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More on sun-climate relations

Filed under: — rasmus @ 9 March 2010

Four new papers discuss the relatiosnhip between solar activity and climate: one by Judith Lean (2010) in WIREs Climate Change, a GRL paper by Calogovic et al. (2010), Kulmala et al. (2010), and an on-line preprint by Feulner and Rahmstorf (2010). They all look at different aspects of how changes in solar activity may influence our climate.

The paper by Judith Lean (2010) has the character of a review article, summarizing past studies on the relationship between solar forcing and climate. The main message from her article is that the solar forcing probably plays a modest role for the global warming over the last 100 years (10% or less). It’s a nice overview, but I miss treatment of uncertainties.

Her analysis is based on the HadCRUT3 data, and I wonder if she would get similar results if she chose the GISTEMP or NCDC instead. The choice may in particular be relevant for the discussion of the temperatures after 1998.

Personally, I regard the data on solar activity before 1900 as quite uncertain too. The reason is that there are strange things happening to the solar cycle length in the shift from the 19th to the 20th century. Hence, any analysis based on the past centuries is uncertain because of suspect data quality in the early part of the record. Lean mentions that proxy-based records are uncertain, however.

Another source of uncertainty stems from the analysis itself – a regression analysis with chaotic data can easily yield misleading results. Gavin and I showed in a recent paper that multiple regression can produce strange results when applied to the global mean temperature and a number of forcings.

In other words, I think the reader may get the wrong impression from Lean (2010) that the link between solar activity and climate is better established than the data and methods suggest. Especially when she discusses forecasts for the near future (eg. for year 2014) – I fear that such a discussion can be misinterpreted and misused. However, that’s my view, and it does not necessarily mean that her paper is incorrect – quite the opposite, I think her main conclusions are sound (Her estimate of the solar contribution to the global warming over past century – 10% or less – is in good agreement with the figure Gavin and I got in our analysis).

The positive side is that the paper is probably clearer and more accessible without all these caveats. I also think she makes an interesting point when she discusses ‘fundamental puzzles’ associated with claims of strong solar role in terms of the past warming. She puts this into the context of climate sensitivity, arguing that it would imply that Earth’s climate be insensitive to well-measured increases in GHG concentrations and simultaneously excessively sensitive to poorly known solar brightness changes. Furthermore, Lean argues that it would also require that the Sun’s brightness increased more in the past century than at any time in the past millennium – a situation not readily supported by observations.

The paper of Calogovic et al. (2010) is a follow-up of a recent paper by Svensmark et al. (2009), looking into the claim that the cloud water content drops after a Forbush event. Their work involved estimating cosmic ray fluxes for the whole planet, and comparing it to local cloud information derived from satellites. They concluded that the Forbush events had no detectable effect on the clouds.

Moreover, they also argued that the analysis of Svensmark et al. (2009) gave unreliable results since it included a Forbush event on January 20, 2005 which was accompanied by a strong solar proton event. However, they did not explain explicitly why such proton events would disturb the measurements, but referred to another study by Laken et al. (2009) in Geophysical Research Letter. Laken et. al. only discusses the proton events briefly, and refers to a study by Fluckiger et al. (2005), who state that “The cosmic ray ground level enhancement (GLE) on January 20, 2005 is ranked among the largest in years, with neutron monitor count rates increased by factors of more than 50″.

But there is no reference to proton events in Fluckiger et al. (2005), so I’m not convinced that proton events will invalidate the analysis of Svensmark et al. (2009). Perhaps I’m missing something? Anyway, this is only a minor detail, and the rest of the analysis of Calogovic et al. (2010) seems more convincing. Their conclusion is supported by Kulmala et al. (2010): “galactic cosmic rays appear to play a minor role for atmospheric aerosol formation events, and so for the connected aerosol-climate effects as well”. Kulmala’s group in Finland boasts many world-renowned aerosol physicists.

The study by Kulmala et al. (2010) was based on near-ground measurements of aerosols, magnetic field, cosmic rays, sunlight intensity (solar radiation), and ionization over a 13-year long period (~1 solar cycle). They also used airborne Neutral cluster and Air Ion Spectrometer, LIDAR and Forward Scattering Spectrometer Probe measurements. They failed to detect any correlation between cosmic ray ionization intensity and atmospheric aerosol formation.

Feulner and Rahmstorf address a speculation stated by Lean: the possibility of solar forcing countering anthropogenic global warming. Their paper examines the effect a solar grand minimum (low solar activity similar to that inferred for the Maunder Minimum) would have on the global mean temperature by 2100. By accounting for a corresponding reduction in forcing for the future in a climate model study, they conclude that the effect is negligible (less than 0.3K compared to 3.7 – 4.5K if the SRES A1b or A2 emission scenarios were assumed).

So what can we learn from these articles? What we see is how science often works – increases in knowledge by increments and independent studies re-affirming previous findings, namely that changes in the sun play a minor role in climate change on decadal to centennial scales. After all, 2009 was the second-warmest year on record, and by far the warmest in the southern hemisphere, despite the record solar minimum. The solar signal for the past 25 years is not just small but negative (i.e. cooling), but this has not noticeably slowed down global warming. But there are also many unknowns remaining, and the largest uncertainties concern clouds, cloud physics, and their impact on climate. In this sense, I find it ironic that some people still rely on the cosmic rays argument as their strongest argument against AGW – it does involve poorly known clouds physics!


192 Responses to “More on sun-climate relations”

  1. 101
    Andrew says:

    Hank Roberts: “I hope a competent statistics blogger picks this up and does some tutoring, it would be interesting to watch.”

    Multiple regression analysis is actually quite a wide area and to really know what you’re doing you would have to cover more ground than I’ve seen in any blog; however there are very good texts which really help a lot. For people that don’t have much statistics background, you have to start there, my favorite recommendation would be Bickel and Doksum’s ‘Mathematical Statistics’ (the old 1977 edition – considered by many the best introduction to the subject every). However whatever text your local statistics department uses for the first semester graduate course in mathematical statistics will get you off the ground. Then you are in a position to build your understanding with the many topics that arise. But if you beat your way through Bickel and Doksum, you will have the basic tools and language to find the handle on most situations.

  2. 102
    Garrett says:

    #90. Nice! It’s accelerating?

  3. 103
    Garrett says:

    #86

    “The people, OTOH, will relocate. We can handle it – there is plenty of land. Similarly, one can’t say it would be all negative economic impact.”

    Actually, the RICH people will relocate. The poor people will be left to fend for themselves, glug, glug. I can see how this is all going toplay out now.

  4. 104
    Gilles says:

    Pekka “No action means adaptation to some 5°C of warming, or probably more as some imperfectly known thresholds will be passed.”

    No, I did the calculation with the known reserves of FF, for which only 2°C or so are predicted (see below).

    Nick :”I suggest you read the reports of AR4 WGII (impacts) and WGIII (mitigation), which deal with precisely these questions. France, of course, is a rich country: it is thus well-placed to adapt to climate change. Africa, most of south and south-east Asia, and much of Latin America, are much less so – and of course changes in where and when rain falls and the number of extreme weather events are more important than simple changes in mean temperatures.”
    Nick, I’m not sure you read carefully the AR4 : have you noticed that for climate events to become extreme, we need to burn a lot of fossil fuels, and that these fuels must be burnt by people through a constant economic growth? so it shouldn’t be impossible to help these people become richer , approximately as rich as we are now. On the other hand, France is rich because it burns a lot of energy, including a fair share of fossil fuels. So in a way you confirm what I’m saying : availability of FF is much more important than temperature to determine the standard of living.

    CFU :”What about stopping something that will take us another 2C?
    What if mitigation means we have 80 years to “adapt” and BAU means 30 years?”

    My calculation was that with known reserves, we shouldn’t be over 2°C, and I doubt we can do less. I doubt also that stopping the current use of FF would do less harm that avoiding these 2°C, which seems to be a herculean task, probably possible only through the complete collapse of industrial civilization. I don’t really see the advantage..
    Now avoiding an extra 2 ou 3°C is very simple , but curiously rarely proposed : just forbid the exploration, mining, and extraction of unconventional resources. This is the easiest thing to do, since we didn’t really start to exploit them.But that’s another debate.

    “Mitigation is itself an adaption: you adapt to the ghg nature of fossil fuels by NOT BURNING THEM.”
    Possible only if we can avoid completely to use them, which is very unlikely. I can insure you that we will burn them all up to the last drop, the only question is how much is economically extractable. I think that it much less that what you think, and so the results will be obtained not by our smartness and will, but by natural constraints. And as I said, as we probably can’t power the industrial society without them, it will be very likely quite painful, much more than the 2°C warming. Now I know you don’t share my opinion, but I’m confident that this will be confirmed much sooner than the sensitivity to CO2, since peak oil is around us just now.

    Kevin :”With global warming, every place becomes “a stranger to itself”–every ecology must adapt, and in many cases it is reasonably foreseeable that some adaptations may be difficult or impossible.”

    Kevin , every place HAS became a “stranger to itself” since the beginning of the XXth century through industrialization , the life is nowhere like before. The warming is possible only through another considerable economic growth. So in ANY CASE, the all day life will be very different in all these countries. Now do you contend that the 0.7°C warming since the beginning of the century has had a profound influence on the all day life ? I’m quite unable to know which was the average temperature 100 years ago (actually some of my ancestors came from Poland where it was probably very different), and guess what : I don’t care.. again the major cause of change has been the use of fossil fuels in the past, and will be their exhaustion in the future. Just wake up….

  5. 105
    Frank Giger says:

    “In addition to what Ray Ladbury says, have you thought about the political consequences of moving tens or hundreds of millions of people across national boundaries?”

    I had no idea there were that many people in Miami, or that they would suddenly migrate to Canada, Mexico, Peru, or any other country. Chances are more likely they’ll move to Orlando, Charlotte, Atlanta, or any number of places in the USA.

    I know quite a number of folks from New Orleans that aren’t moving back because they found better jobs and opportunities in other cities. They still say they’re from New Orleans as a point of pride, but in reality they’ve made new roots in another city.

    I like Miami – it is a great city – but one can’t move it. To say one could – or, rather to ask where it could be moved to – is poor rhetoric.

    We know how to build cities quickly; Birmingham, Alabama was a blank spot in 1870 and a metropolitan city by 1900. I wouldn’t underestimate the American people’s ability to adapt and adjust, or our economy; history is not on the side of the doomsayer.

  6. 106
    Septic Matthew says:

    87, Hank Roberts

    At first reading, that paper by Wang is impressive. It has a 0.79K temp increase in response to a CO2 increase by a factor of 1.25, which is pretty accurate as a real prediction. It then says that it isn’t yet (namely, in 1976) known whether CO2 is a major factor, which somewhat dilutes its “prediction”. Still, I repeat that it is impressive. It’s pretty good.

    Thanks

  7. 107
    John says:

    64
    Completely Fed Up says:
    10 March 2010 at 3:47 AM

    re 63: And? So are you going to say 2C is not significant?

    Less significant and less implications than a 2C degree drop, especially for northern hemisphere populations. so thank god that’s not happening.

  8. 108
    John says:

    89
    Witgren says:
    10 March 2010 at 5:06 PM “See the problem yet?”

    Whatever the reason, man has adapted, migrated survived or died since time began. What has changed is our modern, over crowded, dependent, static society.

    Lets say the world pulls together, stops burning fossil fuels (which will kill millions in the process) and starts a decline in C02 levels while planting a ton of trees again.

    Result, we return to the natural cycle and future generations are having to migrate to escape glacial advance and lessening aridity, instead of sea level rise and heat.

    Both “extremes” have the same basic outcome – migration and mass mortality.

  9. 109
    John says:

    “And we’re talking about just one of the impacts of global warming! And then there are all the other countries. Bangladesh, anyone?”

    Bearing in mind that for the last 200 recorded years Bangladesh has suffered catastrophic flooding, what makes you think reducing C02 will lessen that?

    Can you produce a study that shows that catastrophic, ie above normal (40% + land surface) flooding has occurred in the past 30 years compared to the previous 170?

  10. 110
    Completely Fed Up says:

    “92
    Septic Matthew says:
    10 March 2010 at 6:01 PM

    85, Completely Fed Up: What’s to say you won’t repeat the same thing in another 30 years?

    It depends on what happens between now and then. ”

    No, it depends on why you’re ignoring 130 years we have so far.

    Why are you holding out for 160 years when 130 is enough?

  11. 111

    CFU: So prove that those conditions do not hold, SM.

    SM (75): You can not prove that what you don’t know does not matter.

    BPL: Surprisingly, sometimes you can do just that. It’s called analysis of variance, and if you can account for most of the variance in whatever you’re studying, you’re often (not always) in a position to say that, yes–WHATEVER the other influences are, known or unknown, their influence has to be minor.

  12. 112

    HarryDinPT (83): What are you going to say when the physics of the GCR/cloud is established?

    BPL: That it can’t have been driving the recent global warming because the GCR flux hasn’t changed very much for 50 years.

  13. 113

    Frank Giger (86): it isn’t like one day everyone is going to wake up underwater.

    BPL: Cities do not have to be underwater to be made uninhabitable by sea level rise. The sea need only rise far enough to seep into aquifers and back up sewers. Without fresh water, and sewage disposal, a modern city becomes uninhabitable on a time scale of days to weeks.

  14. 114

    quokka, Thomas, and Hank:

    I briefly discuss the geopolitical impacts of climate change on one of my blog posts that is aimed toward trying to convince conservatives that they need to care.

  15. 115
    Completely Fed Up says:

    John: “Less significant and less implications than a 2C degree drop, especially for northern hemisphere populations. so thank god that’s not happening.”

    Proof, please.

  16. 116
    Completely Fed Up says:

    Gilles: “My calculation was that with known reserves, we shouldn’t be over 2°C, and I doubt we can do less.”

    How is this calculation done?

    Or did you just decide that CO2’s effect after 500ppm is irrelevant? If so, please explain Venus.

  17. 117
    Completely Fed Up says:

    Garrett: “Actually, the RICH people will relocate. The poor people will be left to fend for themselves, glug, glug. I can see how this is all going toplay out now.”

    And here you see the reason for people to be against AGW mitigation.

    The cost of failure is not borne by them, but the cost of trying is.

  18. 118
    Nick Gotts says:

    John,

    Lets say the world pulls together, stops burning fossil fuels (which will kill millions in the process) and starts a decline in C02 levels while planting a ton of trees again.

    No, a planned decline in fossil fuel use will not kill millions. It would mainly affect the rich, who burn most of the fossil fuels, and for them, it would mean somewhat fewer consumer goodies. Incidentally, burning fossil fuels, coal in particular, does kill many people, because of the toxins emitted.

    Result, we return to the natural cycle and future generations are having to migrate to escape glacial advance and lessening aridity, instead of sea level rise and heat.

    When denialists resort to this kind of nonsense, you know they’ve run out of arguments. Glacial advance is not expected for at least 20,000 years.

  19. 119
    Sekerob says:

    Re BPL reply to HarryDinPT:

    Someone (never can remember who) mentioned the La Champs Excursion some 40k yrs BP, so went to read… loads of 10Be, but no discernible change in temperature per the proxy records. How much GCR does HarryDinPT want when our nearest magnetic field collapsed for hundreds of years?

  20. 120
    votenotokyoto says:

    To Hank Roberts (100) – I don’t think you understood my point which was following up an earlier post (60). I never claimed that sunspot cycles controlled El Nino. Clearly the El Nino/La Nina cycle is quite a lot shorter than the sunspot cycle. It also has much more influence on sea temperature than the solar cycle. But the effects can add or detract from each other. At present sea temperatures are warm because of an El Nino while we are near the bottom of a solar cycle. My point is that the temperature effect of a solar cycle on sea temperatures lags the solar activity much like the way peak arctic ice lags mid winter by a few months. This point is also made in the paper you cited which makes the point that the length of a solar cycle is about the same length as the time it takes for effect to occur which will smooth the effect. But if a solar cycle were a lot weaker than its predecessors as were cycles 5 and 6 around the time of the Dalton minimum there is an effect on climate. Cycle 24 may be similarly weak, which in my opinion makes a scorcer El Nino in 2014, 15 or 16 unlikely.

    The sun influences global temperature. Ocean current cycles influence global temperatures. UHI effect influences reported global temperatures. And to a slight extent greenhouse gas concentrations influence global tempertures. But all of these influences do not properly account for all warming. So should we
    a) Continue to investigate the causes,
    b) Double check all of the records,
    c) Declare the science as settled. [edit]

    [Response: Cutting and pasting ridiculous lists of hyped nonsense is not conducive to conversation here. None of those claims have anything to do with us, and indeed even your first claim that we (working scientists remember!) have declared that all science is settled is completely undermined by the fact that we have declared the complete opposite. It is easy to make up strawman opponents with no ethics or principles and then present yourself as the man of reason, but that is posturing, not dialogue. – gavin]

    It is nice to read a discussion of the science. It is clear to all reasonable observers that solar activity can not by itself explain global temperature changes. It is equally clear to anyone with a good understanding of heat transfer that increased CO2 in the atmosphere can not explain all global warming. What we need is a better understanding of the science. We do not need a panicked reaction into economically damaging and very probably futile actions to limit or make more costly the use of fossil fuels when there aren’t enough practical alternatives. Even some AGW believers accept this.

  21. 121
    Geoff Wexler says:

    Re: #87 Hank (Wang et al,1976)

    Useful and interesting.
    1. It warned that the chlorofluorocarbons (CFC’s or Freons) would become a significant cause of global warming if they were to increase by an order of magnitude. This was quite a possibility considering the rapid rate of growth of their use. This paper must have been read and ignored by the campaign to deny their other bad effect, ozone hole destruction, of the Freons.

    The same lobbyists were involved in trying to rubbish both global warming science and ozone hole science. There is a passage in Channel 4’s anti-documentary the ‘Great Global Warming Swindle’ which ridicules those early environmentalists for campaigning against the use of CFC’s.

    2. Relative humidity not likely to be constant in the stratosphere.
    As far as I know , I did not receive an answer to this question :

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2010/01/the-wisdom-of-solomon/comment-page-6/#comment-158081

    It turns out that this 34 year old paper has a comment on it.

  22. 122
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Frank Giger says, “…history is not on the side of the doomsayer.”

    No, but math and science are. Do you understand that the only things that kept Malthus from being right were
    1)Mass migration to the new world
    2)the discovery that we could turn petroleum into corn and soy beans?

    And you do understand that there are now no new continents for people to migrate to and that the oil is almost gone, and that there are nearly 7 billion people, with 9-10 billion expected by mid century, don’t you? You are obviously not paying attention.

  23. 123
    Ray Ladbury says:

    John and Frank Giger,
    Isn’t it interesting that those who understand the least about the current situation humanity finds itself in are those who are most sanguine, optimistic and complacent.

  24. 124
    Completely Fed Up says:

    Ray: “Frank Giger says, “…history is not on the side of the doomsayer.””

    Uh, those who said “the banking system will crash” are, historically, doomsayers and, again historically, proven right.

  25. 125
    Ray Ladbury says:

    HarryDinPT,
    I will also be fascinated to see the results of CLOUD. If the results are positive, it could be an important piece to understanding the variation of temperatures over the solar cycle.

    What it will not do is invalidate the known physics of CO2–which is constrained by many separate lines of evidence. What is more, given that GCR fluxes have not changed significantly in 50 years based on neutron data–and certainly not in 30-40 years as shown in satellite data, and since cloud condensation nuclei are not a limiting factor in cloud formation, it is extremely unlikely that it accounts for current warming.

    I certainly wouldn’t bet the farm on it–though you seem to not mind betting the future of mankind on a 20:1 longshot.

  26. 126
    Nick Gotts says:

    have you noticed that for climate events to become extreme, we need to burn a lot of fossil fuels, and that these fuels must be burnt by people through a constant economic growth? so it shouldn’t be impossible to help these people become richer , approximately as rich as we are now. – Gilles,

    Have you noticed that we are burning a lot of fossil fuels? Have you noticed the vast gap in wealth between rich countries and poor ones? Have you noticed that there will be 2-3 billion more people in the world by 2050? Have you noticed that if the rest of the world were to become as rich as France by burning fossil fuels the resultant rise in temperature would be far more than 2 degrees? Have you noticed that according to the best available estimates, a reduction in GHG emissions of at least 80% by 2050 is needed if we are to avoid a disastrous rise in temperature?

    My calculation was that with known reserves, we shouldn’t be over 2°C

    Have you noticed that your calculation was complete rubbish, even with your unjustified assumption that CO2 levels would not exceed 550ppm, because you had not taken into account the fact that the sun has got considerably brighter in the last 60,000,000 years, and there is a lot of evidence that medium-term climate sensitivity is around 3 degrees C? Have you noticed that while the era of cheap oil is probably ending, there is plenty of natural gas, coal, and unconventional oil sources?

    Finally, have you noticed that you are simultaneously arguing that the whole world can become as rich as France by burning fossil fuels, and that we are on the point of running out of them?

  27. 127
    Frank Giger says:

    I’m paying attention. I’m just not throwing my hands up and running in circles while screaming.

    The interesting thing is this quote:

    “Garrett: ‘Actually, the RICH people will relocate. The poor people will be left to fend for themselves, glug, glug. I can see how this is all going toplay out now.’

    And here you see the reason for people to be against AGW mitigation.

    The cost of failure is not borne by them, but the cost of trying is.”

    It is telling in a lot of ways, particularly the slur against being part of the First World. I won’t apologize for my standard of living.

    Second, the poor in my Miami will literally drown due to sea level rise? Really? “Glug, glug” indeed.

    [Response: What do think the socio-economic profile of people killed by Katrina was? – gavin]

    I’m all for reducing emissions and pollution – but haven’t seen anything really worthwhile politically to that end. We are far better off putting our resources into adapting to climate change (and the geopolitical fallout) than pursue less effective courses.

    I can’t find it written down anywhere that the West (and the USA in particular) really does have to feed and house the world.

    [Response: Actually, this was written down over a century before the founding of the republic. – gavin]

  28. 128
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Voteno says: “We do not need a panicked reaction into economically damaging and very probably futile actions to limit or make more costly the use of fossil fuels when there aren’t enough practical alternatives.”

    Well, I certainly agree that we don’t want to act on panic. However, if that is the case, then is it not better to act now, before the worst effects of climate change manifest and cause panic?

    And as to raising the cost of fossil fuels, shouldn’t fossil fuels reflect their true cost–including damage to the environment? I would have thought that such costing would be essential to the efficient functioning of a free market.

    Does it really make sense to send raw materials halfway around the globe to China, have them build our furniture and then ship it back halfway around the globe to us when there are unemployed furniture workers in North Carolina?

    Does it make sense that I can buy tropical fruits like durian and jackfruit in the US more cheaply than I can buy locally grown apples and pears (if I can even find the latter)?

    Overly cheap energy costs distort the global economy and do so to the detriment of the US. It is time for that–and for the free ride given to environmental rapists–to end…NOW.

  29. 129

    There’s also the example of the insightful and intelligent “doomsayer” H.G. Wells, who by 1902 predicted massive air attacks on civilians as a defining characteristic of 20th century history. Of course, he thought it would take until about 1950, so perhaps you could say he was insufficiently pessimistic.

    Kind of like the IPCC–based on recent trends in areas such as sea ice, glacier melt (well, except the Himalaya goof) and sea level rise.

    http://hubpages.com/hub/Global-Warming-Science-And-The-Dawn-Of-Flight

  30. 130
    Gilles says:

    CFU : “Gilles: “My calculation was that with known reserves, we shouldn’t be over 2°C, and I doubt we can do less.”
    How is this calculation done? Or did you just decide that CO2’s effect after 500ppm is irrelevant? If so, please explain Venus.”

    Known reserves + Bern absorption models. Can be done on a excel worksheet. Gives between 500 and 600 ppm, given uncertainties in the reserves. To exceed largely 2°C, we need a considerable amount of unconventional resources (2 or 3 times known reserves). It’s enough to forbid their exploiting to solve most of the problem – but my opinion is that we don’t need forbidding, they will just be too expensive and difficult to extract.

  31. 131
    Completely Fed Up says:

    “Known reserves + Bern absorption models”

    Known reserves allow well over 1000ppm.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Phanerozoic_Carbon_Dioxide.png

    It isn’t destroyed, you know. Just put out of the way somewhere, like under a trillion tons of rock…

  32. 132
    Completely Fed Up says:

    “127
    Frank Giger says:
    11 March 2010 at 8:40 AM

    I’m paying attention. I’m just not throwing my hands up and running in circles while screaming.”

    You are, rather.

    At least in the same way as others here are doing that.

    “It is telling in a lot of ways, particularly the slur against being part of the First World. I won’t apologize for my standard of living.”

    An example of throwing your hands up, running in circles and screaming “I WANT MY MTV!!!!”.

  33. 133
    Nick Gotts says:

    Gilles,
    Known reserves of what? Known reserves of recoverable coal are around 900 Gt; burning this would produce over 2 Tt of carbon dioxide. This in itself, taking no account of unquantified and unknown reserves, of oil and natural gas, or of other greenhouse gases, would already make a temperature rise of more than 2 degrees from pre-industrial levels likely.

  34. 134
    t_p_hamilton says:

    John does not get the point about Bangladesh:”Bearing in mind that for the last 200 recorded years Bangladesh has suffered catastrophic flooding, what makes you think reducing C02 will lessen that?”

    Raising CO2 will raise sea levels, a little different from rain caused floods in source of water, type of water and permanence.

  35. 135
    Nick Gotts says:

    It is telling in a lot of ways, particularly the slur against being part of the First World. I won’t apologize for my standard of living.

    It’s not a “slur against being part of the First World”. It’s aprotest against selfishness and greed.

    I can’t find it written down anywhere that the West (and the USA in particular) really does have to feed and house the world. – Frank Giger

    How about a responsibility not to impose vast environmental change on the rest of the world by changing the climate and acidifying the oceans?

  36. 136
    Lotharsson says:

    “Did nobody bother to re-refute the ‘votenotokyo’ poster’s claims about sunspot cycles controlling El Nino?”

    Isn’t the correct term “re-bunking” now? Where did I see that?

  37. 137
    Hasis says:

    Response: What do think the socio-economic profile of people killed by Katrina was? – gavin

    also, not forgetting the soc-econ differentiation of impact that was exhibited after Andrew’s landfall

    http://www.amazon.ca/Hurricane-Andrew-Ethnicity-Sociology-Disasters/dp/0415168112

  38. 138
    Witgren says:

    John,

    How do you arrive at your conclusion that “[if] the world pulls together, stops burning fossil fuels (which will kill millions in the process) and starts a decline in C02 levels while planting a ton of trees again.”

    Why does stopping the burning of fossil fuels equate with the death of millions?

  39. 139
    Witgren says:

    “Frank Giger says:
    11 March 2010 at 2:15 AM
    “In addition to what Ray Ladbury says, have you thought about the political consequences of moving tens or hundreds of millions of people across national boundaries?”

    I had no idea there were that many people in Miami, or that they would suddenly migrate to Canada, Mexico, Peru, or any other country. Chances are more likely they’ll move to Orlando, Charlotte, Atlanta, or any number of places in the USA.”

    This feels like stating the bleeding obvious, but Miami is far from the only populated coastal area on the planet. Those people will need to go somewhere, and there may not be either room or opportunities for them within their own countries.

    “I know quite a number of folks from New Orleans that aren’t moving back because they found better jobs and opportunities in other cities. They still say they’re from New Orleans as a point of pride, but in reality they’ve made new roots in another city.”

    There are also people who are worse off than they were. People that owned houses that are now renting, people who had good jobs that now have lower incomes, people who had to replace other lost property. People who have never recovered and are still unemployed or marginally employed.

    It’s easy to handwave away such effects when you are personally feeling them. Are you volunteering to take in a Miami family or give them employment when the time comes?

    “I like Miami – it is a great city – but one can’t move it. To say one could – or, rather to ask where it could be moved to – is poor rhetoric.”

    You’re arguing semantics here – the point is the population of Miami – and its suburbs and hinderlands – will have to go somewhere.

    “We know how to build cities quickly; Birmingham, Alabama was a blank spot in 1870 and a metropolitan city by 1900. I wouldn’t underestimate the American people’s ability to adapt and adjust, or our economy; history is not on the side of the doomsayer.”

    It may surprise you to learn that there are not so many “blank spots” on the map anymore – the most desirable locations are already long taken. In 1870 the US population was 38.5 million. Today it’s estimated that it’s fast approaching 310 million and could already be past that. The rate of increase has been bouncing around the 10-15% rate between censuses in recent decades, if that pattern continues to hold true by 2050 we’ll be over 450 million assuming the low end of that growth holds – if it’s higher the U.S. could easily be over 500 million.

    Also, it’s again easy to be blase about the economy “adapting and adjusting” when it is not you personally having to be part of that adapting and adjusting. Mankind “adapted and adjusted” to the Black Death and two World Wars, but on a personal level it was catastrophic for individuals, families, and communities.

  40. 140
    Gilles says:

    Known reserves + Bern absorption models”

    Known reserves allow well over 1000ppm”

    I meant PROVED reserves.
    “Known reserves of what? Known reserves of recoverable coal are around 900 Gt; burning this would produce over 2 Tt of carbon dioxide. This in itself, taking no account of unquantified and unknown reserves, of oil and natural gas, or of other greenhouse gases, would already make a temperature rise of more than 2 degrees from pre-industrial levels likely.”

    A realistic (Hubbert-type) curve wouldn’t give 900 burnt before 2100, because there would be still some left after this date. Anyway I think it is unlikely that we will burn less than proved reserves : it would mean that at some date, we would have a ZERO fossil extraction rate, whereas there is still a fair amount reachable under the ground? very unlikely, unless we have found a way of replacing them entirely- which is again only wishful thinking.

  41. 141

    Feulner and Rahmstorf address a speculation stated by Lean: the possibility of solar forcing countering anthropogenic global warming. Their paper examines the effect a solar grand minimum (low solar activity similar to that inferred for the Maunder Minimum) would have on the global mean temperature by 2100. By accounting for a corresponding reduction in forcing for the future in a climate model study, they conclude that the effect is negligible (less than 0.3K compared to 3.7 – 4.5K if the SRES A1b or A2 emission scenarios were assumed).

    .

    I think that's the sort of conclusion that someone taking an HONEST look at that area of the science could agree with — a Grand Minimum would delay warming, which would the resume with a vengeance once solar activity returned to normal. SC24 is much weaker, thus far, than either SC22 or SC23, and I have to believe that the failure to produce a new record high year since 1998 (HadCRUT is my hero …) has been caused, in no small part, by the wind down from SC23 and the anemic startup with SC24. But eventually, we'll get to SC25, and then SC26 and then much warmer, with a new record high year certainly by 2014, if not 2012 or 2013.

    So what can we learn from these articles? What we see is how science often works – increases in knowledge by increments and independent studies re-affirming previous findings, namely that changes in the sun play a minor role in climate change on decadal to centennial scales. After all, 2009 was the second-warmest year on record, and by far the warmest in the southern hemisphere, despite the record solar minimum. The solar signal for the past 25 years is not just small but negative (i.e. cooling), but this has not noticeably slowed down global warming. But there are also many unknowns remaining, and the largest uncertainties concern clouds, cloud physics, and their impact on climate. In this sense, I find it ironic that some people still rely on the cosmic rays argument as their strongest argument against AGW – it does involve poorly known clouds physics!

    I think that if it hadn’t “noticeably slowed down global warming” there would be a lot less “Global Cooling” chatter in the blogosphere. That kind of statement strikes me more as “Neener, neener, are not!” wishful thinking. Rather, “The solar signal for the past 25 years is not just small but negative” followed by “and HadCRUT is flat, not strongly downward”. You can throw in any statements you’d like about GISS, but ignoring the flatness of the past 12 years ain’t making the denialosphere shut up.

    At any rate, I’m definitely excited about the next two or three years as we ramp up into SC24 and we hit a new record high — I definitely think that will put a kink in the whole “Global Cooling” mess. I don’t see the late 90’s kind of run up repeating itself for another 10 to 15 years, but we’ve still got SC25 to wait for!

  42. 142
    Hank Roberts says:

    FCH, I can’t follow the logic. If a ‘grand minimum’ lowers warming only slightly compared to increase from greenhouse gas, why would you ‘have to believe’ that the much smaller variation in solar forcing would explain so much of what’s happened?

  43. 143
    Tim Jones says:

    Much to my dismay I’ve found the contact page on my website crashed just when I needed it most. Apparently ISP the server crashed and the backup was incomplete.

    Everyone replying to my requests for images, etc who used it did so to no avail. If you replied to the following message, or if you didn’t notice it earlier, the contact page works now.

    Please try again.

    The Climate Summit http://www.theclimatesummit.org/ needs photographic images of various examples of the impact of global warming and climate change as well as images of places which will be impacted.

    We need leads for:

    Madagascar has been recommended by one of us here as instructional regarding the loss of elevation due to deforestation I believe.

    (Thanks Ray, I see you responded to the Climate Summit people.)

    The destruction of rain forests and boreal forests world wide impact climate change in a big way. Pictures of the Amazon and palm tree plantations in Indonesia would be good…

    Glaciers in South America are receding rapidly and pictures before and after will have impact. As will pictures of those in Alaska, Greenland, Europe, the Himalayas, and Antarctica…

    Pictures of coal fired power plants and traffic jams interspersed with these pictures could have dramatic effect. Clear cut forests and desertification due to agriculture …

    Alberta tar sands mining pictures would depict how we just won’t stop. Pictures of drilling rigs in the far north would indicate how Exxon and others want to drill in the Arctic
    as sea ice recedes…

    Melting tundra and permafrost, buildings tumbling into sinkholes, methane bubbling out of thaw lakes in Siberia, drunken trees, pine bark beetle infestations, eroding coastal
    Eskimo and other endemic native village lands all are phenomena we need pictures of.

    Pictures of the aftermath of violent weather would be instructive. Floods and snowfall potentially derived by way of evaporation of warming seas. People retreating from rising water.

    Anyone having ideas or examples of other effects of current warming are welcome to submit suggestions. Links and photos as well as permission to use photos would be helpful.

    A picture is worth a thousand words. Anything you think may be related to climate change would be useful. Of course the image will be appropriately used to describe a real world situation and not ascribe all extreme weather phenomena to climate change but used to point to an increasing potential for more severe effects arising from a warming climate.

    If you would like to submit material or leads, or have positive suggestions, please contact me here or via my website or The Climate Summit website. http://www.theclimatesummit.org/

  44. 144
    Louise D says:

    Frank Giger says: 11 March 2010 at 2:15 AM
    ‘We know how to build cities quickly; Birmingham, Alabama was a blank spot in 1870 and a metropolitan city by 1900. I wouldn’t underestimate the American people’s ability to adapt and adjust, or our economy…’
    Global warming doesn’t just affect America, or doesn’t the rest of the world matter?

  45. 145
    Completely Fed Up says:

    “140
    Gilles says:
    11 March 2010 at 11:15 AM

    Known reserves + Bern absorption models”

    Known reserves allow well over 1000ppm”

    I meant PROVED reserves.”

    You said Known.

    And those PROVEN reserves become added to because of the Known Reserves being the Only Reserves to exploit.

  46. 146
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Gilles, The 900 GTonne IS proven reserves. Bullshit, much?

  47. 147
    votenotokyoto says:

    I doubt if this will see the light of day but you really need to watch hypocricy.

    In editing my article 120 in which I had listed some suspect AGW behaviours [edit – no he did not, and the topic is OT]

    Gavin rightly deleted it and said

    [Response: Cutting and pasting ridiculous lists of hyped nonsense is not conducive to conversation here. None of those claims have anything to do with us, and indeed even your first claim that we (working scientists remember!) have declared that all science is settled is completely undermined by the fact that we have declared the complete opposite. It is easy to make up strawman opponents with no ethics or principles and then present yourself as the man of reason, but that is posturing, not dialogue. – gavin]

    But then in response to Frank Giger said (130)
    [Response: What do think the socio-economic profile of people killed by Katrina was? – gavin]

    This implies that global warming causes hurricanes. I thought that the science showed that warming temperatures did not cause an increase in such extreme weather events. Couldn’t this type of comment be considered posturing? But he is the moderator.

    [Response: Don’t be so obtuse. The point was merely that in a disaster the people that get left behind are not those with private jets or three-car garages. – gavin]

  48. 148
    Hank Roberts says:

    Stopping production by international agreement of the worst of the chlorofluorocarbons, remember, halted growth in that huge greenhouse gas forcing, though what’s up there (and what’s still being produced and into the atmosphere) are continuing problems. That’s another prediction confirmed, for the record.
    http://www.pnas.org/content/98/26/14778.full

  49. 149
    Tim Jones says:

    How to stick your head in the sand. Or, if we don’t know about it, maybe it isn’t happening.
    This is pretty unbelievable. Looks like Freddy Hutter’s work is paying off.
    Think there will be an outcry?

    Funding dries up for Canada’s polar climate lab
    http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/2010/03/11/11/
    03/11/2010

    Because the Canadian government has not provided additional funding for the Polar Environment Atmospheric Research Laboratory on Canada’s Ellesmere Island, the remote climate change research facility will be forced to close by next year, researchers said during a conference call earlier this week.

    Researchers said the decision by Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government not to fund the Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Sciences demonstrates skepticism about climate change. They said forcing the research facility to close will stifle climate research that might support action to prevent global warming.

    “It’s quite clear we have a government that says they believe this is an issue but really don’t care about it,” said Andrew Weaver, a climatologist at the University of Victoria. “They’re basically saying, ‘We don’t want your science anymore.'”

    The climate science foundation received $110 million in funding about 10 years ago, but that money will run out by early next year. Environment Minister Jim Prentice said the government remains committed to climate research but wants to check that the funding has been put to good use before it chooses to provide more.

    “We think it is appropriate that the foundation report to the government on the progress it has made, how those dollars were invested and what we’ve learned from the research that was done,” he said (Shawn McCarthy, Toronto Globe and Mail, March 9). — GN

  50. 150
    Hank Roberts says:

    Oh, good grief, how many threads is Gilles empowered to shut down by rebunking?


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