Sunspots vs. Climate Change

2012 began with a strange occurrence on the sun. Two puzzling incompatibilities happened simultaneously.

Sunspot activity burst into an outbreak of explosive activity while, paradoxically, planetary solar magnetic flux continued on a decade long decline toward zero by 2025. Sunspot numbers tripled in a 6 month period at the end of 2011. That’s way above expectations.

It’s hard to know what it means. Sunspots are intense magnetic storms. There’s no explanation for a rapid rise in sunspot activity when overall solar magnetic flux declines. That shouldn’t be.

But the unexpected happened. Then the first 6 months of 2012 deepened the mystery further.

The newest flip-flop in solar activity may foretell of a reversal in global warming. It is entirely possible we are fighting the wrong battle. The real enemy we face may be global cooling.

Solar Cycle 24: June 2012

Solar Cycle 24: November 2011

Click the two graphs above to see the dramatic change in sunspot activity over the last 7 months.

The Sun Reverses Course

Sunspot numbers peaked at 96.7 last November. At that pace it was already higher than next year’s predicted sunspot maximum of 94. Solar max is expected in May of 2013.

However, in the last 7 months sunspot activity has dropped like a rock.

In just three months between November and February, sunspot numbers fell further down than they rocketed up during their 5 month long mercurial increase from June to November of 2011. They have went up slightly since then.  But, at 64.5 in June, the numbers are now far below pace to reach the predicted sunspot maximum next year. Solar max is just 10 months from now.

This change does, however, put sunspot activity back into line with overall solar magnetic flux behavior.

What Now?

Solar magnetic flux disappears by 2025

Sunspot activity is fickle. Anything can happen.

Numbers can go up and down like a yo-yo in a few months. There is still time for sunspot activity to recover or to even exceed its predicted maximum level.

On the other hand, it could remain stagnant or drift off into an early decline toward sunspot minimum if the sun’s magnetic flux continues to weaken.

Will Sunspots Disappear?

From now on, if sunspot activity remains consistent with the decline in planetary solar magnetic flux then solar maximum may not reach its predicted peak, and start falling off to sunspot minimum early.

The current sunspot maximum is already predicted to be the weakest in a century. Right now it looks like it will not even be that strong.

The next sunspot maximum after this one is in 2025. But that is the same year that solar magnetic flux falls to zero at its current rate of decline.

Without any solar magnetic flux there can’t be sunspots.

It raises this very real question: Will there be a sunspot maximum in 2025?

Sunspot Effects on Earth’s Climate

Sunspot activity over the last 400 years (Source: Royal Observatory of Belgium)

Obvious, the sun is the ultimate source of all global warming.  If it gets warmer or cooler the earth will get warmer or cooler.

Empirical measurements show the sun is hotter during maximum sunspot activity and cooler at minimum activity. The change isn’t much, a few tenths of a percent, but it is real.

There is a growing belief among solar physicists that planetary solar magnetic flux will decline to zero in 2025 and remain there for several solar cycles. Its not pure speculation, either.

It has happened before… and recently… during the Maunder Minimum!

One of biggest discoveries made with early telescopes were sunspots. Galileo meticulously described them in detail and drew pictures for the first time in 1610. Yet it took 150 years for the 11-year sunspot cycle to be discovered.

The reason is during the intervening 150 years there were no sunspot cycles. In fact, there were very few sunspots observed at all! Galileo was lucky enough to observe and record them just before they largely disappeared.

Sunspots and Global Warming

Global temperature changes over the last 11,000 years

During the 150 years after Galileo the earth remained cold.  It was cold even before the Maunder Minimum. The Thames and Potomac rivers froze over for long periods regularly during winter. Winters were longer and summers colder during that time. The period overlapping with low sunspot activity is now called the Little Ice Age.

Nobody knows how much solar cooling, if any, happens during prolonged solar minimums. Anecdotal evidence from the graph above and the one below suggests there is more than we know.

Climate history derived from ice core studies since the end of the last full ice age – 11,400 years ago – show general undulations in Earth’s temperature corresponding to the rise and fall in sunspot activity.

According to solar physicists with the AAS Solar Physics Division last June, current indicators point toward a prolonged sunspot minimum after 2013.

The Proof is in the Pudding!

11,400 year sunspot count reconstruction from ice core sample data (averaged over 10-year increments)

In the middle of the last century we experienced the 4th largest general rise in sunspot activity since the super-max sunspot peaks during the great warming at the end of the last ice age.

In 1957 a sunspot peak of 190.2 was reached. The sunspot cycles surrounding 1957 are now collectively called the modern maximum.

Sunspot activity has been in general decline since 1957. The 1957 peak had over twice the predicted sunspots of 2013 and over 3 times the number of sunspots observed last month.

Here are some big ifs….

  • If sunspot counts fail to reach the predicted cycle 24 maximum
  • If sunspot max comes early and then declines to solar minimum
  • If solar magnetic flux decreases to zero in 2025
  • If sunspots then disappear as they did in the early 1600s
  • If the solar physicists are right

Then it is likely we are headed into a period of prolonged solar inactivity and some form of global cooling.


The IPCC is aware of this. They rejected solar variability as a causal force in global climate change in their 3rd assessment report in 2001.

That should surprise no one. The IPCC has consistently rejected every possible cause for global warming except anthropological CO2 emissions since the day it was created back in 1988.

There was a 4th assessment released in 2007 and the 5th assessment is expect in 2014.

IPCC assessments no longer question the cause of global warming. They mostly prescribe ways to mitigate its expected effects.

It won’t be long before we know for sure if we are headed toward solar shutdown. Monthly sunspot counts over the next couple years will be closely watched. They will support or refute the solar physicists.

Should sunspots fail to start showing back up again in large numbers by 2024 and solar magnetic flux drops to zero then the writing is on the wall.

It would be the greatest irony of all if, by 2027, the federal government started giving tax breaks to electric power plants for going back to using CO2 belching coal again.

The reasoning:
Put more CO2 into the atmosphere to reduce global cooling while stimulating photosynthesis and healthy plant growth.


About azleader

Learning to see life more clearly... one image at a time!

Posted on Jul 16, 2012, in Climate, culture, economics, Global Warming, Life, news, Opinion, Politics, science, Sun, sunspot activity, sunspot report, Thoughts. Bookmark the permalink. 34 Comments.

  1. One thing that is for certain is that both the Sun and Earth’s climate are complex systems and definetly there is more to learn.

    When discussing climate there are many factors that come into play. For example it is known that massive or numerous volcanic eruptions can have a temporary cooling effect. Could this have caused the little ice age? There is some evidence that says so.

    Due to the complex technique required to study the Sun, most of our knowledge about the Sun is very new. Yet by the 1970s scientists new enough about the Sun’s temperature to know that the Sun was cooling. As a result a decline in Earths temperature was also predicted. This is the origin of the various global cooling theories. However, the exact opposite happened…well almost. The stratosphere which is high in the atmosphere is indeed cooling, perhaps related to the cooling of the sun. Yet the troposphere, the atmosphere closures to the surface, has been warming.

    There are many many variables involved in climate change. Many of the are very complex. Since I am not a scientist I admittedly do not fully understand all of them. I guess lay people like me have to find sources that we trust and formulate our opinions accordingly. For me I am lucky to know people who work and do research in this very important field. I rely on them and the resources that they point me to.

    If you are interested here is a link to a very interesting video that addresses the theory that the Sun is causing global warming.

    Thanks again for another thought provoking post.

    • I watched the video. It is very pretty and well put together.

      It reminds me of my days as a planetarium director. Once a patron came in who believed in hollow earth theory. I figured he had read “Journey to the Center of the Earth” a few to many times, ifn ya get my drift. 😉 😉

      I made the mistake of engaging him, thinking that surely I could easily point out the fallacy of his thinking and set him strait. I felt it was my duty as director.

      I learned a valuable lesson that day. Never engage a fringe fanatic unprepared.

      I was clobbered. You see, the patron had spent his whole life concocting arguments supporting his steadfast held point of view. He had plausible sounding responses to my every critique. I, of course, was speaking off the cuff.

      Back to the video:
      I was especially struck by his explanation of upper stratospheric cooling as the “smoking gun” proof for anthro-CO2 as the cause of global warming. I had never heard of such a thing.

      Sweeping generalizations like that always raise my radar. It induces me to dig deeper. I did and found there is, indeed, backing for it, just as there is with other things he says. I was impressed.

      Its beyond the scope of this comment to explain, but the sum of his parts adds up to his version of hollow earth theory. He knows enough to be dangerous, but not enough to be correct.

      Then I looked up Peter Sinclair… the video’s author.
      According to his bio at
      “Peter Sinclair is a long time advocate of environmental awareness and energy alternatives. An award winning graphic artist, illustrator, and animator, Mr. Sinclair runs Greenman Studio from his home in Midland, MI.”

      He is a self-employed graphic artist! He has no scientific credentials at all. It explains the good quality video, though. 🙂

      I also found this in his own words at Fifteen days ago he was soliciting funds for a hike up Mt Baker with an unidentified “scientific team”:
      “Unlike well-funded, professional climate deniers, I don’t have the Heartland Institute, The Koch Brothers, Oil, Fossil Fuel, and Tobacco Companies paying my way. If this is going to happen, I have to rely on my viewers…”

      On his personal website he has a prominent link to a place called the “Climate Science Legal Defense Fund”. It collects money to defend the climate alarmists from the climate deniers.

      Heck, I didn’t know the “consensus” majority needed a defense fund. LOL!!! Climate skeptics need one, though. They are the folks getting fired for contrary held views. 😦

      This guy is a politically motivated global warming alarmist nutcase.

      That is not to say he is wrong… even a nutcase can be right.

      For you… perhaps I’m the nutcase. LOL!!!

  2. Climate science is difficult. Its messy. Simple-minded, single-cause explanations for it – like solar variability or anthropological CO2 – are most certainly incorrect on their own.

    Climate results from a complex interaction of a dizzying set in input parameters that, so far, appears to exceed man’s ability to grasp. (My opinion)

    You are correct… like solar variability, volcanism is another of many possible explanations for the little ice age cold period.

    Imho, both explanations are weak in their own unique ways. Solar variability depends on induced temperature changes that, so far, remains largely unsupported with empirical data. Volcanism depends an an unlikely daisy chain of volcanic events that, so far, remains largely unsupported by physical evidence. Both explanations depend on “guilt by association” hand waving conceptual arguments.
    (Perhaps you disagree with my assessment)

    I can’t tell you how many revisions to solar cycle 24’s predicted behavior I’ve seen over the years. Many. It started out with a peak of about 190 sunspots and solar max reached early this year. Each successive new forecast lowered the peak and pushed solar max further down the road.

    Over time the prediction has evolved from one of the strongest solar maximums in centuries to one of the pathetically weakest. Nobody predicted the extended 18 month solar minimum we actually experienced.

    I’m not a scientist either, but wanted to be an astronomer. I majored in physics and astronomy in college and took post-graduate studies. I ran a planetarium for several years… a very fun job.

    I’m fascinated by the concept of solar irradiance variability because its is so new. When I studied physics if someone had walked into one of my classes and claimed that solar energy output varied over short time spans they would have would have been laughed out of the room… and I would have been among the laughers.

    Sunspot variability as an explanation for the little ice age was something only whispered about in hallways. Nobody took it seriously. Now it doesn’t seem so far fetched anymore.

    Like solar physics, climate science lacks the certainty and rigorous mathematical superstructure of something like particle physics. Anthropological CO2 is not the Higgs Boson of climate science… not even remotely close.

    • I wanted to tip my hat to you. You did your homework on this video and I did not. He did what I dislike about climate change deniers. They, and the author of the video, use this important issue for political gain and or profit. You taught me an important lesson about checking sources. I usually try to do that but clearly I got lazy here.

      Ultimately, I am still convinced that climate change is real and that humans are the biggest of the many factors. He may be right in his video but I should have found a more reputable source. I may have to do that and turn it into a blog post.

      Thanks for the discussion.

      Ps. I don’t think that you are a nut job, just wrong. 🙂

      • I’m a cynic. I question everything. Probably comes from joining underdog causes. 😉

        Climate change, obviously, is natural. The Earth has never been in a steady state condition. Pure deniers are nut cases. Global warming is real.

        Until I see convincing evidence to the contrary, I’m skeptical of the anthro-CO2 hypothesis.

        There is a very easy way to tell my reaction to any timeline oriented anthro-CO2 claim from this one graph:

        If the timeline curve matches the curve of that graph then it gets my attention. If it doesn’t its just so much more drivel.

        I have yet to see a timeline anthro-CO2 claim that matches that curve.

        Your job, should you chose to accept it, is to find one that does. 😉

        I appreciate you don’t think I’m a nutcase… but there are a number of women and other persons who vociferously disagree with you.

  3. I believe the Earth is warming, and I believe another Ice Age is coming too. I remain skeptical that man is the only cause because I read so many counterexamples from other science fields like the sunspot stuff you have here. I have also seen a study where the polar caps on Earth Mars moons of Jupiter or Saturn have all receded simultaneously the past 30 odd years or so. The IPCC reaction was that each could be predicted to have that effect due to orbital aspects. I am not a scientist, but when the polar caps are reducing on other solar planetary bodies like Earth’s it begs for more investigation. Finally I am not a denier. Man should be prudent and not turn the Earth, the air or water into a toilet bowl. If I throw too much fertilizer on the grass or something salty, the grass dies. Netwonian mechanics are still at work. Walk softly and leave a small footprint.

    • I was unaware that polar caps on other celestial bodies are in retreat. I share your view that all countries and all people need to be environmentalists to keep the Earth livable.

      There is a physical mechanism that supports your seemly paradoxical view that the Earth is getting warmer yet another ice age is coming.

      It is related to a process called thermohaline circulation – ocean currents.

      70% of all heat transport on Earth is through thermohaline circulation. That is where ocean currents, like the gulf stream and the Japanese current, transport heat from the tropics to the poles.

      That circulation depends on a delicate balance of ocean temperature, pressure and salt content. Upset that balance and thermohaline circulation shuts down.

      Global warming causes two things to happen:
      1-Glaciers and ice caps melt
      2-There is more rain in the extreme northern/southern temperate zones

      Both these processes dump massive amounts of fresh water into the northern/southern oceans. That lowers their salt content to the point where, eventually, the water is no longer heavy enough to sink.

      That shuts down thermohaline circulation entirely. That, in turn, stops heat transport. The tropics then get hotter while the ice caps refreeze and grow. As the ice caps grow their snows and glaciers reflect more and more sunlight away from Earth.

      That makes the Earth’s overall temperature go downward and another cycle of ice ages begins. This long term pattern of repeating ice ages has been happening on Earth for millions of years.

      • Thanx for explaining the ocean currents thing. Fresh cold water sinks in saltier water I gather, and as the salt water becomes less salty the cold water stays near the top. I would never have known.

        Wish I could give you a link on the celestial polar declines, but I saw that about 2-3 years ago.

        That man’s puny brain and his computers can somehow outwit the God who created this universe is the biggest sin ever. And why is it that the only fix always has to be even bigger more gigantic government.

      • I doubt man can outwit nature with our puny brains and our puny little computers, but we can get a little closer to explaining her.

        In all probability those who think that more and bigger government is the solution to all problems are… welll… probably wrong. It doesn’t seem to have worked up to now. (my opinion)

  4. Attribution of climate change means that the evidence of climate change has reached 95% certainty that this particular statement is true based on evidence.

    The dominant mechanisms (to which recent climate change has been attributed) are the result of human activity. They are:[1]
    increasing atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases
    global changes to land surface, such as deforestation
    increasing atmospheric concentrations of aerosols.

    There are also natural mechanisms for variation including climate oscillations, changes in solar activity, variations in the Earth’s orbit, and volcanic activity.

    Attribution of recent change to anthropogenic forcing is based on the following facts:

    (natural variablility would be like the sun, volcanoes, )

    Known natural forcings would, if anything, be negative over this period.

    (we should be heading toward cooling and the co2 is overwhelming that process)
    Known anthropogenic forcings are consistent with the observed response

    (assigning values based in science, this can be evaluated and compared to observations, how well do they match)

    The pattern of the observed change is consistent with the anthropogenic forcing.

    • As I indicated to A. Herkenhoff above… there is a simple test to prove or disprove the IPCC’s single-cause anthro-CO2 hypothesis for global warming. It involves this very simple graph:

      (Source: US Global Change Research Program )

      It plots anthro-CO2 content in Earth’s atmosphere since 1751 to 2006. It shows a classic mathematical logarithmic progression.

      If anthro-CO2 is the primary driver of global warming, as the IPCC contends, then Earth’s temperature profile should follow an upward logarithmic progression. It does not.

      This graphic plots Earth’s global temperature profile from 1850 to 2012 from HadCRUT3 data:

      (Source: Environmentalist Paul Clark,

      1 – Earth’s temperature profile, though generally upward since 1850, undulates up and down. It does not follow the curve of anthro-CO2 growth.

      2 – Earth’s temperature isn’t increasing logarithmically. Not even close.

      3 – Since 1998 earth’s global temperature has leveled off and declined slightly (HadCRUT3 database)

      Over the last decade, according to the anthro-CO2 hypothesis, Earth’s temperature should be increasing at – BY FAR – the fastest rate in human history… yet it is not.

      Clearly, there are other stronger forces at work here than anthro-CO2.

      • Because temperature does not increases logarithmically I don’t think that disqualifies co2 from being the reason that the earth is increasing temperature. If H2O has 1000 times the heat denisity of the atmosphere, do you think that might take quite awhile to heat up? The ocean atmosphere connection is quite strong.

        THe ghg signature has been observed in the earth’s atmosphere of warming. The stratosphere is observed to be slightly cooling while the troposphere (where we live at) is warming. This helps to show that the sun is not the cause of warming. CO2 helps to reflect infrared energy based radiation back to the surface which shorts out the stratosphere of radiation warming. This is a frequency based warming of the aatmosphere at the infrared frequencies.

        The co2 is holding back some of the energy from escaping to space. This was established by John Tyndal back in 1862. This is part of the explanation of the ice ages and interglacials.

      • I give you credit for being smart. You are right that a logarithmic progression does not totally disqualifying anthro-CO2 as the culprit for global warming. It is just a nail in the coffin.

        The fact that anthro-CO2 can’t explain the fluctuations in global temperatures over the last century and a half is another of the nails.

        The fact that global temperatures have flattened to decreasing since 2000 is another nail.

        You are correct that support for solar variability as the cause of global warming is weak. It is, however, a factor… just like anthro-CO2 is.

        If you are referring to the cooling of the upper STRATOSPHERE as the “smoking gun” proof of anthro-CO2 as the cause of global warming (and invalidates solar variability) then you are barking up the wrong tree. That is practically a scientific old wives tale. The support for that is weaker than solar variability being the soul cause of GW.

        The troposphere doesn’t hold enough mass in it to hold enough heat to make any difference one way or another. I’m reminded of the movie “Day After Tomorrow” where they had giant arctic hurricanes that sucked super cold air down through the eye from the upper troposphere to freeze people in NYC. That is as scientifically invalid as the troposphere influencing global warming.

        Thanks for your comments. I appreciate them very much. They make me think and helps keep the science of it all in proper perspective.


    Since you choose to run contrary to scientific opinion, then you have a great deal of evidence to provide that co2 is not the driver of the present climate. From wiki as I have sourced every science institution in the world supports AGW theory or is neutral.

    2.”There is new and stronger evidence that most of the warming observed over the last 50 years is attributable to human activities”, in particular emissions of the greenhouse gases carbon dioxide and methane.[7]

    No scientific body of national or international standing has maintained a dissenting opinion; the last was the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, which in 2007 updated its 1999 statement rejecting the likelihood of human influence on recent climate with its current non-committal position.[10][11] Some other organizations, primarily those focusing on geology, also hold non-committal positions. There are also groups of individuals outside national or international organizations that have expressed their dissenting opinions and counterarguments in venues such as public petitions.

    Our warming climate is attributal to increasing levels of co2 in the atmosphere. CO2 being a three atom molecule vibrates at infrared frequencies. Oxygen and nitrogen do not vibrate at these frequencies.

    YOU express a great deal of confidence that somehow AGW theory is going down for the count. In all the complexity of the climate, it is showing not to be warming from the sun, but from co2. This is clearly in the evidence.

  6. The greatest thing about science is that it isn’t a matter of opinion or consensus. Opinion poles do not determine truth. Facts are facts. Measurements are measurements. Physics is physics. They are what they are.

    There has been global warming of around 1 degree C since 1850. Empirical evidence proves it. The evidence is everywhere you look… particularly towards the poles.

    What is in doubt is that it is primarily caused by anthro-CO2 atmospheric emissions. Anthro-CO2 only accounts for about 25-30% of Earth’s aerosol CO2 annual growth. The rest is from natural sources (assuming deforestation is considered natural). CO2 isn’t even Earth’s most potent greenhouse gas… by its volume, water vapor is.

    I’m a skeptic, not a fanatic. I’m very much a numbers guy whose mind can be changed by empirical data. Physics was my undergraduate major.

    In the above comment, I supplied you important evidence that puts the anthro-CO2 hypothesis in doubt. Since 1850, the discrepancies between Earth’s anthro-CO2 profile and its temperature profile is glaring. Earth’s temperature has leveled off or even went down slightly since 1998. That’s a serious blow to the anthro-CO2 hypothesis.

    Your quote above came from the IPCC’s 3rd assessment in 2001 BEFORE the leveling off of Earth’s temperature became apparent.

    Please… feel free to refute anthro-CO2 contrary evidence with facts or climate modeling. I’m all ears.

    I will not, however, be swayed by an opinion pole from Wikipedia or from the IPCC. No one should be. That is not how science works.

    • quote
      What is in doubt is that it is primarily caused by anthro-CO2 atmospheric emissions. Anthro-CO2 only accounts for about 25-30% of Earth’s aerosol CO2 annual growth. The rest is from natural sources (assuming deforestation is considered natural). CO2 isn’t even Earth’s most potent greenhouse gas… by its volume, water vapor is.

      I agree that co2 isn’t as strong as some of the other ghg’s. Yet you seem to be ignoring the strong correlation of co2 to the past ice ages and interglacials. THe lead cause of these past changes in earth’s climate history are primarily the milankovitch cycles in which co2 is the feedback cause of amplified warming. Meaning earth has a positive sensitivity to warming. Of which you have mentioned that H2O is the stronger ghg.
      Radiative modeling analyses of the terrestrial greenhouse structure described in a parallel study in the Journal of Geophysical Research (Schmidt et al., 2010) found that water vapor accounts for about 50% of the Earth’s greenhouse effect, with clouds contributing 25%, carbon dioxide 20%, and the minor greenhouse gases (GHGs) and aerosols accounting for the remaining 5%, as shown in Fig. 1.

      CO2 is the regulator of H2O in the atmosphere. H2O residence time is about 9 days and co2 is centuries if not milenia.

      What I want to point out below is the increase of water vapor as the world wide temperature increases. Which is 7%/*C. Chris Colose is a universtiy type out of Wisconsin.
      There is a lot of discussion about climate feedbacks in climate science, notably the role of water vapor. In short, the total amount of atmospheric water vapor should go up in a warmer climate under the assumption of approximately fixed relative humidity, at an increase of ~7% per degree Celsius warming, as per the Clausius-Clapeyron relationship. Water vapor is the strongest greenhouse gas, and so increases in water vapor will amplify any temperature changes from any initial forcing (e.g., CO2).

      CO2 has correlation and the mechanism to be the warming. Pull co2 forcing out of all the models used in the world and they can’t correlate with the observations of temperature change in our climate.

  7. Article:

    Below is a fingerprinting to human caused water vapor not due the sun or volcanoes. It would surprise me to find higher temperatures and lower water vapor content in the atmosphere. Since it is hotter over land in the United States with little rain we are dryer now due to natural variation in our weather. Over the ocean and higher temperatures that would be odd.

    Satellites have observed an increase in atmospheric water vapour by about 0.41 kg/m² per decade since 1988. A detection and attribution study, otherwise known as “fingerprinting”, was employed to identify the cause of the rising water vapour levels (Santer 2007). Fingerprinting involves rigorous statistical tests of the different possible explanations for a change in some property of the climate system. Results from 22 different climate models (virtually all of the world’s major climate models) were pooled and found the recent increase in moisture content over the bulk of the world’s oceans is not due to solar forcing or gradual recovery from the 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo. The primary driver of ‘atmospheric moistening’ was found to be the increase in CO2 caused by the burning of fossil fuels.

    In summary, model fingerprints of the response of atmospheric
    moisture to external forcings are identifiable in observations with
    high statistical confidence, despite the short length of the SSM/I
    record. Single-forcing experiments performed with two different
    models (28, 29) suggest that the large increase in Wo is primarily
    due to human-caused increases in GHGs (Fig. 5) and not to solar
    forcing or the recovery from the Pinatubo eruption. Our analysis of
    model control run data illustrates that internally generated variability
    is also a highly unlikely explanation for the observed Wo

    • Renewableguy, I have much to study from this comment I only now discovered… in addition to everything else I’m trying to absorb.

      My apologies… Something is wrong with my settings… Previously, I’ve set preferences to automatically accept all comments without moderation… It is easier for all concerned. For reasons unknown, it is not working properly right now.

      I think, should someone ever do something dumb then I could later go back and moderate it. So far, that has never, ever been needed. Given life as I know it… I don’t have time to moderate each and every incoming comment.

      Besides, that is to restrictive for readers and commentators and is so… welll… dictatorial.

  8. Now… about that global CO2 profile compared to the HadCRUT3 global sea-air temp profile… Am I gonna get anymore feedback on that?

    The oean is a stabilizing factor in our climate. It has 1000 times the heat density of the atmosphere. During two back to back La Ninas, is when the ocean is also warming sending heat to the lower layers. Also as you have mentioned the earth did go through a solar minima. China now with more coal energy than any country in the world is putting up huge amounts of aerosols into the atmosphere. When they clean up, reducing sulphates, there will be less sunlight reflected to space allowing more energy in. Global dimming.–.html

    The hiatus periods have occured in the past.


    There are really two questions here: 1) do observations indicate that the water vapor feedback strong and positive, and 2) do models adequately reproduce the observed feedback?

    For the first question, the evidence of a strong and positive water vapor feedback is overwhelming. Observations of the response of the atmosphere to events like the eruption of Mount Pinatubo and El Niño cycles show quite clearly that changes in water vapor lead to enhanced trapping of infrared radiation when the climate warms [Soden et al., 2002; Soden et al., 2005; Forster and Collins, 2004; Dessler et al., 2008]. For a more complete summary of why we’re so confident, see Dessler et al. [2009]


    We have the fingerprinting of anthropogenic influence of water vapor and overwhleming evidence that water vapor increases with temperature. As I have pointed out from the previous NASA article the strong relationship between temperature and water vapor content. The strongest GHG in the atmosphere is regulated by co2. With less co2 there would be less water vapor and less warming. The two work in concert. This is clearly shown in the ice cores. During periods of lower co2 there is more dust in the ice becuase the earth is dryer.

    From your own post Dessler gives a very good overall summation of water vapor being understood in the climate and model simulations. Peilke pointed out uncertainties and other papers posibly countering water vapor and also left out the whole picture.

    I strongly agree with Dessler that with emissions accelerating in our climate rather than decelerating we are in for a much warmer climate.

    • OK… first off… water vapor as a feedback process in climate is not being questioned… just like global warming itself is not being questioned. As you correctly point out the evidence that H20 feedback is overwhelming.

      What is questioned is anthro-CO2 generating H20 feedback. Show me THAT evidence. That is what has failed to materialize.

      You are free to believe what you want. I just need facts to believe what I believe. Show me the “smoking gun” and you just might bag yourself a convert.

      Oh… AFTER you explain why the Earth’s global temperature profile doesn’t match the Earth’s anthro-CO2 profile. 🙂

  10. quote:The fact that global temperatures have flattened to decreasing since 2000 is another nail. unquote

    Attribution isn’t the norm in just a few short years. But nevertheless from 1998 there is warming starting from a record breaking year in temperature which would be called detection.
    1998 to 2012
    Trend: 0.95 ±1.61 °C/century (2σ)

    I could pick a year for warming and you could pick a year for cooling. Be my guest.

    Next year we have El Nino and a solar maxima coming in. What do you think will happen to the so called warming trend then? It is predicted to break world temp records. Time will tell.
    This was from the GISTEMP data records. This is incredibly easy to use. Just plug in the end dates that you are interested in.
    2011 to 2012
    Trend: 4.15 ±52.21 °C/century (2σ)
    2010 to 2012
    Trend: -11.42 ±22.32 °C/century (2σ)
    2009 to 2012
    Trend: -2.57 ±12.59 °C/century (2σ)
    2008 to 2012
    Trend: 3.08 ±9.84 °C/century (2σ)
    2007 to 2012
    Trend: 0.44 ±7.24 °C/century (2σ)
    2006 to 2012
    Trend: 0.23 ±5.29 °C/century (2σ)
    2005 to 2012
    Trend: -0.59 ±4.03 °C/century (2σ)
    2004 to 2012
    Trend: 0.19 ±3.44 °C/century (2σ)
    2003 to 2012
    Trend: 0.10 ±2.80 °C/century (2σ)
    2002 to 2012
    Trend: -0.03 ±2.41 °C/century (2σ)
    2001 to 2012
    Trend: 0.31 ±2.05 °C/century (2σ)
    2000 to 2012
    Trend: 0.97 ±1.92 °C/century (2σ)
    1999 to 2012
    Trend: 1.42 ±1.73 °C/century (2σ)
    1998 to 2012
    Trend: 0.95 ±1.61 °C/century (2σ)

    • See my newest comment about 3 comments up… I suggest that, based on the graphics I linked to, that it appears that ENSO is driving climate change… not anthro-CO2.

      It seems to explain Earth’s global temperature profile better than anything else I’ve seen… and the sea’s massive heat content makes it all seem logical.

      What do you think about that?

      OH… btw… I predict warmer over this next year!
      We are heading into El Nino right now. I don’t know how long El Nino is predicted to last, but the longer it lasts, the more the warming.

      Then, when we fall back into La Nina, whatever year that is, it will cool off again!

      • Do you understand the term ENSO. El Nino Southern Oscillation. I want you to focus on the O. Oscillations do not create energy. They only move it around in the ocean. An oscillation by itself will not break temperature records but hover around a central point over time. The earth is gaining energy from an imbalance at the top of the atmosphere. More energy is coming in than is leaving.

        1998 was the warmest year for its time and then comes along 2005 and 2010which were a little warmer . If 2013 is warmer than 1998,2005, 2010, how did it get that way. ENSO does not explain why if it happens to be warmer. We have a slightly milder sun and increasing ghg’s in the atmosphere.

        You are running counter to the 97% peer reviewed writing experts. You have to do better than ENSO and sunspots. Imagine one of them talking to you rather than me. A 30 year experienced PHD who knows his field inside and out.

      • First off… thanks for the tip on the temp trend calculator at SkepticalScience.

        I’ve played with it before, but not much. I’ll use in more now. I like the data display… it has some pretty cool features I didn’t notice before. I’ve mostly used the tool for stuff like that. I’m a long-time software developer so it appeals to me because it was build by a computer programmer. 🙂

        I have been following ENSO for years. I’ve always been fascinated with how divergent the different climate modeling is sometimes.

        I’m not a climatologist, a PhD or a scientist of any kind. I’m just a little ‘ol anthro-CO2 skeptic whose pointed out discrepancies I’d like adequately explained. So far your responses, though helpful, still leaves me wanting.

        You seem impressed by the “97% peer reviewed writing experts” argument but that doesn’t hold diddly-squat with me… unless you meant peer reviewed papers. That is a whole different story.

        If I may ask… what is your PhD in?

        Oh… btw, some of the numbers you gave look like HadCRUT4… I’ve purposely talked only HadCRUT3 to this point.

      • I have a bachelors in engineering technology and lots of time to study climate.

      • 97% consensus amongst peer reviewed scientists who write 50% of their papers on climate. Another words those that are our highest experts from around the world no longer question the validity of AGW. That is an accepted thing amongst them. It is born out in their research they do. Anthropogenic global warming fits neatly into the world of science that is already known.

      • Awww… engineering… and a wind energy guy. Hmmmm… I wonder what that means? 😉

        I will be commenting on the good stuff you brought to my attention.

        I’m not sure how, but something you told me led me to this great paper by Foster and Rahmstorf in the peer-reviewed journal “Environmental Research Letters”:

        I know you’ll like this one. It provides good recent support for anthro-CO2 GW. I will also be commenting on that paper when I respond later.

        Regarding the 97%… with all that then it should be a simple matter to correct me of the errors in my thinking. 😉 😉


    Even during a period of long term warming, there are short periods of cooling due to climate variability. Short term cooling over the last few years is largely due to a strong La Nina phase in the Pacific Ocean and a prolonged solar minimum.

    Given the strong causal link between CO2 and warming, what are we to make of periods where CO2 does not correlate with temperature? The most commonly cited example is the recent years since 2002. Over this 7 year period, global temperature has shown little to no trend while CO2 has risen. If CO2 causes warming, shouldn’t temperature be rising steadily also?

    I believ the author is addressing the point you have asked for.

    In the figure below there is quite a bit of see saw in temperature. And yet there is a steady trend on the part of both sets of data to roughly correlate with each other.

    Figure 2: Annual atmospheric carbon dioxide (NOAA) and annual global temperature anomaly (GISS) from 1964 to 2008.

    Figure 3 below is an example of poor short term correlation

    Figure 3: Annual atmospheric carbon dioxide (NOAA) and annual global temperature anomaly (GISS) from 1977 to 1985 and 1981 to 1989.

    What causes this climate variability? Ocean cycles shuffle heat around the climate by exchanging heat between the ocean and atmosphere. This can have a strong short term effect on global temperature, the most dominant cycle being the El Niño Southern Oscillation. In 2008, the Pacific Ocean was in a strong La Niña phase, leading to unusually cool temperatures throughout the tropical Pacific Ocean. Additionally, the sun was currently in solar minimum, experiencing the lowest solar levels in a century. Solar activity has an 11 year cycle which is estimated to have an effect of around 0.1°C on global temperatures. The combination of solar minimum and La Niña conditions would have a short term cooling effect on global temperatures.

    Above is a great word to describe what effects our climate. “Climate Variability”
    There are many things effecting the climate besides co2. The IPCC lists them all incredibly well. Sometimes there are cooling forces a little stronger than the co2 at the time. As they cycle back co2 keeps chugging away doing its thing it does so well. If you look at the graphs there is a very good long term trend between co2 and temperature.

    Net forcing vs land ocean temperature anomolie
    Figure 6: Blue line is net radiative forcing (GISS). Red line is global temperature anomaly (GISS).

    This figure gives a very good picture of what our experts have summed up. Its not just co2 but the sum of all the parts put together to make the whole picture.

    • Now we are talking the same language… Thanks for this new info. I’m studying and have some thoughts – mostly I think you’ll like – that I’ll get out in the next day or so.

  12. Renewableguy,

    I want you to know that I have not forgotten about you and all the alarmist claims regarding global warming (climate change). I will respond to your critiques.

    I will also write more “Inform The Pundits!” (ITP) articles on this subject as time permits. I invite your input into those as well.

    I have spent an inordinate amount of time studying the global warming controversy and the science behind it… particularly related to the Muller’s BEST group/Watts flareup.

    More to come…

Comments and questions are welcomed!

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