Skip to comments.Study acquits sun of climate change, blames humans
Posted on 09/13/2006 2:01:24 PM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach
OSLO (Reuters) - The sun's energy output has barely varied over the past 1,000 years, raising chances that global warming has human rather than celestial causes, a study showed on Wednesday.
Researchers from Germany, Switzerland and the United States found that the sun's brightness varied by only 0.07 percent over 11-year sunspot cycles, far too little to account for the rise in temperatures since the Industrial Revolution.
"Our results imply that over the past century climate change due to human influences must far outweigh the effects of changes in the sun's brightness," said Tom Wigley of the U.S. National Center for Atmospheric Research.
Most experts say emissions of greenhouse gases, mainly from burning fossil fuels in power plants, factories and cars, are the main cause of a 0.6 Celsius (1.1 F) rise in temperatures over the past century.
A dwindling group of scientists says that the dominant cause of warming is a natural variation in the climate system, or a gradual rise in the sun's energy output.
"The solar contribution to warming over the past 30 years is negligible," the researchers wrote in the journal Nature of evidence about the sun from satellite observations since 1978.
They also found little sign of solar warming or cooling when they checked telescope observations of sunspots against temperature records going back to the 17th century.
They then checked more ancient evidence of rare isotopes and temperatures trapped in sea sediments and Greenland and Antarctic ice and also found no dramatic shifts in solar energy output for at least the past millennium.
SUN NOT GUILTY
"This basically rules out the sun as the cause of global warming," Henk Spruit, a co-author of the report from the Max Planck Institute in Germany, told Reuters.
Many scientists say greenhouse gases might push up world temperatures by perhaps another 3 Celsius by 2100, causing more droughts, floods, disease and rising global sea levels.
Spruit said a "Little Ice Age" around the 17th century, when London's Thames River froze, seemed limited mainly to western Europe and so was not a planet-wide cooling that might have implied a dimmer sun.
And global Ice Ages, like the last one which ended about 10,000 years ago, seem linked to cyclical shifts in the earth's orbit around the sun rather than to changes in solar output.
"Overall, we can find no evidence for solar luminosity variations of sufficient amplitude to drive significant climate variations on centennial, millennial or even million-year timescales," the report said.
Solar activity is now around a low on the 11-year cycle after a 2000 peak, when bright spots called faculae emit more heat and outweigh the heat-plugging effect of dark sunspots. Both faculae and dark sunspots are most common at the peaks.
Still, the report also said there could be other, more subtle solar effects on the climate, such as from cosmic rays or ultraviolet radiation. It said they would be hard to detect.
The Little Ice Age is pretty much attributable to a decrease in solar activity (the Maunder Minimum), and natural variability, particularly ocean circulation. The earlier warmth was more of a "normal" climate setting. Now we're in a period at least as warm as back in the Medieval period, and we're adding a factor (CO2 to the atmosphere) that should, if you believe basic physics, augment Earth's temperature. There are obviously variables in the climate system, but what the study shows (on top of other studies showing essentially the same thing, in different ways) is that the currently observed warming trend can't be attributed to solar variability. Thus there isn't much else to blame it on except increasing concentrations of atmospheric CO2.
Whew! That's a relief. For a while there I thought we were going to have to go to an alternative energy source.
They were making solar observations back then?
Yes they were.
There is a disconnect in this statement.
The only disconnect is the one between your lack of knowledge on this topic and the amount of scorn you direct at those who actually do know something about the topic.
Galileo was making detailed records of sunspots starting in 1610. That's still in the 17th century the last time I checked. Here's one of his many documents on his observations:
That's the pattern of sunspots on July 6, 1613. Here's a movie made from Galileo's detailed drawings of the sunspots from each day over the course of one month (June 2 through July 8, 1613): http://galileo.rice.edu/sci/observations/ssm_fast.mov
And Galileo wasn't the only one recording sunspots. Thomas Harriot also made records of sunspot activity. For example, here are his notes for the sunspots of December 1610:
Christoph Scheiner was also recording sunspots in the 1600's. Here are some of his notes from October 1611:
Here's a page from Scheiner's massive volume of solar observations, "Rosa Ursina", published in 1630:
Johannes Hevelius made his own records of sunspot activity, such as this one from 1644:
Also recording sunspots in the 1600's were Pierre Gassendi, Giovanni Battista Riccioli, Benedetto Castelli, and Johannes and David Fabricius, among others.
Many of these men used a device such as the helioscope, which allowed for extremely accurate observations and the direct recording of sunspot locations onto paper:
For a Java apple that lets you view the monthly sunspot data for any date between 1750 and 2000, see this webpage.
So yes, Virginia, there really is detailed sunspot data available for as far back as the 17th century, despite your uninformed incredulity and sarcasm.
Ask NASA why it's getting warmer on Mars.
Yes, if you consider getting pwned by pure data being "flamed." Fragile, huh?
"Yet, the only solid measure of the warming, the NASA satellite data, shows that over the 27 years that data has been available, warming has been at a negligible rate of 0.13 degrees Celsius per decade. This level is engulfed by the statistical variation for reliability."
Well, they only had accurate daily sunspot measurements dating back to 1854.
A much better article on the report:
This ain't even "junk" science.
But Jerry Goldstein of the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, Anthea Coster of MITs Haystack Observatory in Westford, Massachusetts, and Toni Mannucci of NASAs JPL in Pasadena, California, used the receivers to measure conditions in the ionosphere--the layer of the atmosphere where the Suns ultraviolet light kicks electrons away from their atoms and leaves positively charged ions behind.
The ionospheres electric fields delay GPS radio signals as they pass from satellites to receivers. By comparing the different delays of GPS signals with different frequencies, the researchers calculated how many charged particles the signals passed on their way to the receiver. In other words: they measured the thickness of the ionosphere.
Charged particles also play the lead role in geomagnetic storms. During these storms, the Sun spews out a part of its outer layer, which may head toward Earth. This hot cloud of electrons and ions--plasma--then collides with Earths doughnut-shape magnetic field.
This collision deforms the cocoon and blows away part of its plasma as a long, tapering plume.
Geomagnetic storms can have noticeable consequences on Earth. On the ground, the changing magnetic field can induce damaging voltages in long power lines. In the ionosphere it can a deteriorate of the quality of radio broadcasts.
While monitoring the state of the ionosphere all over the globe during a couple of storms in 2001 and 2003, Coster and her colleagues discovered this disruption of the ionosphere is far from chaotic.
Changes in Earths magnetic field, which stays connected to the plume as it is pushed away, cause powerful electric fields in the outer layers of the atmosphere. An electric footprint of the plume drags over the ionosphere, much like a cold front moves through a weather system.
When such a disturbance occurs over North America, it takes the form of a southeast-to-northwest corridor, a few hundred miles wide, where radio reception suffers. Along its edges, GPS readings may be off by tens of yards instead of just a few.
The plasmasphere is the torus of cold, dense, co-rotating plasma surrounding the Earth out to 3-5 RE, and is populated by ionospheric outflow.
The plasmapause is the outer boundary of the plasmasphere, but does not need to coincide with the instantaneous boundary between convection and co-rotation (the last closed equipotential or LCE), because the time scale for plasmaspheric response is slower than the time scale of convection variations.
Plasmaspheric tails form during periods of high activity (Kp high, or Dst low), and extend all the way down to the ionosphere. (They can therefore affect Earth communications.)
The inner magnetosphere tries to shield itself from the convection E-fields, but the buildup of an effective shielding layer takes time. If the convection strength varies faster than the shielding time scale (somewhere between 15 minutes and an hour), E-fields can penetrate past the shielding layer, and into the inner magnetosphere.
Penetration E-fields can affect both plasmaspheric populations (forming meso-scale structure such as tails, shoulders and/or bite-outs), and ring current distributions.
What is their explanation, I wonder, for all the fears of Global COOLING back in the 70s?
Sun Not Off the Hook for Warming
The authors and other experts are quick to point out that more complicated solar mechanisms could possibly be driving climate change in ways we don't yet understand.
Climate change carries such high stakes that even more unlikely possibilities may capture scientific attention.
"There are numerous studies that find a correlation [between solar variation and Earth climate]," said Sami Solanki of the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research in Lindau, Germany.
"These authors have looked at the simplest mechanism, and they find that this mechanism does not produce the same level of change that has been observed," he continued.
"This could be suggesting that there are other mechanisms acting for the way that the sun influences climate."
Solar ultraviolet (UV) rays are one possibility, though that theory creates its own challenges.
"UV is only a small fraction of total solar output, so you'd need a strong amplification mechanism in the Earth's atmosphere," study co-author Spruit said.
Magnetized plasma flares known as solar wind could also impact Earth's climate. Solar wind influences galactic rays and may in turn affect atmospheric phenomena on Earth, such as cloud cover.
Such complex interactions are poorly understood but could be crucial to unlocking Earth's climatic puzzle.
Goldstein has studied the impact solar flares have on earth communications which are heavily impacted by the disappearance of the outer shield....it's not a big jump in reasoning to see that without the shielding,....particles from outer space reach deeper into the atmosphere....
I think it has something to do with Research Grants.....
I think the reason for the study is to compare sunspot activity to other indications of solar output to see if they correlate.
The global warming angle is just a pr gimmick I hope.
*That* was one of the best smackdowns ever.
You must be highly religious, as you are unable to admit being wrong. A credit to your faith.
Before I got to that point I was wondering if these guys had studied ultraviolet emissions ~ apparantly they hadn't.
Not humans, but their SUVs
Whoops. Wrong thread.
After being humiliated, AND after your comment about the hissy fit.
After running naked through the room it's a bit late to put your clothes on.
Why do you reject the effect of cosmic rays on cloud cover since we have seen a clear correlation with cosmic ray flux and cloud cover and also with cosmic rays and high altitude temperature?
But there is a good correlation between sunspots and earth's temperature.
I regret to inform you that your hissy fit did not actually achieve victory.
Question the church of gaia and the apostles flame without mercy.
What are you babbling about here? Oh, right, I point out that you're being stupid about something, and automatically that makes me an "apostle" of the "church of gaia", because no one could possibly correct your errors unless they're a whackjob environmentalist, right?
Is this what passes for "thought" on your planet? Are you always this delusional and willing to jump to wild and false conclusions, or are you just having a bad day?
Let's see if you're honorable enough to retract your false accusation and admit your error about me, or whether you're just going to bluster and namecall some more because you're not mature enough to admit you're posting your wild presumptions as facts.
You might also want to explain why you're so cowardly that you didn't ping me to your snide little insult about me, despite the fact that you were responding directly to my post #54. Man, talk about "hissy fits"...
The verbage was good, an 8.5, but it was the illustrations that pushed you to a perfect 10.
Please state your alleged reasons for calling me a "closet liberal". Watching you fall all over yourself trying to explain your unfounded slur should be really amusing, not to mention pathetic.
Then perhaps you could apologize for falsely slandering me. Or have you no honor along with your other failings?
...after *I* was the one to inform you of the depth of your ignorance on that topic and gave you a crash-course on it. Give credit where it's due, slanderer.
Unable to admit being wrong?
Are you unable to do it until embarassed into it and unable to do it without issuing repeated snide slanders against the person who dared informed you that you were being snottily arrogant about something you actually knew nothing about? Yes.
No my friend the only ones who can't admit to being wrong are the goers to the church of gaia.
If I ever meet anyone who belongs to this "church of gaia" thing I'll be sure to pass along your message.
Funny how you chose that line of attack though; and telling. It sucks when one's faith is questioned.
Obviously, since you reacted so badly to your false faith in the non-existence of sunspot data being pointed out, and got all defensive about your faith that scientists are just making everything up including the sunspot data.
You really *do* like making vicious slanders against people whom you disagree with, don't you? I've seen you do that about a half dozen times on this thread so far.
Also the closet liberal you support never challenged any of my other assertions in the original post and chose instead to flame me and a few others here.
Wow, where do I start in this mess of horse crap you're shoveling?
1. I'm no "closet liberal", and you have absolutely no reason for making such an accusation other than the fact that I embarassed you by pointing out your ignorant falsehood. You just spewed the worst insult you could think of, no matter how groundless. I'm just surprised you didn't call me a child molester, but that's probably your next move.
2. What earthly relevance is the fact that I "never challenged any of [your] other assertions in the original post"? Try to remain coherent. That does nothing whatsoever to refute what I wrote about you and your goofy mistakes, nor rescue your arrogant screwup, nor excuse your subsequent behavior over your embarassment.
3. I did not "choose to flame you", I chose to correct the falsehoods you were promulgating and educate you as to the reality you had so little contact with. The fact that this happened to make you look foolish does not magically make my post a "flame". Consider it a rebuke if you like, though. However it's funny that you seem to be outraged over the idea that anyone might "flame" you, since the post of yours to which I was responding was full of ridicule and snottiness. Project much?
4. I "flamed" no "others", son. Hallucinate often? I did however ping some other folks who I was concerned might have been misled by your misinformation, as well as other folks who I thought might appreciate the history review.
You're just *really* fond of leaping to wildly false conclusions for no damned good reason, aren't you?
He got as good back.
Son, you're nowhere in my league -- childishly calling me a liberal and petulantly whining about my correction of your nonsense as a "hissy fit" barely makes you fit to have a playground spat with a fifth-grader. If that's what rates as "good" in your world, you need to expand your horizons.
I like reasonable discussion of ideas and always like discovering new things.
Then why did your post mostly consist of sarcastic insults and snotty rhetorical questions directed at the researchers (who aren't here to respond), instead of a discussion of their data or methods, or instead of going to look up the answers to a few of your own questions? Do a Google of "sunspot history", for example, and you could have "discovered new things" without me having had to spoonfeed it to you after you had already (incorrectly) presumed the answer and chosen to remain smugly ignorant.
You should try it sometimes.
Oh, he does, that's why he doesn't make the kind of childishly boneheaded mistakes you make when he discusses scientific studies.
Cheap insults and snide remarks are the stock in trade of the liberal.
Given the number of "cheap insults and snide remarks" in your original post, and how your subsequent posts have done nothing to allay the impression that they are your "stock in trade", does this make you a liberal? Unlike you I would not make any such presumptuous leap without a firmer basis, but I must say that you certainly seem to enjoy their tactics, their emotional reaction when caught in error, and their average level of maturity.
I have a friend who is a world renown climatologist/geophysicist.
He agrees with you.
How interesting is that?
Why do you label someone interested in keeping the science accurate in a discussion of a scientific subject a "closet liberal"?
That's an unfair characterization. We can be knowledgeable about science and still be conservative. IN fact, we should strive to be knowledgeable about science and still be conservative.
I haven't necessarily rejected it. Show me a reference to the effect; hopefully the reference will discuss the full range of implications for climate.
I must have read his papers somewhere along the way ;-)
At least is shows that I'm keeping up with the state-of-the-science.
Are you serious? After years debating Ancient Geezer here on Free Republic you are going to pretend that you are unfamiliar with the science that shows sunspots and cosmic rays correlating with climate?
So, even though there is clear correlation with sunspots, cosmic rays and climate, we have dozens of politicians claiming that "The debate is over. The science is in. Mankind is causing global warming".
I suppose I should've added a sarcasm tag.
If the sun's energy output has barely changed over the last 1000 years, then it didn't cause any other climate change over this period either.
So the warming period prior to the little ice age was caused by CO2 AND the little ice age itself was caused by CO2, if you follow the logic of the article.
I just posted a rebuttal (published article) of the Veizer and Shaviv cosmic-ray climate linkage hypothesis, in reply to Ancient Geezer. If the Veizer and Shaviv papers are the references to which you are referring, then based on the scientific response to them, I consider their hypothesis to be unproven and any linkage between cosmic ray flux and climate effects to be uncertain.
If the Veizer and Shaviv papers are the references to which you are referring, then based on the scientific response to them, I consider their hypothesis to be unproven and any linkage between cosmic ray flux and climate effects to be uncertain.
It is apparent you have missed the point of the article posted regarding solar activity -> cloud cover link.
Considering that the earlier Veizer & Shaviv papers are not basis of the measured correlations between solar activity cloud cover. The cloud cover correlations are established from current measurements with the references to Vezier and Shavis' earlier papers being used to help distinguish between two conditions that could provide evidence of a mechanism effecting cloud cover as a concequence of solar activity through modulation of cosmic ray flux.
Your response was clearly inadequate to the the real issue involved, that of solar activity, by whatever mechanism, being linked clearly to low altitude cloud cover by Marsh & Svensmark, 2003.
I bring your attention to the opening paragraphs of the excerpts of the article provided in comment #25 above:
Clouds have been observed from space since the beginning of the 1980's. By the mid 1990's, enough cloud data accumulated to provide empirical evidence for a solar/cloud-cover link. Without the satellite data, it hard or probably impossible to get statistically meaningful results because of the large systematic errors plaguing ground based observations. Using the satellite data, Henrik Svensmark of the Danish National Space Center in Copenhagen has shown that cloud cover varies in sync with the variable cosmic ray flux reaching the Earth. Over the relevant time scale, the largest variations arise from the 11-yr solar cycle, and indeed, this cloud cover seemed to follow the cycle and a half of cosmic ray flux modulation. Later, Henrik Svensmark and his colleague Nigel Marsh, have shown that the correlation is primarily with low altitude cloud cover. This can be seen in fig. 3.
Figure 3: The correlation between cosmic ray flux (orange) as measured in Neutron count monitors in low magnetic latitudes, and the low altitude cloud cover (blue) using ISCCP satellite data set, following Marsh & Svensmark, 2003.
The solar-activity cosmic-ray-flux cloud-cover correlation is quite apparent. It was in fact sought for by Henrik Svensmrk, based on theoretical considerations. However, by itself it cannot be used to prove the cosmic ray climate connection. The reason is that we cannot exclude the possibility that solar activity modulates the cosmic ray flux and independently climate, without any casual link between the latter two. There is however separate proof that a casual link exists between cosmic rays and climate, and independently that cosmic rays left a fingerprint in the observed cloud cover variations.
The point in red is the essential reason the geophysical data was introduced and to which your offering made a narrow objection, and not for any lack of correlation in cloud cover vs solar activity.
The earlier V&S papers were introduced to provide a degree of evidence that supported the idea that the mechanism involved cosmic rays independant of solar activity as well as with solar activity.
Even removing the earlier geophysical papers totally does not remove the crux of article arguing for more study of an independant cosmic ray intermediary effecting the changes in low altitude cloud cover as opposed to some other operative mechanism linking solar activity to the changes observed.
One would assume from this statement that Earth's climate has therefore been rock solid stable over that 1,000 years.
The global warmers are just trying to rewrite climate history as much as they can.
Mann's hockey stick tried to write-out the Little Ice Age, and the Medieval Warm Period.
Others are trying to rewrite the solar cycles.
Because the less climate variability there has been in the past and the less solar variability there has been in the past, then the 0.6C increase of the last 100 years must be due 100% to increasing C02.
And they never, ever want to bring up the 30 ice ages we have had over the last 3.0 million years.
And of course, the point is to get as many 100% fake studies as possible into the media so that more and more people are convinced that CO2 is responsible for "ALL" warming and cooling.
All the better to promote their "unscientific" and "unproven" "personal" opinion on global warming.
It is too bad that so many have fallen for it already. It is up to me and you and FR and others to get the REAL FACTS out, so start now.
Every time I read something that starts out "Studies now show-----", the first thing I want to know is who paid for the study.
Thanks for the ping. If it weren't for all the money they want us to spend and the productivity they want us to sacrifice these neurotic nitwits would be very amusing.
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