wear my welder’s cap one time and discovered a glowing pellet in my hair, first by the smell of burning hair, followed by pain. I always wore my welder’s cap after that.

    Comment by gusbob — 12 Mar 2008 @ 11:57 AM

  97. http://beyondzeroemissions.org/James-Hansen-no-more-coal-carbon-stabilisation-below-350ppm

    It looks like we have to get the ball rolling right now on Co2 reductions of which globally we have as yet accomplished zero as I believe Gavin recently stated in a article I read the other day. 100% emissions cuts are being recommended now but at exactly zero percent cuts presently it does not doable to be on that significantly different track within ten years when we are pursuing coal to oil, tar sands, new coal plants, building nuclear, mining uranium and only paying lip service to efficiency gains. Whilst all the time our emissions grow globally due to increased energy requirements.

    Comment by pete best — 12 Mar 2008 @ 11:58 AM

  98. Nir Shaviv has posted a reply to this post. He seems to be arguing that Krantz et al. (2003) is inapplicable to the Milky Way. I’m in no position to be able to judge on this one but it seems plausible. Could somone have a look at his response and try to respond?

    http://www.sciencebits.com/RealClimateSlurs

    Comment by Paul H — 12 Mar 2008 @ 12:13 PM

  99. RealClimate: An undisputable fact regarding the analyzed geological material is that the cosmic rays correlate with temperature.

    You argue which if the precise date is correct or not, but isn’t there already a perfect sync in the proxy material?!

    Comment by Magnus Andersson — 12 Mar 2008 @ 1:19 PM

  100. BPL’s statement at 83 above had not appeared when I wrote mine, now at 84, but I can confidently assert based on experiments carried out by myself at age 13 or so that the explosion of the projectile is not necessary to produce the circular craters, even at low angles. You can confirm this for yourself with a BB gun and some wet clay.

    Comment by Kevin — 12 Mar 2008 @ 2:51 PM

  101. #84
    Kevin,

    This is not so off topic as it might seem. It is about science as done by kids.

    I too did the experiments, but I did them much more than 45 years ago, and I did not go to the Nationals, but I did make the multi-state finals, one step from the Nationals and won more awards (and scholarships)than anyone but the fellow who was chosen to go to the nationals. He did not win the nationals.

    This was way before Neil and Buzz walked the moon. My project, unpublished, but “peer” reviewed, was “The Meteoric Theory of Moon Crater Origination”, and I not only used a bb gun, pump like yours, but both .22 cal and my father’s 8mm (slow load) and .30 cal high powered (hi-velocity) hunting rifles and lino-type metal (used to make portable “type”for newspapers back then) substrates to show velocity related melting and the heat of impact of KE=1/2 MV2. And yes, I measured the circularity of craters, and noted the elliptical ejecta, and circular holes. I used Plaster of Paris to freeze the results for the bb gun and it made a dramatic piece of Science Fair visual touchable measurable object!

    One of the judges was intimately involved in “shatter-cone analysis” and this was before Gene Shoemaker’s insights via Barringer.

    I declined an invitation to Green Bank W.V. to work near Frank Drake as a bright high school kid. A decision I regret now, and over the intervening years. (It was a girl friend.)

    Oh. There are elliptical craters, and it has been reasonably well worked out how they form.

    http:www.ingentaconnect.com/content/ap/is/2000/00000145/00000001/art06323

    This is an abstract — and I never ever deal with elsevier, ingentaconnect either. Most of these are thiefs because the research often has a public money support mechanism, and should be open. (Of course, I financed my own SciFair project, and it was a toss-up to explore determining specific impulse for new concoctions of homemade rocket’s fuel,or the cratering.)

    I made and burned a lot of rocket fuel but stopped short of spending (funding) a static test frame and enough components for fuel to test the amateur rocket fuel I was mixing.

    I funded and I did the cratering project. Most geologists that I knew of the time thought the craters on the moon were volcanic. I did not, because of the home made telescope I had funded, ground and built the year before.

    On the telescope, I found a comet with it, but my science teacher did not know how one reported astronomical discoveries. I was too late to get my name on it by quite a time anyway.

    I hope you continue your science bent!

    Sorry to go so off-topic. I just hope you, Kevin, pursue that stubborn skeptical nature that led you to test the circular crater hypothesis.

    Comment by Les Porter — 12 Mar 2008 @ 3:04 PM

  102. Sorry Kevin

    here is a better one for access on line
    http://www.lpi.usra.edu/meetings/lpsc2007/pdf/1952.pdf

    Comment by Les Porter — 12 Mar 2008 @ 3:11 PM

  103. Gusbob (re #96): Good Lord, where do you get this stuff? OK. I’ve done the math as far as telling you that each kg carries with it >49 MJoules of energy. When there is a collision with an energy of this magnitude, there is a shockwave that moves through both projectile and target. For energy density above a given amount, you will have vaporization, and outside of that radius for a larger volume, you will have melt. Most of the melt and a lot of solid material will be ejected from the crater. The projectile (meteorite) will pretty much without exception be within the vaporization zone–unless you can figure out some magic to keep the shockwave from moving through the projectile as well. The energy advances along the shock wavefront, which in more-or-less isotropic materials is spherical. Note that as Kevin said, a bullet can also give rise to a shockwave expanding from the point of impact, despite the much lower kinetic energy.

    And no, I did not say impact was the only way to melt something–all it takes is high energy density. However, terrestrially, impact is about the only way to impart such high energy densities.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 12 Mar 2008 @ 5:33 PM

  104. Ralph Says: Put another way, there are many observable consequences of charges or electromagnetic fields of the strength required to explain the rotation curve of the Galaxy. People have looked for these consequences and they have not just failed to find them — they have definitively shown their absence.
    Ralph if you ever have raised a teenager and asked them to find something, you have witnessed the results of a “reluctant search”, where there hearts were not really into searching, and after a quick look they vigorously claims ‘I can’t find it”. So I will suggest that many of those claims that the evidence is lacking comes from “reluctant searches” that by human nature will miss even what is right in front of them.

    Let me provide some examples from people who are searching. The electric star hypotheses suggest that stars will vary in brightness and color depending upon the current density that passes through them. We also know via the work of astronomers like Priscilla Frisch, Daniel Welty, Jeffrey Linsky too mention a few that stars move through the interstellar medium and this ISM is highly variable in density and charge and location. We are in the Local Bubble that has unusually low density but within that we are believed to have entered the Local Fluff which is not now considered to consist of several clouds of ISM of varying characteristics. Often the ISM displays filamentous characterisitcs as in Birkeland currents or Themis “magnetic ropes”. (Hank just google Jeffrey Linsky if you want my sources). Transits through these clouds occur on millennial scales and suggest why some putative solar cycles are not always scalable beyond millennial time scales.

    Amateur astronomers sometimes claim to have found emission nebula that have later disappeared within monthly or annual scales. Maybe they were poor observers, but knowing some, I suspect that this stringy ISM can provide different currents that fluctuate. And objects on the margin of undulating filaments of ISM will show variable behavior. And the “quick disappearance” reflects when the nebula was first observed, not when it first started to glow. Plasma glow is shown to be discontinuous and a function of current density. It is dark under low current density conditions and glows at higher densities.
    See the graph:

    http://www.glow-discharge.com/Images/GD_Regime.jpg

    The ES theory readily explains the numerous “mysterious stars” like FG Sagittae which has been observed to rapidly change spectral class.
    If the electric star hypothesis has merit then we should also see that brightest stars exhibiting greater signs of electrical stress. So the theory suggests the spectral class O and B stars being the hottest and brightest will show evidence of strong electric fields. Analysis of spectral absorption lines provides us with some analytical tools to infer what forces are at work on a given star as these line are shifted.

    For example we can assume line shifts are due to the speed of stellar rotation if we observed both red shift (suggesting the departing limb of rotation) and blue shift (suggesting the approaching limb of rotation).

    Stars being affected by strong magnetic fields exhibit a Zeeman effect where “splitting of a spectral line into several symmetrical components in the presence of a static magnetic field”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zeeman_effect

    The Stark effect is indicative of strong electric fields. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stark_effect

    And we can discern a Stark effect from other effects because the effect is asymmetrical and also dependent on upon the atomic mass of the gasses. Hydrogen shows greater “smearing of lines” than sodium, Whereas the other effects will are not so sensitive to those differences.

    http://articles.adsabs.harvard.edu//full/1939MNRAS..99..150F/0000152.000.html

    Still the electric star theory would also require that there be an adequate electrons to supply the power input to maintain a star’s power output, which for our sun is about 4x(10)26 Can the ISM supply that to the sun? or other stars? I will borrow from Donald Scott’s calculations and post the math as soon as time allows.

    Comment by gusbob — 12 Mar 2008 @ 6:21 PM

  105. Wouldn’t it have made sense to contact Dr. Shaviv before writing this to get your information right? He’s very amenable.

    Comment by aaron — 12 Mar 2008 @ 6:49 PM

  106. Gusbob, First, the idea of neutrino oscillations predates the solar neutrino measurements. It is not an ad hoc explanation, but a fundamental questions–was neutrino flavor conserved under the weak nuclear (or electroweak) force? Pontecorvo noticed that there was no good theoretical reason for such conservation, and if at least one flavor had mass, oscillations would occur. The thing is, it is a challenge to observe such oscillations. Here is a pretty good writeup:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neutrino_oscillation

    Go read it. PLEASE!!!

    Look, Gusbob, you can’t just assume you’ve got this stuff figured out with only a week or two of casual effort. People make careers of this stuff–20-30 years of hard, determined study. Expertise is much more important to success in science than is intelligence. Most of the smartest guys in my grad school class never finished their PhDs.
    Likewise with climate studies. The climate scientists who donate their time to this blog are performing an invaluable service. It is where I–with 20 years as a PhD physicist (as of next month anyway)–come to learn about climate science.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 12 Mar 2008 @ 7:16 PM

  107. pebbles in a stream vs. cratering–slightly different physics, but essentially the circularity of both waves and craters is because you have a point source. Note, however, that if you skim the stone just right so it skims along the water, you get a bow wave like you do with a boat. This will not happen with the shock wave, as the wave will always travel faster than the projectile.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 12 Mar 2008 @ 7:21 PM

  108. In reply to “81 Knud Jahnke’s comment: “They explicitly state that current studies predict a much smaller difference in the arm pattern speed and the sun’s motion than Shaviv claims to have found.”

    Knud, perhaps you read a different paper, than the paper below. The authors of this paper stated that their galactic model, which is consistent with current astronomical data, which supports four spiral arms in the Milky Way galaxy, and which supports Shivav’s meteorite analysis which shows that there were four periods of high CRF which happen to also correspond to ice-house periods on the earth.

    The authors note that although their galactic model agrees with the Shivav’s findings, it does requires a spiral arm motion which is within the error band of the standard astronomical model, but at the low end. The authors provide an astronomical and model explanation for that result. (Read paper if you are interested.)

    Re: “Ice Age Epochs and the Sun’s Path Through the Galaxy” by D. R. Gies and J. W. Helsel

    http://arxiv.org/abs/astro-ph/0503306

    In the abstract of the above paper the authors state:

    “We find that for a difference between the mean solar and pattern speed of ⊙ − p = 11.9 ± 0.7 km s−1 kpc−1 the Sun has traversed four spiral arms at times that appear to correspond well with long duration cold periods on Earth. This supports the idea that extended exposure to the higher cosmic ray flux associated with spiral arms can lead to increased cloud cover and long ice age epochs on Earth.”

    Shivav’s Meteorite Analaysis

    In response to the question as to whether the CRF correlation is due to a single parent meteorite body breaking up or are truly individual unrelated meteorites: Shaviv notes his methodology was to select similar aged meteorites, with different Iron composition for the analysis, to ensure the meteorites where not from the same body.

    From Shivav’s response to Rahmstorf’s comment:

    Detailed Response to “Cosmic Rays, Carbon Dioxide and Climate” by Rahmstorf et al.

    http://www.phys.huji.ac.il/~shaviv/ClimateDebate/RahmstorfDebate.pdf

    “It is certainly true that the complete meteoritic data includes clusters of meteorites of the same type, and that such clusters are most likely the result of a single parent body breaking up into many small pieces, but this is totally irrelevant. As detailed in Shaviv [2002] and Shaviv [2003], in order to neutralize this effect, a modified meteoritic data set is generated (using 80 K-dated Iron Meteorites) where clusters of meteorites of the same Iron group classification are replaced with one having an average age. Thus, the clustering can either be because of a variable CRF, or, simply because parent bodies tend to break up more often periodically. However, it is not likely that single bodies generated each of the clusters, since each cluster is now comprised of meteorites that are all of different Iron group classification.”

    Comment by William Astley — 12 Mar 2008 @ 9:23 PM

  109. Ralph says “Your understanding of the shuttle experiment is incorrect. The tether was a dynamo experiment, not a “space elevator” experiment. The excess current was caused not by too much magnetic field, but too little resistance in the tether. It was an engineering problem. This is not a post-hoc guess at what “must” have happened — the tether was studied carefully and shown to have a different resistance than assumed when it was launched. The magnetic field strength of the Earth is very well known. There are many, many satellites in orbit which measure it all the time. Freshmen in college measure it in physics lab — astronauts can certainly measure it in orbit.”

    First Ralph it wasn’t a misunderstanding regards the nature of the experiment as much as you would like to believe. My use of the words space tether and space elevator were merely references that have been used in the press to the whole experiment. And as much as I would like to believe your explanation it does raise other problems. First, with so much invested in terms of money and political capital, how hard would it have been to test the resistance before launch? I can’t help but assume that your engineers knew the basics of I=V/R.

    But if they weren’t smart enough to test the resistance, well what is one to think? If they were smart enough, then they must undervalued one of the other variables.

    And I want to thank you for all your kind guidance, so I can improve myself, even if it feels more like Hannibal Lecter kindly inviting me to lunch.

    Comment by gusbob — 12 Mar 2008 @ 9:41 PM

  110. Circular craters require significant melting at the point of impact, heating rather than ablation (bond breaking).

    Comment by Eli Rabett — 12 Mar 2008 @ 9:47 PM

  111. I think it may be time for a review of “The Crackpot Index”

    http://math.ucr.edu/home/baez/crackpot.html

    We may not have any 50 pointers yet in this thread but there are a few approaching 40 points.

    Comment by Paul Middents — 12 Mar 2008 @ 10:03 PM

  112. Martin, thanks for your reply in 91. I think the answer to your question is that the Cooperstock-Tieu model relies on high-order nonlinearities in the Einstein equations, which only become important over large distances, i.e., many times the size of the solar system.

    Comment by Jim Galasyn — 12 Mar 2008 @ 10:13 PM

  113. Nick Gotts Says:

    I’d be grateful if you would tell me whether you thought either:

    c) Something else? (Please specify)

    Whatever your answer, do you still hold to the same opinion?”

    Nick I was glad my mountaintop musings on craters elicited such a response. I never doubted that some craters even a few circular ones were caused by meteorites. What I doubted was that the overwhelming number of craters would be circular. I assumed that most entry angles would be below 45 degrees and make elliptical craters. After discussion here I looked at some of the literature for the first time and found various lab estimates for entry angles of less than 20 down to less than 5 degrees in order to create ellipticals. And if that holds true than the observed 5 percent occurrence of ellipticals would certainly minimize any arc induced craters.

    For you to ask the question did I not think that scientists had ever thought about crater causes before, is a a little weird. It implies that what ever the current dogma that has been created, is only questioned by fools. Which when I challenge some dogma here, a few people prefer to argue less about evidence, and instead link my ideas to fools I don’t know.

    So Nick perhaps you could return the favor and tell me what you think of the neutrino questions I posed that the “good scientists” have all thought about and RL is reluctant to comment on with anything more than do the math. Such comments seem to ignore the programmers saw of junk in and junk out.

    I’ll accept that neutrinos oscillate, but how does that prove that were all originally electron neutrinos from the sun?

    Comment by gusbob — 12 Mar 2008 @ 10:19 PM

  114. Re # 35 Gary: “I am hard pressed to figure out why if astrophysicists should not be commenting on climate, why climatologists (physicist for Rasmus) should be commenting on astrophysics?”

    Seems to me that astrophysicists can comment on any topic they choose, if they can find an outlet in which to publish their views. If they know what they are talking about, they will likely be taken seriously; if they don’t, they won’t. Likewise for climatologists commenting on astrophysics.

    Comment by Chuck Booth — 12 Mar 2008 @ 11:00 PM

  115. Mike #95: I think that is a very relevant observation. Recall reading somewhere (yes I know, lousy reference :-) ) that impact craters are “frozen” circular waves caused by the impact explosion “fluidizing” the solid Earth surface for a short moment. This also explains the central peak seen in many craters.

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 13 Mar 2008 @ 12:46 AM

  116. Ray #88:

    “A meteorite comes in at about 7 km per second”, mixing up km and miles Ray? :-)

    It’s at least the escape velocity, 11 km/s, and for an object from the Asteroid Belt coming in from behind, more like 18 km/s.

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 13 Mar 2008 @ 12:55 AM

  117. RE #71, yes, I do believe the scientists here are honest, so I believe what they say, and I do believe they are much more qualified to do climate science than I am. Lucky we have such educated and dedicated people to do all this important work, since I have other things to do. And I’m also very thankful for Hank Roberts and Barton Paul Levenson and many others here who know so much more than I know that take the time to answer doubts and confusions.

    I do, however, understand we live in a stochastic world, and that there is a slight chance they may be wrong, or some other as yet unknown force may be contributing to climate change. OTOH, I understand science has very high standards — much too high for me. I started reducing my GHGs back in 1990, five years before the 1st scientific studies reached 95% confidence (or less than .05 that the null hypothesis could be correct).

    So if a doctor were to tell a person there is only a 94% chance he/she had cancer & therefore treatment wouldn’t given & to come back in a few years to see if it got up to the 95%+ level, I imagine the person might want a second opinion.

    While scientists can’t risk their reputations, what business do we have in risking the well-being of the world’s population?

    Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 13 Mar 2008 @ 1:24 AM

  118. Chuck Booth says

    Seems to me that astrophysicists can comment on any topic they choose, if they can find an outlet in which to publish their views.

    Indeed, the would-be notable sceptic Piers Corbyn is one such animal of that species that immediately comes to mind.

    Comment by P. Lewis — 13 Mar 2008 @ 5:30 AM

  119. Re #113 [gusbob] “For you to ask the question did I not think that scientists had ever thought about crater causes before, is a a little weird. It implies that what ever the current dogma that has been created, is only questioned by fools. Which when I challenge some dogma here, a few people prefer to argue less about evidence, and instead link my ideas to fools I don’t know.”

    I note that you don’t actually answer my question – all I’m asking for is that you tell me what you thought, and think, but apparently that’s too much to ask. If I come across some counter-intuitive conclusion in an area where an expert scientific community has been working for some time, the first thing that occurs to me is “Well, haven’t they thought about that?” If I’m sufficiently interested, I go and find out whether they have and if so, what they say about it. Don’t you?

    “So Nick perhaps you could return the favor and tell me what you think of the neutrino questions I posed that the “good scientists” have all thought about and RL is reluctant to comment on with anything more than do the math.”

    I know little more about neutrino oscillation than I included in my last post, so my opinion on your questions is worth little. I suggest you consult the Wikipedia article Ray pointed to, which at a quick glance seems to deal with them adequately. For what it’s worth, I found it difficult to understand the points you were trying to make. You presented the deficit of electron neutrinos as if it were a strong or even conclusive argument against the SSM. Clearly, it isn’t, as the combination of the SSM and the theory of neutrino oscillation (the possibility of which was raised before the deficit was found), accounts for the data we have. Of course, this doesn’t amount to a proof of the SSM – it could indeed be that the sun just happens to be producing the right total number of neutrinos in some other way, or that some other source is involved, but the fact that the total number detected is just what the SSM predicts would then be a most remarkable piece of (bad) luck – suggesting that nature itself is conspiring to deceive us. Perhaps that’s what you believe?

    Comment by Nick Gotts — 13 Mar 2008 @ 5:40 AM

  120. gusbob said

    I’ll accept that neutrinos oscillate, but how does that prove that were all originally electron neutrinos from the sun?

    This is all ancient(ish) history.

    Because a reasonably successful model of the sun’s inner workings predicted the number of electron neutrinos that should be observable on Earth, that’s why. And when the experiment(s) were set up to find the said number, they weren’t there, that’s why; only a third of them turned up. Tinkering with the model of the sun’s workings couldn’t fix the “missing” neutrino problem. So they postulated in the mid ’80s that they had some mass and could oscillate between three different flavours. And when they designed the experiments to look for other flavours of neutrino, lo and behold there they were (results reported about 6 to 8 years ago IIRC). And in the expected numbers. Look up Sudbury Neutrino Observatory.

    Comment by P. Lewis — 13 Mar 2008 @ 5:49 AM

  121. Jake — I don’t believe the early native Americans had “no math.” I don’t think any culture has ever been found which doesn’t include a way to count, and even in a culture which just has counting words for “one,” “two,” and “many,” you’ll find that people from that culture are quite clear on the difference between two-and-two-and-two and two-and-two-and-one.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 13 Mar 2008 @ 6:52 AM

  122. Lynn — scientist or not, I appreciate your contributions, which are always clear and thoughtful. And there are plenty of areas where you have experience and I don’t. :)

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 13 Mar 2008 @ 7:04 AM

  123. Re #94 [Jake] “North American Indians had no written language”
    The Maya did, and the remains of their settlements reach well into North America.

    “Nor would they have understood what is meant by the Darwinian conception of “the struggle for existence.” This is just Darwin’s excuse of the industrial pathologies that were developing in the England of that time.”

    Arriving at this conception was certainly influenced by the miseries of the industrial revolution, as Darwin was strongly influenced by Malthus, but to say it is “just an excuse” for anything is quite wrong: it actually follows from the observations that most species, most of the time, produce more young than can survive; and that these offspring vary. Those best adapted to current conditions will be more likely to survive and breed in their turn. Alfred Russel Wallace arrived at the theory of natural selection independently of Darwin; he was a social-ist [hyphenation to avoid the scam filter] and certainly not inclined to excuse those miseries.

    “Hunting and gathering were not experienced as a “struggle” by North American Indians, it was an enjoyable and indeed a religious experience.”

    How do you know this? Also, many North American Indians were farmers.

    Comment by Nick Gotts — 13 Mar 2008 @ 7:33 AM

  124. gusbob #104

    Ralph if you ever have raised a teenager and asked them to find something, you have witnessed the results of a “reluctant search”, where there hearts were not really into searching, and after a quick look they vigorously claims ‘I can’t find it”. So I will suggest that many of those claims that the evidence is lacking comes from “reluctant searches” that by human nature will miss even what is right in front of them.

    So the global community of thousands of astrophysicists are lazy and incompetent to a man, even in the face of a near-certain invitation to a nice gala dinner in Stockholm?

    Meet some real scientists someday. Obviously you have no idea of what makes them tick. And sadly, you’re not alone.

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 13 Mar 2008 @ 7:34 AM

  125. Gusbob, Neutrinos have to come from somewhere. Most electron neutrinos originate in nuclear interactions–decays, fusion, etc. This because the electron is stable. Muon neutrinos originate when muons produced by galactic cosmic rays decay in the atmosphere–producing an electron, an electron antineutrino and a muon neutrino (preserving lepton flavor). The contribution of GCR to electron netrino counts is negligible since GCR fluxes are feeble (note: this is also a big problem for Shaviv et al.). Tau leptons are quite rare, as the production cross section is low.
    The flux of electron neutrinos to Earth is directional–from the Sun. So where do these electrons come from if not from nuclear interactions within the Sun (which you admit are the Sun’s source of power in any case)?
    Look, Gusbob, we know these things. We know them with as much certainty as we know the color of a flower we see outside of our office–maybe more. The process of doing science (especially physics) is rigorous, and quite frankly, your insinuation that scientists just sit around and make things up is offensive. The fact of the matter is that your impressions of how science works and how it gets done in practice are flat wrong. This is not surprising, since you were never trained as a scientist. However, your confidence in your opinions even when confronted with your own ignorance is puzzling.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 13 Mar 2008 @ 7:49 AM

  126. Re #94 [Jake] (continued) “North American Indians had no written language and no math does that mean they were unintelligent?”

    The Maya also had an extremely sophisticated calendar, involving a considerable amount of mathematics. As for the many non-literate groups of North american Indians, of course lack of literacy and advanced mathematics does not imply lack of intelligence – has anyone here said or suggested it does?

    “Probably the early Germanic tribes as described by Tacitus were the apex of European civilization.”

    Tacitus’s account of the Germans of his day should not be accepted uncritically: he was concerned to contrast the “decadence” of the Romans of his day both with their ancestors, and with contemporary “barbarians”. Most groups of these Germans, by his account and others, spent a great deal of their time fighting (each other and anyone else around). But perhaps that’s your idea of the apex of civilisation?

    Comment by Nick Gotts — 13 Mar 2008 @ 8:00 AM

  127. Gusbob finally poses the critical question:
    “Still the electric star theory would also require that there be an adequate electrons to supply the power input to maintain a star’s power output, which for our sun is about 4x(10)26 Can the ISM supply that to the sun? or other stars?”
    Answer: NO.

    The density of the ISM is less than an atom per cm^3. Hard to see where those electrons come from. Indeed, there are two main sources of significant current in our solar system–the Sun and Jupiter.
    Gusbob, come on. We have hundreds of satellites in orbit around Earth. We have satellites in orbit around, Mercury, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. We’ve had fly-bys of all satellites and most moons in the solar system. We’ve had satellites at Earth’s L1 and L2 Lagrange points. We’ve even put satellites around the poles of the Sun. What did they find in terms of incoming current to the Sun? Bupkis. Your theory is dead, Gusbob. Time to get on with life. Or are you going to posit some wormhole injecting current into the center of the Sun.
    Actually, the most absurd thing about your obsession is that all these gymnastics are not needed. The standard theory of stellar nucleosynthesis accounts for the observations perfectly well. You have simply fallen in love with a theory and will do anything to hold on to it. That is death in science. Theories are beautiful, but you can only love them to the point that they are useful. The electric Universe theory is about as useful as tits on a boar.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 13 Mar 2008 @ 8:04 AM

  128. I was about to argue with the notion raised by Eli and others that the circular cratering required melt, but then it occurred to me that Les P.’s plaster of paris and my wet clay might both simulate melting, being already partially liquid. It was interesting seeing how much farther you took the same basic kid’s science project, Les. I suspect if I had followed your procedure I would have gotten farther in the competition than I did.

    Also, regarding Les P.’s encouragement to me: “I hope you continue your science bent!”

    Thanks! The science project described was in the late ’80′s, so we now have some data about how strongly my science bent continued. The answer is that I got a Ph.D., albeit in (he reluctantly confesses) Psychology.

    Comment by Kevin — 13 Mar 2008 @ 8:06 AM

  129. Re #112 Jim Galasyn:

    I am not an expert on GR, so take this with a grain of salt. I am well aware that GR is intrinsically non-linear, but the deviation from the Newtonian approximation is of order (v/c)^2, and not related to spatial scale. Even for the galaxy, this factor is around 10^-6.

    My intuition on this is well summarized in

    http://cosmicvariance.com/2005/10/17/escape-from-the-clutches-of-the-dark-sector/

    and links therein.

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 13 Mar 2008 @ 8:16 AM

  130. [[Gusbob says: I even wondered how they knew that the one electron neutrino they detected about every 3 days is a solar neutrino? Why not from neutrinos proposed in the cosmic radiation background. Why not...]]

    Different neutrino detectors used different techniques. But one of them is detecting the ring shaped flash of Cerenkov radiation which is a result of the detection principle. Using this it is possible to calculate the original path of the neutrino, this way neutrinos from a direction other than the Sun can be discarded. They actually thought this experiment through before starting it.

    Comment by Arnold User — 13 Mar 2008 @ 9:01 AM

  131. RAy says: Look, Gusbob, you can’t just assume you’ve got this stuff figured out with only a week or two of casual effort. People make careers of this stuff–20-30 years of hard, determined study. Expertise is much more important to success in science than is intelligence. Most of the smartest guys in my grad school class never finished their PhDs.
    Likewise with climate studies. The climate scientists who donate their time to this blog are performing an invaluable service. It is where I–with 20 years as a PhD physicist (as of next month anyway)–come to learn about climate science.

    RL, why do you continue to answer a legitimate question with something like “hey us believer know better because we thought about it more” And continual detracting and speculative remarks about what I have looked at. It starting to look like instead of talking about the holes in the theories you prefer personal attacks.

    In any other field of science if you submitted a paper’s claiming the current method of proof that the solar neutrinos are accounted for, it would be soundly rejected unfalsifiable circular reasoning.

    And it is exactly the 20 years of investment in a theory that makes you hostile to different ideas

    Comment by gusbob — 13 Mar 2008 @ 9:05 AM

  132. Lynn, #117:

    “While scientists can’t risk their reputations, what business do we have in risking the well-being of the world’s population?”

    Exactly

    Comment by aaron — 13 Mar 2008 @ 9:53 AM

  133. William @108:

    William, I am reading exactly that paper and the abstract says correctly “We find that for a difference between the mean solar
    and pattern speed of ⊙ − p = 11.9 ± 0.7 km s−1 kpc−1 the Sun has traversed four spiral arms at times that appear to correspond well with long duration cold periods on Earth.”

    Yes, true. This means if the pattern speed difference were 11.9km/s/kpc. But this is generally not what is found by the literature cited by the authors. On page 4 you find that they say: “Several recent studies (Amaral & Lepine 1997; Bissantz et al. 2003; Martos et al. 2004) advocate a spiral pattern speed of p = 20 ± 5 km s−1 kpc−1, and we show in Figure 2 the Sun’s trajectory projected onto the plane for this value (
    ⊙ − p = 6.3 km s−1 kpc−1). Diamonds along the Sun’s track indicate its placement at intervals of 100 Myr. We see that for this assumed pattern speed the Sun has passed through only two arms over the last 500 Myr.”

    What they do to compute a relative velocity of 11.9km/s/kpc is to use the ice-age data as presented by Shaviv and as criticised by Stefan. They state that in the discussion. So the argument is not that 11.9km/s/kpc are measured and lead to an Ice age-like period, but that an ice-age like period leads to an 11.9km/s/kpc velocity.

    So this is no independent astronomical evidence for any GCR priodicity.

    Knud

    Comment by Knud Jahnke — 13 Mar 2008 @ 9:55 AM

  134. Interesting stuff. If we look at the neutron flux data from Climax, Colorado, 1955-present, we see little change:

    http://www.ngdc.noaa.gov/stp/SOLAR/COSMIC_RAYS/image/cr_ssn.gif

    As it shows, you get more neutron counts when the solar sunspot number is at a minimum, which varies on an ~11 year cycle, dropping from a maximum of 100-200 to just a few. As the data shows, maximum neutron flux rates haven’t changed since 1955.

    Cosmic rays produce showers of particles when they hit the atmosphere, including neutrons. More cosmic rays equals more neutrons, and other species such as radioactive carbon-14.

    http://www.ngdc.noaa.gov/stp/SOLAR/COSMIC_RAYS/image/shower.gif

    This topic has an interesting history, since the C-14 record shows variable production rates (as determined by comparing tree ring chronologies to C-14 dates).

    So, what are the sources of variability in the C-14 record? There are magnetic possibilities (sun and earth) and carbon-cycle fluctuations. There is an interesting history. From 1980:

    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/207/4426/11
    (Changes in Atmospheric Carbon-14 Attributed to a Variable Sun”, Stuvier & Quay.)

    Fluctuations in the carbon cycle can also have a large effect on the observed level of C-14 in biological samples:

    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v280/n5725/abs/280826a0.html (Suess effect, 1979)

    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/292/5526/2453
    (Variations of Atmospheric 14C Concentration During the Last Glacial Period, Beck et al, 2001).

    However, while all this is important for getting good 14C dates, the connections to clouds and climate are extremely tenuous. Supposedly, a increase in neutron flux will create a increase in cloudiness, thereby affecting climate. The reasons the link is unsound were already discussed here: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2006/10/taking-cosmic-rays-for-a-spin/

    There do appear to be “chilling aerosols” that are produced by human activity and volcanos and which do indeed cool the climate directly by reflecting sunlight, and indirectly by affecting precipitation and cloud formation. Thus, future volcanic activity is an unavoidable uncertainty in year-to-decade scale climate predictions. However, the claim that GCR-induced aerosols control climate via controlling cloudiness borders on ridiculous.

    It only gets more complicated, as the exact relationship between aerosols and clouds (indirect effect) and radiative forcing is a bit murky. Low clouds will tend to increase surface temperatures, especially at night, not cool by reflection. Then you have your vegetation interactions (see Chapter 7 of the IPCC 4th AR for the grisly details).

    The point is that the Galactic Cosmic Ray Climate Control notion is something like a Rube Goldberg machine – it relies on a long chain of tenuous connections, the failure of any one connection leading to a complete collapse. Scientifically, it falls into the “AIDS is not caused by a virus” and “cold fusion” category.

    Also, it may be true, as Shaviv claimed, that halting the use of fossil fuels won’t cool the climate, as there’s some level of inertia in the climate system, mediated by the ocean, so that we’ll continue warming until the new semi-equilibrium is reached, which will apparently be something like it was ~3 million years ago. Neither the oceans nor the biosphere appear capable of rapidly absorbing the extra atmospheric carbon. It now only seems to be a question of how fast that will happen, which now depends mainly on future human choices. Slower is better.

    Comment by Ike Solem — 13 Mar 2008 @ 1:32 PM

  135. For some reason the link in my comment #38 did not work. Here is the same link.

    This is a link to University of Oulu’s Cosmic Ray data site. This site provides long term trend data of neutron counts which are proportional to GCR. This is a request from data from Jan. 1, 2001 to March 10, 2008. As noted neutron counts have increased roughly 12% in the last two years, which is due to the reduction in the solar heliosphere.

    http://cosmicrays.oulu.fi/Request.dll?Y1=2001&M1=Jan&D1=01&h1=00&m1=00&Y2=2008&M2=Mar&D2=10&h2=00&m2=00&YR=00&MR=00&DR=00&hR=00&mR=00&PD=1

    If this link does not work, go directly to the University of Oulu site set start at “Jan 1, 2001 and end to Jan. 2008.

    http://cosmicrays.oulu.fi/

    As noted in my comment, according to the solar modulation of cloud hypothesis, a reduction in solar wind bursts which has recently occurred will result in less electroscavenging. As electroscavenging removes cloud forming ions, this change should result in more planetary clouds. In addition as solar cycle 24 has failed to start there is a weaker solar heliosphere. Due to the weaker solar heliosphere there are now 12% more GCR striking the earth which should also create more cloud forming ions.

    Based on the hypothesis, the more clouds over the oceans, should cool the planet. (See my comment #38 which has a link to a paper that explains the hypothesis.)

    This is a link to noaa ocean surface data.

    http://www.osdpd.noaa.gov/PSB/EPS/SST/climo.html

    The oceans have cooled. It will be interesting to see what happens next.

    Comment by William Astley — 13 Mar 2008 @ 9:54 PM

  136. Nick Gott wrote “For what it’s worth, I found it difficult to understand the points you were trying to make. You presented the deficit of electron neutrinos as if it were a strong or even conclusive argument against the SSM. Clearly, it isn’t, as the combination of the SSM and the theory of neutrino oscillation (the possibility of which was raised before the deficit was found), accounts for the data we have. Of course, this doesn’t amount to a proof of the SSM – it could indeed be that the sun just happens to be producing the right total number of neutrinos in some other way, or that some other source is involved, but the fact that the total number detected is just what the SSM predicts would then be a most remarkable piece of (bad) luck – suggesting that nature itself is conspiring to deceive us. Perhaps that’s what you believe?”

    I am amazed that my criticism is that difficult for anyone to fathom. But I am not so vested as you all are. First I was not the one to coin the term “the solar neutrino problem” and suggest it contradicted the SSM! I have no problem with the speculation that these 3 flavors originated form electron neutrinos. But I have grave issues with the pretense that all is accounted for and no further testing needs to be done to confirm what is still speculation.

    When any of us encounter holes in the SSM we must decide how to evaluate them. The missing gravity is a huge hole. Most people opted to fill that hole via dark matter. If true it fills the hole perfectly. It is nonetheless still speculation. And trying to confirm the reality of that speculation takes years of research, examination and re-examination with the always lurking likelihood that maybe only a dead end will be found.(Which unfortunately brings a sense of failure, even though that failure adds greatly to our understanding.)

    I opted for the electric theory because it too could fill many of the holes in the SSM. And like dark matter it too is based upon much speculation. And likewise it will take many years of research, examination and re-examination with the always lurking likelihood that maybe only a dead end will be found. I think there is too much missing matter, while SSM adherents scoff at Electric universe ideas saying there are too few ions to generate the proper current. Both sides in this debate can organize our observations and fit them into a coherent plausible logic that fits our conceptual bias. We just need our speculations to be proven. If I can find enough galactic current then electric ideas gain support. If you can clearly identify dark matter then the SSM remains as is. I find it very amusing that SSM adherents have no trouble accepting as of yet imaginary dark matter, but are hostile to the point of personal attack on those who speculate as of yet imaginary powerful galactic currents.

    If one of my students turned in a research paper with that neutrino data that concluded that the missing postulated electron neutrinos were now accounted for, I would not accept it and ask them to re-write their discussion and summary. And I would make them rewrite not based on my biased opinion, but because it violated the spirit of scientific inquiry and the spirit of sharing of information. How so?

    I would tell my students that a good discussion section doesn’t simply say “yeah I was right” even though they most definitely highlight the confirmation of their hypothesis and its value to other research endeavors. They must also outline their assumptions leading to their conclusion and identify and confounding variables and further research needed to support or discredit their assumptions. Doing so indicates an objective mind willing to look at all possibilities. Doing so helps inspire further research.. And besides claiming everything is accounted is simply not yet true.

    Here is my model of the essence of the discussion/conclusion section if I had made the SNO discovery.

    “The new detection methods employed, using heavy water have demonstrated a methodology that enables us to sample a more complete population of the 3 known flavors of neutrinos. The detection of a total population of neutrinos that is in line with the SSM’s prediction for electron neutrinos generated by solar fusion is of special interest. Although only one third of the predicted electron neutrinos were detected, the possibility of neutrino oscillation leads us to speculate that the electron neutrinos were not missing at all, but oscillated into the other flavors. This points to important new lines of testable research needed to confirm our speculations and further our understanding of neutrino behavior.

    Is neutrino oscillation asymmetrical? If electron neutrinos have the required higher probabilities of oscillating into muon and tau , this would support our theory that our observed muon and tau electrons originated from a larger population of electron neutrons. Conversely if there is no asymmetrical oscillation, or there is a higher probability of oscillating into electron neutrinos then we still have a missing electron neutrino problem.”

    Comment by gusbob — 13 Mar 2008 @ 11:34 PM

  137. William @108:

    William, I am referring to that very exact paper you mention. The abstract, as you quote, says:

    “We find that for a difference between the mean solar and pattern speed of Á Ý p = 11.9 ± 0.7 km sÝ1 kpcÝ1 the Sun has traversed four spiral arms at times that appear to correspond well with long duration cold periods on Earth. This supports the idea that extended exposure to the higher cosmic ray flux associated with spiral arms can lead to increased cloud cover and long ice age epochs on Earth.”

    Yes, they say if the relative velocity were so much, it would mean a crossing period of 140Myr, if we had a 4 armed system. But they construct this from the Shaviv ice age data that was sufficiently criticised by Stefan, not from astronomical data.

    On page 4 of their article they write: “Several recent studies (Amaral & Lepine 1997; Bissantz et al. 2003; Martos et al. 2004) advocate a spiral pattern speed of p = 20 ± 5 km sÝ1 kpcÝ1, and we show in Figure 2 the Sun¢s trajectory projected onto the plane for this value (Á Ý p = 6.3 km sÝ1 kpcÝ1). Diamonds along the Sun¢s track indicate its placement at intervals of 100 Myr. We see that for this assumed pattern speed the Sun has passed through only two arms over the last 500 Myr.”

    This means that already this data points to a very different period. (And if you add more studies as cited by Shaviv 2003 you can find arm pattern speeds of equal or faster than the sun’s motion.)

    So I conclude that in principle their values are not consistent with any 140Myr periodicity.

    But if we look at all the evidence, it is not a debate about computing “the” pattern speed, but it is clear that the pattern speed, the actual spiral arm pattern and the persistence time of the Milky Way arms are just not known to date to a precision that allows to make the statement that there is a certain periodicity in spiral arm crossings. Very simple as that. Some studies will be consistent, many are clearly inconsistent with a “140Myr period” and the arguments that Shaviv uses to hammer home his message are quite handwaving. The data simply do not support to conclude a relative velocity of the sun to a spiral arm pattern of 11.1+/-1 km/s/kpc at this value and with this uncertainty. 11+/-10 km/s/kpc would probably be a more reliable value with respectively lower predictive power.

    Knud

    Comment by Knud Jahnke — 14 Mar 2008 @ 4:45 AM

  138. Re #135 [gusbob]

    1) My name is Gotts, not Gott.
    2) What has dark matter to do with the SSM (Standard Solar model)?
    3) Although I’d welcome responses from more knowledgeable posters (particularly Ray Ladbury), it seems to me that your claim that neutrino oscillation must be asymmetrical to explain 1/3 of the detected neutrinos being electron neutrinos if they all began as such in the sun, is invalid. Experimental results indicate that neutrino oscillation takes place over distances that are quite short relative to the Earth-Sun distance, so whatever the initial proportions, the proportion of electron neutrinos detected on Earth would depend, to a close approximation, only on the probabilities, over a given distance, of an electron neutrino oscillating into a non-electron neutrino being twice the probability of a non-electron neutrino oscillating into an electron neutrino (because a ratio of 1/3 electron neutrinos and 2/3 other neutrinos would then be stable once reached).
    4) I note that you still haven’t answered my questions. Unless and until you do, I shall not respond further to your posts on this issue, as others are better qualified to do so, if they have the patience.

    Comment by Nick Gotts — 14 Mar 2008 @ 6:11 AM

  139. gusbob said:
    “And it is exactly the 20 years of investment in a theory that makes you hostile to different ideas”. Well said, but it could also be interpreted it in another direction. I have often wondered why some scientists seem to be defending a certain theory to stubbornly, even in the face of so much evidence to the contrary. And I think it is because they made a name with proposing or staunchly defending that theory, and feel that they would lose face admitting its shortcomings. They invested so much in a specific idea that they grew hostile to opposing viewpoints and theories, and even to opposing evidence and observations. Presenting yourself as the underdog fighting the establishment, being celebrated by your supporters as a new Galileo, probably also adds to the psychological rewards.
    Btw, with “certain theory” I mean e.g. the cosmic ray-climate link (but you would probably give a different example). Thanks for an insightful statement.

    Comment by Darrel — 14 Mar 2008 @ 6:12 AM

  140. gusbob, dark matter and the missing gravity has NOTHING to do with the SSM — SSM = Standard Solar Model.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 14 Mar 2008 @ 6:26 AM

  141. Gusbob, sorry to disappoint, but I don’t have 20 years invested in any astrophysical theory. My day job is radiation effects in semiconductors. I speculate that you don’t know what you are talking about precisely because none of what you say makes any sense. You clearly have not thought things through. You clearly haven’t bothered to look at the research that has been done–on solar physics or neutrinos or cratering or dark matter or anything else I’ve seen. You have a lot of misconceptions about what science is or how it is done or why it works. That is obvious to anyone who has ever seriously studied science. You are trying to come of as knowledgeable and failing miserably.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 14 Mar 2008 @ 7:03 AM

  142. Re: #24, sorry for the delay. High clouds are warming (they are cold as viewed IR satellites) so if high GCR’s (due to low solar activity) create more clouds, that would produce more warming in periods of low solar activity. But the historical record shows the opposite.

    Comment by Eric (skeptic) — 14 Mar 2008 @ 8:09 AM

  143. I know I have no credibility of RC, but I would like to congratulate Gusbob on his elegant and scientific contribution to the discussion on neutrinos; particularly the latest, #134. I wonder if he is familiar with the work of Dr. Oliver Manuel with respect to solar neutrinos.

    Comment by Jim Cripwell — 14 Mar 2008 @ 8:24 AM

  144. RE William, #134 – “The oceans have cooled.”

    The oceans haven’t cooled.

    Here, for example, is the 1993-2003 record of ocean heat content:

    http://sealevel.jpl.nasa.gov/newsroom/features/images/20050501-b.jpg

    How do you estimate the heat content of the oceans?

    “We looked at about a million temperature profiles from floats, buoys and other sources and combined those with altimetry data to put together a good estimate of ocean heat content,” says Willis. The satellite data from TOPEX/Poseidon, Jason and other ocean altimeters provided a global picture of rising sea level. The temperature profiles allowed the researchers to calculate just how much of the change was the result of thermal expansion. The analysis showed a fairly steady, measurable warming over the past decade. “The average ocean temperature is warmer,” says Willis, “Some places are getting cooler and others warmer as the heat moves around, but the total amount of heat is growing.”

    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/295/5558/1275 – Gille, “Warming of the Southern Ocean Since the 1950s”, 2002

    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/287/5461/2225 – Levitus et al, “Warming of the World Ocean”, 2000

    http://www.pnas.org/cgi/content/abstract/104/26/10768 – AchutaRao et. al “Simulated and observed variability in ocean temperature and heat content,” 2007.

    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/309/5732/284 – Barnett et. al “Penetration of Human-Induced Warming into the World’s Oceans,” 2005.

    Hope that clears that up.

    Comment by Ike Solem — 14 Mar 2008 @ 8:41 AM

  145. Kevin demurs: “The answer is that I got a Ph.D., albeit in (he reluctantly confesses) Psychology.”

    Hey, I almost switched majors from physics to psych as an undergrad. I often say that abnormal psych was the best physics class I ever took–as it taught me how to deal with physicists.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 14 Mar 2008 @ 9:19 AM

  146. Nick Gotts Says: 1) My name is Gotts, not Gott.”
    My apologies as no disrespect was intended.
    Nick Gotts Says: 2) What has dark matter to do with the SSM (Standard Solar model)?”
    Your absolutely right SSM has nothing to do with dark matter. I had intended to make two posts but conflated them into one. I had been posting on electric currents and their role in solar fusion as well as galactic rotations .I ignorantly conflated SSM with general cosmological models when I decided to make one post dealing with how we deal with theoretical holes. A regrettable embarrassment.
    My intent was to help pave a way for more civil discussion of theoretical shortcomings on all sides. But Ray Ladbury responded in typical fashion with more holier than thou personal attacks. Amusing and expected and contributing great insight into how some scientists build consensus.

    3) Nick Gotts Says: the proportion of electron neutrinos detected on Earth would depend, to a close approximation, only on the probabilities, over a given distance, of an electron neutrino oscillating into a non-electron neutrino being twice the probability of a non-electron neutrino oscillating into an electron neutrino (because a ratio of 1/3 electron neutrinos and 2/3 other neutrinos would then be stable once reached).”
    That’s exactly what I meant by asymmetrical oscillation. What did you think I was implying?

    Nick Gotts Says : I note that you still haven’t answered my questions. I am not sure what you are referring to. I thought I had responded to all your questions.

    Comment by gusbob — 14 Mar 2008 @ 11:19 AM

  147. Ray Ladbury Says: Gusbob, sorry to disappoint, but I don’t have 20 years invested in any astrophysical theory.”

    Oh I am not disappointed at all. I could tell you were a newbie in the field.

    Comment by gusbob — 14 Mar 2008 @ 11:26 AM

  148. Gusbob, Think about it. You start with almost all electron neutrinos. There are 3 different flavors of neutrinos, so at any given time after some distance of propagation, a third will be electron neutrinos, a their muon neutrinos and a third tau neutrinos–hence 1/3 will register, since the energies of the mu and tau neutrinos are not sufficient to create a mu or a tau lepton.

    I am not trying to manufacture consensus. I’m trying to motivate you to actually learn some science so you can discuss things intelligently. Right now, you are getting the stick. Go off and learn some actual science and I promise I’ll give you a “good boy”, ‘kay?

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 14 Mar 2008 @ 11:41 AM

  149. Re #146 [gusbob] Well, I said I wouldn’t reply unless you answered my questions, which you haven’t, but since you claim to have done so, I’ll waste just a little more time, and since I’m dealing with your last point, and again requesting an answer to them, I’ll deal with the other points:

    1) Apology accepted.

    2) If, as you admit, you’re ignorant enough to conflate the SSM with cosmological models, might that not suggest it would be advisable for you to go away and learn a bit more before tangling with knowledgeable physicists (of whom I am not one) on such topics?

    3) To clarify: there are three known types of neutrino (electron, muon, tau). Completely symmetrical oscillation between these types would surely mean that, over a given distance, the probability of type A turning into type B is the same, whether A is an electron, muon or tau neutrino, and B is an electron, muon or tau neutrino (but A and B are not both the same type of neutrino). So I took you to be denying that such completely symmetrical oscillation could lead to an initial stream of electron neutrinos becoming a stream in which only 1/3 were electron neutrinos, on its way from where it is produced in the Sun, to the detector on Earth. But if this is in fact how oscillation works, then the proportions of the three types would approach 1/3 each over a sufficiently long distance. But note, this would mean that (as I said in my last post) the chance of an electron neutrino becoming a non-electron neutrino over a given distance would indeed be twice that of either a muon or tau neutrino becoming an electron neutrino over that distance – because the electron neutrino can become either of the other types, but the muon neutrino must become an electron neutrino (and not a tau neutrino), and the tau neutrino must become an electron neutrino (and not a muon neutrino). So, contrary to your claim, the most symmetrical oscillation schema possible with three neutrino types would lead to a pure beam of electron neutrinos becoming a stream in which each of the three types is equally represented, if you wait long enough (and oscillation takes place with sufficient frequency that the travel time from Sun to Earth is indeed long enough). However, there are also other oscillation schema that would lead to a pure electron neutrino beam becoming one with 1/3 electron neutrinos. In fact, now I think about it, so long as the probability of an electron neutrino becoming a muon neutrino over a given distance is the same as that of a muon neutrino becoming an electron neutrino over that distance, AND the probability of an electron neutrino becoming a tau neutrino over a given distance is the same as the probability of a tau neutrino becoming an electron neutrino over that distance, AND the probability of an muon neutrino becoming a tau neutrino over a given distance is the same as the probability of a tau neutrino becoming a muon neutrino over that distance, the proportion of each in the beam will approach 1/3; an electron neutrino need not be equally likely to become a tau neutrino as it is to become a muon neutrino, and so forth. There may well be yet other oscillation schema that would give you 1/3 electron neutrinos, I don’t know. And please note that I do not know what those knowledgeable in the area say about these probabilities; I am simply pointing out that the most symmetrical oscillation schema possible would give exactly the reported result.

    4) My questions (slightly edited in an attempt to improve clarity) were whether you thought (before your first post here on this issue) either:

    a) That the entire planetary astronomy community had never noticed that the preponderance of circular craters posed a problem for the meteoritic theory of crater origins?

    or

    b) That they knew it was a problem, but pretended not to?

    or

    c) Something else? (Please specify)

    Furthermore, whatever your answer, do you still hold to the same opinion?

    Comment by Nick Gotts — 14 Mar 2008 @ 12:12 PM

  150. Ike, I thoughly enjoyed the irony of your comment 134.

    As for your comment on ocean cooling. Most of your references don’t cover relevant time frame (post 2001). The ones that do support either flat or cooling ocean temps. Large cooling was found to be an artifact, but oceans were not found to be warming, and are still likely cooling though not as much as previously thought.

    Comment by aaron — 14 Mar 2008 @ 1:28 PM

  151. I know this is a little off topic, but I wanted to ask on the most recent thread so I have a chance of being answered. I have heard that if there is major Greenland melting, the Atlantic circulation pattern would be disrupted and warm water would not move North.

    My question: Isn’t this a major negative feedback loop? It is always presented as a consequence of AGW, but then it seems that people say things will keep on warming. Wouldn’t this change warming to cooling, re-freeze the arctic and Greenland, provide higher albedo etc.? If that warm water stays in the tropics, does that latitude get a lot warmer or does evaporation etc. regulate it’s temperature.

    thanks.

    Comment by Consumer — 14 Mar 2008 @ 2:44 PM

  152. Thanks Martin for the link (129). I agree, Cooperstock and Tieu have a long way to go to be fully convincing. Their latest submission claims to answer all the critics, but since my education stopped shy of tensor calculus, I could be convinced of anything. ;)

    Comment by Jim Galasyn — 14 Mar 2008 @ 4:57 PM

  153. Wow, Jim Cripwell and gusbob – what a team! Gusbob, it may give you a thrill (and perhaps JC also) to feel that you have put down scientists who post on this site. But you need to understand that with anyone who matters, that is, who actually understands the science, you are simply coming across as silly. You do not have to know everything to avoid that. Just do a little homework so you can ask intelligent questions, and then ask them in a respectful manner.

    Comment by Ron Taylor — 14 Mar 2008 @ 5:33 PM

  154. I realize that hard working scientists think they have for the most part settled the global climate warming, but now real lawyers are to be brought in and settle this once and for all.

    Weather Channel Founder: Sue Al Gore for Fraud

    http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=102×3226832

    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,337710,00.html

    Comment by catman306 — 14 Mar 2008 @ 5:49 PM

  155. So the mean temperature of several other planets of the solar system, including Earth, have not risen over the last three decades?

    I’ll try to get back on this …, but don’t anyone hold there breath waiting. I got things to do. :~)

    Comment by Kurt L. Hanson — 14 Mar 2008 @ 6:04 PM

  156. In reply to Ike Solem’s #144 comment: “The oceans haven’t cooled. Here, for example, is the 1993-2003 record of ocean heat content.”

    Ike,
    I am did not say the oceans cooled 1993-2003. I said GCR increased 2007 to 2008 and mid 2007 electroscavenging has greatly reduced. As a result of the reduction in electroscavenging and increased GCR there should be increased cloud cover over the oceans (see comment), which should result in cooling of the oceans. Based on the data the oceans have cooled 2007 to 2008. What are your thoughts?

    This is a graph representation of the current ocean temperature anomalies. (Blue is cold temperature anomalies, red are warm temperature anomalies. More Blue than red.)

    http://www.osdpd.noaa.gov/PSB/EPS/SST/data/anomnight.3.13.2008.gif

    This is the ocean-land temperature anomalies, by month, tabulated. As note in the table, the ocean-land temperature trend is down.

    http://www.osdpd.noaa.gov/PSB/EPS/SST/data/anomnight.3.13.2008.gif

    Comment:
    This is a link to a daily solar observation site. Note the sun is spotless and has been in a low state for the last two years. Recently (last 6 months), the solar coronal holes which had been creating solar wind bursts have started to dissipate. The solar wind bursts cause the terrestrial electroscavenging effect and remove cloud forming ions. For the past couple of solar cycles coronal holes formed late in the cycle and drifted up to solar equator. They created solar wind bursts which masks the increase in GCR that occurs at the end of every solar cycle.

    http://www.dxlc.com/solar/

    Comment by William Astley — 14 Mar 2008 @ 6:26 PM

  157. “I could tell you were a newbie in the field.”

    You’re one to talk. Your ignorance is almost laughable. Lets look at some of the brilliant statement’s you’ve made that demonstrate massive amounts of ignorance.

    “Now every time there is a gravitational anomaly it becomes “verification” of this unknown dark matter.”

    You don’t have the slightest idea how verifications are done.

    “First why does the solar wind accelerate away from the suns and past the planets. Gravitational theory alone suggests it should decelerate.”

    You don’t know how solar wind works.

    “Second why does the temperature beginning at the photosphere,5800K , drop in the chromosphere and then jump to over 1 million K in the corona. Shouldn’t we get cooler as we stand further from the fireplace.”

    You don’t know how radiative balance works.

    “And since you mention the neutrino, why are we missing the predicted neutrinos postulated for a strictly nuclear sun.”

    You don’t know landmark physics developments. If you did know and was waiting for somebody to give you the mainstream and accepted result, then you were simply wasting our time.

    “And to generate neutrinos here on earth don’t we use particle accelerators created by electromagnetic forces?”

    You don’t know how particle accelerators work.

    “And if you could be so kind, I would appreciate a few links to your sources on how well the electric fields have been measured.”

    You don’t know about basic experiments.

    You can complain about sniping about your ignorance, but when you make several posts in a row that spectacularly do demonstrate your lack of knowledge, you might find it shocking that nobody expects that next one to be any better. Given that you seem to lack knowledge about all sorts of basic physics, you’d better get used the fact that nobody is going take your suspicions seriously.

    Comment by Joe — 14 Mar 2008 @ 11:20 PM

  158. Ray Ladbury says Think about it. You start with almost all electron neutrinos. There are 3 different flavors of neutrinos, so at any given time after some distance of propagation, a third will be electron neutrinos, a their muon neutrinos and a third tau neutrinos–hence 1/3 will register,”
    Thanks for the thought experiment.I thought about it and what you said was a marvelous restatement of the observed deficit. It just a little shy on cause and effect to change my simple mind. What you are describing sounds more like directional neutrino decay rather than neutrino oscillation. Are you saying electron neutrinos are the only neutrinos with enough energy to transform into the other flavors? I am so confused. This maybe another thing that you “know”, but I am still going to wait for Neutrino Factory type experiments before I feel comfortable with neutrino behavior.
    Your expertise with chips however would be of great use in clearing up the oft cited misconception by RC posters that plasma is electrically neutral. They obviously know nothing of the Van Allen Belts. Of course on a grand macroscopic level it could be said everything is neutral, but they must be ignoring how magnetic fields can separate charges. They must also be ignoring well documented differences in plasma densities and temperatures. And we all know from plasma physics that double layers will form at the interface of plasmas with different characteristics. The “neutral” silicon chip is an excellent analogy to how electric fields can be created. The p-n junction and depletion zone are very similar to what happens in the formation of plasma double layers. Those dynamic processes may be appreciated more coming from you.
    Now these double layers can create tremendous voltage drops and accelerate particles. Reading Alfven’s “Double Layers and Circuits in Astrophysics” could help clear up a few things. Why believe me when a Nobel prize winner can explain it, eh? And it might clear up that troubling notion of magnetic reconnection you think explains the coronal heating. I sensed you were new to thinking about that one, so its okay to say you aren’t sure yet. It seems that often the acceleration at double layers is misconstrued as magnetic reconnection because the different plasma bodies have different magnetic fields that “meet” at the double layer.
    But you know what a simple mind I have. Well I pictured magnetic lines to be similar to other vector field lines like in a gravitational field . So I pictured these gravity field lines connecting the earth and moon. Then I pictured a plane flying between the two and breaking the lines as the earth line “grabbed” and pulled on the plane. The moon too. Then as the plane moved the lines left the plane and reconnected but unlike magnetic reconnection, gravity reconnection doesn’t release energy. So I thought neither should magnetic reconnecition. So perhaps you can prevent others from making that same silly analogy regarding field lines and explain how magnetic field line do reconnect. I just can’t get past my gravity field analogy.
    Ray Ladbury says: Right now, you are getting the stick. Go off and learn some actual science and I promise I’ll give you a “good boy”, ‘kay?”
    Ray ever since your very first posted you have been giving me the schtick. But to know I could get a “good boy” from you, well I can’t tell you how much that means to me. Really. I can’t tell.

    Comment by gusbob — 15 Mar 2008 @ 2:52 AM

  159. Ike Solem Says: The oceans haven’t cooled.”

    The more recent Lyman paper disagrees with you Ike.

    The paper by Lyman(discussed here at RC), is under some dispute due to profiling errors in the floats found in the mid Atlantic. See http://www.pmel.noaa.gov/people/lyman/Pdf/heat_2006.pdf

    However accepting the profiling error, if we look at the map of changes in ocean temperatures on page 11, the data shows large areas of the oceans cooling other than locations of the faulty profilers. Also the graph on page 10 shows temperatures cooling based on two populations of data. It appears that eliminating the in situ profiles there is still a considerable temperature drop but not as great. The correction paper also mentioned the Gouretski and Koltermann (2007) paper that suggests the XBT data gave artificially warm readings. I am not sure why the uathors would interpret that as less cooling. I interpreted that to mean the oceans simply hadn’t heated as much as had been originally claimed. Therefore the whole graph just moves lower on the y axis. Was the correction paper ever accepted? It just says revised and submitted.

    Comment by gusbob — 15 Mar 2008 @ 3:16 AM

  160. Ray reminisces “I often say that abnormal psych was the best physics class I ever took–as it taught me how to deal with physicists.”

    Still didn’t prepare you for gusbob, did it ;-)

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 15 Mar 2008 @ 4:23 AM

  161. Eric writes:

    [[High clouds are warming (they are cold as viewed IR satellites) so if high GCR’s (due to low solar activity) create more clouds, that would produce more warming in periods of low solar activity. But the historical record shows the opposite.]]

    You are confusing high clouds with clouds in general.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 15 Mar 2008 @ 6:47 AM

  162. You likely have as much chance of converting gusbob to “reality” as there is of CA acolytes paying obeisance to Prof. Mann.

    For those disinterested in science, you have the Electric Universe of Talbott and Thornhill. Go weep!

    Comment by P. Lewis — 15 Mar 2008 @ 7:22 AM

  163. Re 135 and 144: different time periods. William Astley’s charts show cooling mainly in 2006 and 2007. Ike Solem’s papers predate that period (including the 2007 paper). The most recent global averages are here: http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/cru/data/temperature/hadsst2gl.txt and show cooling mostly in 2007

    Comment by Eric (skeptic) — 15 Mar 2008 @ 9:25 AM

  164. Re #150 Where Consumer says “My question: Isn’t this a major negative feedback loop? It is always presented as a consequence of AGW, but then it seems that people say things will keep on warming.”

    Yes, if the scientists are right and the melting Greenland ice were to stop the THC then the northern hemisphere would cool and the Greenland ice would stop melting. So back to square one and obviously no disaster.

    But that is not the way it works. It was not the THC that caused the Younger Dryas micro ice age. It was the sea ice spreading out of the Arctic Ocean into the GIN (Greenland, Iceland, and Norwegian) Seas. The ice prevented the warm Gulf Stream water being cooled by the air, and so the THC stopped, although only in the North Atlantic. It was the sea ice that stopped the THC, not the THC stopping which caused the cooling or the sea ice.

    When that sea ice melted there was an abrupt warming and the Younger Dryas ended. Now the Arctic sea ice is melting. When that is complete we will have another abrupt warming. The scientists will have egg on their faces because they were still talking about a THC halt, and a rapid cooling!

    HTH,

    Cheers, Alastair.

    Comment by Alastair McDonald — 15 Mar 2008 @ 11:08 AM

  165. Hi Martin,
    Oh, actually, gusbob is pretty mild. What I don’t understand is why someone who is trying to pass themselves off as scientifically knowledgeable would come onto a site full of scientists to spew their BS. It seems almost masochistic. I always have the vain hope that once they see their BS isn’t flying that they will maybe want to actually learn some science. Still hoping.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 15 Mar 2008 @ 12:58 PM

  166. Knud Jahnke’s comment #137

    “But if we look at all the evidence, it is not a debate about computing “the” pattern speed, but it is clear that the pattern speed, the actual spiral arm pattern and the persistence time of the Milky Way arms are just not known to date to a precision that allows to make the statement that there is a certain periodicity in spiral arm crossings….Some studies will be consistent, many are clearly inconsistent with a “140Myr period” and the arguments that Shaviv uses to hammer home his message are … handwaving.”

    Knud,
    Perhaps we should step back and look at the problem from a broader perspective. What are the competing hypothesis? Is there any other logical analysis/arguments that supports Shaviv’s hypothesis?

    What is the competing hypothesis for why there have been four planetary ice-houses, roughly ever 140MM years, in the last 500MM years. Is the argument the ice house periods did not occur? Why are we currently in an ice house period? What is forcing the earth’s climate on a very long term, long term, and short term basis?

    Are Shaviv’s scientific arguments are supported by Svensmark and Palle’s research on the GCR/solar magnetic cloud modulation mechanism? (i.e. Is there a mechanism that can be tested in addition to simple correlation?) If that mechanism is shown to be correct, then the evidence of past ice house at specific periods in the past can be used to support the occurrence of solar system galactic arm crossings. For as you state, the current astronomical data and analysis is not sufficient resolved, to confirm or disprove Shaviv’s hypothesis. The paper I linked to shows there is no astronomical evidence to disprove Shaviv’s hypothesis. It proves astronomical evidence to support a four arm Milky Way galaxy.

    In addition, Shaviv’s analysis includes the study of isotopes in meteorites which supports correlation in time, of high cosmic ray flux at the specific time of the ice house periods. The importance of that correlation depends on whether GCR/solar magnetic cycle changes actually do modulate clouds and the changes in clouds significantly affect planetary temperature.

    What are your thoughts?

    Comment by William Astley — 15 Mar 2008 @ 1:04 PM

  167. Gusbob:

    Maybe I missed it, but what is your background? What formal training do you have in physics? What subject do you teach? At what level?

    I can’t be the only one here who wants to know.

    Comment by Just_Curious — 15 Mar 2008 @ 3:15 PM

  168. Martin Vermeer Says: I looked at your links, and none of them appear relevant to your claim. Especially not the monopolar motor one (fun though). The others contain lots of hand waving, pretty pics, but no real (relevant) explanations. The galaxy’s rotation curve isn’t even mentioned.”

    Gee Martin. I am stunned that you called the homopolar motor irrelevant to our discussion. You made the odd claim that “How do you explain the rotation of the galaxy by electrostatic forces? It has to be an attractive force to do the job. Dark matter gravitation is. Electrostatic forces are repulsive between like charges, so we must have a distribution of opposite charges to do the job.”
    You are flat out wrong to believe that there is no separation of charge in the abundant heterogeneous plasma clouds. The youtube clip for a homopolar motor

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3aPQqNt15-o

    was such a simple, yet elegant example of non-gravitational forces causing rotation.

    Three simple things, a potential difference(battery), a magnetic field (magnet) and plasma current and voila rotational force. Now perhaps you find it odd to think of the copper wire as plasma, but that is to be expected because of our everyday use of wires and not plasma. So I can forgive that oversight. But it is acceptable to see the free moving valence electrons as making up a plasma current. And despite those electrons having 1000’s of times less mass than the “neutral” atoms of copper, the flow of just those free electrons “effortlessly” generated rapid rotation of the copper wire.

    Plasma physics has firmly established the existences of double layers. You can even see it in the electrical schematics as DL in many of Alfven’s diagrams of galactic currents on the other link I provided.Unless you were looking for it you probably missed though.

    It is also well known that depending on the environment there is adequate ionization of the plasma to produce enough free electrons to produce a current that could rotate the neutral plasma molecules just as the current rotated the wire. And it is well known that currents create magnetic fields. All the ingredients for a homopolar motor are there. And many of those pretty pictures were there to show that many of the astronomical structures actually observed in the universe are very similar to what is observed in plasma labs.

    I haven’t been to church in over 40 years but it reminds me of the saying “let those who have eyes see.” And you wouldn’t need to have an abnormal psyche to see such possibilities. Just an open inquisitive mind.

    At the very least one would need to admit that electric forces may contribute to the rotational forces of which all are being attributed to unfalsifiable dark matter. Which was my simple contention that launched this many sided discussion.

    For those who would rather to do more math than observation of actual structures may be you could start with Peratt’s paper “Te Evidence for Electrical Currents in Cosmic Plasma”
    http://plasmascience.net/tpu/downloads/PerattEvidenceCurrents1990.pdf

    I must confess that I don’t know the degree of their abnormal psyches. So be cautious in accepting what they say.

    Comment by gusbob — 15 Mar 2008 @ 3:48 PM

  169. Nick Gotts Says:
    1) Apology accepted.

    2) If, as you admit, you’re ignorant enough to conflate the SSM with cosmological models, might that not suggest it would be advisable for you to go away and learn a bit more..”

    Nick are you sure my apology was accepted because I am still not feeling a lot of love from you. My ignorance to which I referred was in regards to conflating two separate posts into one and rushing to post. Boy, it is dangerous to show a little humility here.

    Comment by gusbob — 15 Mar 2008 @ 3:54 PM

  170. Nick Gotts said “4) My questions (slightly edited in an attempt to improve clarity) were whether you thought (before your first post here on this issue) either:….”

    Nick I thought the following was an adequate answer to your question on #113 “Nick I was glad my mountaintop musings on craters elicited such a response. I never doubted that some craters even a few circular ones were caused by meteorites. What I doubted was that the overwhelming number of craters would be circular. I assumed that most entry angles would be below 45 degrees and make elliptical craters. After discussion here I looked at some of the literature for the first time and found various lab estimates for entry angles of less than 20 down to less than 5 degrees in order to create ellipticals. And if that holds true than the observed 5 percent occurrence of ellipticals would certainly minimize any arc induced craters.”

    But if you want to probe more deeply into the depths of my “abnormal psyche” I will offer a little more fodder for my antagonists. I had seen videos of scientists imitating crater formation. So again I had no problem that meteors caused many of the circular craters. I too had visited the crater rim in Arizona. But I had no prior awareness of how different entry angles would lead to different crater geometries. And further research held little interest regarding that topic until this summer.

    I have been pondering for many years what contributions an electric universe would make to our understanding of astronomical features. The accelerating solar wind and high temperatures of the sun’s corona were explained nicely in electrical terms. Debates among several amateur astronomers about the “disappearance” of an emission nebula alsowere nicely explained by a very plausible changes in current density shifting plasma into dark mode vs a glow mode. This summer while several of us were observing at a Star Party in the Sierra Nevada, an interested bystander asked what a comet was.

    When I suggested the common model of the dirty snow ball, several astronomers suggested that such a view was being modified. I was referred to a paper by Thornhill because several people were impressed by his prediction that there would be a pre-impact flash due to the different charges of the comet and the impactor. Since both coming from different sectors of the heliosphere, it was expected that charge equilibrium had not yet been reached, especially due to the insulating quality of a double layer that forms when differently charged objects travel through the plasma. I checked out the paper and was impressed myself by his predictions. Quotes from NASA scientists seemed to support his predictions. For example regarding the pre-impact flash he claimed, “NASA investigator Peter Schultz’s description of the event: “What you see is something really surprising. First, there is a small flash, then there’s a delay, then there’s a big flash and the whole thing breaks loose.”

    Here is the link to Thornhill’s presentation at the IEEE conference.

    http://www.thunderbolts.info/pdf/ElectricComet.pdf

    The observed arcing as well as the distinctive cratering observed on several comets supported Thornhill’s assertions. And for me the pictures of distinctive craters on a “dirty ice ball” suggested a paradigm shift. I wondered how many craters would be created by electric arcing. Subsequent observing nights looking at the moon felt like I was looking at the moon for the first time as all the craters seemed round and that seemed unexpected. Could they be due to arcing? For a while everything was “could there be arcing involved” Maybe it is peculiar to me, (I suspect not) but it seems one intense experience can promote a way of observing my everyday reality for the next few days, or more,and perceptions get filtered by that experience. For example I had to use a chain saw for the first time ever, to clear several dangerous tree from my property. After a day of “uneasy”cutting, every tree and telephone pole I looked at in the next two days, conjured visions of cutting it.

    Sitting beneath a totally dark sky framed by mountain peaks on a warm August night, where one can readily find Andromeda with the naked eye, and peering into Sagittarius and the heart of the galaxy, while several shooting stars streak by is an awe-inspiring time. Views of the moon’s craters were vivid and thoe images lingered. When Kevin mocked me with the Saturn and other questions, about how I viewed the solar system, it prompted me to share my musings about craters because, now for the first time I believed that many craters could be due to electric arcs. But after reading several responses and doing a few google searches myself, I realized that most of the round craters could be easily explained by entry angle experiments. That’s what I was trying to convey when in answer to your question I admitted that now it “ would certainly minimize any arc induced craters.” I still believe that some craters could be generated by arcing, but how many is not within the grasp any testable hypothesis. And like my visions of cutting all trees faded, I so did the vision that most craters are created by arcing.

    I hope that satisfies your need to understand some of the ways I pursue my need to understand.

    Comment by gusbob — 15 Mar 2008 @ 5:19 PM

  171. # Ron Taylor Says: You do not have to know everything to avoid that. Just do a little homework so you can ask intelligent questions, and then ask them in a respectful manner.”

    Ron perhaps you can review this thread and the Antarctica thread and show me where the first signs of disrespect appear. You might be surprised to find the disrespect did not originate with me.

    Comment by gusbob — 15 Mar 2008 @ 5:39 PM

  172. # 38 and # 135 William Astley,

    You are certainly persistent in your attempts to find a solar reason to eliminate, reduce or mitigate the effects of anthropogenic greenhouse gases on climate change. You first linked to the Tinsley paper over a year ago. Since that time you have repeated this link and many of the same arguments in eleven Real Climate threads. In the early threads, Real Climate scientists tried to point out the weaknesses in your arguments and the weakness and/or your misinterpretation of the literature references you repeat in each thread. In later threads our very talented amateurs have tried to do the same thing. About the only concession anyone has been able to get is that you will give up some of your solar cycle speculation if the current cycle doesn’t go as you predict. Perhaps you could indulge us by holding off any further repetition till the data is in.

    #42 cce pointed out two very significant references indicating no significant trend in cloud cover detectable in current satellite and ground observations. At least one of these references was pointed out to you some time ago. # 134 Ike Solem points out that contrary to your assertion, there has been no long term trend in neutron counts. Your notion that the ocean has cooled overall because the central Pacific is in a La Nina phase is curious indeed. Perhaps you could hold off on any more discussion of “electroscavenging” until there is at least some observed, significant, detectable trend in clouds and/or causative effects (GCR’s, solar activity, neutrons, fairy dust)

    Comment by Paul Middents — 16 Mar 2008 @ 12:36 AM

  173. I think Gusbob is yet another example of a pathology I have noticed: Nonscientists, who are moderately intelligent but untrained, and have no understanding of how science is done adopt a minority or pseudoscientific theory/idea to try to show that they are smarter than all those smart scientists. You see it with relativity, evolution, climate science, and in the case of Gusbob, the “electric universe” and other Velikovskian BS. The arguments they use are almost always based on “common sense” or strained analogies deriving from a misinterpretation of the science. There’s never a mathematical treatment, so disciplines like quantum mechanics seem to be pretty much immune, since you can’t make any headway without “doing the math”.
    I really think there’s a wonderful subject here for a PhD thesis in psychology here. It really is an interesting pathology.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 16 Mar 2008 @ 10:01 AM

  174. Re #167 [gusbob] “it is dangerous to show a little humility here.”

    How would you know?

    Comment by Nick Gotts — 16 Mar 2008 @ 10:03 AM

  175. RE #117 & 132: Aaron, I read your link, and I couldn’t disagree with you more. First of all you assume that mitigating GW will cost money — well, yes, some measures have upfront costs, but pay for themselves over time, as in “it takes money to make (or save) money.” So when I purchased my SunFrost frig in 1991 (for $2600, see http://www.sunfrost.com — uses one-tenth the energy of a regular energy-efficient frig), I calculated that the $130 savings in electricity each year would pay for the difference of a regular frig in about 16 years, and for the Sunfrost itself in 20 years. And I figured this was a better investment than keeping that money in a CD or stocks. What I didn’t expect was the tremendous savings on vegetables not spoiling. So it paid for itself in about 12 years, and we’ve been saving money ever since.

    Let me tell you about the $6 low-flow showerhead with off-on soap-up switch that saves $2000 (in water and water-heating) over its 20 year lifetime, and you can’t feel the difference (note that water requires energy to pump, treat, heat, and disposal treat). Actually the gov did pass legislation in the 90s requiring such new water fixtures to conserve water, so the regs are already upon us, and not wreaking the havoc you imagine. I remember a woman complaining that the low-flow toilets don’t flush well. Not so. We had an old 5 gallon/flusher that often took 2 flushes, which we replaced with a 1.5 gal/flusher and it flushed much better. It only cost $100, and is saving us $100 per year. With our many other measures, plus getting onto GreenMountain 100% wind-powered electricity (a few dollar cheaper per month than conventional electricity), we’ve reduced about 70% of our 1990 GHG emissions while increasing our living standard and our quality of life.

    And there are myriad other money-saving items and measures in the global warming mitigation scheme. Read http://www.natcap.org to get other ideas about tunneling through, etc, that if applied at a societal level could cut our GHGs by more than 75% without lowering our productivity or our living standards.

    So the upshot is this, we are taking economic risks of great loss if we do not mitigate GW, even if GW and all the other enviro & political/war & resource depletion problems that such mitigation measures would mitigate are not happening.

    OTOH, if GW is happening and we fail to mitigate we not only risk certain & proven economic loss from all these great mitigation schemes, but further economic loss from agricultural decline, etc, not to mention loss of life. The GW risks could be quite severe — read SIX DEGREES by Mark Lynas.

    So I’ll certainly take the win-win-win-win path of mitigating GW, over the lose-lose-lose path of not mitigating. Call me crazy.

    Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 16 Mar 2008 @ 11:23 AM

  176. Meanwhile, back on Earth:

    UN: Glaciers shrinking at record rate

    ZURICH, Switzerland (AP) — Glaciers are shrinking at record rates and many could disappear within decades, the U.N. Environment Program said Sunday.

    Scientists measuring the health of almost 30 glaciers around the world found that ice loss reached record levels in 2006, the U.N. agency said.

    UNEP warned that further ice loss could have dramatic consequences particularly in India, whose rivers are fed by Himalayan glaciers.

    The west coast of North America, which gets much of its water from glaciers in mountain ranges such as the Rockies and Sierra Nevada, also would be affected, it said.

    “There are many canaries emerging in the climate change coal mine,” UNEP’s executive director Achim Steiner said in a statement. “The glaciers are perhaps among those making the most noise and it is absolutely essential that everyone sits up and takes notice.”

    He urged governments to agree stricter targets for emissions reductions at an international meeting next year in the Danish capital, Copenhagen.

    On average, the glaciers shrank by 4.9 feet in 2006, the most recent year for which data are available.

    The most severe loss was recorded at Norway’s Breidalblikkbrea glacier, which shrank 10.2 feet in 2006, while Chile’s Echaurren Norte glacier was the only one to grow slightly thicker.

    “The latest figures are part of what appears to be an accelerating trend with no apparent end in sight,” said Wilfried Haeberli, director of the World Glacier Monitoring Service.

    The Zurich-based body conducted the study on which the findings are based.

    Haeberli said glaciers lost an average of about a foot of ice a year between 1980 and 1999. But since the turn of the millennium the average loss has increased to about 20 inches.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 16 Mar 2008 @ 12:04 PM

  177. gusbob #166:

    The youtube clip for a homopolar motor [...]
    was such a simple, yet elegant example of non-gravitational forces
    causing rotation.

    Ah, now I see where your (and thus my) misunderstanding comes from.

    You see, you don’t need to “cause rotation”. It’s already there. The galaxy has been rotating since day one and will continue to do so until the cows come home, without any expenditure of force.

    What you need a force for, is to keep those rotating parts from flying away to infinity. A central, attractive force, as Newton figured out. If you want them to rotate (orbit) faster, you must provide more such force.

    … and yes, I do understand the similarity between copper and plasma as conductors. What I fail to see is the similarity between copper, as a single material with one density, and a heterogeneous mix of plasma, neutral clouds, dust and stars (and more), with densities ranging over dozens of powers of ten. Which are all seen to move together and even all the time being converted to each other (formation of young stars from cold gas, ionization of gas to plasma by young stars embedded in them, etc.) Gravitation is an equal-opportunity force for all of them. EM is most certainly not.

    BTW the Just_Curious question is bugging me too…

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 16 Mar 2008 @ 3:08 PM

  178. BPL (159): I should have said high clouds in both cases. The theory summarized in #24 was “high clouds (and subsequent cooling)”. I was just trying to point out that this was incorrect. IR satellites show high clouds as cool, therefore the earth is not throwing off heat, therefore the earth is warming, not cooling. This is generally true day or night in the tropics, oceans and temperate zones, although not true at night in the winter and polar regions. The bottom line for the GCR theorists is they must show that lack of solar activity (e.g. Maunder minimums) which lead to higher GCR’s, must NOT create high clouds in general, because high clouds are warming in general. Low clouds vary considerably more, they can be warming or cooling depending on their properties.

    Comment by Eric (skeptic) — 16 Mar 2008 @ 3:13 PM

  179. gusbob (#156) wrote: “What you are describing sounds more like directional neutrino decay rather than neutrino oscillation. Are you saying electron neutrinos are the only neutrinos with enough energy to transform into the other flavors? I am so confused.”

    Nick Gotts already explained this in #149, but I’ll give it another go: the most symmetric oscillation scheme is one in which there is some positive probability p that (over some fixed period) a given neutrino (of any type) changes into a neutrino of a given different type. That is, starting with a neutrino of flavor A, there is probability p that it turns into flavor B, probability p that it turns into flavor C and probability (1 – 2p) that it doesn’t oscillate (no matter whether A means electron, muon or tau). Under such an oscillation, the distribution of neutrinos will approach 1:1:1 (1/3rd electron, 1/3rd muon, 1/3rd tau), regardless of the initial distribution. This is simply a fact about random processes, i.e. it has nothing to do with the physics of neutrinos or anything else.

    As Nick Gotts notes, there are plenty of other modes of oscillation that would result in the same outcome, but in particular a symmetric oscillation will result in a symmetric final distribution, and since there are three types of neutrino, a symmetric distribution contains 1/3rd electron neutrinos.

    Comment by JBL — 16 Mar 2008 @ 3:25 PM

  180. Re #168:

    Whatever the answer, it’s looking like SC24 is going to put the nail in whichever coffin is wrong. SC24 officially started in January, but it’s taking it’s sweet time actually starting, and it was late arriving.

    A decline in the aa-index would be nice right about now, too.

    Comment by FurryCatherder — 16 Mar 2008 @ 8:01 PM

  181. William (155), interesting images; but anamolies are meaningful over a time span. Do you know the time span of the two images?

    Comment by Rod B — 16 Mar 2008 @ 10:19 PM

  182. William Astley posts:

    [[What is the competing hypothesis for why there have been four planetary ice-houses, roughly ever 140MM years, in the last 500MM years.]]

    There haven’t been. As I recall, there was the Huronian snowball Earth 2.3 billion years ago, the Sturtian 800 million years ago and the Varangian 630 million years ago. Are you counting episodes of glaciation to any extent? That might give you every 140 mya, though I don’t think it was that even.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 17 Mar 2008 @ 7:48 AM

  183. A few people have suggested that I need to do some homework. I agree that that is always the case. One or two of those suggestions seemed sincere. Others felt more like an intellectual equivalent of a ghetto shouting match where the tactic is to most vigorously tell the other he ain’t worth feces. So this is addressed to those who sincerely see a specific error that needs correcting and I would like to limit it to any of my misunderstandings of magnetic fields.

    I thought Gauss’s Law for Magnetic Fields simply expressed that the net magnetic flux on a surface is zero. That magnetic lines do not stop and start but circulate. I also thought magnetic fields are created by electric currents and the stronger the current the stronger the field. Armed with that simple understanding the idea of an accelerating solar wind suggested that it was not a magnetic field that accelerated the articles past Pluto’s orbit. More likely it must be an electric field which do have start and stop points. So to direct my homework please explain my misconception and what law regarding magnetic fields I am misunderstanding.

    Second standard models suggest sunspots are cooled because magnetic fields block the heat that is convecting upwards. I didn’t know a magnetic field could do that. I am totally unaware of any use of magnetic shielding to stop heat, only to protect agsinst electric and magnetic fields. Where would one look to find out how magnetic fields block heat.
    Being ignorant of the claim magnetic fields can block heat. I was attracted to the interpretation that the strong magnetic fields associated with sunspots weren’t blocking heat but caused by electric currents flowing out of these spots. So the leap to thinking that the sunspot magnetism is due to increased electric currents seams reasonable. Furthermore evidence to support the idea of a stronger electric currents with increased sunspot activity, comes when we compare depths within the sun imaging different wavelengths. At a sunspot there is less visible light but using xray imaging from Chandra we see that the most active xray emission sites are just above sunspots. For example in the picture linked here:
    http://www.electric-cosmos.org/spotstack.jpg

    In the three images of a sunspot group
    1. The top one is the photosphere – taken in visible light. The umbrae are dark and cool.
    2. The middle image is taken in ultraviolet light and shows the chromosphere / transition region.
    3. The lower panel is an X-ray image showing the violent activity in the lower corona.

    The interpretation is the field aligned currents leaving the sunspots do exhibit low heat until they interact with the corona creating violent random motion measured as temperature.

    Likewise using xray imaging the surface of the sun, it goes dark during sunspot minima and is bright during sunspot maxima. There doesn’t appear to be any significant temperature change to explain this phenomenon where xrays change over 100 fold during the sunspot cycle.

    http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2007/images/solar-cycle.jpg

    The correlations of aurora and sunspots also suggest electric currents. The great auroras of Halloween 2003 created tremendous geomagnetic storms and knocked out electric grids in Sweden and the Van Allen’s belt temporarily lost 60% of its altitude as this accelerating electrified gas(current) smashed into our magnetosphere.

    http://www.colorado.edu/news/releases/2004/400.html

    So without understanding how magnetic fields block heat in sunspots the wealth of evidence led me to an electrical current interpretation.

    To conclude with this last observation. I asked about the magnetic ropes observed by Themis as examples of an electric current connecting the earth and sun. It was only answered (or dismissed) by saying of course there is a magnetic connection. But such dismissal didn’t address the issue.

    All images of the earth and sun’s magnetic fields present them emanating from standard dipoles. Although we see the modification of those fields due to the solar wind, never in those models do we see magnetic ropes connecting the sun and earth. The solar wind, an electric current, does connect them. My understanding suggests you need an electric current to create these magnetic ropes. And the spiraling currents are well known to create self containing magnetic fields that lead to the observation of magnetic ropes.This is a standard Birkeland current. However it gets reported as if the magnetic ropes appeared out of no where and the solar wind rides these magnetic ropes. (That would be the biologiical equivalent of saying the Helicobacter pylori was an opportunistic visitor to ulcers and not the cause. It was a boon for psycholgists however) So how do we get magnetic ropes without an electric current?

    I look forward to your sincere and specific guidance so hopefully I can learn where my mistaken understanding lies and we can be more on the same page.

    Comment by gusbob — 17 Mar 2008 @ 2:47 PM

  184. 173. Lyn– Crazy, ;)

    I certainly wouldn’t want to deter you from doing a cost benefit analysis when you purchase your next fridge or shower head, or anything you choose to do as an individual to try to cut your emmission, cost, and consumption. It doesn’t hurt to experiment,try, and learn. I trust you on the calculations and will look into the options you suggest next time I need to make a purchase.

    But we are talking about totally different things. These efforts are a drop in the bucket, and also don’t scale (Choosing a more efficient model when it’s time to replace what you have or building new is one thing. If everyone did a replacement it for the heck of it, the whole equation changes. There’s also the fact that your choice doesn’t stop the production of other shower heads etc, that infastructure is already in place and would be a huge waste to just dismantle or not use. In reality the head you don’t buy will go to somone else [but you do encourage future production to be better, and better choices to be made the next time the plant upgrades/changes]).

    When I’m talking about cost, I’m not necessarily/generally talking about finance (cost benefit is a good start though, NPV is a good way to be economical on an individual and business scale–do consider the likely life and maintenance of the product as well). Money is more like the dye to monitor the flow with in the system.

    When I’m talking about cost, I’m talking about an economic cost, which compounds over time. Population growth, productivity etc.

    Back on to consumption,

    When you do your taxes, look at your expenditures. It pretty much all equates to energy consumption. All of your consumption– services, good– all require energy to produce. Everything that doesn’t go into investment/savings is consumption, and it all requires energy. My electric, gas, and water for my house are nothing. A tiny fraction of just the interest payment on my house. That interest is paying for someone else to burn a bunch of fossil fuels to find and ship wine and truffles over to the states or grow a bunch of wheat to feed some overweight welfare kid, or build a hybrid car to sell below cost.

    I saw the movie (Nation Geographic).

    Read The Black Swan, Nassim Nicholas Taleb. Very simple and relavent concept. And, a great read just for the fun of it, and to get a nice list of good historical works.

    Comment by aaron — 17 Mar 2008 @ 3:16 PM

  185. Ref 178. I am not sure which authority decides when SC 24 officially starts, but I dont think it has. I know little about the subject, but I read on the internet, messages posted by people who I think do know what they are talking about. The facts are as follows. A small sunspot at high latitude and with magnetic polarity associated with SC 24 appeared at the beginning of January 2008. It was not called Sunspot 1 of SC 24, but sunspot nine hundred and something of SC 23. Since then two small sunspots at low latitudes and with the magnetic polarity of SC 23 have appeared. I have seen an opinion that SC 24 has to “muscle” SC 23 out of the way. If this does not happen before June 2008, then it was forecast that SC 24 is unlikely to start before November 2009. How accurate this forecast, is I have no idea.

    Comment by Jim Cripwell — 17 Mar 2008 @ 3:19 PM

  186. Martin Vermeer Says: Ah, now I see where your (and thus my) misunderstanding comes from.

    You see, you don’t need to “cause rotation”. It’s already there. The galaxy has been rotating since day one and will continue to do so until the cows come home, without any expenditure of force.”

    Martin this is where we choose different lines of research and explains the root of the hostile debate here with others. I have always had trouble with the Big Bang. If the Big Bang is correct then your constraint on motion in the universe is valid. If the hypothetical Big Bang is not correct then we need to consider other explanations for galactic motions.

    I prefer to stay within an observable world. Right now the world of the big bang is accessible only by belief in the numbers and formulas a select few choose to use and constrained only if they make a reasonable explanation of observations. Using Newton’s laws we did the math to estimate mass and it did not compute. Those that chose to do the “math”, created a new constant and “gravitated” to Dark Matter. I simply accepted that the math didn’t work and chose the other option of looking at other alternatives to explain why Newton’s laws do not always predict the behavior of visible matter.

    Although believing in things that are not there is considered a pathology in some fields, the road to dark matter was a logical extension of reliable, time-tested explanations and thus a sane choice. Its correctness however still remains in question.

    We did more math on grander scales and now it seems the universe is accelerating faster than our original equations determined. We can add more dark matter but that would decelerate not accelerate the expansion. So now we need dark energy. Now when I do the math it seems like the universe is now about 70% dark energy 26% dark matter and only 4% ordinary matter.

    Instead of increasing the known world, the universe is becoming more and more hypothetical and relies on formulas and equations that only of few us mortals can grasp and hold. Some of us don’t have a clue to where in reality the cosmological constants of your equations derive from. If we can’t see them we are reduced to faith in the super-human qualities of the physicists. Until you can make these things observable there will be a lot of skeptics.

    So some of us ordinary people, left in the intellectual primordial dust, look for ways that are more observable. Our conjectures need to be testable and constrained by accessible observations. The homopolar motor created rotation with easily observed and measurable factors without inventing dark matter and dark energy. But still it is considered crazy to extend those time-tested principles into a cosmological understanding.! Well if looking for a more observable framework to guide my explanations is pathological heresy, so be it. Time will tell.

    Comment by gusbob — 17 Mar 2008 @ 3:57 PM

  187. gusbob –

    The magnetic fields in the sun don’t “block heat,” as far as I know. But plasma aligns along magnetic field lines, and aligned means less random, and heat is randomized molecular motion. Thus sunspots are cooler than the rest of the photosphere. Note also the existence of “magnetic refrigerators” for some substances. Of course you need a polar molecule for it to work.

    As to the Big Bang, there are five major things it explains.

    1) The cosmological red shift. In general, the further something is from us, the faster it’s receding from us. There’s nothing special about us, you would get the same effect from any vantage point. But clearly the universe is expanding. If you run it backward according to the best reconstructions of the Hubble constant through universal time, you get to a point where the universe was either infinitely small or infinitely dense about 13.7 billion years ago.

    2. The distribution of elements. There is no easy natural way to make hydrogen, but hydrogen does get fused to helium and beyond in stars. The chemosynthetic aspects of Big Bang theory predict that the original material was mostly hydrogen with about 20-25% helium and trace deuterium and lithium. If the universe were infinitely old, as in the Steady-State theory or its variations, all the hydrogen would be gone.

    3. The cosmological background radiation. The theorists of the Big Bang predicted that there would be background radiation from the Big Bang at the equivalent of a few degrees K everywhere in the sky. They predicted this in the ’40s. In 1965, Penzias and Wilson found it accidentally while trying to remove background noise from a Bell Labs antenna.

    4. Olbers’s Paradox. Consider the Universe as concentric spheres starting from wherever you are. The surface area of a sphere follows the square of the radius, so a shell twice as big should hold four times as many stars (or galaxies). But light falls off as the inverse square of distance, so those stars (galaxies) should appear 1/4 as bright on average. The two effects cancel. Each shell should contribute an equal amount of light, and if the universe is infinite or even very big, the sky should blaze like sunlight. It doesn’t. The red shift gets rid of some of the light, but not enough. The best explanation — first figured out by Edgar Allen Poe, of all people — is that the Universe is not infinitely old, so there hasn’t been time for most of the light to get here.

    5. The frequency of radio galaxies and quasars varies with distance, which means there were different fractions of these objects at different times in galactic history. In Steady-State’s “perfect cosmological principle” there should be no variation with time, since the Steady-State universe is infinitely old.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 18 Mar 2008 @ 7:41 AM

  188. Gusbob, Your basic problem is that you don’t understand how science is done–and the first thing you need to realize is that being wrong in science is not a grave sin. Scientists advance theories, test them and then accept/modify/abandon the theories in accord with the results of the tests. Since science is inherently conservative, modification of the theory is the most common result. You are not even straight on what experimental results support what models. You are not clear on what the models predict and you haven’t even bothered looking into the implications of your own kooky ideas (they do no rise to the level of theories).
    Another thing you need to understand is that scientists do not take all theories equally seriously. The Big Bang Theory is quite firmly established, and the data fit this model going back to at least the first trillionth of a second (thanks to WMAP). Indeed there is hope we can extend our glimpse back to the first trillionth of a trillionth of a second. So the evidence is observable. You simply are not trained to even recognize it as evidence, just as an untrained observer will see a stromatolite as a “rock” rather than evidence for evolution of life. Dark matter is now fairly well established. It is merely a consequence of the inverse square law of gravitational force–and I don’t know anyone sane who challenges that. Dark energy seems to exist, and it is exciting precisely because it suggests new physics, but for the same reason it is not as well established.
    Gusbob, the problem is that when I say that you are ignorant of science, you take that as an insult or ad hominem attack rather than as a diagnosis. I have not said you are stupid. Ignorance is 100% curable. You could easily learn enough math to understand why physicists have accepted these theories as the most plausible. Instead you latch onto completely untested or discredited theories without even understanding enough of the math to understand why they are discredited. Not only do you not understand what the physicists believe (and why), you don’t even understand what you profess to believe yourself–and that’s sad.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 18 Mar 2008 @ 7:55 AM

  189. JBL says,”This is simply a fact about random processes, i.e. it has nothing to do with the physics of neutrinos or anything else.”

    I agree with you and Nick that if all neutrinos are interchangeable then a strictly random process would create the equal distribution.It is just like a diffusion equilibrium, so my criticism in that regard was wrong and unfounded.But a likely scenario is not proof that the detected populations originated in the sun and then oscillated.

    With the virtual lack of interaction of neutrinos with ordinary matter, what is the signature of each flavor that allows you to determine their origin and original state? If neutrino oscillation is random interchange of flavors then why wouldn’t we observe equal proportions of all neutrinos whenever and where ever? A controlled neutrino factory type of experiment still remains at the needed proof.

    Comment by gusbob — 18 Mar 2008 @ 8:58 AM

  190. gusbob… sigh.

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 18 Mar 2008 @ 9:51 AM

  191. Gusbob, So, let me get this straight: Despite the fact that we know the neutrinos are coming from the direction of the Sun. Despite the fact that we know neutrinos oscillate and that if you start with a single flavor of neutrino, you get 2/3 turning into other flavors on average over distance; despite the fact that all the observations are consistent with the theory with zero tweaking, you’re not going to believe that nuclear fission is the power source of Mr. Sun unless you can follow all the neutrinos from the site where they come into being until they are detected? Good luck with that. I think I’ll stick to science.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 18 Mar 2008 @ 1:37 PM

  192. In reply to Paul Middents’ comment #172

    “…tried to point out the weaknesses in your arguments and the weakness and/or your misinterpretation of the literature references you repeat in each thread.”

    Do you have any specific scientific comment concerning Tinsleys’ electroscavenging mechanism? Have you read Tinsley and Yu’s paper that summaries the solar cloud modulation mechanisms?

    Do you have any comment to comment #156 above, concerning recent data that shows the ocean is cooling? As stated in that comment solar wind bursts have stopped which were for solar cycle 21, 22, and 23 creating a space charge in the ionosphere which according to Tinsley’s electroscavenging mechanism would remove cloud forming ions. Yes, if the ocean starts to suddenly warm, now that electroscavenging has stopped and GCR has increased, I would without hesitation, support the statement that the vast majority of 20th century warming was due to GHG.

    You did not mention the three papers (which used three different logical arguments: Patterns in the Proxy record, Patterns of Barycentric motion correlating with past mininums, and a solar physical model.) I linked to that noted the sun was moving to a mimimum. That were written in 1989, 2003, and 2005. (The sun appears to be heading towards a minimum now.

    Do you have any comment to comment #166 above, concerning Shaviv’s hypothesis and his meteorite analysis?

    Comment by William Astley — 18 Mar 2008 @ 1:51 PM

  193. RE #170 [gusbob] “Nick I thought the following was an adequate answer to your question on #113″
    OK, you’ve outlasted me. I accept that you are not going to answer my questions. May I be cursed with whatever psychopathology you are suffering if I respond any further to your ramblings.

    [Response: Ok. This thread hijacking has gone on long enough. No more please. - gavin]

    Comment by Nick Gotts — 18 Mar 2008 @ 4:32 PM

  194. RE #184, I suppose if it’s our galaxy and not us to be blamed for the warming, it would seem unnecessary to reduce our fossil fuel profligacy party. But if we want a truly better life, GW mitigation is the answer, even if it doesn’t mitigate GW.

    Yes, my actions are just a drop in the bucket, but they do scale upward to true solutions, and it’s a crying shame we haven’t had the leadership in this country or the public will to make the necessary changes, which as you say will take years decades for people to replace their inefficient and non-conservative products and habits, move closer to work, get their local goverments to do the right thing re public transportation, get the car companies to offer plug-in EVs or hybrids, and the electric companies to offer wind or solar power.

    All this could have been started on a massive scale 20 years ago, when we started our personal journey toward huge GHG reductions and money-saving & better, more satisfying lifestyle. Much time has been lost. We need the will of an informed people, leadership at all levels of government (not just regs and laws, but true leadership inspiring people to do the right thing), and a business community committed to goodness, not just profits.

    I was developing a course on Business and the Environment in the mid-90s. Due to regs that were going to kick in 3M asked everyone from the engineers to the assembly-line workers to come up with ways to reduce pollution at lowest cost. When everyone started thinking about it, they came up with solutions that greatly reduced pollution and actually SAVED MONEY – to the tune of $millions. So they called it their 3P program: Pollution Prevention Pays. When the CEO asked the engineers why they hadn’t come up with those money-saving ideas before, the engineers said it wasn’t put to them that way (re preventing pollution in least cost ways).

    And I have many many stories like that. We just have to put our minds and hearts into it, each and every one of us, and amazing things will happen. If Abu Dhabi can build a nearly carbon neutral city ( http://www.masdaruae.com ), why can’t we?

    Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 19 Mar 2008 @ 10:04 AM

  195. re 186, 187, 188 et al (Ray, BPL, gusbob….) There are not insignificant alternatives to the Big Bang theory, along with some significant holes in the theory itself. For one, Fred Hoyle’s hypothesis offers pretty good answers to BPL’s “proofs”, though his weakest is with the Cosmic Background Radiation stuff. (As an aside, to say CBR temperature of 2.7° was predicted in the ’40s is a major stretch — though if a “few” is a bunch, in very late ’40s, that’s probably close enough for your point.) Nor does he address Olber’s Paradox, though it, while interesting, requires so many greatly simplification assumptions to make it unworthy. (As another aside — a serious query: why do you say Hydrogen is hard to make? It strikes me as the most natural and easy as pi within the BB/expansion theory.)

    I will admit that the current scientific probabilities strongly favor the BB (though of course not if executed by some super intelligent creator guy!). What annoys me, as I have said ad nauseam, is the religious fervor attached to the absolute certainty of some of your scientific beliefs. Apropos to this thread (blog), this applies to AGW. It’s probably a fine line. I expect and appreciate scientific advocacy; uncertainty (or at least being wishy-washy) would not likely be a helpful trait. Even so the ferociousness with which folks who suggest maybe something else deserves a little consideration get nuked and sprinkled with ad homs, IMHO, goes beyond the pale. (I know, Ray went out of his way to say he was not using ad homs — just calling gusbob a kook and an ignoramus only because he evidently is…..)

    Comment by Rod B — 19 Mar 2008 @ 10:16 PM

  196. Lynn (194 et al), your scaling requires a whole lot of assistance from La-La Land. But I still do admire your enthusiasm.

    Comment by Rod B — 19 Mar 2008 @ 10:19 PM

  197. Re 194 Lynn V : “I suppose if it’s our galaxy and not us to be blamed for the warming, it would seem unnecessary to reduce our fossil fuel profligacy party.”

    What the business-as-usual (i.e., CO2 emissions-as-usual) proponents keep overlooking (or intentionally ignoring) is the inconvenient truth that the rising level of atmospheric CO2 is not so good for the ocean, or other aquatic ecoystems. Nor is it good for certain plants, such as the thousands of species of tropical plants carrying out C4 photosynthesis that provides some 25% of global primary productivity (Ellinger et al. 1997. Oecologia 112:285-299; Collatz et al. 1998. Oecologia 114: 441-454; Sage and Monson 1999. C4 Plant Biology, Academic Press). For these reasons, I think you are correct that “GW mitigation is the answer, even if it doesn’t mitigate GW.”

    Comment by Chuck Booth — 19 Mar 2008 @ 10:47 PM

  198. Rod, to call the scientific response to pseudoscience “religious” does a disservice to both science and religion. It does not take religious fervor to oppose–or even to be outraged by–lying. And to state that there is any scientific support for alternatives to anthropogenic causation of climate change, or for the Electric Universe theory, or astrology, or healing with crystals… is lying. The ignorance of the one who repeats the lie does not diminish the fact that it is a lie.
    Moreover, in the case of climate science, the lies have had potentially severe consequences, with respected researchers called before Congressional witchhunts and threats of subpoenas for research materialsby ignorant food tubes in Congress. Compared to this, the criticisms levied against the ignorant proponents of pseudoscience are mild. Do you really think it is too much to ask that people remain silent about matters where they are ignorant, or if they wish to speak, to at least learn enough that they are not repeating lies?

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 20 Mar 2008 @ 8:25 AM

  199. Re #195 Rod B:

    a serious query: why do you say Hydrogen is hard to make? It strikes me as the most natural and easy as pi within the BB/expansion theory

    Within the BB yes indeed, but BPL was referring to the chemosynthesis taking place in stars after the BB. That is a one way path, from hydrogen to heavier elements releasing nuclear binding energy.

    You mention correctly that the 2.7K background (and its now very well known, detailed properties) is the most serious argument against steady-state, and the one that made Hoyle give up on it. The background was predicted by Gamow in the 1940′s as an inevitable consequence of a hot beginning; I don’t remember what number he gave, but consider that at the time our understanding of the Hubble constant (and thus age and size of the universe) were off by 2x at least.

    It is not the only problem of SS, however; the origin of elemental abundances is another. Hoyle’s SS assumed that matter was created out of nothing in-between galaxies, as they moved apart from each other; the theory needs the additional hypothesis that this new stuff is created in the right mix of H, He, D and Li. BB explains this quite naturally.

    I don’t quite agree with BPL though that Olbers is a problem for SS, at least not for the Hoyle variety: the redshift in this also expanding model does the job of eliminating the paradox.

    BTW about scientists being so cock-sure of their stuff: they aren’t. Read any article on frontline science, new, not previously done stuff, and you’ll see that 80% of the work, and of text written, is about
    uncertainty, about what we do and don’t know, about which alternatives we can eliminate and which not yet, etc. And a value is not a scientific value if it comes without error bounds of some kind.

    Now about non-frontline, textbook science, we are indeed pretty damn cock-sure. And when somebody barges in knowing better without the benefit of those textbooks, expect a strong response, yes. And no apologies :-)

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 20 Mar 2008 @ 10:53 AM

  200. Martin, Initial estimates of Universal temperature ranged from 5 to 50 K. One of my favorite cartoons:
    http://xkcd.com/54/

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 20 Mar 2008 @ 11:55 AM

  201. Ray thanks, yes, old Max has a lot to answer for :-)

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 20 Mar 2008 @ 3:49 PM

  202. Ray, as you know we’ve been up and down this mountain before and are unlikely to alter each other’s near intractable views. But…reacting with outrage toward people who dispute the real truth and light as seen by some, pretty much describes a fundamental religious belief. I don’t know, maybe it’s not exclusive to them and can describe other institutions as well. You just do not accept such a characterization as I described in 195 because you have the “truth and the light” on your side, albeit supported by many others, and are therefore justified and free from any accountability for whatever form the reaction takes.

    Though I would guess you disagree!

    Martin, interesting stuff. I had never thought of some of this before. Since Hydrogen is in fixed supply, does that mean that the Universe can not be infinite? And that possibly long before it either drops its density to zero or re-explodes with the Big Crunch that it will in effect just die out and consist of a bunch of static white, and mostly, red and brown dwarf stars?

    I recognize the holes in Hoyle’s hypothesis; I was just pointing out other plausible (however improbable) scientific Universe generating alternatives.

    Though cushioned with scientific caveats, Ray’s statement “….I don’t know anyone sane who challenges that…” , e.g. does in fact sound a little like “…scientists being so cock-sure of their stuff…” Now I don’t mean to pigeon-hole all scientists; nor do I single Ray (for whom I have considerable respect) out. But it sure sounds cock-sure to me!

    Ray (200), very funny! Actually some guy did predict 2.7 degrees in 1940 (I think) but it was based on scattering starlight rather than BB plasma! Also Hoyle predicted 2.7 degrees with his tiny little magnetized and ubiquitous metal rods.

    Comment by Rod B — 20 Mar 2008 @ 4:05 PM

  203. Coming late this I read in a climate book that the occurance of ice age cycles matched the Sun’s orbit around the rim of the Milky Way. Both occuring every 250 million years. The theory bieng that at a certain point on the rim something causes the solar furnace to splutter.
    It would provide a good explanation for the cooler temperatures for the last 2 million years. The position of the continants is a good explanation, but only accounts for part of the cooling. A weakening of the Sun could account for the other part.

    Comment by D Price — 20 Mar 2008 @ 7:06 PM

  204. A quick ps, Ray: No, I certainly do not subscribe to Congressional witch hunts, though it could be said that, as opposed to you scientists, that is what Congress does. Would you be opposed to the Congressional witch hunts going the other way, by witch hunter par excellence Henry Waxman, or, to some degree, Barbara Boxer? Or are their witch hunts, as keepers of the “truth”, really just civil exploratory exercises?

    Comment by Rod B — 20 Mar 2008 @ 8:24 PM

  205. Equating strong belief with religion, as per post #202, is making me a little tired because it smacks of name calling. Religion involves supreme beings and the supernatural, by definition, which can’t be falsified. Science stands on its merits and outrage at ones opponents is natural, you just have to have the goods to back it. Stick to that. Steve

    Comment by Steve Fish — 20 Mar 2008 @ 9:29 PM

  206. Re #192 William Astley

    I have followed Real Climate for over two years. This blog is my primary source for reasoned discussion of the scientific aspects of climate change. The voluntary contributions of the climate scientists are invaluable. The signal to noise ratio in the comment threads is relatively good compared to some other climate blogs due to the scientist’s moderating efforts and the contributions of readers like Ray Bradbury, Hank Roberts, Timothy Chase, Martin Vermeer, Robert Rhode, Wayne Davidson, cce, Tamino (HB), Ike Solem, P. Lewis, Eli Rabett. These folks offer patient and comprehensive answers to many questions—some repeated over and over. Many are professional scientists with significant expertise relevant to the discussion of climate.

    Mr. Astley, you have raised a few interesting questions over the past year. You have received the courtesy of inline answers from climate scientists and you have been engaged by the readers on numerous threads. You continue to raise the same points over and over supported by the same references. I will respond to some of your queries, but not with any intent to engage you on a long term basis or to encourage you to continue pursuing the same issues supported by the same literature.

    My thoughts on Tinsley et al:

    Dr. Tinsley seems to be a well respected climate scientist with a long record of publication on upper atmosphere effects. I agree with Hank, that you attribute to the processes he examines much more significance to global climate change than he does. Our own RC folks say his work “may have merit”—high praise indeed from this tough crowd. Dr. Tinsley’s web page summarizes his work:

    http://www.utdallas.edu/physics/faculty/tinsley.html

    Dr. Tinsley notes on his web page recent important work in the polar regions:

    “In a recent collaboration with Dr. Gary Burns of the Australian Antarctic Division we have confirmed with high statistical significance small changes in Antarctic surface pressure with small solar wind-induced changes in Jz, which are consistent with our hypothesized effects on Jz on cloud cover. In the Arctic the Jz changes are of opposite sign, as are the correlated pressure changes. Further, there are pressure changes that correlate with Jz changes due to changes in the current output of low-latitude thunderstorm generators, that have the same sign in the Arctic as in the Antarctic, as expected from theory. The implication is that global changes in Jz produce global changes in suitable types of clouds, and in some cases changes in precipitation.”

    I think the key word above is “implication”—not demonstrated or correlated or replicated but hopeful perhaps.

    Yes, I have read both his review articles that you reference so often. The only uncontroversial observed correlations they make are to short term and regional processes. From Tinsley and Yu 2005:

    “Clearly there is a great deal of modeling that is needed in
    order to provide quantitative relationships between
    atmospheric ionization and macroscopic clouds properties.
    However, models of the radiative and dynamical
    consequences for climate of estimated precipitation and
    cloud cover changes could be made with present
    capabilities. Improved cloud cover and precipitation data
    covering more solar cycles would be useful for validating
    the present observational results, and as more accurate
    inputs into global climate models.”

    From Tinsley, Burns, Zhou 2007:

    “The large changes in galactic cosmic ray flux on time
    scales from decades through millennia produce changes
    in Jz that have the potential to account for records of
    long-term climate variations that correlate with cosmic
    ray flux changes. Also, changes in temperature and humidity
    in the thunderstorm-generating regions of land masses
    at low latitudes modulate the current density flowing everywhere
    in the global circuit. This may affect cloud cover
    everywhere, especially with surface temperature changes
    on the longer time scales.”

    You continually emphasize one aspect discussed by Tinsley, electroscavenging, which can be influenced by factors other than galactic cosmic rays though the strongest effect is from GCR changes. This, I suppose, is because you acknowledge that there has been no recent (since 1970) trend in GCR flux.

    From a Hadley Center review (2005)

    http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/research/hadleycentre/pubs/HCTN/HCTN_62.pdf

    “There are many uncertain steps between the electroscavenging and cyclone intensification in the near-cloud mechanism, as emphasised in HS99, so progress has been made either by looking at specific microphysics (e.g. scavenging theory), or from statistical studies linking cosmic rays with cloud-related parameters, such as precipitation.”

    The effect noted above is primarily correlated to GCR flux changes. I would note that Dr. Tinsley’s work seems to contribute significantly to electroscavenging theory.

    From a review by none other than Marsh of Svensmark and Marsh:

    http://www.spacecenter.dk/research/sun-climate/Projects/TN_WP503_DNSC_v05.pdf

    “It is however more unlikely that ‘electroscavaging’ has a global effect (see Harrison Carslaw article) on cloud generation and ultimately on global climate although there is some limited observational evidence to suggest that this process can have an additional influence on atmospheric dynamics (Roldugin and Tinsley 2004).”

    But now to the real nub of the problem I have with you and your search for a solar alternative to anthropogenic greenhouse gases. In # 42, cce, provides two very important references to recent work examining the ISCCP multidecadal record of cloudiness. You have not commented on either of these nor do I wish you to. I would only ask that you read them and withhold all further speculation on solar influences via GCR’s, magnetic fields or fairy dust until there is a reliable multidecalal record showing some meaningful trend in low, medium or high level clouds.

    By the way, there isn’t any solar alternative to AGW. There is only the remote possibility of a short respite in the unlikely event of a new Maunder minimum. The important contribution of research in solar, magnetic and electric effects will be to narrow the uncertainty in current GCM’s due to cloud/aerosol forcing. Please look at the video cce linked in #42. Dr. Norris may not be riveting but he’s coherent and competent.

    Since you asked, and for what little its worth, I agree fully with Knud that Shaviv’s analysis contains much hand waving. Your response to him is a particularly egregious form of blogsmanship. When you have received a good technical response that you don’t like, shift the discussion to something really nebulous like # 166 “What are the competing hypothesis?” You answered your own question when you ended with “The importance of that correlation depends on whether GCR/solar magnetic cycle changes actually do modulate clouds and the changes in clouds significantly affect planetary temperature.” Indeed that’s what all your speculation and that of Svensmark and Palle depends on. Let’s wait for some data.

    In the meantime we might encourage our national leaders to put some priority back on monitoring the earth and measuring some things that really count.

    Comment by Paul Middents — 20 Mar 2008 @ 11:58 PM

  207. In reply to Barton Paul Levenson’s comment #182.

    “There haven’t been. [My comment, BPL is saying there have not been four ice house, in the last 500MMyr. I disagree.] I recall, there was the Huronian snowball Earth 2.3 billion years ago, the Sturtian 800 million years ago and the Varangian 630 million years ago. Are you counting episodes of glaciation to any extent? That might give you every 140 mya, though I don’t think it was that even.”

    I believe there is evidence of four ice houses in the last 500 MM years. See this paper. What the authors are stating is the planetary cooling appears, to be externally forced and there is evidence of four long cold periods.

    http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.palaeo.2006.08.008

    “Millennial-scale paleoclimate cycles recorded in widespread Palaeozoic deeper water rhythmites of North America”, by Maya Elricka and Linda Hinnov

    “Rhythmically interbedded limestone and shale or limestone and chert (“rhythmites”) are a common feature of many deep-water Phanerozoic carbonate marine deposits. Seventeen different Palaeozoic rhythmite successions from across North America…”

    “…If our short-term paleoclimatic interpretations for the rhythmites are correct, then it is apparent that millennial-scale climate changes occurred over a very wide spectrum of paleoceanographic, paleogeographic, paleoclimatic, tectonic, and biologic conditions and over time periods from the Cambrian to the Quaternary. Given this, it is difficult to invoke models of internally driven thermohaline oceanic oscillations or continental ice sheet instabilities to explain their origin. Instead, we suggest that millennial-scale paleoclimate variability is a more permanent feature of the Earth’s ocean–atmosphere system, which points to an external driver such as solar forcing.”

    Comment by William Astley — 21 Mar 2008 @ 5:01 AM

  208. Re #207 [William Astley] “What the authors are stating is the planetary cooling appears, to be externally forced and there is evidence of four long cold periods.”

    Actually, there are 5 periods they indicate as “icehouse”, the first much briefer than the others, and the second and third separated only by a relatively short intermediate (i.e. neither “icehouse” nor “greenhouse”) period. To my eye, there’s no obvious periodicity. They do not comment on the origin of this long-term variation. They prefer an interpretation of the rhythmites in terms of millenial-scale temperature changes, but are pretty tentative about it – there is an alternative (“diagenetic” processes following deposition). They do say that if their interpretation is correct, “an external driver such as solar forcing” (or an 1800 year Earth-Moon tidal cycle) is probably responsible, but admit that “Presently it is not clear how very small perturbations in solar radiation could be amplified within the climate system to generate the observed significant climate changes.” All in all, an interesting paper appropriately hedged with “ifs” and “buts”, but by no means paradigm-shattering.

    Comment by Nick Gotts — 21 Mar 2008 @ 8:24 AM

  209. Rod B #202:

    I had never thought of some of this before. Since Hydrogen is in fixed supply, does that mean that the Universe can not be infinite?

    No, it doesn’t imply this. Conservation laws like those of baryons and leptons (which prevents H atoms to pop up out of nothing, or vanish into nothing) are valid for any closed system, like a finite closed part of an infinite universe.

    And that possibly long before it either drops its density to zero or re-explodes with the Big Crunch that it will in effect just die out and consist of a bunch of static white, and mostly, red and brown dwarf stars?

    Yes, and black holes, black dwarfs, cold neutron stars etc. In a very far future.

    But it sure sounds cock-sure to me!

    Yes. And proud of it!

    Seriously, it’s the self-confidence that comes with knowing your stuff. Surely you must have yourself an area of skill and expertise, so that when some outside know-nothing comes in making an outrageous claim on something very basic, you would display that same cock-sureness… or would you suppress it for “diplomatic” reasons? And how would you react to your professional self-confidence being construed as “religious belief”?

    Neither Ray nor I are climatologists, but we are both backgrounded in physics, in my case geophysics. That helps enormously with understanding climatology. Furthermore we both have a history as practicing, publishing scientists (google it up!); that gives us an inside understanding of how that works. Trust me (or rather, don’t; figure it out for yourself!), it’s no “priesthood” any more than e.g., the medical profession, or for that matter, the free software/open source community. Rather a boisterously pluralistic, cut-throat meritocracy!

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 21 Mar 2008 @ 8:40 AM

  210. Martin Vermeer writes:

    [[I don’t quite agree with BPL though that Olbers is a problem for SS, at least not for the Hoyle variety: the redshift in this also expanding model does the job of eliminating the paradox.]]

    It doesn’t do enough. I’ve run the calculations. If you want I’ll send you a copy of the paper I wrote about it.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 21 Mar 2008 @ 8:57 AM

  211. William Astley writes:

    [[I believe there is evidence of four ice houses in the last 500 MM years. ]]

    No, there is evidence of four episodes of glaciation in the last 500 million years. You have “episodes of glaciation” confused with “icehouse Earth” or “snowball Earth.” The latter requires polar ice caps to more or less meet at the equator. Not every episode of glaciation or ice ages is a snowball Earth.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 21 Mar 2008 @ 9:02 AM

  212. Rod, the inverse square dependence of gravitational force is consistent with every observation ever made–from table-top to galactic cluster. Moreover, every self-consistent theory of gravity predicts such a dependence. Perhaps you can suggest a characterization of someone who, with zero evidence supporting their contention and reams of evidence against, challenges such a working theory. I would contend that “nutjob” works as well as any other word.
    Science does not deal with “truth and light” (except as a flavor of quark and an electromagnetic phenomenon, respectively), but rather with evidence. Now, again, perhaps you have a word that characterizes someone who knowingly distorts evidence. Here I would contend that “liar” works as well as any word in common parlance. And I would also contend that ignorance does not absolve someone of culpability for propagating a lie. If you think being outraged by liars requires religious ferocity, then so be it. All I can say is that anybody who knows me would laugh their tuckus off at such a characterization.

    As to witchhunts, I’m agin’ it. No one should be hounded for doing their perfectly legal job in a manner consistent with normally accepted practices. However, again, we have to look at the behavior. If someone with insider information persistently lied about a stock to pump up its price as he is consistently selling off his shares, we would probably prescribe an extended stay at Club Fed. If a company knowingly produces an unsafe product and lies about it, the same penatly ought to apply. If a company knowingly propagates disinformation about climate to increase its profits, how are they less deserving of saction?

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 21 Mar 2008 @ 9:47 AM

  213. I agree AGW does not have a supernatural being at its head and certainly is not a religion. My point is that hard-felt religion shows justifiable (in its mind) extreme rage, intolerance and offense (including desire to arrest and incarcerate) to those who might question, and absolutely refuses to recognize, let alone accept, even the slightest uncertainty in the most obscure area of the institution. Occasionally AGW proponents (some or many, but clearly not all by any means…) display the exact same characteristics and look like a religion. Walks like a duck; talks like a duck; well… maybe it is still not a duck, but it’s not far off. (And you can easily find some who push for prosecution of skeptics, e.g.) I think it hurts the credibility of the AGW proponents.

    On the other hand, moving from philosophical to practical, I can certainly understand and accept the tiredness and impatience with trying to politely answer the same questions over and over again — which is why I held my 2-3 areas of skepticism in abeyance some time ago until I improved my scientific support. But there is still no cause to nuke folks who have other questions and doubts, however kooky they appear to you, as is periodically and lately the case. Just say (as a couple have) in the worst case, “I think you’re wrong but I just don’t want to take the time to play right now” or some such.

    BTW, I second Paul Middents’ 1st paragraph in 206: RC, while not perfect, is IMO easily the most professional of the climate blogs. I still can’t figure out how the moderators get it done.

    Comment by Rod B — 21 Mar 2008 @ 11:51 AM

  214. Martin (209), thanks for the additional info. I don’t fundemental disagree with this post (other than maybe around some of the edges), other than one teeny clarification of your examples: as somebody quipped, “What’s the difference between God and a Doctor? For one, God doesn’t think he’s a doctor.” Also, I’ve been in software fights that clearly had a clear religious bent with no assurance at all that the most meritous would win. Though the open software community not so much.

    Ray (212), you make a decent point but the difference is, despite your absolute belief, climate science does not (yet) rise to the certainty of gravitation’s inverse square law.

    The problem with your three examples is that climate “misinformation” doesn’t happen to be illegal. That distinction is eminent, but makes no difference to witch hunters and, in fact, can define witch hunting.

    Comment by Rod B — 21 Mar 2008 @ 12:20 PM

  215. I have used this site for a few years as a source of valuable information in climated debates, but this is my first time posting. And my last. I thought I was just shy. But I had a growing sense of feeling intimitaded about asking the wrong questions, and now this thread says it all. As I scrolled through the venom, I felt so, so sad for gusbob. I don’t agree with all he said but some things like magnetic fields weren’t wrong. I would never ever feel comfortable asking a contrary question here. I don’t even feel comfortable reading the remarks anymore.

    Comment by Pauline — 21 Mar 2008 @ 2:09 PM

  216. Re 210 Barton, yes please. See name link for email.

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 21 Mar 2008 @ 5:14 PM

  217. Re # 213 Rod B “My point is that hard-felt religion shows justifiable (in its mind) extreme rage, intolerance and offense (including desire to arrest and incarcerate) to those who might question, and absolutely refuses to recognize, let alone accept, even the slightest uncertainty in the most obscure area of the institution. Occasionally AGW proponents (some or many, but clearly not all by any means…) display the exact same characteristics and look like a religion.”

    Come on, Rod, one can readily find those same attitudes and behaviors among, say, politicians, and the hosts of certain cable network news shows – are you going to claim they, too, are practicing religion when they act that way? Face it, human nature is human nature, and it is not surprising to find people reacting in a similar way when someone questions their beliefs, knowledge, motives, honesty, integrity, or whatever. But, as you surely know given your educational background, religion and science are fundamentally different ways of looking at the world. Any claims that scientists vigorously defending their understanding of natural phenomena based on empiracle evidence are practicing religion is simply nonsense. And you know it.

    Comment by Chuck Booth — 22 Mar 2008 @ 12:25 AM

  218. Pauline, you needn’t be reticent; it’s not nearly that perilous (Sorry! Couldn’t help myself!) If you follow the addage illegitimus non carborundum you should be fine. You can pick up some good information. For example, one of the guys I’m currently taking to task here for the very same stuff you dislike, in fact, has a wealth of knowledge. The moderators are top-notch and play the meanie game very seldom and, in fact, edit out real egregious stuff. You do have to filter the wheat from the chaff, but there is a lot of wheat. Just don’t mention off-topic second-hand smoke or WMDs!

    Comment by Rod B — 22 Mar 2008 @ 12:34 AM

  219. #215 Pauline:

    But I had a growing sense of feeling intimitaded about asking the wrong questions

    There’s a world of difference between asking questions and making preposterous (i.e., kooky) claims about elementary physics. There are no wrong questions. But there are outrageous claims dishonestly packaged as “questions”, of which we’ve seen a few.

    If you don’t feel comfortable posting, don’t, this is a very public place after all, and there’s enough to learn by just reading.

    Why do you think Lynn Vincentnathan keeps coming to this site? She asks questions all the time, and she gets even elementary things wrong all the time, and nobody jumps on her. You have yourself a big influence on how people perceive you. The gusbob way is not it.

    That being said, the no. 1 purpose of this site isn’t to make you feel comfortable — it is to make you learn. Amd the good news is that you ‘get’ that, don’t you, as you keep coming back for more :-)

    I would never ever feel comfortable asking a contrary question here

    Try me.

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 22 Mar 2008 @ 5:02 AM

  220. Rod B appropriately points out:

    BTW, I second Paul Middents’ 1st paragraph in 206: RC, while not perfect, is IMO easily the most professional of the climate blogs. I still can’t figure out how the moderators get it done.

    Hear hear. I find it positively amazing. And in my understanding, the scientists are the moderators, they do this by the side of their science jobs.

    Note also that we only see the comments that get through; we can only guess at the filth that gets stopped (although some other blogs may educate that guess :-( ). The moderators get to see it all, which must be pretty depressing at times.

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 22 Mar 2008 @ 5:21 AM

  221. Pauline, I must have missed where gusbob was asking questions. His first several posts consist of assertions that the hypothesis of dark matter constitutes “dangerous circular reasoning”. He then hijacked the thread, advocating the most amazing pseudoscientific tripe, and still he was treated politely. It was only when the choice of diagnosis was narrowed to either “troll” or “nutjob” that he suffered anything remotely resembling abuse. To call someone ignorant when they are in fact ignorant is not an insult. Ignorance is 100% curable. Willful ignorance is incurable.
    So if you have real questions, go ahead and ask them (especially if they are on-topic). There are plenty of experts to answer them, and I’ve never seen a genuine question treated here with anything but respect. If, on the other hand, your idea of a question is a diatribe about your favorite pet theory, then I would tend to agree with you that your reticence will not detract from the discussion.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 22 Mar 2008 @ 6:58 AM

  222. Rod, You cannot treat climate science as a monolith. Some aspects remain uncertain, that is true. However, greenhouse forcing is not one of them. It is a virtual certainty: add more ghg, get more warming. The only real questions concern the balance between the positive and negative feedbacks on that forcing. So far, all indications are that the positives win in the near term.
    Science is not at all ambiguous–it demands that you go with the evidence. If your assertions are contrary to evidence, they are by definition NOT scientific. So, what constitutes evidence? We’ve discussed this before–papers in peer-reviewed journals along with how those papers are received (e.g. subsequent citations in later papers, etc.). Unscientific theories don’t have to be suppressed. They die out simply because they have no predictive power, and advocates wind up with nothing to publish. That is scientific consensus. That does not bear much resemblance to religion. Although I am not religious (agnostic), I do not view it as a pejorative, as you evidently do. I know people (some of them scientists) whose life is enriched by religion. I even know people who take an empirical approach to religions (e.g. study what works for them). And while there are some religious people who decide what to believe based on evidence, the evidence in question is not limited to objective, empirical evidence.
    By equating the scientific approach with religion, you do a disservice to both science and religion. Indeed, you give the impression that you don’t understand the difference.
    What you seem to be uncomfortable with is inductive inference, and indeed there are extreme empiricists in the school of Mach et al. who share your discomfort. However, I would contend that the past 150 years have demonstrated that science can be very powerful. It works. That is its sole justification.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 22 Mar 2008 @ 7:26 AM

  223. RE #213, & AGW as a religion, which “refuses to recognize, let alone accept, even the slightest uncertainty [in AGW]”

    Not sure about whom you’re speaking. I’ve always maintained, along with the scientists, there is some uncertainty re AGW. I believe there is some 4% uncertainty right now (someone correct me if I’m wrong). That means there is a one-in-25 chance AGW is not happening. We live in a stochastic world, at least what we can know.

    However, in 1990, well before climate science reached 95% confidence in AGW (1st studies reached it in 1995), I thought it prudent to start mitigating AGW. So did Pope Paul II in his “Peace With All Creation” statement Jan. 1, 1990. That’s all I’ve ever claimed. I also buy insurance policies with much less certainty that my roof will be blown off or my house burn down.

    Of course, there are other dangers to consider re AGW, besides harm to life forms on earth, such as what eventually happens to those who refuse to mitigate, despite a high level of scientific confidence re AGW. But then I guess some just like it hot; it can never get hot enough for them :)

    Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 22 Mar 2008 @ 12:23 PM

  224. Rod B — The is even a science of inductive inference:

    http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/logic-inductive/

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inductive_reasoning

    Comment by David B. Benson — 22 Mar 2008 @ 1:24 PM

  225. Ray, I mostly agree. I was very careful to pigeon-hole neither science/scientists nor religion. And, yes, as Hank infers, you can find the negative traits in many institutions and walks of life. But they are not universal nor monolithic anywhere. I am familiar with (as is most everybody) religious people who arguably are the best examples of humanity going, and people who seemed to have been greatly helped by their religion, at no cost to others — actually beneficial to others. I’m also aware of (as is most everybody) evil incarnate dressed up as, and in fact patriarchs of, religion.

    True, there is no uncertainty over the greenhouse effect. There is some uncertainty with some of its executable details and marginal/differential variances.

    Comment by Rod B — 22 Mar 2008 @ 10:30 PM

  226. I just got the time to catch up on my old issues of Science, and the December issue has a special section on observations made by the Hinode. Alfven waves seemed to be the dominant subject and one article claimed to calculate the the energy fro Alfven waves could explain the acceleration of the solar wind. Can some one explain what an Alfven wave is exactly?

    Do these Alfve waves affect cosmic rays as well?

    Do they affect the earth’s magnetic field or play any part in the newly observed ion plumes reported by NASA?

    http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2007/13nov_africa.htm

    Comment by Charles Landsdown — 23 Mar 2008 @ 1:17 AM

  227. Charles Landsdown,
    Alfven waves are magnetohydrodynamic waves in plasmas involving the movement of ions. You can read about them here:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alfven_waves
    They probably play a big role in transport of energy to the outer regions of the Sun. Any coupling to GCR will be weak, and the coupling to the geomagnetic field will be sporadic, via solar particle events. Interplanetary space is a very tenuous plasma.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 23 Mar 2008 @ 7:39 PM

  228. Rod,
    I am aware of no religion that makes it’s creed subordinate to objective empirical evidence. Science and religion are different. The outrage you see expressed by the scientists here is because so-called skeptics claim to be doing science while ignoring and distorting all of the evidence. It is the dishonesty that inspires outrage, not the disagreement. You will have noticed that many on this board disagree–sometimes violently–with one another, on the desirability of market-based solutions, on nuclear power, on human nature. These disagreements sometimes lead to intemperate remarks, but the dialogue usually remains mostly civil. However, it offends the honor of those of us who have made it our metier to be bound by evidence when others distort evidence while claiming to be scientists. It would not matter whether it were climate, evolution, relativity or quantum mechanics (and I have butted heads with pseudoscientists on all of the above). Ignorant laymen who talk out of orifices other than the usual one are merely annoying. People who call themselves scientists while distorting evidence threaten the integrity of science. That is the source of the outrage.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 24 Mar 2008 @ 7:34 AM

  229. Ray, I have no fundemental disagreement with 228. I think my characterization, contention, and criticism stems from my observation that occasionally (seldom, but far too oftem) some folks here allow a disagreement to morph into their interpretation of dishonesty. The old thing we’ve discussed before: “I say A; he says B; everyone knows that A is correct; therefore B must be lying.”

    Comment by Rod B — 24 Mar 2008 @ 2:42 PM

  230. Rod, the disagreement is not “I say A; he says B…,” but rather “The evidence says A. He not only says B, but says the evidence says B…” Since there are definitive ways of measuring whether evidence supports A or B and to what degree, we know that either he is ignorant of these methods and evidence or that he is lying. Some people we know are not ignorant (e.g. Lindzen), ergo…
    OTOH, some scientists are ignorant–e.g. Scafetta and West, who subscribe to the Chinese Menu fallacy of climate modeling (that is, they think they can make the problem go away if they can scrape together enough heating from other sources). Their ignorance does not preclude that they are also dishonest, but it does at least give them a lesser charge to which they can plead.
    It is quite possible to have an honest disagreement about what to do about anthropogenic climate change. Such a disagreement is not possible when it comes to whether it is occurring.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 25 Mar 2008 @ 8:46 AM

  231. Re: William Astley #166/#207:

    ice-houses and so on:

    Dana Royer has quite recently compiled all of the paleotemperature and paleo CO2 data through the period of the last 500 MYA.

    D.L. Royer (2006) CO2-forced climate thresholds during the Phanerozoic Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 70, 5665-5675

    The supposed periodicity in glacial periods isn’t very apparent, and the cold and warm periods, respectively, match reasonably well the paleo CO2 record. So in terms of your request for an explanation for what is forcing the climate on various timeframes, variations in greenhouse gas concentrations seems a rather likely explanation.

    Likewise, Shaviv’s supposed correlation of the CRF with the Phanerozoic temperature record of Veizer’s is even more questionable in the light of Veizer’s reinterpretation of some of the paleotemperature data. The apparent “correlation” of supposed CRF with temperature is certainly lost in the revision of the temperature data which now matches better with the CO2 record:

    Came RE, Eiler JM, Veizer J, et al. (2007) Coupling of surface temperatures and atmospheric CO2 concentrations during the Palaeozoic era Nature 449, 198-201.

    very recent work highlights a coupling of climate and CO2 levels throughout the Miocene:

    The impact of Miocene atmospheric carbon dioxide fluctuations on climate and the evolution of terrestrial ecosystems

    W. M. Kürschner Z. Kvaek, and D. L. Dilcher (2008) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 105, 449-453.

    and so on…

    I would have thought the increasingly good evidence for significant greenhouse gas (especially CO2)-climate coupling throughout the last 500 MYA is a pretty good alternative to the supposed CRF effect and one that has some substantive evidence in its favour! Of course the origin of the variations in greenhouse gas levels is another matter…

    Comment by Chris — 25 Mar 2008 @ 1:25 PM

  232. Ray Ladbury wrote: “I am aware of no religion that makes its creed subordinate to objective empirical evidence.”

    May I direct your attention to the Kalama Sutra in which the Buddha did just that:

    Do not be satisfied with hearsay, or with tradition, or with legendary lore, or with what has come down in scriptures, or with conjecture, or with logical inference, or with weighing evidence, or with liking for a view after pondering over it, or with someone else’s ability, or with the thought “The monk is our teacher”. But when you know from your own experience “These things are wholesome, blameless, commended by the wise, and being adopted and put into effect they lead to welfare and happiness,” then you should practice and abide in them.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 25 Mar 2008 @ 7:14 PM

  233. S.A. re:232, This passage is one of the reasons why Buddhism (as taught by Gautama, not as currently practiced) has been claimed by some not to be a religion. I do not go that far. However, since the passage appeals to one’s own experience, which is inherently subjective, I would claim that my characterization stands. Buddhism is not alone in saying that experience has a role in faith. You see similar admonitions in Judaism, Hinduism and even some Christian traditions (e.g. Quaker, and btw there is scriptural support for this). For the most part, though, the experience of faith in these traditions is subjective. In mystical traditions of many religions, there is an experiential element, and interestingly enough, there’s broad agreement about mystical experiences, even across traditions. And of course, there is Gandhi’s autobiography, titled “My Experiments with Truth”. All of these, though, still deal with the subjective experience of the relation of the individual to the divine or the cosmos. And the way religion is practiced by the masses–even Bhddhism–leaves little room for any type of empiricism.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 26 Mar 2008 @ 7:55 AM

  234. More proof that those galactic rays are warming the earth — more antarctic shelves breaking off (see http://www.climateark.org/shared/reader/welcome.aspx?linkid=95656 )

    Now I’ve heard that if we reduce our GHGs that will slow down those galactic rays. It seems there’s some new study out there that shows how CO2 and other GHGs in the atmosphere attract those rays, which then warm the earth. So let’s hop to it and reduce our GHGs :)

    Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 26 Mar 2008 @ 8:55 AM

  235. Ray,

    Thank you for your reply. Wikipedia was actually the first place I looked to help understand Alfven waves but I am still having trouble getting my head around it all. I had never heard of Alfven waves before.

    If Alven waves are the result of moving ions, and the solar wind is moving ions, why evoke Alfven waves at all? Why isn’t the solar wind just an extension of those moving ions from the sun’s convection zone.

    Comment by Charles Landsdown — 27 Mar 2008 @ 5:10 PM

  236. Chales Landsdown, The Solar wind is a very tenuous plasma–density about a particle per cubic cm except during relatively rare solar particle events. There is thus a discontinuity between the solar surface (defined by equilibrium between thermal pressure and gravitational force) and interstellar space, and the Alfven waves would probably not propagate strongly into interstellar space (though you’d still have the magnetic field lines). The following two pages give a little more detail:
    http://cfa-www.harvard.edu/uvcs/yb/node76.html

    http://homepages.see.leeds.ac.uk/~earccf/alfven.pdf

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 28 Mar 2008 @ 7:10 AM

  237. Since the assumption of the timing of temperatures of the geological past with the passage of “galactic arms” requires fx. 1 billion years ago “an ice age of 1 billions years” (!) as I heard Svensmark say in a TV-programme, I think this discussion is futile, and only another example of how this whole climate “debate” has long ago degenerated into mud-slinging initiated by the
    “scepticists” and financed by Exxon etc. I think it’s far too optimistic to believe that mankind will be able to solve it’s own pollution problems, given what we have seen over the years. I think James Lovelock is right: There’s very little chance that mankind will survive this, because homo sapiens sapiens obviously isn’t able to control it’s own impulses. The only way we differ from fx. the ants is that nature can’t stop us/limit our numbers before it’s too late.

    Comment by Karsten Johansen — 30 Mar 2008 @ 6:14 AM

  238. Karsten Johansen — It is called ‘The Tragedy of the Commons”.

    But it does not have to occur.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 30 Mar 2008 @ 12:57 PM

  239. > Tragedy of the [Unmanaged] Commons

    Aside, pardon the digression:

    The tragic results happen because of the lack management. Hardin regretted omitting that word in the title, as his later writing makes explicit.

    More here:
    http://www.garretthardinsociety.org/info/links.html

    which includes a pointer to this excellent page:
    http://members.aol.com/trajcom/private/trajcom.htm

    Network resource/geek version:
    http://web.media.mit.edu/~reilly/wetice2001.html

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 1 Apr 2008 @ 1:18 PM

  240. Just spotted this on the BBC’s web site: UK researchers find at best a weak link between cosmic rays and climate. In other words, they have pretty much refuted the Svensmark hypothesis. For the curious I provide also a link to the full paper.

    Comment by Philip Machanick — 3 Apr 2008 @ 1:46 AM

  241. Why do people unconvinced that CO2 drives temperature get called names ? Is it an emotional reaction by the believers ? The scientific, logical part of my brain has serious doubt about CO2 as a driver of global temperature for many reasons, none of which have been convincingly explained. First off, why is it that from 1940 through 1975, despite the post-war industrial boom and skyrocketing CO2 emissions, did the planet cool dramatically ? Also, why is it that a through scientific review of ice core samples taken from multiple locations, shows CO2 levels lagging behind temperature by several hundred years ? This second question makes it very difficult to accept logically, CO2 as a driver of temperature. I am not at all opposed to the idea of human activities possibly affecting the climate of the planet, but why has CO2 been chosen as the catalyst, when the data is so out of phase with the hypothesis ?

    Comment by Noel Roberts — 3 Apr 2008 @ 4:10 AM

  242. Another nail:

    ‘No Sun link’ to climate change
    By Richard Black
    Environment correspondent, BBC News website
    Thursday, 3 April 2008

    Scientists have produced further compelling evidence showing that modern-day climate change is not caused by changes in the Sun’s activity.

    Over the course of one of the Sun’s natural 11-year cycles, there was a weak correlation between cosmic ray intensity and cloud cover – but cosmic ray variability could at the very most explain only a quarter of the changes in cloudiness.

    And for the following cycle, no correlation was found.

    Comment by Jim Galasyn — 3 Apr 2008 @ 10:01 AM

  243. Re Noel’s questions in 241:

    First off, why is it that from 1940 through 1975, despite the post-war industrial boom and skyrocketing CO2 emissions, did the planet cool dramatically?

    Sulfate pollution, aka “global dimming”.

    Also, why is it that a thorough scientific review of ice core samples taken from multiple locations, shows CO2 levels lagging behind temperature by several hundred years?

    It’s a feedback system. Temp increases can increase atmospheric CO2, and vice versa. The usual driver is small insolation (temp) changes due to changes in Earth’s orbit (Milankovitch cycles). Humans are now pushing on the other side of the feedback loop by dumping gigatons of carbon into the atmosphere. Same feedback, different driver.

    Comment by Jim Galasyn — 3 Apr 2008 @ 10:45 AM

  244. Noel Roberts, First off, where have you been getting your information? It reads as if you have been frequenting only denialist haunts. As to the two objections you raise, they have been dealt with (ad nauseum). We saw cooling in the post-war period precisely because the consumption of fossil fuels released unprecedented amounts of sulfates into the atmosphere along with the CO2. The sulfates reflected light out of the atmosphere, so the warming effect of the CO2 was masked. The climate models reproduce this effect if you put in the sulfates. In the early ’70s, there was a raft of environmental regulation that removed the sulfates. Voila, it warmed…a lot.
    WRT the canard that CO2 emissions follow warming, you need to distinguish between a driver and a feedback. The vast majority of climate change in the past has been associated with small variations in sunlight reaching Earth due to changes in orbit, axis tilt, etc. (Google Milankovitch Cycles) Naturally with such a driver, warming would precede release of CO2 (from oceans, peat bogs, permafrost…). In this case, CO2 works to reinforce and prolong the warming (about 5000 years). However, there are episodes of warming that evidently were caused by CO2. Google Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum.

    There are plenty of answers to your questions on this site. Please explore it a bit–this is where you get the science.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 3 Apr 2008 @ 11:09 AM

  245. Re #241 [Noel Roberts]
    “Why do people unconvinced that CO2 drives temperature get called names ?”

    It’s frustration, that people keep trotting out the same old oft-refuted objections, without taking the trouble to find out why there is a scientific consensus that they are invalid. All the points you raise have been dealt with on this site. Try putting some of the phrases you use in the search tab at the top. Better still, before you do that, click on the “start here” tab. That explains the basic physics – how CO2 is known to be a greenhouse gas. If you have questions you can’t find answered, or are not satisfied with the answers, do post again. But it’s reasonable to ask you to do a little work first, especially since this site makes that work pretty straightforward.

    Comment by Nick Gotts — 3 Apr 2008 @ 11:10 AM

  246. Re Noel Roberts @ 241: “First off, why is it that from 1940 through 1975, despite the post-war industrial boom and skyrocketing CO2 emissions, did the planet cool dramatically ?”

    First off, it simply is not true that the planet cooled dramatically from 1940 through 1975.
    See here: http://www.globalwarmingart.com/wiki/Image:Instrumental_Temperature_Record_png
    and here: http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/cru/info/warming/
    and here: http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/graphs/Fig.A2.lrg.gif

    Clearly there was a sharp drop in temperature between aprox 1945 and 1950, followed by a shallow upward trend until aprox 1976, followed in turn by a sharp steepening in the temperature trend through the rest of the 20C. The cooling–defined as a drop in temperature–lasted only four to five years. From aprox 1950 to 1976 temperature rose, but more slowly than before 1945 or after 1976.

    Second, particulates (ash, soot) and sulfate aerosols from the combustion of fossil fuels during the post-war industrial boom are thought to be the prime causes of the 1945-1950 drop and following shallow trend, by reflecting and blocking incoming solar insolation, thus masking the greenhouse effect of accumulating CO2. The sharp steepening of the temperature trend circa 1976 followed the passage of the Clean Air Act in the US and similar anti-pollution legislation in Europe, which dramatically reduced particulate and sulfate emissions.

    Noel: “Also, why is it that a through scientific review of ice core samples taken from multiple locations, shows CO2 levels lagging behind temperature by several hundred years ? This second question makes it very difficult to accept logically, CO2 as a driver of temperature.”

    It is difficult if your logic is based on an erroneous premise or two, namely that CO2 can only act as either a driver or a feedback, and that the natural warming that ends a glacial period is analogous to the current warming.

    First, CO2 is not a driver during the ending of a period of glaciation, it is a feedback that amplifies and adds to the initial warming caused by increased solar insolation due to changes in Earth’s orbit and axial tilt. As the increased insolation slowly warms the ocean it can hold less dissolved CO2 and thus emits CO2 into the atmosphere. The added atmospheric CO2, since it is a known greenhouse gas, then produces yet more warming, hence the word feedback, and hence the 800-1000 year lag between temperature and CO2 levels in the ice cores.

    But today we are not at the end of a period of glaciation experiencing insolation changes caused by orbital and axial shifts, we are at or near the peak of an interglacial period. By injecting more CO2 into the atmosphere directly in the absence of insolation change, as we have been doing since the start of the industrial revolution, it acts not as a feedback, but as a direct forcing. In other words, depending on the circumstances, CO2 can act as either a natural feedback to some other natural warming forcing, or as a direct forcing when added to the atmosphere directly. Either way, as a known greenhouse gas it will produce warming. The data is not out of phase with the hypothesis.

    Comment by Jim Eager — 3 Apr 2008 @ 12:40 PM

  247. Re Nick Gotts @ 254: “It’s frustration, that people keep trotting out the same old oft-refuted objections, without taking the trouble to find out why there is a scientific consensus that they are invalid. All the points you raise have been dealt with on this site.”

    Nick, it is indeed frustrating that week after week, sometimes day after day, someone comes along to ignorantly proclaim the same old long-refuted canards yet again as if they were the first ones on Earth to think to bring them up on a site dedicated to discussing the science of global warming/climate change.

    Fortunately ignorance is a correctable condition, although I often doubt the success of our correction efforts, especially when the poster turns out to be yet another one-off drive-by.

    Comment by Jim Eager — 3 Apr 2008 @ 3:11 PM

  248. A couple of logical implications from the sulphate/aerosol temperature relationships: is there any relationship between the reduction of sulphates when the old Soviet Union and eastern European coal plants went down as their industrial economies imploded in the early 90s and the high temperatures of that decade; and, is there any relationship between the much increased coal usage (and, presumably, sulphate aerosols) in China over the past decade and the observed temperatures during that period?

    Comment by ffrancis — 5 Apr 2008 @ 9:47 AM

  249. The Tolman Test: A galactic Glitch presented by Hubble observation.

    http://www.americanscientist.org/template/AssetDetail/assetid/55839?&print=yes

    Comment by gusbobb — 6 Apr 2008 @ 12:47 AM

  250. Sure, Gus, but you don’t have to throw out current cosmology to find a reason that can explain what shows up on the Hubble photographs.

    Look it up; there’s a need to discriminate between high and low surface brightness galaxies to address the question, and it can be done. As always, look up the citations in the article and look up the work subsequently citing it. Since you point to an opinion piece there are no cites, but look for the author’s other work and follow leads therefrom.

    For example: http://arxiv.org/abs/astro-ph/0701797v1

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 6 Apr 2008 @ 9:35 AM

  251. ffrancis, I don’t have time to find it again right now, but there are papers — searching Google Scholar will them — that mention the difference, look for “a regional shift with decreases at NH midlatitudes and increases at the more photochemically active subtropical and tropical latitudes.”

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 6 Apr 2008 @ 12:45 PM

  252. Hank,

    I am not sure what you are suggesting. I sited other articles in another post that was not allowed for whatever reasons. But here is the article from Nature which has citations that I first alluded to. The point is there are many good scientists who have problems with current theoretical points of current cosmology. It is something that can be discussed without nuking the opposition.

    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v452/n7184/full/452158a.html

    “The Universe seems to be expanding ever faster — a phenomenon generally ascribed to the influence of ‘dark energy’. But might the observed acceleration be a trick of the light in an inhomogeneous Universe?”

    Comment by gusbobb — 6 Apr 2008 @ 3:52 PM

  253. Gusbob, There are good theoretical reasons for assuming the laws of physics are constant throughout the Universe. Everyone realizes that this could not be the case, but even introducing putative dark matter (for which there’s lots of evidence) and dark energy (which is purely hypothetical at thid point), cosmology is simpler if the laws of physics stay the same. Such a model has been seen to have considerable predictive power–and predictive power is more important than explanatory power. There have been models where the laws of physics varied–for instance, introducing a field with varying phase throughout the Universe, but this really complicates the model. And while there may be many cosmologists who find the current situation unsatisfying (after all cosmology is well under a century old), you will notice they don’t use the discrepancies to advocate for their own pet theories.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 6 Apr 2008 @ 8:05 PM

  254. Ray I don’t understand your problem. It is the nature of a scientific discrepancy. When there are discrepancies, people will look at how to modify the current pet model to make a better fit. Or look elsewhere to make a better fit. Regards dark matter there are several scientists arguing for modified gravity instead of dark matter.

    I first remarked that I find to much circular thinking with dark matter. I am more than willing to leave my pet theory aside and simply look at dark matter proofs. For example the bullet cluster has been offered as proof of dark matter.

    http://space.newscientist.com/data/images/ns/cms/dn9809/dn9809-1_250.jpg

    One argument of this “proof” goes that due to the estimated center of gravity within the two clusters we can see dark matter (which they color in as if real). But the associated gas nebula seem to be lagging behind. So the interpretation is the bullet cluster is the result of a collision in which two masses of dark matter passed through each other. The lagging gas clouds is due to their entanglement due to electrostatic interactions so that the gas overcame the attraction of the dark matter gravity. They are stating that electrostatic forces are more powerful attractants than dark matter.

    So explain how this powerful dark matter, with 6 or so times more gravitational force than normal gravity just passes through each other. No accretions? The proof just seems so contrived.

    And why no dark matter in the solar system other than the fact it is not needed theoretically where normal gravity does just fine. Such inhomogeneities seem counter big bang.

    Comment by gusbobb — 7 Apr 2008 @ 2:33 AM

  255. An interesting read:

    http://www.iop.org/EJ/article/1748-9326/3/2/024001/erl8_2_024001.html

    Abstract. A decrease in the globally averaged low level cloud cover,
    deduced from the ISCCP infrared data, as the cosmic ray intensity
    decreased during the solar cycle 22 was observed by two groups. The
    groups went on to hypothesize that the decrease in ionization due to
    cosmic rays causes the decrease in cloud cover, thereby explaining a
    large part of the currently observed global warming. We have examined
    this hypothesis to look for evidence to corroborate it. None has been
    found and so our conclusions are to doubt it. From the absence of
    corroborative evidence, we estimate that less than 23%, at the 95%
    confidence level, of the 11 year cycle change in the globally averaged
    cloud cover observed in solar cycle 22 is due to the change in the
    rate of ionization from the solar modulation of cosmic rays.

    Comment by Khebab — 7 Apr 2008 @ 8:45 AM

  256. Gusbob, it is a much bigger deal to postulate variable gravity than it is to sat there could be matter we don’t see. For one thing, for matter not to be seen, it only has to be nonradiating. For another thing, there are plenty of candidates for such matter–mini-black-holes, supersymmetric particles,… Postulating that gravity is variable would imply, for example, that the gauge particles that transmit gravity are massive and therefore self-interacting. And first, we do not know for certain that there is no dark matter in the solar system. Second, there are plenty of candidates that would be expected to cluster. Third, you do expect residual inhomogeneities left over from the Big Bang (that is one of the things that WMAP was meant to map).
    The thing that seems to escape you is that science is really a pretty conservative enterprise: If you have a theory that is working pretty well, but does not explain everything perfectly, you try to modify it slightly to explain the problematic observations. This often leads to new discoveries. What you do not do is say, “Well the theory must be wrong,” toss it out and start from scratch with a new theory that has no supporting evidence. It is only when the modifications to a theory render it unrecognizable that it gets thrown out. Case in point: Special relativity is not really revolutionary at all, but rather represents a synthesis between mechanics and electromagnetism. General relativity is much more revolutionary, but even here Newtonian gravity is a limiting case. Bohr’s Correspondence Principle is a formal recognition of this trait of science.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 7 Apr 2008 @ 9:28 AM

  257. I understand that variable gravity is a much bigger deal and I am not at all in favor of that notion either. The point is simply there are some big theoretical holes that very respectable scientists are trying to fill in a variety of wars. I have no trouble with dark baryonic matter. I do have trouble with WIMPs and the like. What is very curious is that you find the creation of WIMPS as “conservative science” but a electromagnetic ideas as far fetched.

    Comment by gusbobb — 11 Apr 2008 @ 6:06 PM

  258. Gus, I think the problem is that — unless you reject the notion that CO2 and warming are related — you don’t have an observation that’s not explainable by current science that calls for coming up with a new theory. Does that make sense to you?

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 11 Apr 2008 @ 8:16 PM

  259. The reason WIMPs are the more conservative option is that we have seen weakly interacting particles. We also have some theoretical reasons for positing a supersymmetric set of particles. OTOH, the “electromagnetic” ideas have no evidentiary or theoretical support. The mechanisms aren’t even worked out and the theories they are meant to displace work very well. Why throw out a working theory when it can be saved by positing some plausible additions and those additions are (eventually) empirically verifiable?

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 12 Apr 2008 @ 7:47 AM

  260. Hank Roberts Says: “Gus, I think the problem is that — unless you reject the notion that CO2 and warming are related — you don’t have an observation that’s not explainable by current science that calls for coming up with a new theory.”

    We have all experienced the creation of the right explanation that turns out to be for the wrong reasons. Explanations explain because they are created for that sole reason. It is the exceptions that need to be addressed and these exceptions become the crucible for the explanations validity. And there are lots of exceptions. I listed several that went un-addressed like FG Sagittae. There are lots of variable stars that defy the standard stellar life cycles,V838 Monocerotis is another. Human nature tends to accept the flimsiest and suspect explanations if those explanations help conserve old theories around which we have built so much.

    I have always believed it is wise to have a few working hypotheses. And I have not advocated throwing out any current theory. I just pointed out their shortcomings and offered some alternatives.

    I don’t reject that CO2 and warming are related. I do however question to what extent. On the contrary it appears most people here are quick to reject that the sun’s variability and warming are related even though many paleoclimatic studies suggest a very strong link. Why is that? The quick explanation is that the past 25 years of satellite data have shown little solar variability. And for those who want to save the theory of CO2 being the dominant driver, that was good enough. I say give it another 25 years.

    The sun is very quiet right now. How does the standard solar fusion theory that expects a steady state balance between gravity and thermal pressure explain the simple observation of varying sun spot cycles and cycle minimums, and alternating magnetic fields?

    Comment by gusbobb — 13 Apr 2008 @ 12:33 AM

  261. gusbobb writes:

    it appears most people here are quick to reject that the sun’s variability and warming are related even though many paleoclimatic studies suggest a very strong link. Why is that? The quick explanation is that the past 25 years of satellite data have shown little solar variability. And for those who want to save the theory of CO2 being the dominant driver, that was good enough. I say give it another 25 years.

    What part of “the sun has been steady for 50 years but global warming has turned sharply upwards in the last 30″ do you not understand?

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 13 Apr 2008 @ 12:22 PM

  262. Gus, if you insist on claiming there is a
    > standard solar fusion theory that expects a steady state
    > balance between gravity and thermal pressure
    please cite your source for this belief.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 13 Apr 2008 @ 3:18 PM

  263. Gusbob, you don’t understand the current theories sufficiently to point out shortcomings–and what is worse, you don’t even realize how little you understand.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 13 Apr 2008 @ 7:47 PM

  264. Hank responds”> standard solar fusion theory that expects a steady state> balance between gravity and thermal pressure
    please cite your source for this belief.”

    Come on Hank, that is the standard in every astronomy text book. Below is a quick link from Duke stating what is in every text book. There are amazingly still a lot of astronomers who like to talk of the “solar constant” as if it is a real and tested attribute.

    BPL says “What part of “the sun has been steady for 50 years but global warming has turned sharply upwards in the last 30″ do you not understand?”

    BPL check out the link to the graph from NOAA showing a the tight correlation with rising ocean temperatures and sunspot activity. The sun’s activity has increased very much the last 100 years. The solar magnetic field has doubled. And why isn’t the ocean a “wild card” that absorbs heat and releases a various time such that temperatures and sun activity might not always be exactly linear.This wild card is evoked to explain why the Antarctic isn’t showing a linear correlation with CO2 increases. Do we just pick and choose as we wish when to explain away nonlinearities. We have more recently seen that solar activity has plateaued and seems to be decreasing. I Understand that the last ten years we also coincidentally have no upward trend in global temperatures.

    http://www.oar.noaa.gov/spotlite/archive/images/sunclimate_3b.gif

    And Ray, why do yo consistently confront every skeptic with the same attack of “you don’t understand science.” That just boils down to saying we are wrong because we disagree you who “understands all”. And you often like to imply that we don’t even understand ourselves. While those criticisms of yours consistently lack substance. And consistently no one ever discusses the off beat variable stars that defy standard life cycles.

    http://www.phy.duke.edu/courses/055/faqs/faq15/

    How is the Sun stable?

    The thermal pressure from nuclear “burning” counteracts the gravitational pressure. An equilibrium exists: when a star like the Sun contracts, it heats up, as gravitational potential energy is converted to thermal energy. But fusion rate is very sensitive to temperature, and a small increase in temperature increases the fusion rate a lot. When the fusion rate increases, the star expands. When it expands, it cools. The fusion rate decreases, and the star goes back to its original size. These effects combine to give the star a very stable equilibrium point: any small departure from this equilibrium leads to a change which brings it back to the original state.

    Comment by gusbobb — 14 Apr 2008 @ 12:16 AM

  265. Ray Ladbury. Here is a question showing what I don’t know, and feel free to educate my “ignorant brain”. At the sun’s core it is estimated that 3.6 ×10 to the 38 hydrogen nuclei are calculated to be transformed into helium nuclei by fusion every second. My question to those who know better than I ,is this. How do the less dense Hydrogen nuclei displace that rapidly growing core of more dense Helium nuclei? In geology we see turbidite flows that readily stratify with the most dense material at the bottom. That would be helium. And given the tremendous density at the core that greatly delays the escape of photons suggesting very little fluidity and convecting in the core, I would think that Helium nuclei are more likely to just concentrate in the core. So how does that square with the standard idea that a slight expansion due to heating by nuclear fusion causes and expansion and then rapid feedback of cooling and contraction? As we progress away from the core fusion becomes less likely and eventually would stop theoretically at around 150,000km from the core’s center. And add to that, the fact that calculations of parameters needed to satisfy the core fusion process put’s the sun on tenuous footing and requires quantum tunneling to overcome electrostatic repulsion. And since we can’t see into the sun’s core to prove anything, well I just like to have competing hypotheses because there are truly lots of questions, even if only asked by ignorant people like myself.

    Comment by gusbobb — 14 Apr 2008 @ 12:50 AM

  266. Gusbob,
    I hate to be a broken record, but I really, really want to know, so I’m going to ask again:
    What exactly is your background? Do you have formal training in physics? Math?
    You’ve hinted that you teach. What? And at what level?
    As I said before, I can’t be the only person here who’s curious.
    JC

    Comment by Just_Curious — 14 Apr 2008 @ 1:03 AM

  267. JC,

    With all due respect to your query, first given past hostile personal attacks and slander, I do not feel comfortable discussing my personal life on this forum. Second in this format there is much that can be fabricated, so the value of personal discussion is questionable. If I told you I was a research scientist, would you believe me?

    Second, I expected rough treatment for my sceptical ideas. I find that edifying. So I want the ideas to be the focus, not the presenter of those ideas. Unfortunately discussions keep regressing to personal attacks more than I expected or hoped for on a scientific forum.

    Therefore I will ignore all questions about my personal life.

    Comment by gusbobb — 14 Apr 2008 @ 10:04 AM

  268. You’re conflating “a very stable equilibrium point” with your claim of a “steady state balance” — not the same.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 14 Apr 2008 @ 1:34 PM

  269. re: 264. Goodness, it is now 2008. The first link is to the chart at http://www.oar.noaa.gov/spotlite/archive/images/sunclimate_3b.gif has an x-axis that ends around 1985, for pete’s sake. We are now talking about anthropogenic effects (manmade CO2 and other GHGs) whose net forcings since around 1970 have exceeded the net forcings of natural effects (e.g. solar influences). In other words, natural forcings alone do not explain the warming trend over the past 35+ years. That is fundamental. We are talking about relatively recent warming trends, not 50-100 years ago. And bear in mind that the warming rate will increase.

    Cherry-picking data trends from outdated charts seems to be the last resort of skeptics. Witness all the skeptics who jumped erroneously on the 1998 hot year (which they conveniently neglect to add was enhanced by a very strong El Nino) as “proof” of the starting of supposed global cooling in the past (insignificant) 10 years, enhanced by some cooling early this year due to La Nina.

    Comment by Dan — 14 Apr 2008 @ 1:37 PM

  270. # Hank Roberts Says:
    You’re conflating “a very stable equilibrium point” with your claim of a “steady state balance” — not the same.”

    OK it seems my words need to be more precise here. What is your point?

    Dan says”In other words, natural forcings alone do not explain the warming trend over the past 35+ years. ”

    So Dan are you suggesting that natural forcings must show a linear relationship. No lag times? Ignore the ocean’s heat capacity? The purported cherry picking can happen from all sides of this argument. La Nina and the PDO become excuses separate from climate when there is cooling but part of climate when it is warming? Please be a bit more objective here.

    [Response: No. People have included all of those things and it still comes out that natural forcings and internal variability are not enough. Meanwhile, including anthro effects does match. - gavin]

    Comment by gusbobb — 14 Apr 2008 @ 3:14 PM

  271. re: 270. Oh please Gusbob, I am being quite objective. Cherry-picking data does not happen from both sides; it is always the denialist/skeptics. No one has said La Nina is an “excuse”; it is a simple scientific fact. Nothing more needs to be said re: natural forcings per Gavin’s comment.

    Frankly, it is you who is not remotely objective at all. Your mind is made up, despite the extensive, peer-reviewed science that has been conducted to date on this specific issue. It is nothing short of arrogance to assume you know something that has not been investigated and peer-reviewed by literally thousands of climate scientists across the world. If you make no effort to understand the scientific method or fail to read the science, you have no grounds to stand on. What so ever.

    Comment by Dan — 14 Apr 2008 @ 5:37 PM

  272. [Response: No. People have included all of those things and it still comes out that natural forcings and internal variability are not enough. Meanwhile, including anthro effects does match. - gavin]

    Gavin I am curious just how much solar input is allocated into the models for which you make the above claims, and starting from when? Do these models input a figure determined by the doubling of solar input over the last 100 years as observed with sunspot activity and solar magnetic fields? Or does it allocate a figure based only on the 1% change determined by satellites over the past 25 years when sunspot activity plateaued? And could you reference a link to those models and and their solar parameters please? Thanks.

    [Response: A doubling of solar input?!?! I think we would have noticed that. More realistically, modellers use whatever the solar physicists give us - that has included Hoyt and Schatten, or Lean et al (and various updates) up to Foukal et al. The most recent analyses reduce the solar changes even further, but none of them give an accelerated trend in the last thirty years. You can look up Stott et al, Hansen et al etc. - gavin]

    Comment by gusbobb — 14 Apr 2008 @ 5:45 PM

  273. Response: A doubling of solar input?!?

    I did write to hastily. I meant to say an increase in input based on the doubling of sunspot activity and solar magnetism.

    I will look at the papers mentioned. You neglected to mention the time frame. If we merely measured a pot of boiling water during the time it is boiling, we may conclude no change in heat input, but we would have neglected the increased heat that brought it to boil.

    Comment by gusbobb — 14 Apr 2008 @ 8:28 PM

  274. Gavin,

    A quick look at the Hansen et al 2005 paper Earth’s Energy Balance: and which you are a co-author ( so I will refer to it as “your paper”) estimates solar irradiance from 1880 to 2003 as changing by .22 W/m2. Do you know how the number was derived?

    Also if it was derived using 1366w/m2 TSI then it gives me a .01% increase in TSI. Or if I use 342 w/m2 it suggests a .06% increase. The paper doesn’t really state that very clearly.

    Some authors have suggested that TSI has increased by .2% since the Maunder minimum using 1366 TSI.. Granted this estimate extends back for a longer period of time than your paper, but that could be a 20 fold underestimation of heat input if we consider that the energy could have been absorbed by the oceans and was in the pipeline, to borrow a phrase. Did you and Hansen et al account for the solar heat that was in the “pipeline”? From the paper it appears not.

    Also I would suggest that just using an average TSI is really not a very good way to evaluate how TSI changes affect energy input into our climate system. For example at the equator where the impact of any % change in TSI would have the greatest impact there is above average area covered by oceans. Also there are differences in cloud coverage. None of these things seemed to be addressed in your models. I am curious how your assumptions were made?

    One final question, in your paper the measurement’s of the ocean’s heat content was used as a confirmation of the earth’s energy imbalance. Gouretski and Koltermann (2007) have suggested that heat content was over-estimated due to warm biased XBT’s. Since that article was used to argue against the interpretation by Lyman et al (2006) that the oceans are now cooling (Correction to “Recent Cooling of the Upper Ocean” by Willis et a l (2007), draft copy. Has that paper been accepted so I can get the correct reference?), does that Gouretski article also suggest that the models overstated the energy imbalance?

    And if I may suggest a helpful hint for all readers, that when referencing a paper the dates would help them find the correct paper so everyone is on the same page.

    Comment by gusbobb — 14 Apr 2008 @ 10:22 PM

  275. gusbobb writes:

    The sun’s activity has increased very much the last 100 years.

    Yes, it has. Rose quite a bit in the early part of the 20th century. But since about 1950 it has been roughly flat, so you can’t use it to explain the sharp upturn in global warming of the last 30 years.

    The solar magnetic field has doubled.

    In the last 100 years? How were we measuring the sun’s magnetic field in 1908?

    And why isn’t the ocean a “wild card” that absorbs heat and releases a various time such that temperatures and sun activity might not always be exactly linear.This wild card is evoked to explain why the Antarctic isn’t showing a linear correlation with CO2 increases. Do we just pick and choose as we wish when to explain away nonlinearities. We have more recently seen that solar activity has plateaued and seems to be decreasing. I Understand that the last ten years we also coincidentally have no upward trend in global temperatures.

    You understand wrong. Get the temperature anomalies for 1998-2007 and run a linear regression on them. The trend is up, not flat.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 15 Apr 2008 @ 7:28 AM

  276. Re Gusbob @ 270 & 274:

    So Dan are you suggesting that natural forcings must show a linear relationship. No lag times? Ignore the ocean’s heat capacity?

    Granted this estimate extends back for a longer period of time than your paper, but that could be a 20 fold underestimation of heat input if we consider that the energy could have been absorbed by the oceans and was in the pipeline, to borrow a phrase.

    Sorry, Gusbob, you don’t get to quote this NOAA graph
    http://www.oar.noaa.gov/spotlite/archive/images/sunclimate_3b.gif
    as proof of tight correlation between rising ocean temperatures and sunspot activity, and then invoke ocean lag time to explain continued warming 20+ years after solar activity peaked without someone crying foul.

    That thin ice under your feet just broke.

    Comment by Jim Eager — 15 Apr 2008 @ 10:09 AM

  277. Barton Paul Levenson Says: Yes, it has. Rose quite a bit in the early part of the 20th century. But since about 1950 it has been roughly flat, so you can’t use it to explain the sharp upturn in global warming of the last 30 years.”

    BPL you are wrong. Just do the math! Compare sunspot numbers from the first half to the last half of the century and yo see that there has been greater sunspot activity the last half of the century. I averaged the annual sunspot numbers to get:

    48.8 sunspost average 1901 to 1953
    76.4 sunspost average 1956 -2006
    75.7 sunspost average 1977-2006

    So yes the latter half may be rather flat for the past 50 years but it is flat at an exceptionally high rate. Here is a link to annual sunspot numbers from a somewhat reliable source if you want to check my math.

    ftp://ftp.ngdc.noaa.gov/STP/SOLAR_DATA/SUNSPOT_NUMBERS/YEARLY.PLT

    Here is a link to paper published in Nature on estimating solar magnetic fileds.

    http://www.wdc.rl.ac.uk/wdcc1/papers/nature.html

    And your argument regarding upward trend vs downward trend becomes rife with political sentiment as either side can choose the start point that gives a trend to their liking. In recognition of that problem, and the fact that we could generate a trend either way over the past decade or so, it might be more fair to say there is no reliable trend. That is close enough to match the plateau of solar activity.

    Comment by gusbobb — 15 Apr 2008 @ 7:58 PM

  278. Jim Eager Says: Sorry, Gusbob, you don’t get to quote this NOAA graph
    http://www.oar.noaa.gov/spotlite/archive/images/sunclimate_3b.gif
    as proof of tight correlation between rising ocean temperatures and sunspot activity, and then invoke ocean lag time to explain continued warming 20+ years after solar activity peaked without someone crying foul.”

    You can cry foul JE but you misplace the lag time effect. The lag time effect refers to the effect of heat stored in the ocean and subsequently released to warm land temperatures. I hope that clears the ice for you.

    [Response: That one is almost worth a red card. The increased heat in the oceans doesn't get 'released' to warm the land - it pretty much just stays there. The land warms because of the forcings (either solar or GHG etc.) and that is only delayed by the siphoning of heat to the oceans. - gavin]

    Comment by gusbobb — 15 Apr 2008 @ 8:03 PM

  279. gusbobb (265), I may be totally missing your real point, but taking your question at face value (and, BTW, I am not a cosmologist, just a curious chap): If a star’s core burning is radiative the fusion takes place more or less uniformly in the core and the He molecules rest where they are born. If the burning is convective the core churns and He tends to congregate at the very depth of the core (and, btw, does not generate photons in the dense He as it is not undergoing fusion — yet.) It’s a complex determination, but as a rule stars less than about 1.4 solar mass have radiative cores. Also relevant, the core pressure is a function of the number of “particle entities” (a nuclei is one particle), not mass. So when 8 ionized H particles (4 nucleons/nuclei and 4 electrons) fuse to 3 HE particles (1 nuclei (with 4 nucleons under the covers) and 2 electrons) the internal pressure decreases.

    Comment by Rod B — 15 Apr 2008 @ 9:06 PM

  280. gusbobb, I may have missed it in the lengthy article, but how do they measure/estimate the solar magnetic fields back in the mid-1800s?

    Comment by Rod B — 15 Apr 2008 @ 9:16 PM

  281. Re Gusbob @ 278:”I hope that clears the ice for you.”

    Sorry, Gusbob, it does not clear anything up. That ice is all gone.

    Either the graph shows ‘close correlation’, or there is a lag, you can’t have both.

    Comment by Jim Eager — 15 Apr 2008 @ 9:18 PM

  282. [Response: That one is almost worth a red card. The increased heat in the oceans doesn’t get ‘released’ to warm the land - it pretty much just stays there. The land warms because of the forcings (either solar or GHG etc.) and that is only delayed by the siphoning of heat to the oceans. - gavin]

    Hey Gavin, I was wondering if you were still here. I had some questions above regards the Hansen paper you cited.

    I must say I am utterly amazed at your statement that “heat in the oceans doesn’t get ‘released’ to warm the land – it pretty much just stays there.”

    The heat in poleward moving ocean currents does not just “stay there”, locked in the ocean. So you must have mispsoke when you said the heat stays there. I am sure you wouldn’t take my word for it but for example from Stammer et al 2004 “The Northern Hemisphere north of 10_N loses heat to the atmosphere as does the Southern Hemisphere between 10_ and 40_S and south of 60_S. Note also that heat loss by the ocean to the atmosphere in the Southern Hemisphere occurs to some extent in the South Pacific, but is most intense in the Indian Ocean. Much of the latter energy must be imported from the Pacific through the Indonesian Throughflow or the Southern Ocean”

    If your models don’t account for heat released to the atmosphere they may lead to erroneous interpretations.

    If seasonal heat can move in and out of the ocean I am not sure how you could argue that increases in decadal and centennial heat would just “stay there”. How much heat stays in the ocean will be a function of temperature differences at the boundaries, vertical mixing, and winds and wind generated turbulence.

    But speaking of red cards, some of the ocean circulation models you may work with add these fudge factors to constrain overheating that happens between grids when the models are run, raises a few red flags. Do they still use those fudge factors? If not what changed theoretically to make the models more realistic.

    [Response: Possibly you are being deliberately obtuse, but just in case you aren't, I was referring to the total increase of heat content in the oceans which appeared to be what you were referring to. Of course the ocean has variable heat fluxes at the surface, and of course it transports a tremendous amount of heat but on long time scales all that sums to zero (almost by definition). The long term increases in OHC reported by Levitus et al (2001), Willis et al (2004), Ishii (2008) etc. however are not going to 'come back out' to warm the surface unless climate forcings start going down and the net TOA imbalance reverses. As to 'fudge factors' - you are presumably referring to 'flux corrections' which were used early on in climate modelling to account for mismatches between atmospheric model and ocean model fluxes. Almost all the main modelling groups (Hadley, MPI, GISS, GFDL, NCAR etc.) have dispensed with them (GISS never used them), relying instead on fixing the models so that they weren't necessary. And as to your forcing calculation, I was waiting for someone else to point out your error, but since no-one has, I will point out that for the solar forcing to be compared with other forcings, the TSI change needs to be divided by 4 (to account the fact the Earth is round and spinning) and multiplied by 0.7 (to account for the albedo). - gavin]

    Comment by gusbobb — 15 Apr 2008 @ 11:36 PM

  283. gusbobb writes:

    So yes the latter half may be rather flat for the past 50 years but it is flat at an exceptionally high rate.

    The key word there is “flat.” If something is flat for 50 years, it can’t explain something else that is rising slowly for 20 years and then rising steeply for the next 30. “__” can’t explain “_/”.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 16 Apr 2008 @ 7:04 AM

  284. # Barton Paul Levenson Says:
    “The key word there is “flat.” If something is flat for 50 years, it can’t explain something else that is rising slowly for 20 years and then rising steeply for the next 30. “__” can’t explain “_/”.”

    BPL you are flat wrong. Do a little experiment at home to prove it. Turn your stove burner to 300 degrees. Get a big pot of cold water and put it on the burner. Measure the water temperature and burner temperature over time. The burner will give you a flat temperature while the pot of water gradually increases to boiling.

    Comment by gusbobb — 16 Apr 2008 @ 9:26 AM

  285. Rod B Says: I may be totally missing your real point, but taking your question at face value (and, BTW, I am not a cosmologist, just a curious chap): If a star’s core burning is radiative the fusion takes place more or less uniformly in the core and the He molecules rest where they are born”

    RB I agree that in that context the He molecules would rest where they were born. That implies that subsequent hydrogen fusion is relegated further out from the core’s center. As we progress outwards the pressure drops and likewise the probability of enough energy for H fusion to take place. Assuming the sun has passed through half of its solar life cycle, we should have a large core of helium and much lower probabilities of fusion because the H is now only found on the outer edges of the core. That scenario raises questions to how correct the model really is.

    Comment by gusbobb — 16 Apr 2008 @ 9:46 AM

  286. Yeah, Gus, but you’re confusihng weather and climate again.

    Watching the water, what you see is a change in the rate of change. It’s warming up slowly, then faster, then slowly again.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 16 Apr 2008 @ 10:50 AM

  287. Gavin said”And as to your forcing calculation, I was waiting for someone else to point out your error, but since no-one has, I will point out that for the solar forcing to be compared with other forcings, the TSI change needs to be divided by 4 (to account the fact the Earth is round and spinning) and multiplied by 0.7 (to account for the albedo)”

    It wasn’t an error but asking for clarification. I said “Also if it was derived using 1366w/m2 TSI then it gives me a .01% increase in TSI. Or if I use 342 w/m2 it suggests a .06% increase. The paper doesn’t really state that very clearly.” TSI gets reported differently by various authors. That makes it hard to tell if we are comparing apples to oranges.

    Gavin said,”Possibly you are being deliberately obtuse, but just in case you aren’t, I was referring to the total increase of heat content in the oceans which appeared to be what you were referring to. Of course the ocean has variable heat fluxes at the surface, and of course it transports a tremendous amount of heat but on long time scales all that sums to zero (almost by definition).”

    Gavin I think then what you were saying is that the increase in OHC is dependent on the radiative balance. Without a change in the radiative balance the heat stays there. I am interpreting you correctly?

    I am simply stating that if there is radiative input to the ocean due to increased CO2 or the sun is increasing its output, then the ocean would warm on average. If that sun’s output decreased then the heat stored in the ocean would be released until a new equilibrium was created. If the sun has plateaued and is now lowering the radiative inout,as the new large scale equilibrium is approached, on smaller scales this heat is transported and released in different places. And depending on the amount of vertical mixing and depth of storage,heat is released at different times.

    [Response: In the global mean zero-dimensional sense, a positive forcing (solar/CO2) that plateaus leads to a monotonic rise in ocean heat content that continues even past when the forcing stabilises, it just increases ever more slowly as it tends towards equilibrium. This net heating does not come back out. If you posit a different situation where the forcing comes back down again, then the oceans will cool, but so will the land. - gavin]

    Comment by gusbobb — 16 Apr 2008 @ 11:03 AM

  288. # Hank Roberts Says:
    Yeah, Gus, but you’re confusihng weather and climate again.”

    Huh? Again? I don’t see your point.

    Comment by gusbobb — 16 Apr 2008 @ 11:05 AM

  289. gusbobb (258, et al), one difference as I see it: while it is true that as He starts to build up in the center of the core, the inner core loses pressure. But that is mitigated by marginal gravitational collapse of the core which heats it and maintains the H burning/fusion at a similar rate even though it approaches “shell” burning rather than core burning (though the difference initially is academic). This tends to contract the star slightly though its surface temperature and luminosity increase slightly as it saunters through the main sequence. Plus the increasing core temp tends to increase the faster “CNO” fusion process which also mitigates the otherwise thought-to-be reduction in H burning. All this until the bulk of the core is non-burning He and only the inner shell is burning H (still at a good rate). This starts the Red Giant stage (way past a star’s half-life)… and maybe ties in with this thread — even us skeptics agree we’ll sure as hell get global warming then!

    Your point on the solar model is well-taken, however. While there is pretty solid agreement at the highest general level on the model, there is considerable differences in much of the detail, even large scale detail. Maybe this too makes these posts relevant to RC and AGW. [;>) I ‘m still not sure of the relevance. Or are you referring to the GW model and the solar effect on it?? I can envision Gavin scratching his head, too!

    Comment by Rod B — 16 Apr 2008 @ 4:27 PM

  290. Gus, You get a big swing every day/night, another with every big weather front, another from summer to winter, in the atmosphere. You see almost none of that below the top of the ocean on the short term; the ocean’s not warming up to follow the brief ups and downs, it’s warming by slow mixing as the top of it is exposed to conditions warmer on average than the previous average.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 16 Apr 2008 @ 7:48 PM

  291. gusbobb writes:

    Barton Paul Levenson Says:
    “The key word there is “flat.” If something is flat for 50 years, it can’t explain something else that is rising slowly for 20 years and then rising steeply for the next 30. “__” can’t explain “_/”.”

    BPL you are flat wrong. Do a little experiment at home to prove it. Turn your stove burner to 300 degrees. Get a big pot of cold water and put it on the burner. Measure the water temperature and burner temperature over time. The burner will give you a flat temperature while the pot of water gradually increases to boiling.

    Right. Gradually increases. It doesn’t stay flat for 2/5 of the time and then ramp steadily upward for the remaining 3/5 of the time. Your example is completely irrelevant.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 17 Apr 2008 @ 6:56 AM

  292. Rod says”Your point on the solar model is well-taken, however. While there is pretty solid agreement at the highest general level on the model, there is considerable differences in much of the detail, even large scale detail. Maybe this too makes these posts relevant to RC and AGW. [;>) I ‘m still not sure of the relevance. Or are you referring to the GW model and the solar effect on it?? I can envision Gavin scratching his head, too!”

    Rod I got involved in this thread first by stating my mistrust for how people use dark matter to explain things as was done by the authors of this thread’s initial article. From there it lead to my mentioning an attraction to some of the electrical explanations for current astronomical anomalies and that led to a flurry exchanges and personal attacks. So yes some posts may seem less relevant to the initial intent of this thread. But in a sense it all says there are lots of “galactic glitches” to be explained. I think solar influences on climate are not well understood and discounted to an extreme that detrimental to our understanding and this had created many tangential questions and statements.

    In regards to the measure of historic solar magnetism, it is not a direct measurement. It is derived by comparing changes in the geomagnetic field which has been historically measured and interactions with sunspot activity.

    Comment by gusbobb — 17 Apr 2008 @ 9:30 PM

  293. If you posit a different situation where the forcing comes back down again, then the oceans will cool, but so will the land. – gavin]

    Yes the land will cool but not necessarily in lockstep. Depending on the degree of vertical mixing It may take a year or 2. And as the oceans release heat into the atmosphere that heat is recorded in land surface temperatures.

    Lyman 2006 showed a slight cooling in line with decreased solar output and this year land temperatures have been falling. Based on solar activity I predicted the beginning of a cooling trend last year. Recent observations support the way I see things but it is way to early to say there is a significant climate trend or just weather. It is just a competing hypothesis. I would suspect the continued lack of sunspots will coincide with a persistent ebb in solar forcing and thus cooler land temperatures.

    Comment by gusbobb — 17 Apr 2008 @ 9:54 PM

  294. BPL, “Right. Gradually increases. It doesn’t stay flat for 2/5 of the time and then ramp steadily upward for the remaining 3/5 of the time. Your example is completely irrelevant.”

    I missed your logic and evidence.

    We have only directly measured the the sun’s output the past 25-30 years. A time when the sun had already reached its upper level and then plateaued, so very little change has been directly observed. The possibility I am illustrating is that the oceans have been warming to come into equilibrium with the sun’s recent high level of output. You can dismiss it. But it is not irrelevant.

    Comment by gusbobb — 17 Apr 2008 @ 10:04 PM

  295. Re #279 Rod B

    If a star’s core burning is radiative the fusion takes place more or less uniformly in the core and the He molecules rest where they are born. If the burning is convective the core churns and He tends to congregate at the very depth of the core…

    Largely correct, but in a convective core the mixing will be even more pronounced. Even in radiative cores, any separating out of helium doesn’t happen because the temperatures are simply too high (i.e., scale height large compared to solar radius). Further out it may be different.

    I found an article that’s a bit old but discusses the related elemental diffusion process:

    http://arxiv.org/abs/astro-ph/9304005

    …and remember that diffusion is not the same thing as gravitational separating out :-)

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 18 Apr 2008 @ 4:03 AM

  296. gusbobb writes:

    We have only directly measured the the sun’s output the past 25-30 years. A time when the sun had already reached its upper level and then plateaued, so very little change has been directly observed.

    We have good proxies which allow us to estimate it going back 400 years or so. Google “Judith Lean” or “Wang” + “Lean” for examples.

    The possibility I am illustrating is that the oceans have been warming to come into equilibrium with the sun’s recent high level of output. You can dismiss it. But it is not irrelevant.

    I dismiss it because it’s bloody stupid. If the oceans were warming because they were coming into equilibrium with a warmer sun, they would warm up fast at the beginning and slowly towards the end. They wouldn’t stay stable for 20 years and then suddenly warm up faster and faster for 30. Real thermal equilibrium doesn’t work that way.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 18 Apr 2008 @ 7:25 AM

  297. BPL says,”If the oceans were warming because they were coming into equilibrium with a warmer sun, they would warm up fast at the beginning and slowly towards the end. They wouldn’t stay stable for 20 years and then suddenly warm up faster and faster for 30.”

    You are making a lot of assumptions about vertical mixing. You stated trends of stable temperatures for 20 years lacks sufficient evidence. [edit]

    [Response: Not really. The default assumption must be that vertical mixing is relatively steady over this period in the absence of any evidence to the contrary. It is you who is making unsupported assumptions that vertical mixing was really efficient for 20 years and then suddenly stopped being so. In fact, you can rule that out from CFC or CO2 concentration data in the oceans. - gavin]

    Comment by gusbobb — 18 Apr 2008 @ 9:59 AM

  298. Gavin,

    Why would the default assumption be that oceans would warm “fast in the beginning and slowly at the end”? I would assume just the opposite. If we assumed a certain degree of intermediate vertical mixing, then I would expect near surface temperatures to remain within a narrow range until mixing has reached an equilibrium point.

    It also has been shown that the XBT’s had a warm bias that significantly raised estimates of OHC in the last 30 years.

    [edits are in order to maintain a discourse]

    Comment by gusbobb — 18 Apr 2008 @ 2:47 PM

  299. Gavin and BPL,

    I suggest you both read Gouretski1 and Koltermann (2007) ( http://www.aoml.noaa.gov/phod/goos/meetings/2008/XBT/2006GL027834.pdf ).

    First they conclude quite persuasively that the XBT data is warm biased and compared to CTD data it is warm biased by 0.2–0.4_C on average. This appears to be due to a faulty fall rate equation. There was a workshop discussing this problem recently. ( http://www.aoml.noaa.gov/phod/goos/meetings/2008/XBT/index.php )

    That significant warm biases from XBT’s since the 1960’s raises major questions when compared with Folland et al’s (2001) estimates of global surface temperature of about 0.61 ± 0.16_C between 1861 and 2000. So your assumptions are based on questionable estimates. If you compare biases of the different measurements we see that “your sharp” increase in recent ocean temperatures is largely due to the sharp increase in the percentage of warm biased XBT’s used to determine temperatures.

    Second in regards to assumptions of vertical mixing and heat storage, our estimates are based on very sparse sampling of the deeper layers.

    Third if you look again at Figure 1 in Gouretski1 and Koltermann (2007.) and (assuming that the XBT warm bias will only change the relative heights on the vertical axis) we see below 100m we see that the temperature change is not “flat” as claimed but has 2 “bloody stupid” peaks. How do you square all this data. It appears the smoking gun is not as hot as once claimed.

    Comment by gusbobb — 20 Apr 2008 @ 12:15 PM

  300. >How do you square all this data[?]

    One approach: read more recent work; follow a link for new papers citing a paper.

    Performing your original search, Gouretski and Koltermann, in PNAS will retrieve 93830 results.

    One example:

    http://www.pnas.org/cgi/content/full/104/26/10768

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 20 Apr 2008 @ 2:20 PM

  301. Hank, what is your point? I had read that cited article and it agrees that there was a warm bias due to the XBT’s.

    So are you agreeing that based on the observed “corrected” data that the oceans did not warm as much as earlier estimated? That most of the cooling was due to measuring biases so that there was only an insignificant decrease in OHC?

    Comment by gusbobb — 20 Apr 2008 @ 4:28 PM

  302. Re: #40

    Gusbob,

    You’d certainly make Hannes AlfvÈn (and Eric Lerner and Halton Arp) happy with your comments about the “Electric Universe” but unfortunately you’d be lumped in with a whole new bunch of “Denialists”, the ones who claim the big bang never happened. They are even more vilified than the climate change denialists!

    Thanks guys for a great thread. If one of the purposes of this blog is to expose laymen to brilliant minds discussing a crucial issue and get them thinking critically, then I have to say you’ve succeeded.

    As Arnold said: I’ll be back!

    Comment by Jesse — 26 Apr 2008 @ 8:20 AM

  303. No, Gus, my point is you need to read more, and more carefully.
    http://www.pnas.org/cgi/crossref-forward-links/104/26/10768

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 26 Apr 2008 @ 11:58 AM

  304. For that matter, read the link to the workshop. You’re asking for us to give you the answer they’re going to come up with — as though that would prove anything. Be patient. Read what they wrote:
    ———————
    Objective

    Analyses of concurrent XBT, CTD and Argo float observations indicate that there is a systematic difference in temperature profiles, which is likely due to an error in the XBT fall-rate equation. This error has introduced a warm bias in the global XBT data base. This workshop is dedicated to discuss the findings related to this issue by different groups. As a consequence, a new fall rate equation may need to be developed and applied to both past and future XBT data.
    ———————-

    This is how it’s done. This is the whole point about reading cites, following cites forward in time, and never assuming you know everything. The early work isn’t some kind of foundation that overturns everything if it’s adjusted. Work gets done like this all the time. Don’t get fixated on attacking yesterday’s papers.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 26 Apr 2008 @ 12:26 PM

  305. 296 Barton etc says: ‘We have good proxies which allow us to estimate it going back 400 years or so. Google “Judith Lean” or “Wang” + “Lean” for examples.’

    They can’t both be good as they disagree rather much.

    Comment by Leif Svalgaard — 26 Apr 2008 @ 3:48 PM

  306. Also don’t get fixated on the most recent instruments, which are still being debugged. Just one of many other sources on ocean temps:
    http://cel.isiknowledge.com/CEL/CIW.cgi?SID=2C817igI4aFaIG3D96o&Func=Abstract&doc=2/3
    “… the abyssal warming may amount to a significant fraction of upper World Ocean heat gain over the past few decades.”

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 26 Apr 2008 @ 4:23 PM

  307. Leif Svalgaard writes:

    296 Barton etc says: ‘We have good proxies which allow us to estimate it going back 400 years or so. Google “Judith Lean” or “Wang” + “Lean” for examples.’

    They can’t both be good as they disagree rather much.

    Graph them and see if you still think so. They look like similar paths to me. And neither Lean 2000 nor Wange et al. 2005 show enough recent variation to cause the present global warming.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 27 Apr 2008 @ 6:10 AM

  308. Hank proffers “This is how it’s done. This is the whole point about reading cites, following cites forward in time, and never assuming you know everything. The early work isn’t some kind of foundation that overturns everything if it’s adjusted. Work gets done like this all the time. Don’t get fixated on attacking yesterday’s papers.”

    Hank, you repeatedly think you are telling me something I am unaware of. I am not the one who assumes they know everything, or assumes current paradigms will not change with new information. I simply argue a few points. The sun has greater consequence to environments than people here believe. I am completely happy and patient to watch the sun provide evidence of that as the solar/sunspot activity currently decreases and we can observe the effects on climate and how it may or may not overwhelm any CO2 effects.

    I also claim that the oceans because heat transfer happens virtually all at the surface, the oceans can store heat and release it on seasonal scales, decadal scales and most likely greater scales. Gavin suggested I get a red flag for suggesting such a thing but very simply ask where does that extra warmth come from during decadal El Nino events?

    And regards the XBT ocean instrumentation issues, you seem happy to offer patronizing answers, then offer a citation. And? Yet no matter how the instrumentation problems get resolved we are faced with an observational dilemma. Either there is less OHC and less of an oceanic warming trend than people previously proclaimed was needed to satisfy models because the XBT’s were warm-biased or we have a declining/static OHC which is also contrary to current CO2 based models. Actually it seems both problems exist because there seems to be no observational evidence that the oceans have been warming since 2003. But if you got a link and citation to such a measurement I’d love to see it. But I am patient. I will also wait to see a 2003-2013 trend analysis which I predict will show a decreasing OHC.

    Comment by gusbobb — 28 Apr 2008 @ 8:51 PM

  309. Gusbob, you don’t even know enough about climate models to argue against them. Of course if the Sun’s output decreases, it will affect climate, and any climate model will reflect this variability. However, such solar variability persiste on a timescale of a few decades at most, while CO2 persists on a timescale of centuries to millennia. Bottom line: A couple of cooler years does not constitute a climate trend, and by any reasonable measure, global temperature remain high–as evidenced by the continued loss of glacial and sea ice.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 29 Apr 2008 @ 7:07 AM

  310. 307 (Barton): Look at http://www.leif.org/research/TSI-LEIF.png and repeat your assertion that the two black curves look alike.

    Comment by Leif Svalgaard — 29 Apr 2008 @ 8:57 AM

  311. Hi Ray,

    [edit]

    First your current models don’t assume much solar variation when making predictions. And finally from what do you derive your solar variability estimates? The last 25 years? That’s solar weather, not solar climate. Second the loss of sea ice is only in the Arctic not the Antarctic. And if solar changes overwhelm CO2 effects, it points out that current models underestimated the attribution of warming by solar, and over estimated CO2. So your time scale of CO2 vs solar comment is of little value.

    Comment by gusbobb — 29 Apr 2008 @ 9:13 AM

  312. 309 (Ray): “However, such solar variability persists on a timescale of a few decades at most” is not what most ‘solar enthusiasts’ believe. Solar variability is thought to be largest on the longest time scales. E.g. http://www.leif.org/research/Radionuclides.png

    Comment by Leif Svalgaard — 29 Apr 2008 @ 9:51 AM

  313. Leif, can you give a pointer to the analysis and explanation that goes along with your chart?

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 29 Apr 2008 @ 9:59 AM

  314. Re #305

    “296 Barton etc says: ‘We have good proxies which allow us to estimate it going back 400 years or so. Google “Judith Lean” or “Wang” + “Lean” for examples.’

    They can’t both be good as they disagree rather much.”

    I thought they were co-authors on the most recent data?

    Comment by Phil. Felton — 29 Apr 2008 @ 10:11 AM

  315. Gusbob, I can only assume you don’t read the news much. We just lost a pretty big ice shelf in Antarctic. Use of proxies significantly extends the estimate of solar stability–and the relatively good agreement of multiple independent proxies argues that the data are being correctly interpreted. There is zero evidence of sufficient long-term solar variation that could “overwhelm” the effects of CO2, which persist of order centuries to millennia–and there’s plenty of evidence against it.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 29 Apr 2008 @ 10:13 AM

  316. 313 (Hank): The chart is from my poster at last Fall AGU. You can find it at http://www.leif.org/research then scroll down to:
    GC31B-0351-F2007.pdf ((No?)Century-scale Secular Variation in HMF, EUV, or TSI; AGU Fall 2007)

    But the issue is not ‘my’ red curve, but the Lean 2000 and Wang et al. 2005 black curves [the 'al.' includes Lean, BTW], which are long published elsewhere. Judith Lean has been kind enough to send me her data. I have put those on my website too: click on TSI (Reconstructions).xls (TSI Reconstructions 1700-present, 2008) [as text, as PDF] just above the AGU poster.

    Comment by Leif Svalgaard — 29 Apr 2008 @ 10:24 AM

  317. 315 (Ray): “Use of proxies significantly extends the estimate of solar stability–and the relatively good agreement of multiple independent proxies argues that the data are being correctly interpreted.”
    “Gusbob, I can only assume you don’t read the news much”,
    Well, I can only assume that you don’t read this blog much :-)

    The proxies do NOT agree. Not even ‘relatively’. And they are NOT independent [almost all rely on the sunspot number].

    Comment by Leif Svalgaard — 29 Apr 2008 @ 10:37 AM

  318. Leif,
    Looking at your own data, I’m afraid I don’t see wild disagreement. There is clearly variability, and while sunspot number may not be perfect, do you have a better suggestion? Do you have any evidence that sunspot # is not a good proxy “on average”? In any case we are talking about climatic effects here, so small-scale disagreements in the dark and distant past are not particularly germane.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 29 Apr 2008 @ 12:28 PM

  319. Thank you for the references and links, Leif.
    Always a pleasure looking at what you provide.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 29 Apr 2008 @ 12:43 PM

  320. gusbobb posts:

    The sun has greater consequence to environments than people here believe.

    Not really.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 29 Apr 2008 @ 1:29 PM

  321. Leif Svalgaard posts:

    307 (Barton): Look at http://www.leif.org/research/TSI-LEIF.png and repeat your assertion that the two black curves look alike.

    I looked at them. They look alike. One has greater amplitude than the other. The inflection points fall at pretty much the same places. Both are still not large enough or in the right direction to have caused the recent global warming.

    You’re not telling me anything I don’t already know.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 29 Apr 2008 @ 1:30 PM

  322. Plus, Leif, try showing the TSI with the Y-axis extending to zero. That should be good for a laugh. And instructive, to those who insist that solar variations are causing the recent global warming.

    The biggest variations, in Lean 2000, show TSI varying from an average of 1363 W m-2 to 1367. The percentage difference is left as an exercise for the student.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 29 Apr 2008 @ 1:33 PM

  323. Sure, we have barely a notion of what stars can do, we’re lucky the Arab and Chinese records kept track of the sky over the long term so we at least have some clue what’s changed grossly.

    Just getting glimpses. E.g.
    http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/abs/10.1086/588581

    But none of this changes the climate concern — we have the ocean pH change no matter what happens to warming, and if we did have a decrease in warmth from the sun we’d still have a biosphere to worry about not screwing up.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 29 Apr 2008 @ 3:25 PM

  324. 322 Barton: try to plot the temperature in Kelvin starting at its zero point and keep on laughing. You keep talking about none of them being large enough to have caused the present rise. I completely agree [might even argue that they didn't cause any rises in the past either]. My comment was about you saying that we have good proxies of solar TSI in the past. We do NOT.

    Comment by Leif Svalgaard — 29 Apr 2008 @ 4:34 PM

  325. RL says,”I can only assume you don’t read the news much.We just lost a pretty big ice shelf in Antarctic”

    My reading habits would be one of your better theories. But good science demands that we look at competing assumptions. That’s how science works. Just what does the loss of an ice shelf mean? The Antarctic peninsula has shown warming anomalies when global temperatures have been rising or falling. Perhaps the loss of that ice shelf points to a different driver than atmospheric temperatures.

    RL also says “you don’t even know enough about climate models to argue against them”.

    And in a sense Ray you would be correct. Your models often have so many open parameters its like trying to hit a moving target or fitting an elephant. How did you parameterize the lost ice shelf? You seem to weight that lost shelf more than The National Snow and Ice Data Center’s sea ice data. Now I wouldn’t do that but I don’t know everything.

    http://nsidc.org/data/seaice_index/images/s_plot_tmb.png

    Comment by gusbobb — 30 Apr 2008 @ 12:22 AM

  326. Leif,

    I think we may be defining “a good proxy” differently. In my view it’s good if it gives the right shape of the curve and the order-of-magnitude of the values.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 30 Apr 2008 @ 6:55 AM

  327. Gusbob, Yet another thing you don’t know about climate models–the parameters are to the extent possible fixed independently. Where uncertainty remains, runs can be made over the range of the uncertainty. What matters in terms of model complexity are the adjustable parameters. If the parameters are fixed, then no matter how complicated the model, its agreement with data (e.g. temperature trends) constitutes validation.
    Alternative theories? Great. What are they. I don’t know of any that are credible. And yes, I do weight the collapse of a huge ice shelf that has been stable for centuries more than the extent of sea ice that varies considerably from year to year.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 30 Apr 2008 @ 7:10 AM

  328. Hey Ray,

    I am catching up on my reading. New Nature article soon to be published predicting “stablized” temperatures due to observed colder ocean currents and that we may see a decade of cooling in North America and Europe. Which GCM predicted that?

    Here’s a link for you

    “Those natural climate variations could be stronger than the global-warming trend over the next 10-year period,” Wood said in an interview.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601124&sid=aU.evtnk6DPo

    Comment by gusbobb — 30 Apr 2008 @ 8:14 PM

  329. >328 gusbob
    Gavin answered you the other place you posed that question.
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2008/04/back-to-the-future#comment-85616

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 30 Apr 2008 @ 9:46 PM

  330. Hi all, either moderation is slower than I expected or the diatribe was too much so I will repeat the question I wanted answered by the experts without said diatribe.

    a) Because the question is, I feel, legitimate.

    b) This toned down version is a direct test for the type of censorship that on a superficial basis appears as being applied in this arena. So here goes…

    Question for the climate change experts:

    Would the worldwide use of Hydrogen on demand technology as a fuel source, assuming it’s possible ;-), have any adverse or detrimental effect on GW.

    Thanks in advance
    Cheers
    from a mug punter

    Comment by Only Human — 15 Jul 2008 @ 7:33 AM

  331. Re: #330 (Only Human)

    I’m not a climate change expert, but neither am I completely ignorant. So here’ my opinion:

    Using H2 as a fuel would not adversely affect climate. The byproduct of burning is water vapor, and although that’s a greenhouse gas its atmospheric concentration is quickly (and I do mean quickly!) regulated by environmental factors. So, if we add extra H2O to the atmosphere by burning H2, it’ll precipitate out before it has a noticeable climate effect.

    As for censorship — at this site at least, you’ll find little or no censorship of ideas and opinions, but strong censorship of diatribes.

    Comment by tamino — 15 Jul 2008 @ 11:50 AM

  332. Tamino, there is some hydrogen/risk stuff worth a look:
    http://www.google.com/search?q=hydrogen+fuel+leak+stratosphere

    It’s hard to even imagine infrastructure built capable of _not_ leaking and wasting hydrogen. The atom’s so small it passes easily through hardware that can hold even helium, let alone the really big gas molecules. You know that of course. But it’s hard to be cynical enough about how careless the below-average guy will be handling something that “just goes away” when it leaks, doesn’t contaminate the water table, doesn’t discolor or smell bad — and does blow up if it accumulates so people really don’t want to mess with it.

    The stratosphere/ozone concerns need evaluation by very jaded cynical observers of how we actually do industry.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 15 Jul 2008 @ 1:05 PM

  333. Hydrogen is an energy carrier, not an energy source, so its climate effects depend very strongly on what energy source is used to produce the hydrogen. This is a basic fact that is often overlooked.
    That said, hydrogen itself (from leaking when it is going to be used on a large scale) may also have effects on atmospheric chemistry:
    - It may slow down the breaking down of methane, a strong greenhouse gas (by decreasing the amount of OH radical)
    - It may increase the amount of stratospheric water vapor, which could affect ozone destruction (by increasing PSC’s on which the reaction that breaks down ozone takes place)
    See eg http://gcep.stanford.edu/research/factsheets/effects_climate.html
    Hydrogen does not appear to be a panacea.

    Comment by Bart Verheggen — 15 Jul 2008 @ 1:12 PM

  334. Re 300: I don’t pretend to be a climate expert either but as an engineer I’d say that just looking at the combustion is too simplistic. In order to assess whether hydrogen on demand mitigataes or contribues to AGW you’d have to look at the entire chain of production, distribution, and consumption, and measure the fossil fuels involved. Then you’d need to compare that to the same chain for conventional fuel the hydrogen is offsetting. Only then could you really assess whether hydrogen would give a net improvement.

    Comment by Phillip Shaw — 15 Jul 2008 @ 1:14 PM

  335. Re #330

    Tamino is correct, that burning hydrogen produces water vapour which will condense and then precipitate out of the atmosphere within a few days. This means that it is unable to build to a higher concentration, unlike carbon dioxide.

    However, how are we going to obtain the hydrogen? Unlike carbon, it does not grow on trees! The most obvious method is hydrolysis which requires the generation of electricity, and so the burning of fossil fuels is still needed. Although the power to produce hydrogen could be obtained from renewable resources, that would only mean that those resources would not be available to generate power for other uses. There would be no net gain.

    There is another disadvantage to hydrogen in that it is very bulky to transport. Unlike natural gas it is difficult to liquefy. That problem is solved using fuel cells. They can produce hydrogen “on th fly.” They are sometimes held up as the answer to a maiden’s prayer. But they do not solve the problem of where the power is to come from. They take more energy to produce and to charge than the energy they deliver.

    Hydrogen power is not a silver bullet to the problem anthropogenic global warming :-(

    Cheers, Alastair.

    Comment by Alastair McDonald — 15 Jul 2008 @ 1:21 PM

  336. Re #331

    On the earth H2 can not be a fuel since it does not exist in a natural form, unlike CH4 for instance.
    Basically it is an energy transfer medium which can be created from another source (CH4, H2O etc.) with the input of energy and then transported to be used elsewhere (e.g. mobile powerplants). Its influence on climate therefore depends on the method in which it’s made (and source of the energy) and the way in which it is used. The most economic source is reformation of CH4 (at least the last time I looked) which itself creates CO2 (but in a single location so sequestration is possible). Also fuel cells only produce H2O but if the H2 is burned then NOx is also produced. The last time I looked at the overall ‘well to wheel’ analysis of H2 fuel cells it came out that they produced more CO2/mile than present best case SI engines. Sequestration and/or the use of non-fossil energy sources would be needed to get this down. If economic production of H2 using solar energy/bacteria becomes practical then the ‘zero impact’ might be feasible.

    Comment by Phil. Felton — 15 Jul 2008 @ 1:24 PM

  337. Well, in a weak attempt to circle back to the subject, which is our solar system’s place in and motion through the galaxy, this may help us get off the planet in an ecologically neutral fashion:

    http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2005/11/1109_051109_rocketfuel.html
    ——-excerpt follows——

    Scientists first discovered anammox bacteria in yeast and later in the open ocean in the late 1990s.

    The unusual microbes consume ammonia, producing hydrazine—better known as rocket fuel—in the process. The ability still puzzles scientists.

    “They are the only organism on Earth that produces hydrazine, so until their discovery, [hydrazine] was thought to be a man-made substance,” Strous said.

    The bacteria safely store the toxic fuel in an organelle, or specialized cell structure, similar to mitochondria, a type of biological power plant found in human cells.

    —-end excerpt———-

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 15 Jul 2008 @ 6:35 PM

  338. The issue of differential rotation speeds is a universe-wide conundrum, requiring the invoking of dark matter to keep the disks and spirals rotating more or less as though they were “solids”. Only being embedded in a MUCH larger rotating mass would “drag” the outer stars around fast enough to stay in a radial line with the inner stars to any degree.

    And of course the spirals are not self-contained “things” like strings or tentacles. They are density waves that move at the interstellar speed of sound, so without much change in its relative radial position at all any give star will alternate between being in the “waves” and in the gaps. The frequency will depend on the density wave frequency.

    There is also the matter of wobble “normal to the plane” of the galaxy. This up and down bouncing will also have the effect of moving a star in and out of the denser populations.

    Comment by Brian H — 25 Jul 2008 @ 1:25 PM

  339. Just a thought about Svensmark’s, CRF/cloud condensation nuclei theory:
    isn’t this theory based on climate data from the 1600′s onwards, correlating with Be-10 as a proxy for CRF? Surely the energies required to produce Be-10 i.e. above 0.5 GeV are too low to provide evidence for Svenmark’s theory. If I understand correctly, he is talking about 10 GeV and above. AFAIK there is no correlation between CRF at 0.5 GeV and CRF at >10GeV.

    [Response: The relationship between the GCR that produce 10Be and the GCR that cause ionization is that they are both modulated by the solar and geomagnetic fields (though to different extents). - gavin]

    Comment by Turbobloke — 15 Aug 2008 @ 11:10 AM

  340. Yes Gavin, I understand that they are both modulated by the solar and geomagnetic fields, but how can one infer the historic levels of >10GeV from Be-10 or C-14? What evidence is there that they are a proxy for >10 GeV?

    [Response: That relies on an assumption that the modulating factors for 10Be and 14C are the same as for the high energy GCR. There are 11 yr solar cycles in all of them, and so it's likely valid for that - longer term trends are a little more ambiguous (since there are potential contaminants on those time scales), but there is no a priori reason to think there would be a big difference. However, this is just qualitative - coming up with a quantitative calibration from 10Be/14C changes to muons or solar irradiance is a much bigger challenge. - gavin]

    Comment by Turbobloke — 15 Aug 2008 @ 5:06 PM

  341. > how are we going to obtain the hydrogen? Unlike carbon,
    > it does not grow on trees!

    Bzzzt! Does so!

    http://www.google.com/search?q=biomass+fuel+cell+carbohydrate+hydrogen

    Fuel Cell Converts Biomass into Hydrogen: Scientific American
    Apr 27, 2005 … A fuel cell that uses microorganisms to break down organic matter … to yield hydrogen, the process must use carbohydrate-based biomass. …
    http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=fuel-cell-converts-biomas

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 15 Aug 2008 @ 6:20 PM

  342. “And of course the spirals are not self-contained “things” like strings or tentacles. They are density waves that move at the interstellar speed of sound”

    Oooh, bad call. Sound travels at 0mph. “In space, nobody can hear you scream”.

    The spiral arms are now thought to be, as you say, density fluctuations. That would make these travel at the group velocity which can be faster or slower than the constituents (even faster than light: shine a torch at the moon and move it sideways fast enough and the spot can move faster than light, despite being light itself).

    Comment by Mark — 16 Aug 2008 @ 4:10 AM

  343. Thanks for the reply Gavin. It seems to me that the historical data, that Svenmark’s theory relies on, requires a correlation between Be 10 or C14 and >10GeV CR. It is, perhaps, possible to show that they are cyclical together, but there is no proof that the amplitude of >10GeV during the Mauder minimum was particularly high, as Be10 and C14 show all CR with an energy > about 0.5 GeV.

    As the bulk of CRF is at energy levels 1-2 GeV, it’s impossible to get meaningful amplitude data about >10 GeV from Be10 or C14. Since Svenmark’s theory needs >10 GeV to make CCN, I believe that the historical data cannot back it up in any significant way.

    Comment by Turbobloke — 16 Aug 2008 @ 4:22 AM

  344. > Ooh, bad call
    Ooh, bad call — you can look this up.

    http://www.google.com/search?q=astronomical+cloud+supersonic

    Our ears can’t hear it, but it’s sound nevertheless.

    “… the speed of sound (in the interstellar medium) is about 100 km/s. (The exact speed depends on the density, which fluctuates considerably.) The interstellar medium, although very low in density, nonetheless has a constant pressure associated with it; the pressure from the solar wind decreases with the square of the distance from the star. As one moves far enough away from the star, the pressure from the interstellar medium becomes sufficient to slow the solar wind down to below its speed of sound; this causes a shock wave….”

    You can find photographs of those shockwaves on astronomy sites.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 16 Aug 2008 @ 7:14 PM

  345. Oops. Quote on speed of sound from:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Termination_shock#Termination_shock

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 16 Aug 2008 @ 7:16 PM

  346. Hank, That’s not the speed of sound in the interstellar medium.

    That’s the speed of the medium.

    Comment by Mark — 17 Aug 2008 @ 5:09 AM

  347. PS on #344.

    Look at the link.

    Super sonic.

    Faster than sound.

    But how can sound go faster than sound.

    Admittedly, I didn’t click on the link, but given the above, it hardly seems worth it.

    Comment by Mark — 17 Aug 2008 @ 5:10 AM

  348. Points to consider: the interstellar medium is mostly hydrogen at a density of about an atom per cubic cm. Galactic cosmic rays have a density of abotu 5 particles per cubic cm per second. Much of the interstellar medium is ionized and even that which is not has a magnetic moment, so long-range interactions are possible. Waves do propagate even in this tenuous medium.

    What effect dark matter and energy have is left as an exercise for the reader.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 17 Aug 2008 @ 6:23 AM

  349. Ray, the cosmic rays are going near lightspeed.

    This would tend to give a flow to any ionised hydrogen if they acted like you think.

    Noe please have a shot at this calculation: what is the electric strength of a proton at 1.5 cm? That’s your ability to conduct sound waves. Not a lot.

    What you can do is have a much denser medium being ejected. When that denser medium hits you, that can produce “sound”. For a given value of “sound”…

    But then again, the sound isn’t travelling in that medium, it is the medium.

    Traveling at whatever speed is appropriate for the ejecta.

    Hey, c’mon guys, I *did* study this at university! Or are you going to be doing a “Rod B”/”Humpty” thing? “That’s not what I meant when I said sound”?

    ;-)

    Comment by Mark — 17 Aug 2008 @ 8:28 AM

  350. Mark, the median energy of a gcr is ~300 MeV/amu, and while the interaction strength of particles in the interstellar medium is not strong, there is also not a lot to disturb the propagation of any wave. If you look at the solar wind, you definitely find waves, even when fluxes are low. Magnetohydrodynamics is odd stuff

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 17 Aug 2008 @ 10:58 AM

  351. Mark, we both studied this in school, sometime after Ernst Mach wrote the equation.

    I tried a well footnoted example and cannot get it past the spam filter here. This is cut way down, last try:

    Simple answer — no sound if you can’t hear anything:
    http://www.qrg.northwestern.edu/projects/vss/docs/space-environment/1-is-there-sound-in-space.html
    __________________________

    College physics answer (from the TOC):

    Astrophysical Hydrodynamics (Second Edition)
    Published Online: 25 Feb 2008
    Author(s): Prof. Steven N. Shore
    Print ISBN: 9783527406692 Online ISBN: 9783527619054

    … * Supersonic Jets
    … * Bending of Jets by a Supersonic Cross-Flow

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 17 Aug 2008 @ 11:12 AM

  352. Yeah, Hank. And Ernst Mach wasn’t considering the interstellar medium.

    Also, although I did do some astrophysics in O- and A-level Physics, there wasn’t any discussion about sound in the interstellar medium.

    I had to to a degree in astrophysics.

    =====

    “Supersonic jets”

    As I said. How can sound go faster than sound?

    Supersonic waves are waves that travel through a medium that is at that differential incompressible.

    In the case of jets, it is a jet that is ejecting material faster than the speed of sound in that ejecta, not in the interstellar medium.

    Here’s some figures for density/mach speeds:

    (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speed_of_sound)

    Material Density mach

    Aluminum 2.7 5000
    Water 1.0 1402
    Methyl 0.85 1130
    Air .001292 331.3

    Now what do you think the speed of sound will be in a medium at the density of 10^-27?

    (PS Ray, #350, the sound pressure level and the velocity all go up as density increases. When you have a sound wave propogate, the charged particle will push the other particles *aside* as much as *onward*. And sideways propogation of sound waves is dispersive).

    Comment by Mark — 17 Aug 2008 @ 1:44 PM

  353. PPS Ray, 350. What does the energy of cosmic rays have to do with the interstellar medium and its ability to propogate longitudinal pressure waves (i.e. sound) within it?

    The force between two protons .5 cm apart is ~10^-23 N. To move them .5 cm would require an energy of about 10^-23 J.

    That’s the energy pertinent to sound in the interstellar medium.

    MeV’s it isn’t. More like 10^-7 eV.

    Comment by Mark — 17 Aug 2008 @ 1:55 PM

  354. http://books.google.com/books?id=qrWQiBTepsUC&pg=PA136&lpg=PA136&dq=Bending+of+Jets+by+a+Supersonic+Cross-Flow&source=web&ots=dNsfSXkMVz&sig=ZVF2BJAu0jStj9B7Eh3oOuicMC8&hl=en&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=2&ct=result#PPA137,M1

    Mark, you’re telling me you have a degree in this subject. Are you saying the published work I find is simply incorrect? I can’t figure out what you’re arguing _with_ let alone _about_. What’s your point?
    And why are you arguing about it in this thread? Just saying the word is used wrong by other scientists isn’t helping me as an ordinary reader figure out what you’re trying to say here.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 17 Aug 2008 @ 3:31 PM

  355. > what do you think …?

    I tried pasting your question into Google Scholar; this among others turned up:

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080703113646.htm
    _________________
    ReCaptcha: TOURS ex-

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 17 Aug 2008 @ 3:40 PM

  356. No, Hnak you’re misreading the published work.

    Rather like when denialists point out “you scientists were saying that there’d be an ice age!” or “there’s 30% more ice in the north pole!!”.

    The supersonic jets are supersonic within the ejecta. Not in the interstellar medium.

    If you take the interstellar medium as an ideal gas (and I’ll show you why this is wrong soon), the speed of sound is about 40m/s. Just about ANYTHING is moving faster than that. So saying “supersonic” means naff all when you’re in a medium with a “sonic” limit of 80 miles an hour.

    Now, as to why it’s wrong to deal with it as an ideal gas: basically there’s not enough density to count it as a gas.

    When you put sound in a medium, the maximum sound pressure you can get is equal to the pressure in the medium. At 1 Hydrogen atom per cc, that’s about 10^-18 pa.

    So the maximum pressure is double that and the minimum 0.

    If you pushed the medium harder than that, there’s no way the gas can come back into equilibrium for the next pressure increase.

    The maxmimum frequency depends on the pressure too (since the particles in the gas must have time at the nominal pressure to return back to the sound source), but I can’t find this one too easily. However look at the pressure. Not fast.

    Now, take just counting statistics: what is the maximum number of atoms per cc if there’s 1 per cc in a 1m^3 volume? 1,000,000 per m^3 means 1,000. Pressure depends on N, so the pressure is 1,000 times bigger in that one exceptional cubic cm. Not based on any sound passing through but just on the fact that these atoms are randomly traveling within the mass as per ideal gas law.

    Remember that we had +/- 1 pressure.

    Randomness wipes out any information in pressure in a medium this thin.No sound. NOTE: the reason why counting statistics works here is that the numbers are so small that even a million in a cubic cm doesn’t cause significant dispersal forces to even out the density within even seconds.

    So given that even the star itself is traveling “supersonically” if you take the interstellar medium, why is calling an ejecta jet “supersonic” done? I’ll answer that one for you: it’s not supersonic wrt the medium. That would be redundant.

    If you want, go to a university, pick a professor and ask if there’s sound in the interstellar medium. That WAS my original point in #342. Whether there’s a paper on “supersonic jets” doesn’t tell you that there’s sound in space.

    Until you’ve read up and come up with something, leave it alone.

    Comment by Mark — 18 Aug 2008 @ 3:17 AM

  357. Mark #352:

    The answers are here:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speed_of_sound

    Density has nothing to do with speed of sound — temperature (mean molecular velocity) has. For solids it’s more complicated. For plasmas, look at the electrons.

    Whatever physics you studied must have been a long, long time ago :-)

    …and I wonder why we discuss speed of sound anyway in the context of spiral arms. The mechanism there is quite different: gravitational instability combined with “detonation” of the galactic medium in OB star formation, quickly leading to supernovas. It’s an active mechanism. The dark gas and dust are at the leading edge of the arm, the OB associations, HII clouds and supernova remnants on the trailing edge.

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 18 Aug 2008 @ 4:28 AM

  358. Not sure where this discussion of waves in the interstellar medium started or where it’s going, but here’s more:

    The galactic medium (neutral gas, ionized gas and stars) supports a variety of physically relevant waves: MHD, “rotational”, self-gravitational, etc. Each obeys a dispersion relation which may reduce to the one for acoustic (e.g., sound) waves in some limit, usually when thermal energy dominates other (magnetic, gravitational, etc.) factors. But the full dispersion relations are complex and interesting, usually supporting “slow”, “fast” and other (e.g., Alfven) modes. Self gravity is usually important for spiral density waves in rotating media (as in the galaxy or even the particles of saturn’s rings); these waves can “shock” in a manner analogous to acoustic waves.

    The solar wind, near its termination shock, is very “super-fast mode” and very “super-alfvenic”. It obeys equations very similar to those of a gas flow expanding to supersonic speed through a nozzle, complete with an “exit” shock as the flow adjusts to the downstream pressure boundary condition.

    Martin, yes, the observed spiral structure is a dynamic affair, as you say. But gravitational density waves may initiate the whole business.

    Can you “hear” these waves? Sure, you just have to have the right kind of ears!

    Comment by Pat Cassen — 18 Aug 2008 @ 10:35 AM

  359. Mark, I’m aware of this level of answer, which is what you’re fixed on:

    Is there sound in space?
    In deep space, the large empty areas between stars and planets, there are no molecules to vibrate. There is no sound there. …
    http://www.qrg.northwestern.edu/projects/vss/docs/space-environment/1-is-there-sound-in-space.html

    That answer is based on the size of human ears. Seriously.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 18 Aug 2008 @ 10:37 AM

  360. Martin, you’re still off track. If I’m allowed, I’ll go into what those papers are talking about but get back to the point. Hank is getting back to the point but he’s still working like a climate denialist.

    Hank, I can find you the link to the absolutely 100% correct treatise on the Middle Ages Warm Period.

    Middle ages: we didn’t have cars.
    Warm: well if it was remembered this long, it MUST be warmer than now.

    You KNOW that’s wrong. Yet you’re doing the same thing here.

    I’ll start with the handwaving and if this doesn’t convince you, do the maths. I’ll tell you how later.

    In a sound wave, what is happening? Pressure waves. Rarefaction and compression. The medium transporting the sound is traveling back and forth. Now what makes the sound travel back? The pressure differential between peak and trough. Which is VERY small. But what’s the pressure difference between two areas in the medium? I’ve already shown you that. Much bigger. Still tiny, but much bigger. So the signal is absolutely 100% impossible to take from the noise.

    Think of it this way: if something pushes the atom in one direction, why would it go back to where it was? Gravity in denser clouds, but that’s nothing here. So what brings it (or a compatriot, but at some point, you’re going to run out of them unless there’s something bringing them) back here so that the cycle can begin again?

    Now if that’s not good enough, do the maths.

    We’ve actually got a great test of modelling here. Go *right* back to basics. We have computers that are fast, we have very simple maths to work with and only a small number of particles to consider.

    Take a piston box. Walls are proof. The empty space is 1m cubed and one side has a piston which can compress and expand the volume. It is filled with 1 million hydrogen atoms. The atoms start off with random energies and velocity vectors (selected so that they obey the relevant gas laws) and are at 3K. The piston moves 10cm (limit the compression so we don’t have to deal with carnot cycles and adiabatic losses) at whatever frequency you like.

    This is sound. This does not even depend on the presence of human ears.

    What happens to the time-dependent velocity variations of the atoms in that box.

    How long would it take you to discern the frequency of the piston from the velocity variations random noise gives? At a rough order of magnitude, I’d say the age of the universe. That does assume that the speed of the piston is not orders of magnitude more than the velocity of the particles and no relativistic effects take place.

    Do the modelling.

    Oh, and while we’re at this, please explain how the energy of a cosmic ray changes how ionising it is to an atom. It doesn’t. Unless you get a bullseye and collide. So the only thing that is important is how close the cosmic ray has to get to an atom in the interstellar medium to rip the electron out. Note: this is why OIII is much more prevalent: you don’t need so much pull to take the electron off.

    Now what’s the cross-section of an Hydrogen atom? Multiply that by 10,000 and then by 5 (the number of cosmic rays per cc) and that is how likely a hydrogen atom is to be ionised. Therefore, that the cosmic rays outnumber the hydrogen atoms doesn’t make all the hydrogen ionised (cf #348).

    Take the cosmic flux and that tells you how long a hydrogen atom will have between hits to re-acquire an electron.

    If this were prevalent, we’d be seeing a LOT MORE H-I lines in the sky than we do, and astronomy would be a LOT more difficult.

    But that was kind of a side rant.

    Comment by Mark — 18 Aug 2008 @ 12:27 PM

  361. Pat, MHD waves, self-gravitation waves, etc. all require a certain level of density.

    That density is not 1H/cc.

    These do exist and I know about them: Hell, all you GET from astronomy is light from the available spectrum, from which you use astrophysical application of known physics to explain how they happened. Solar physics relies EXTENSIVELY on Alfven waves to explain things that go on.

    But what density level is it when these effects become useful?

    A lot higher than 1H/cc.

    Now “the interstellar medium” is a good word. However, you’re jumping to conclusions. The interstellar medium include damn near vacuum (heck, on the cm scale, most of the gaps between stars is a vacuum devoid of any material particle not travelling at near-light), it includes dense (cold) nebulae. It includes dense hot emmision regions. It includes gas clouds that are the birthplace of stars.

    And because “the interstellar medium” contains dense nebulae, they also contain regions that can support sound waves. That doesn’t mean ALL of the interstellar region can. E.g. black holes. Wandering planets. Comets. Failed stars. Vacuum.

    In fact, most of the gaps between stars can’t support sound waves.

    Oh, and maybe an analogy will help here.

    During a hurricane, drop a stone in the sea. Look for ripples. Hey, it works in a calm sea!

    Comment by Mark — 18 Aug 2008 @ 12:37 PM

  362. Mark – Alfven waves propagate very nicely in a magnetized medium of only a few particles/cc and less. Self-gravitating density waves propagate in Saturn’s rings (pretty good vacuum between solid particles), as well as in a medium made only of stars and NO gas! And magneto-acoustic waves propagate in the solar wind where the density is only a few protons/cc. Pure sound waves do need collisions, but the relevant measure is mean-free-path/wavelength of the disturbance, no?

    But I think we basically agree.

    Comment by Pat Cassen — 18 Aug 2008 @ 3:11 PM

  363. Ok, and all this relates to the topic, how?

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 18 Aug 2008 @ 4:57 PM

  364. “…relates to the topic, how?” — Beats me.

    Comment by Pat Cassen — 18 Aug 2008 @ 5:38 PM

  365. Mark, while seriously off topic, the point was:
    1)The interstellar medium can support waves, including magnetoacoustic waves, alfven waves
    2)You are the one who brought up the speed of GCR (I was just pointing out that their flux is not negligible). I pointed out that the mean energy is less than you might think.

    If you look at the interstellar medium, its density is nonzero. Its particles interact–the average proton scatters 3 times from the Sun to Earth–so there IS a pressure. I see no limitation in the acoustic equation on density or pressure. Do you? Yes space is an excellent vacuum. No, it is not empty.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 18 Aug 2008 @ 6:00 PM

  366. Anyhow, it started with
    Brian H Says: 25 July 2008 at 1:25 PM
    which Mark immediately contradicted.

    Here’s Scholar using the terms.
    http://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&lr=&safe=off&q=+%2B%22speed+of+sound%22+%22density+wave%22+GALACTIC+ARM%22&btnG=Search

    I still don’t see how it matters for the topic. Enough!

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 18 Aug 2008 @ 6:14 PM

  367. Hank, #363. b) It’s a little late to be asking NOW isn’t it?

    b) It goes back to 344. Which, I think, is yours.

    Pat, #362. Right, but the magnetic fields are string enough to make the body bind. In air and most “thick” gases where an ideal gas is appropriate, mfp is the big factor: the molecules keep smacking into each other, meaning they mix and transfer energy readily. And you can treat the medium not as a bunch of random particles but approximate it as a continuous fluid.

    Saturns rings are also well constrained: the gravity of Saturn and the energy of their orbital does that.

    And magnetic fields require quite strong magnetic fields and ionised particles to be moving along them. Constrained again.

    But a strong orbital is not a feature of the basically cold and inert gases that occupy the majority of the interstellar distances.

    Likewise, ionised hydrogen is not a big feature over most of the volume of space and neither are sufficiently strong magnetic waves (though I’m somewhat reaching at the end there). Most of this rarified medium is diffuse, so the “law of large numbers” doesn’t work. E.g at 1cm, the electrostatic energy of two protons is less than 1/10th (something like 1/50th) of the *average* kinetic energy of the medium even at 3K. It isn’t well constrained by any forces and the energies involved mean that random issues are more important and any attempt to get a wave started in there much more likely to disperse the cloud as opposed to set up a wave of sound.

    Comment by Mark — 18 Aug 2008 @ 6:55 PM

  368. > 344
    Nope, 339, Brian. Brian, you still here? What is the relevance of that to the topic?
    ——-
    Recaptcha: Strugglers of ….

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 18 Aug 2008 @ 10:01 PM

  369. Hank, #368

    You were the one started on about how Brian on 339 was right, contrary to my response. I was just correcting his misapprehension. You started the argument.

    You started it by using the name of a paper that names “supersonic jets” and used that as proof of there being sound in the interstellar medium.

    Brian was just incorrect. You were stating a stupidity and I was trying to educate you. As much as what you were doing to astrophysics is the same as really rabid denialists use “gut feeling” to change the names of things that are real into something they can use to believe they are right.

    Something I pointed out several times yet you remained silent on them.

    Another denialist tactic.

    Hence my continuing attempts to correct you.

    Comment by Mark — 19 Aug 2008 @ 2:47 AM

  370. Dang. Ray, #365.

    you did bring up the energy of the cosmic rays. I didn’t. Or did you think that the interstellar medium is of an average energy of 10MeV?

    Comment by Mark — 19 Aug 2008 @ 2:49 AM

  371. Mark, From your #349: “Ray, the cosmic rays are going near lightspeed.” A 300 MeV gcr proton has a velocity of only about 0.6 C–not all that relativistic and roughly half are less energetic.

    As to relevance, it’s better than the diversion with Gusbob. ;-)

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 19 Aug 2008 @ 7:26 AM

  372. OK, we can track the term back to much earlier in the thread:
    Robert A. Rohde Says:
    10 March 2008 at 7:37 PM

    Re #2: The spiral pattern is created by a “supersonic” “shock wave” in the gas of the galaxy. The shock front moves at its own speed seperate from the velocities of stars, much the same way that ripples on a pond move faster than the water itself.

    I’m still curious why it matters whether or not the word “supersonic” is used — is there any difference in the physics? Are cosmic rays associated with “supersonic” “shock waves” more energetic, so passing through the spiral would show a variation in the energy of cosmic rays? (Is there another kind of shock wave?)

    Is this correlated with the the signal these guys are claiming to find that distinguishes passage through the spiral arm?

    Aside — Mark, I appreciate your persistence but could you focus on the physics _behind_ the terminology? Clearly people use various terms and you don’t like the one others introduced here. But regardless of what you call them, there they ARE — do the spiral arms make a distinct cosmic ray signal as claimed in the paper being discussed? what’s the difference in the imact on Earth?

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 19 Aug 2008 @ 8:57 AM

  373. Hank, here’s my take on it.

    Martin Vermeer’s #357 is relevant. The arms of spiral galaxies (like ours) are made visible by the bright O and B stars formed in them. These stars have lifetimes on the order of 10^6 years, much shorter than the roughly 10^8 year interval between passages of the longer-lived stars (like the Sun) through a spiral arm. So, from the perspective of the Sun, passage through a spiral arm is like going through a wave of O-B stars turning on and quickly (10^6 years) dying in supernova explosions.

    Now it is thought that cosmic rays originate in energetic environments like supernovae explosions and the shock waves caused by the powerful outflows from O and B stars (among other sources). If this is true, it is plausible that the Sun would experience an enhanced cosmic ray flux for the million years or so that it would take to go through the spiral arm, due simply to proximity to cosmic ray sources. Of couse this conclusion is depends on how fast the cosmic rays diffuse throughout the galaxy (pretty fast, I imagine), inhomogeneities in the arm itself, etc.

    Without getting into the semantics, the term “supersonic shock wave”, in this context, is not helpful.

    I should say that it seems to me unlikely that any of this is relevant to climate. The correlation with meteorite data that Shaviv claimed has been shown to be false (I can find the reference if you want), and that data has long been explained satisfactorily by meteoriticists as associated with exposure ages since asteroidal break-up. I don’t know anything about relevant paleo-climate data.

    Comment by Pat Cassen — 19 Aug 2008 @ 11:11 AM

  374. Gotcha, thanks Pat.
    > find the reference

    Gack. I tried to. There’s a lot out there, e.g. searching very recent papers in Scholar (I don’t have the papers, very curious to know if Gavin’s point about timing at top of this thread informs any of them)

    http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=1851772

    The galactic cycle of extinction
    M Gillman, H Erenler – International Journal of Astrobiology, 2008 – Cambridge Univ Press

    Scholar’s bit of excerpt:
    … Although this agrees with the periodicity of Fe–Ni meteorite exposure ages (143¡10, Shaviv (2003)) and the 140 Myr signal from the fossil record (Rohde & …

    and

    A long-term association between global temperature and biodiversity, origination and extinction in …
    PJ Mayhew, GB Jenkins, TG Benton – Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 2008 – The Royal Society
    … However, the age of meteorites is likely to be linked causally to cosmic ray flux 4 2 0 … B (2008) Page 5. (Rohde & Muller 2005), and the latter (Shaviv & Veizer …

    and

    Cyclicity in the fossil record mirrors rock outcrop area – all 2 versions »
    AB Smith, AJ McGowan – Biology Letters, 2005 …
    In a recent article, Rohde & Muller (Rohde & Muller 2005 Nature 434, 208–210 …

    A Gauss-Vaníek Spectral Analysis of the Sepkoski Compendium: No New Life Cycles…
    M Omerbashich – COMPUTING IN SCIENCE & ENGINEERING, 2006 – doi.ieeecomputersociety.org
    … (Figure reprinted from RA Rohde and RA Muller, “Cycles in Fossil Diversity,” Nature, vol. 434, 10 Mar. 2005, pp. 208 210.) Rohde and Muller based their …

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 19 Aug 2008 @ 11:42 AM

  375. Er, Knud and Rasmus’s, not Gavin’s, point at top of thread. Seems this is a lively area. I’ll sit back and read and, yes, try to learn something.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 19 Aug 2008 @ 11:44 AM

  376. Pat, not what I read as precisely, but doable. A bit like “mean free path”. It’s a good handle on it, but the precisionist (or pedant, depending on taste) is itching to teach you a better way. :-)

    Hank, there’s a reason why I didn’t make a complaint about inaccuracy on #2: I didn’t feel it inaccurate.

    I did comment (like you did with the “carbon doesn’t grow on trees”) about the speed of sound of the interstellar medium. And that was because it was wrong. Very wrong.

    Then in #344 YOU came out and said that there was too sound in space. Now if you wanted to keep this on track for climate work, you shouldn’t have made that call in #344. If you wanted it now, you shouldn’t have made the call in #372. Why? Because that didn’t get us back on track and added yet another message to the tangential discourse: yours.

    If I didn’t think this place was somewhere where incorrect statements and lack of knowledge in a particular area was appropriate (or if I thought you unable to learn), I would have just said “you’re wrong”.

    Comment by Mark — 19 Aug 2008 @ 12:03 PM

  377. Hank, this is the reference I was thinking of (you might recognize some names):

    Cosmic Rays, Carbon Dioxide, and Climate
    EOS, TRANSACTIONS AMERICAN GEOPHYSICAL UNION, VOL. 85, NO. 4, doi:10.1029/2004EO040002, 2004
    by Rahmstorf, Archer, Ebel, Eugster, Jouzel, Maraun, Neu, Schmidt, Severinghaus, Weaver and Zachos

    Unfortunately the abstract is not informative (it’s just the first paragraph of the paper), and, sadly, you need a subscription to EOS to see the rest. Send me an email at pcassen@mail.arc.nasa.gov if you want a pdf of it.

    [Response: It's available here. - gavin]

    Comment by Pat Cassen — 19 Aug 2008 @ 1:53 PM

  378. So is it density, or temperature? Sources disagree.
    http://www.google.com/search?q=%22speed+of+sound+of+the+interstellar+medium%22
    Clearly somebody is wrong on the Internet.

    It appears not to matter at all for this topic.
    If it does I’m sure someone will correct me.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 19 Aug 2008 @ 2:04 PM

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