13 April 2008

Climate Science in Disarray: Fraying at the Seems

Recent revelations that the oceans are no longer warming, and satellite readings showing that Earth land temperatures have stabilised over the past ten years, have caused much concern among believers of catastrophic anthropogenic global warming (CAGW). Skeptics of the catastrophic climate interpretation have begun to grow bolder in looking at alternative climate forcings besides CO2. The catastrophic branch was in need of rescue from malignant moderates. Imagine their relief, when Lancaster scientists Sloan and Wolfendale announced that they had proven that there is no sun-climate link! The celebration in orthodox circles was jubilant, and much publicized. But then, scientists began pointing out that what Sloan and Wolfendale claim to have proved, was not proven at all.
The basic theory as promoted by Svensmark is illustrated in the image above. Galactic cosmic rays interact with the atmosphere to promote formation of low level clouds--which reflect sunlight away from earth before it can heat the oceans and land. An active solar wind will deflect many of the galactic cosmic rays so that they cannot instigate Terran cloud formation. The lack of low level clouds allows more sunlight to heat the land and seas, thus heating the Earth more. Sloan and Wolfendale (PDF) claimed to have refuted Svensmark's hypothesis, and the news media believed them. Unfortunately, the Lancaster scientists looked at the wrong type of cosmic ray, so they seem to have missed the mark.
Sloan and Wolfendale raised three critiques which supposedly discredit the CRF/climate link. A careful check, however, reveals that the arguments are inconsistent with the real expectations from the link. Two arguments are based on the expectation for effects which are much larger than should actually be present. In the third argument, they expect to see no phase lag, where one should actually be present. When carefully considering the link, Sloan and Wolfendale did not raise any argument which bares any implications to the validity or invalidity of the link.

One last point. Although many in the climate community try to do their best to disregard the evidence, there is a large solar-climate link, whether on the 11-year solar cycle (e.g., global temperature variations of 0.1°C), or on longer time scales. Currently, the cosmic-ray climate link is the only known mechanism which can explain the large size of the link, not to mention that independent CRF variations were shown to have climatic effects as well. __Source__via__Lubos
In addition, the new Solar Cycle 24 is still reluctant to come out to play. The longer cycle 24 takes to commence in full, the lower its eventual activity is expected to be. We are already expecting cycle 25 to be of extremely low activity. If the low activity begins earlier, with cycle 24, we may see global cooling of earlier onset, greater extent, and longer duration than anyone expected.

To top it off, some very public figures in climate science are beginning to defect from the up-till-now well managed "consensus herd." Kerry Emanuel, hurricane modeler and researcher, has expressed public doubts about the GCM's ability to predict severe weather activity.
The models are telling us something quite different from what nature seems to be telling us. There are various interpretations possible, e.g. a) The big increase in hurricane power over the past 30 years or so may not have much to do with global warming, or b) The models are simply not faithfully reproducing what nature is doing. Hard to know which to believe yet. __Source
More on Emanuel here

And here

More on the great unraveling here

H/T Tom Nelson


At this time the alarmist CAGW movement is the politically correct interpretation of climate science. That means that research that follows the PC line are more likely to be funded, and more likely to be published and cited by mainstream media.

As long as the research is politically correct, it is passed through the checkpoints almost automatically, with little scrutiny.

Only when the research begins to question the politically popular viewpoints does it come under the microscope, and every small blemish is magnified in an attempt to disqualify the challenging viewpoint.

Under the government of the USSR, all challengers to Lysenkoist biology were put in their place by the powers of the state. As the EU and other inter-governmental agencies gain more power, and approach the authoritarianism of the old USSR, perhaps we will see similar punishments meted out to skeptics of CAGW? It is quite likely to happen, unless a new renaissance of enlightenment thinking descends upon the university and society at large. But don't hold your breath.

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2 Comments:

Blogger Barba Rija said...

Interesting post, al fin.

I have some doubts though.

What I can gather is you claim that:

1.sun's spot activity is directly connected with earth's temp;

2.sun spot cycle 24 is failing to enter activity;

3.sun spot cycle 25 is gonna be much much less active, and perhaps even 24, because 24 is already lagging.

If that is so, then why:

1. did the planet start to warm a lot since the seventies, when the sun cycle 20 was one of the least active cycles?

2. did the planet warm considerably in the cycles 21 and 22, which had moderate activity, and cooled in the cycles 18 and 19, which were way more active?

3. Given these past examples of non-correlation, why you defend that the next low-activity cycle will mean less temperature on Earth?

That you defend GW to be non-correct, I can understand and be interested to know more about. To substitute that for an even worse mechanism that doesn't correlate for the past sixty years, I can't recognize the intelligence on that.

But I may have not seen the best of evidences outlining such theory. If those exist, they ain't here.

Thursday, 17 April, 2008  
Blogger al fin said...

Thank you for your comment, Barba.

The answers to your questions are in the pipeline. We will know the answers over the next ten years, if not before.

It is obvious that the sun is the salient energy source for Earth's climate. Everything else, such as land use, ocean oscillations, cloud and water vapour effects, greenhouse gases, can only modify the effect that the sun's energy has on the Earth.

Several important factors have been left out of IPCC models, which probably accounts for the spurious results of those models over time. Solar scientists are attempting to better understand how solar variability plays into climate variability, so that IPCC GCMs can be made more relevant to the actual climate.

We are lucky to see an interesting convergence of "climate claims" which will come to a head within the next 10-12 years. On the one side, the IPCC claims that CO2 plus "feedbacks" dominate the climate. On the other side, solar scientists say that--through one or another mechanism--solar variability is at least as important as GHGs, if not more so.

All that you and I need, is a bit more patience to see the evidence through. Research at CERN will provide a lot more data on one mechanism of solar influence on climate starting around 2010. Satellite observations of the sun, cosmic rays, Earth's temperatures, vegetation, albedo, etc. is continuing to provide much needed data for revising and improving future GCMs.

Science is a series of iterations that cannot be skipped or short-circuited by political forces, if you want the science to work.

Let's allow the science to work.

Thursday, 17 April, 2008  

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“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act” _George Orwell

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