Climate Science Glossary

Term Lookup

Enter a term in the search box to find its definition.


Use the controls in the far right panel to increase or decrease the number of terms automatically displayed (or to completely turn that feature off).

Term Lookup


All IPCC definitions taken from Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis. Working Group I Contribution to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Annex I, Glossary, pp. 941-954. Cambridge University Press.

Home Arguments Software Resources Comments The Consensus Project Translations About Donate

Twitter Facebook YouTube Pinterest

RSS Posts RSS Comments Email Subscribe

Climate's changed before
It's the sun
It's not bad
There is no consensus
It's cooling
Models are unreliable
Temp record is unreliable
Animals and plants can adapt
It hasn't warmed since 1998
Antarctica is gaining ice
View All Arguments...

Keep me logged in
New? Register here
Forgot your password?

Latest Posts


IPCC Draft Report Leaked, Shows Global Warming is NOT Due to the Sun

Posted on 14 December 2012 by dana1981

This post has been re-published by The Guardian

Alec Rawls, an occasional guest poster on the climate contrarian blog WattsUpWithThat who signed up to review the upcoming Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report (as anyone can), has "leaked" a draft version of the report and declared that it "contains game-changing admission of enhanced solar forcing."  This assertion was then repeated by James Delingpole at The Telegraph (with some added colorful language), and probably on many other climate contrarian blogs.

If the IPCC was to report that the sun is a significant player in the current rapid global warming, that would indeed be major news, because the body of peer-reviewed scientific literature and data clearly show that the sun has made little if any contribution to the observed global warming over the past 50+ years (Figure 1).

contributors 50

Figure 1: Percent contributions of greenhouse gases (GHGs), sulfur dioxide (SO2), the sun, volcanoes, and El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) to the observed global surface warming over the past 50-65 years according to Tett et al. 2000 (T00, dark blue), Meehl et al. 2004 (M04, red), Stone et al. 2007 (S07, green), Lean and Rind 2008 (LR08, purple), Huber and Knutti 2011 (HK11, light blue), Gillett et al. 2012 (G12, orange), and Wigley and Santer 2012 (WS12, dark green).

So why would the latest IPCC report contradict these studies when its purpose is to summarize the latest and greatest scientific research?  The answer is simple — it doesn't.  Rawls has completely misrepresented the IPCC report.

Cosmic Source of Confusion

The supposedly "game-changing admission" from the IPCC report is this:

"Many empirical relationships have been reported between GCR [galactic cosmic rays] or cosmogenic isotope archives and some aspects of the climate system...The forcing from changes in total solar irradiance alone does not seem to account for these observations, implying the existence of an amplifying mechanism such as the hypothesized GCR-cloud link."

This statement refers to a hypothesis of Henrik Svensmark from the Danish National Space Institute, who has proposed that galactic cosmic rays (GCRs) could exert significant influence over global temperatures.  The GCR hypothesis suggests that when they reach Earth, GCRs (high-energy charged particles originating from somewhere in our galaxy) are capable of "seeding" clouds; thus at times when a lot of GCRs are reaching the Earth's surface, more clouds will form.  Clouds generally have a cooling effect on the Earth's temperature, because they reflect sunlight. 

So the hypothesis goes like this: high solar activity means a strong solar magnetic field, which deflects more GCRs away from Earth, which means less cloud formation, which means less sunlight is reflected away from Earth, which means more warming.  This GCR-caused warming would amplify the warming already being caused by increased solar activity.  Conversely, cooling from decreased solar activity would hypothetically be amplified by more GCRs on Earth, more clouds, more reflected sunlight, and thus more cooling.

It's important to note that so far virtually all scientific research on GCRs has shown that they are not effective at seeding clouds and thus have very little influence over the Earth's temperature.  In fact, as Zeke Hausfather has noted, the leaked IPCC report specifically states this:

"...there is medium evidence and high agreement that the cosmic ray-ionization mechanism is too weak to influence global concentrations of [cloud condensation nuclei] or their change over the last century or during a solar cycle in any climatically significant way."

But more importantly in this context, even if GCRs did influence global temperature, they would currently be having a cooling effect.

Solar Activity is Down, Greenhouse Gases are Up

Rawls also provides the following quote from the IPCC report (emphasis added):

"There is very high confidence that natural forcing is a small fraction of the anthropogenic forcing. In particular, over the past three decades (since 1980), robust evidence from satellite observations of the TSI [total solar irradiance] and volcanic aerosols demonstrate a near-zero (–0.04 W m–2) change in the natural forcing compared to the anthropogenic AF increase of ~1.0 ± 0.3 W m–2."

The term "radiative forcing" refers to a global energy imbalance on Earth, which may be caused by various effects like changes in the greenhouse effect or solar activity.  A positive forcing will result in warming temperatures, while a negative forcing will result in cooling.

Here the IPCC is saying that since 1980, the sun and volcanoes have combined to cause a slightly negative global energy imbalance, which means they have had a slight cooling influence on global temperatures over the past three decades.  Indeed, solar activity has decreased a bit over that timeframe (Figure 2).

Figure 2: Global temperature (red, NASA GISS) and Total solar irradiance (blue, 1880 to 1978 from Solanki, 1979 to 2009 from PMOD), with 11-year running averages.

As we would expect, lower solar activity including a weaker solar magnetic field has translated into a slight increase in GCR flux on Earth (Figure 3).  Note that on the left-hand axis of Figure 3, GCR counts decrease going up the axis in order to show the relationship with temperature, since fewer GCRs hypothetically means fewer clouds, less reflected sunlight, and higher temperatures.

cosmic rays vs temps

Figure 3: Global average surface temperature (red, NASA GISS) vs. GCR flux on Earth (blue, Krivova & Solanki 2003), with 11-year running averages.

So, if GCRs really do amplify the solar influence on global temperatures, since 1980 they are amplifying a cooling effect.  In fact, GCRs reaching Earth recently hit record high levels (Figure 4), yet temperatures are still way up.

Figure 4: Record cosmic ray flux observed in 2009 by the Advanced Composition Explorer (NASA)

Physical Reality Intrudes on Rawls

Rawls has argued to the contrary by claiming that the climate is still responding to the increase in solar activity from the early 20th century, and that GCRs are amplifying that solar warming from over 60 years ago.  This argument is simply physically wrong.  As Figure 2 illustrates, when solar activity rises, temperatures follow suit very soon thereafter.  In fact, during the mid-20th century, solar activity and global surface temperatures both flattened out.  Are we to believe that the planet suddenly began responding to the pre-1950 solar activity increase in 1975—2012, after not warming 1940—1975?  The argument makes no physical sense.

On top of that, the hypothetical GCR process is a relatively rapid one.  Cloud formation from GCR seeding should occur within days, and clouds have very short lifetimes.  For GCRs to have a warming effect, solar activity must be increasing right now.  It is not, in fact solar activity has been essentially flat and slightly declining in recent decades.  Changes in solar activity from 60+ years ago have no bearing whatsoever on GCRs today.

IPCC Shows Global Warming is NOT Solar

To sum up,

  • The leaked IPCC report states that there may be some connection between GCRs and some aspects of the climate system.
  • However, the report is also consistent with the body of scientific literature in stating that research indicates GCRs are not effective at seeding clouds and have very little influence on global temperatures.
  • Solar activity has been nearly flat and slightly decreasing in recent decades, meaning that if GCRs do amplify solar influences on climate, they are amplifying a cooling effect.

The body of peer-reviewed scientific literature is very clear: human greenhouse gas emissions, not solar activity or galactic cosmic rays, are causing global warming.  The leaked IPCC report is entirely consistent with this conclusion.  In fact, in attempting to argue to the contrary, Rawls has scored an own goal by showing that if anything, GCRs are currently amplifying a solar cooling effect.

0 0

Bookmark and Share Printable Version  |  Link to this page | Repost this Article Repost This


Prev  1  2  

Comments 51 to 76 out of 76:

  1. Doh! I now realise that the temperature is an 11-year average, so naturally it will look different to most temperature presentations.

    But, dana, please could you still redo the graphs (figures 2 & 3) with a temperature profile that is not a running average.

    0 0
  2. FGD135 @50, not only did Dana not ignore the reports, he quoted the key passage Rawls cites as evidence directly. Here it is again, as quoted by Rawls, and with the nub of Rawls argument:

    "Many empirical relationships have been reported between GCR or cosmogenic isotope archives and some aspects of the climate system (e.g., Bond et al., 2001; Dengel et al., 2009; Ram and Stolz, 1999). The forcing from changes in total solar irradiance alone does not seem to account for these observations, implying the existence of an amplifying mechanism such as the hypothesized GCR-cloud link. We focus here on observed relationships between GCR and aerosol and cloud properties.["]

    The Chapter 7 authors are admitting strong evidence (“many empirical relationships”) for enhanced solar forcing (forcing beyond total solar irradiance, or TSI), even if they don’t know what the mechanism is."

    As can be clearly seen, the entirety of Rawls' argument depends on equating "many empirical relationships" with "strong evidence". He should tell that to Pons and Fleischmann. As cold fusion and Lysenkoism illustrate, the history of science is full of people who have found "many empirical relationships" in support of their favoured theory, only to have later and wider assessments refute the theory conclusively. This is sometimes due to careless experimental work, but can be simply the result of coincidence. The standard of statistical significance is that there is only a 5% chance of arriving at the observed result by chance given the null hypothesis. Of course, that means that, by chance 5% of false theories will appear to be born out by "statistically significant" relationships. In such cases, further studies and attempted replications will fail to confirm the hypothesis. As the IPCC carefully point out, that is in fact what has happened in this case.
    0 0
  3. ajason@46

    "I'd say are fairly pathetic in that they don’t let everyday humans decide for themselves if it’s true."

    You essentially imply that:
    a) the reality of physics can be modified by voting (or maybe)
    b) there is a viable 'second' alternative which we can choose

    Can you provide any evidence or material to back up these thoughts of yours?

    And inversely, can you also provide any projection of behaviour, assuming that what the scientists, based on sound physics, are telling is true, ie. the global temperature is rising and we (humans) are the cause of it? I'm especially intrigued in the behaviour of the group which we can plainly call denialists (whether their denial is based on religion, dogmas or ideology does not really matter).

    How do you see that these individuals would react, and how does that situation differ from our present?

    Most importantly: What should the rest of the rational world do in regards to this denier-group, as the outcome of what they are advocating is fairly well known?

    In the other case (where the perceived denier-view would be the correct one), there would be several tell-tale signs:

    a) measurements would not correlate to the claimed models
    b) an abundance of (scientific) material would point to the actual cause

    Do you see that these statements are in accordance with our reality?

    There are several cases where 'everyday humans' have no say in decision making. You can apply that to the gas price at the pump (or any product sold). Or most environmental laws.

    Our situation is a bit of a comical one. In one sense this is the inverse of Taleb's black swan, but with the same end result. Instead of a sudden unknown which kills the turkey, the fowl knows what will come, but since the process is so slow, spanning a long time, the bird just assures itself that "I'm still ok, I can continue living my life in a BAU manner".

    Obligatory disclaimer:

    Analogy with the bird is to the humankind, not single individual.
    I am aware of the story about the frog in the warming water kettle.
    0 0
  4. ajason

    "In regards to those climate change proponents, I'd say are fairly pathetic in that they don’t let everyday humans decide for themselves if it’s true."

    How does anyone decide whether anything is true with out the information needed to base their decicion on? So how does an 'everyday human' decide the truth of something when they don't have the knowledge base to do that? Which most people don't have wrt AGW.

    This is sort of the 'one man's opinion is as good as anothers' argument. Which is fine when discussing our preferred football teams. But is completely wrong when considering subjects that are based on detailed factual information - the more knowledgeable person's opinion is worth more because it is an opinion upon the factsand they have more of them.

    Where my health is concerned, my doctor's opinion is worth far more than my own - that why we always take our doctors advice.

    If what the taxes are spent on is worth it, taxes are good. Or do you think governments shouldn't tax us to provide for the national defense for example, or to build roads?

    Besides, in situations of deep and profound threat, Government is that part of society that has the duty and responsibility of responding to the threat. So when scientists sea clear threats to our wellbeing and security, who should they 'attach' themselves to, the Boy Scouts?

    Government is the centre of society. Our focal point. If they aren't doing that very well, we need to fix that fact. But not ostracise government.

    "There will always be arguments as to who is wrong and who is right in the climate change debate. " Which is totally different from who is actually right and wrong. Some people can never stop arguing even when they have been shown to be wrong again and again. So the simple existance of arguments actually doesn't say very much without an assessment of the merits of the arguments. This is the centralnature of cranks. Some people become so fixated on an idea that they can never recognise that they have lost an argument and concede.Somepeople go totheir graves arguing.

    "The real truth will ferret out the public’s course of action" Yes but. The full impact of AGW will reveal itself over time. And presumably our response to it then will be appropriate to what ishappening.But the inertia and lead times involved in the climate system means that we have to be acting on it decades before it fully manifests itself.

    "How many times have people been lied to by politicians ..." Yep, sometimes they do. Guess why. When they tell us the truth, we can't handle it, we want to wish it away or blame someone for it. Or vote them out. So all governments deceive us a bit because they have to to be able to get things done. This is the down side of democracy.

    "Look at Einstein’s special theory of relativity, he published it and let it be...."

    Interesting example. When he published the theory, there were no apparent real world consequences toit, certainly no hazards associated with it that were obvious then. So Einstein 'put it out there'. Years later, asit became clear that his theory had some very real and dangerous consequences - Nuclear Weapons - He got very,very political.

    So to in many other branches of science. When the science has clear negative implications for human wellbeing, the scientists have a deep moral obligation to get involved in pushing for a response to the threat. Because they are the ones best qualified to understand the threat.

    And if you look at the advocacy of most scientists on this it is along the lines of 'we need to achieve these goals by this point in time or this will happen'.Andif 'the politicians aren't responding veryquickly - they aren't, then the scientists start to bypass the politicians, to convey the magnitude of the threat to the people so that the people can pressure the politicians.

    "If the scientist really cared about people, then care about people and leave politics out of the equation. "

    Wish they could. If you really care about people then you know that we need to achieve profound change rapidly. That is the only thing that will 'care for people'.

    Profound change at this pace can only be driven by government - only they have the power to bring about the changes needed fast enough. The private sector can change things rapidly when there is a buck in it. But they can't bring the targeted focus to the problem needed since their agenda is always somewhere else.

    In a perfect there wouldbe no politics in government. Government would be what it truely should be - good management. Unfortunately we don't live in a perfect world and too many of my fellow citizens feel the need to politicise everything.

    So unfortunately, Politics is it. Sadly it's the only game in town.
    0 0
  5. ajason@46

    "In regards to those climate change proponents,...."

    Apart from what others have already pointed out in their replies, the first half of the first sentence is wrong as well as far as I'm concerned: I am anything but a climate change proponent as I - just like others here on SkS and elsewhere - am working towards climate change not becoming any worse than it already is. So, if anything, I am an opponent of climate change.
    0 0
  6. FGD135 - the data are plotted as 11-year running averages to remove the short-term influence of the 11-year solar cycle. And the difference between the various surface temperature datasets is very small. You're free to plot whatever you want - I'm not the keeper of the temperature or TSI data.
    0 0
  7. FGD135: There is a good reason for using the NASA GISS data. It is the only temperature dataset with global coverage, the other datasets omit substantial portions of the polar regions, see this figure:

    I studied the impact of this omission in great detail in this post - the impact is a warm bias which peaks around 1998, declining to a cool bias in recent years as the warming of the arctic and antarctic have taken off.
    0 0
  8. Further to BarbelW's point, the framing that somehow, people agitating for action against warming are "proponents" of global warming is completely off base.

    It is the pseudoskeptics, by attempting to delay or defeat effective action, who are the proponents of AGW, since by their activism it continues unabated.
    0 0
  9. Composer99 @58:
    Proponent - Noun: A person who advocates a theory, proposal, or project.
    Synonyms: supporter - advocate - proposer

    Actually, proponents of AGW are the people who support the scientific theory. Not the other way around.

    BaerbelW @55:
    Be careful defining yourself as "opponent of climate change". Since climate change is a natural process, one could then say you're an "opponent of nature". Shouldn't you refer to yourself as an "opponent of AGW"?

    dana @article:
    One thing I just noticed is the quoted IPCC paragraph by Rawls says, "implying the existence of an amplifying mechanism such as". They are using GCR's as an example of something that might cause the TSI deficit in explaining solar forcing.

    Basically the paragraph is stating:
    1. Something else is needed other than TSI to explain observed total solar forcing.
    2. Here's one example of what it might be (since GCR has been the focus of significant study the last few years).
    3. We're not sure what it is, it might even be Solar Furries.

    Sorry, but invalidating one example doesn't invalidate the possibility that something else might explain the observational differences.
    0 0
    Moderator Response: [DB] Please refrain from the usage of all-caps to make a point, as that is in violation of the Comments Policy (usage converted to underlined lower case).
  10. brr, you're putting your own spin on the IPCC statement, which is still draft and subject to change anyway, and claiming that's what they really mean.

    Sorry, I'm not interested in playing that game.
    0 0
  11. dana @60:
    I fail to understand how interpreting the phrase "such as" to mean "for example" is putting my own spin on it. In every other usage of the phrase that's exactly what it means.

    However, if it does mean something different in science can you please tell me how it's used in science so that I may better understand IPCC documents (drafts and future documents). In terms of the paragraph in question, it is a pretty important distinction.
    0 0
  12. brr, the quote simply talks about reported relationships in some studies between GCRs or cosmogenic isotope and "some aspects of the climate system". I believe the text goes on to state that most research has shown GCRs are ineffective at seeding clouds.

    According to Rawls this text was inserted between the First and Second order drafts. It doesn't make much sense and will probably be revised or removed in later drafts. This is why it's dumb to be commenting on draft documents.

    Regardless, it doesn't say what you claim it says, and it's likely to change before the document goes final anyway. And I'm sure there will be a big uproar amongst the contrarians when that happens, because they're not interested in anything but generating controversy.
    0 0
  13. Now that J.Romm has revealed that the IPCC draft includes a claim there's a 10% chance of sea ice growth in the next ten years, could it be a time for a "REAL climate report" which would include the "known unknowns" and their fullest extent. Of course, the report would be unofficial. In order to keep the report short, the consensus of the AGW should be stated in some 10 pages. Then there should be the list of unknowns and a short survey of potential importance of each. As the deniers are not convinced of the Anthropogenic part of AGW, the only scenario used should be the BAU scenario. Of course this report would not solve anything, nor offer any proposed courses of action, but it might still be more readable to deniers than the current one. The style of consensus statements should be something like:
    "Current 2012 greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere will eventually lead to a sea level rise of at least 6 meters"
    and leave out the probability since deniers won't understand probabilities.
    0 0
  14. brr @59:

    1) We are proponents of climate science. Climate science as it happens, predicts AGW, and we oppose negligently permiting continued AGW to the ruination of our descendants. That's not hard to grasp, now, is it?

    2) While we're into micro parsing, would you care to explain what "seem" means, as in "The forcing from changes in total solar irradiance alone does not seem to account for these observations".

    3) Neither you nor Rawl's have shown anything to suggest the explanation is not just a climate sensitivity in the upper end of the IPCC range. What is quite clear is that, whatever the explanation of this seeming problem, it is:

    a) not Galactic Cosmic Rays; and
    b) there is no other remotely plausible mechanism proposed by AGW deniers.

    Evidently, however, Rawls and you think that an argument from ignorance should trump real science.
    0 0
  15. dana @62:

    "And I'm sure there will be a big uproar amongst the contrarians when that happens, because they're not interested in anything but generating controversy."

    A prediction you can bank on, based on a very well grounded theory.
    0 0
  16. As the peer review in the IPCC drafts is a slow process, the writers of such a report should expand on things like this , I know, that states it's only 5 meters in there, but I guess West Antarctic contributes somewhat.
    0 0
  17. dana @62:
    You didn't answer my question: What do they actually mean? Regardless of the GCR link in the paragraph, my interpretation is that they used it as an example, and that it could be something else. Hence the use of "such as".

    Tom @64:
    Please try to understand, I was pointing out that saying "it can't be GCR therefore it can't be the sun" is not good science, especially when they implied it could be something else. Invalidating one example does not invalidate all examples.

    Regardless of how you say it, when the IPCC says that forcing from TSI alone doesn't seem to account for observational data, saying "it was not GCRs" still leaves the door open for something else to account for the seeming difference between solar observations and TSI forcing. It most likely isn't GCRs as studies have shown, but it is probably something else. Saying "there's no other explanation" does not account for something we haven't found yet.

    And that's Rawls point. He got the IPCC to seem like they're backing down from the "it's not the sun, silly" reference in AR4 by getting them to include that sentence. Like pointed out above this is just a draft so will probably be struck before publishing. For that we shall have to wait and see.
    0 0
  18. brr @67 - my answer is that I'm not going to play games, I'm not going to read what I want to read into a poorly formed sentence in a draft document, I'm going to wait for the final report. As should you, as Rawls should have, as should everyone.
    0 0
  19. Tom @65 - indeed, the mere fact that we're arguing about this sentence is enough for me to put money on both the sentence changing in the final report, and the contrarians spazzing out when that happens. Followed by me rolling my eyes and hopefully being able to ignore their childishness, because we've already had to put way too much effort into debunking a myth that should never have been born.
    0 0
  20. Just to clarify what I stated in @55 (as we seem to be mincing words in this comment thread):

    [...] I am anything but a climate change proponent as I - just like others here on SkS and elsewhere - am working towards [anthropogenic] climate change not becoming any worse than it already is. So, if anything, I am an opponent of [anthropogenic] climate change.
    0 0
  21. It occurs to me that the Galactic Coincidence part of this theory that asserts that the changes in the GCR and Solar activity that allow the timing of warming to so perfectly coincided with our release of CO2 as to cause us to be fooled about the cause of our warming, needs to be pointed out too.

    The odds of this actually are, particularly given that there isn't any change to speak of in the solar activity or the GCRs in the relevant time frames, quite small.

    This whole business is complete rubbish. Rawls needs to be taken behind the woodshed for his part, and the rest of the mob at Watts has completely lost what little mind they were possessed of.

    There is no convincing ideologues though. Not ever.
    0 0
  22. dana @68, You are already playing games - pretending Rawls' sentence is "poorly formed" and pretending not to comprehend brr's question.

    Just what is "poorly formed" about this sentence from Rawls:

    "The forcing from changes in total solar irradiance alone does not seem to account for these observations, implying the existence of an amplifying mechanism such as the hypothesized GCR-cloud link."

    Note the word "an". This word means that the amplifying mechanism could be ANYTHING, with GCR just one possibility.

    You went to some length to shoot down GCRs, but that was missing the point of Rawls' essay. Rawls' point was that the chapter 7 admissions are a game-changer.

    Can you please have another go at shooting him down? I respectfully suggest you missed on your first go.

    0 0
  23. And I respectfully suggest from you Dana (and others) that you may want to leave those who want to live in an alternate universe to themselves until they wake up by themselves. You have to understand ... their dream is just sooo goooood ...
    0 0
  24. brr @67, neither Dana nor I have argued that, it if it is not cosmic rays, it is not the sun. Just as with the IPCC, you are putting words into our mouths. Dana has argued that even if a amplifying factor exists that amplifies the effects of TSI and no other forcing, that amplifying factor would have amplified the reduction in TSI in the later half of the twentieth century and hence cannot explain the warming in the later half of the twentieth century.

    I have argued something simpler still. My argument is that, if all you know about something is that "it is something else", then you know nothing at all and cannot exclude hypotheses on that basis. If all you know is that the purported amplifying factor is that there was one, you do not know that it will not equally amplify GHG forcings, or even that it will not preferentially amplify GHG forcings. Ergo you cannot presume that the amplifying factor will increase the strength of the solar forcing relative to the GHG forcing in the late twentieth century.

    This point is driven home by one (indeed, the best of) the three studies cited by the IPCC - Bond et al, (2001) - which connects ice rafting events with variations in solar activity as determined by cosmogenic nuclides. Interestingly they propose a mechanism for the variation - a feedback through changes in the thermohaline circulation. That mechanism is temperature driven, however. Consequently it will be more strongly effected by ghg forcing due to polar amplification than it is by solar forcing. The only reason the Holocene record ties it to solar forcing is that GHG forcing was more or less constant over that period.

    So, what evidence have you or Rawls presented that the "something else" is not this, or some other mechanism that equally amplifies GHG forcings?

    None, of course. Rather you have simply used ignorance as an argument.

    What is more, you do not even know that the purported amplification is real. As with Rawls, you simply neglect the meaning of "seems". A second study cited by the IPCC - Dengel et al (2009) - illustrates this. They find a correlation between growth of trees and cosmic rays in the period 1961-2005 in the northern British Isles. Of course, as the IPCC mentions, a correlation between cosmic rays and cloud cover has also been found in the British Isles, but not elsewhere. That fact shoots down the cosmic ray connection. The physical laws are the same everywhere - and if cosmic rays do not significantly seed clouds elsewhere, the cloud cover correlation in the British Isles was just a coincidence. However, a correlation between cloud cover and growth in trees is unlikely to be merely coincidental. So it appears that Dengel has merely found further evidence of the coincidental correlation between cosmic rays and cloud cover in the British Isles.

    The simple fact is that all you can say from the IPCC statement is that:

    1) There seems to be evidence of a factor amplifying solar forcing; but

    2) The only proposed mechanism of that amplification is not responsible for it.

    From that it follows only that, either the apparent amplification was not real, or some unknown factor with unknown effects on other forcings has amplified solar forcings in the past.
    0 0
  25. FGD135:

    There is no "game-changing" admission by the IPCC whatsoever.

    The sentence that Rawls is hung up on relates strictly to the relationship between solar activity and cosmogenic influence on climate.

    Unless the IPCC draft report goes on to upend the quantified forcings from AR4 and the rest of the literature, that influence is still orders of magnitude smaller compared to the anthropogenic forcings (greenhouse gases, land-use changes).

    Rawls is grasping at straws, plain and simple.
    0 0
  26. Composer99 @75,

    "Rawls is grasping at straws, plain and simple."

    Quite right Composer. As are those here (and elsewhere) who are trying so very hard to defend and justify his unethical actions, not to mention his twisting of the draft text. Same old nonsense and games from the fake skeptics.
    0 0
  27. @FDG #135:

    Dana has a very strict moral code. He will never shoot someone down who has already shot himself/herself in the foot.
    0 0
  28. brr @33... Actually there is a very high level of certainty that humans are the cause of the warming of the past 50 years. AR4 puts it at >90% certainty. The APS and AMS both state that it is "incontrovertible."
    0 0
  29. dana @68 - But his is not true. You are most certainly playing the game. You have a post here about it, which was reprinted in the Guardian and you have participated the comment sections of both. You have in fact spend a great deal of time playing the game.

    Albatross @76 - How would you rate the ethics of Rawls leaking the document to the Peter Gleick affair. I seem to remember strong support for Gleick's "leak", why not the same in this instance?
    0 0
  30. Smith @79 - Wrong. Debunking Rawls' misinformation and misinterpretation of the IPCC text is not playing games. I'm not saying "well maybe this is what the IPCC really meant", I'm saying "here's what the IPCC text said and here's what the peer-reviewed literature says".

    SkS also did not support Gleick's actions in the Heartland affair, and we certainly did not take Heartland's statements out of context or put our own spin on their meaning.
    0 0
  31. Tom @74:
    I'm sorry, but did you actually read Dana's article? It is pretty specific that if it isn't GCR it isn't the sun. You even do it in your final sentence of the first paragraph of your reply, "and hence cannot explain the warming".

    Have you also read the 30 odd papers that Rawls has cited to support his position? I haven't read all, but the 5 I have read were pretty adamant that some other influence from the sun is required to account for the solar forcing deficit from TSI alone. Gee, it might not even be an amplification at all, but a separate forcing.

    There's just too much uncertainty ATM to say one way or the other.
    0 0
  32. “Gee, it might not even be an amplification at all, but a separate forcing.
    There's just too much uncertainty ATM to say one way or the other”.

    brr, have you read Naomi Oreskes “Merchants of Doubt”? One things for sure, they keep on keeping on!
    0 0
  33. brr:

    I have read through your comments and it seems to me you are arguing something that is orthogonal to the point of the OP.

    I assume you think otherwise, so perhaps you can enlighten me.

    As far as I am aware, the IPCC draft report quite correctly notes that:

    There is very high confidence that natural forcing is a small fraction of the anthropogenic forcing. [Emphasis mine.] In particular, over the past three decades (since 1980), robust evidence from satellite observations of the TSI [total solar irradiance] and volcanic aerosols demonstrate a near-zero (–0.04 W m–2) change in the natural forcing compared to the anthropogenic AF increase of ~1.0 ± 0.3 W m–2.

    (Note the 2-order-of-magnitude difference in forcings.)

    The paragraph that Rawls asserts is a game-changer does not contradict the above statement in any meaningful fashion:

    Many empirical relationships have been reported between GCR [galactic cosmic rays] or cosmogenic isotope archives and some aspects of the climate system [cites omitted]. The forcing from changes in total solar irradiance alone does not seem to account for these observations, implying the existence of an amplifying mechanism such as the hypothesized GCR-cloud link.

    Despite this non-relation, Rawls is attempting to claim the latter paragraph undermines the former in some crucial respect. It is this transparent mendacity that dana1981 is addressing in the OP.

    Was it your intention to defend Rawls on his central point (that the unquantified cosmogenic effects on climate upend the quantified difference in anthropogenic vs natural forcings)?

    If you were in fact arguing something else entirely, can you please clarify?
    0 0
  34. Re Smith's comments at 79, my response is essentially what Dana said @80.

    Additionally, Rawls agreed to the terms of the IPCC review process which excplicitly stated that reviewers should not share the content with the public,

    "The IPCC considers its draft reports, prior to acceptance, to be pre-decisional, provided in confidence to reviewers, and not for public distribution, quotation or citation."

    Rawls knowingly renaged on those terms for politcal/ideological gain, that much is clear, regardless of his claimsto the contrary. The real motivation for such unethical actions by fake skeptics is so transparent it is laughable.

    So only people playing "games" here are people like Rawls and those fake skeptics and those in denial about AGW who are openly endorsing, perpetuating and aiding his attempts to misrepresent the science, and that includes some people on this thread.

    But we have long learned to expect those kind of games from fake skeptics and those in denial about the theory of AGW ;)
    0 0
  35. brr @81, if you think the above article argues "if it isn't GCR it isn't the sun", you need to re-read it. I'd suggest starting with Figure 2 and the section it's in, with the heading "Solar Activity is Down".

    "It's the sun" is such a weak argument, I thought the contrarians had moved past it. I hadn't seen this one in quite a while. Now suddenly it's making a comeback - maybe they cycled through all the other myths and have come full circle back to this loser of an argument. I mean seriously, trying to blame the sun for global warming when solar activity is down? That's kind of a joke.
    0 0
  36. brr @81, my paragraph, and Dana's article are quite clear. The nature of the argument presented in both is:

    TSI has been decreasing while the globe is warming, therefore, the sun has not caused the global warming even if TSI has been amplified.

    If you want, you can simplify that to:

    TSI has been decreasing, therefore, it is not the Sun.

    You, however, have claimed that Dana, and I have argued:

    It's not Galactic Cosmic Rays, therefore it is not the sun.

    If you cannot recognize the difference between those two sentences, there is no point in discussing anything with you. Further, if you will not state that you recognize the difference, and withdraw your silly misrepresentations of Dana (and now my) words, I would request the moderators withdraw your posting privileges. Somebody unable or unwilling to recognize that clear difference is no posting in good faith, and therefore has no part in a civilized discussion.
    0 0
  37. Composer 99 @83, I believe you have identified one of the most ludicrous aspects of Rawls argument. As it happens, the total Radiative Forcing since preindustrial times (1750) of anthropogenic factors is 2.4 +/-0.6 W/m^2. In contrast, the radiatiave forcing from changes in TSI over the same period is 0.04 +/-0.06 W/m^2. Even if we use the upper range of that estimate, changes in TSI are approximately a twentieth of anthropogenic forcings, and a sixth of the error in anthropogenic forcings, meaning they can be (but are not) ignored as insignificant.

    Rawls has not established that total solar forcing, or TSI plus a amplifying factor unique to solar forcing, is greater than TSI. All he has established is that there are some studies suggesting that possibility - while he studiously ignores other studies suggesting the contrary. Never-the-less, we can play a game of "let's pretend" and grant him his stronger claim.

    Even with this pretense, however, his argument depends essentially on ignoring the low value of the TSI. It comes down to arguing that because:

    Effective solar forcing is greater than TSI; therefore, Effective solar forcing is greater than Anthropogenic forcings.

    Or, more simply:

    X > 0.04 => X > 2.4
    0 0
  38. @dana & Tom:
    Both of you need to listen very carefully, as you are mis-interpreting what I am saying. I will try to make this very clear.

    Rawls say, and even cites 30 odd studies since 1990, which show the observed solar influence is not fully explained by TSI. He's saying, that there is more to the sun than TSI. For the FOD Rawls reviewer feedback explained this and the result was the addition of the explanation to the SOD which uses GCR as an example of what could be the extra component of solar. He claims that is a game-changer.

    The article above focuses on GCRs and (rightly) shows that observed GCR readings to not explain modern warming. This is in line with later IPCC statements in the SOD. What the article does not address is the observed difference in solar forcing to TSI. It leaves that question mark still in existence. The article finishes by stating solar activity has been flat, and recently a downturn, which does not explain modern warming. IE: "It's not GCRs, thus it's not the sun". Tom, you also validated this statement in your comments.

    But what Rawls is saying, is that the 30 odd studies he cited show that the sun is more than just TSI. True, TSI has been flat, but there are various other indicators which have been quite active, for example some of the magnetic indicators at certain ranges. Rawls claim that there's more to the sun than TSI has not been addressed here. The article, and commenters, focus on TSI as the only solar indicator. It is not.

    Thus this article does nothing to address Rawls claims. It addresses the example that the IPCC used to explain the difference in observed solar influence and TSI, but nothing to address the actual difference (no matter what caused the difference).
    0 0
  39. brr @88, I said, @86:

    "If you want, you can simplify that to:

    TSI has been decreasing, therefore, it is not the Sun.

    You, however, have claimed that Dana, and I have argued:

    It's not Galactic Cosmic Rays, therefore it is not the sun.

    If you cannot recognize the difference between those two sentences, there is no point in discussing anything with you."

    You respond by saying:

    "The article finishes by stating solar activity has been flat, and recently a downturn, which does not explain modern warming. IE: "It's not GCRs, thus it's not the sun"."

    With breathtaking gall, you also claim to be misinterpreted.

    Regardless, there is no point in discussion with somebody who shows such overwhelming inability to parse an argument.
    0 0
  40. Tom @89:
    And there you go again with a singularity comparison. There is more to the sun than TSI. Once you admit that, maybe we can all work together to find out what else there is to the sun.
    0 0
  41. Tell you what brr, why don't you or Rawls explain to us how these other hypothetical solar factors are acting in the opposite direction of TSI, and solar activity in general?

    Rawls has cited a bunch of papers about pre-industrial solar forcings. He even has the gall to cite Lockwood and Frohlich's paper, Recent oppositely directed trends in solar climate forcings and the global mean surface air temperature. Some of the papers he references are about solar influences on local weather. It's a classic quantity over quality argument. Throw all the solar-climate related papers you can find at the wall and hope something sticks. It reeks of desperation.

    What he has not done is answer the challenge I posed above. Until you or he can, you've got nothing other than a bunch of transparently desperate hand waving. You don't even have a working hypothesis.
    0 0
  42. brr @90, the IPCC draft report says:

    "Many empirical relationships have been reported between GCR or cosmogenic isotope archives and some aspects of the climate system (e.g., Bond et al., 2001; Dengel et al., 2009; Ram and Stolz, 1999). The forcing from changes in total solar irradiance alone does not seem to account for these observations, implying the existence of an amplifying mechanism such as the hypothesized GCR-cloud link."

    (My emphasis)

    By definition, amplifying mechanisms are positively correlated with the signal they amplify. You have now resorted to arguing that because some studies suggest a climate signal positively correlated with TSI and negatively correlated with GCR, therefore there may exist a solar related factor that is not positively correlated with TSI and negatively correlated with GCR. Or more to the point, you are suggesting there is an unknown factor positively correlated with TSI and negatively correlated with GCR up until 1980, but negatively correlated with TSI, and positively with GCR thereafter. And your evidence is that there exists a positive correlation between global temperatures and TSI (and negatively correlated with GCR) prior to 1980, but a negative (positive) correlation afterwards.

    In the terms of philosophy of science, your theory is (designed to be) unfalsifiable. Its sole purpose is to provide a mental shield so that you don't have to face the evidence.

    As an aside, I enjoy the irony, pointed out by Dana, of Rawls quoting a paper that disproves the solar/warming connection as proof of the solar/warming connection.

    Edited to correctly state the correlation between GCR and TSI.
    0 0
  43. brr

    "There is more to the sun than TSI."

    Well yes, the measurable solar outputs are:

    the open solar flux,
    the sunspot number,
    the solar irradiance,
    the galactic cosmic ray flux,
    the UV irradiance.

    These have all trended in a mild cooling direction since the mid-late 1980's as the solar output has reduced somewhat.

    So which solar parameter do you have in mind that has a warming contribution as the solar output reduces?

    As is rather well established (and as the IPCC report points out) these solar parameters vary pretty much in concert (e.g. through the solar cycle) and so the fact that one may observe some apparent correlation between the cosmic ray flux (say) and some measurable parameter on Earth is not evidence for a contribution from the cosmic ray flux. That's part of the problem of interpretation re the "many empirical relationships" in the IPCC draft report that some of the anti-science chaps have become so exercised about. No doubt it will be presented more clearly in the final version of the report!
    0 0
  44. chris, haven't you been reading the debate. It's the solar furries. I wonder if solar furries have soft fur? Perhaps Brr will tell us, as the mechanism involved as only been observed in his imagination.
    0 0
  45. It's worth pointing out that some of the apparent correlations between solar output variation and climate-related responses (a.k.a. "empirical relationships") relate to regional effects that may occur with little effect on overall global temperature.

    An example is the possible (not yet substantiated) effect of reduced solar irradiance in causing reduced winter temperatures in N. hemisphere continents. This would be a possible example of the requirement for an "amplifying mechanism" (e.g. a forced influence towards the low index state of the NAO) that induces a significant local effect that is not linked to global changes in surface temperature.

    Those that are actually interested in the science (as opposed to playing tedious "gotcha" games) will likely learn a little more about this when the final version of the IPCC report appears. Mike Lockwood has a useful recent article on this topic [Solar Influence on Global and Regional Climates Sur. Geophys. 33:503-534 (2012)].
    0 0
  46. Tom @94...not THIS!?!??

    0 0
  47. brr - It is worth noting that all of the observed insolation (various solar influences) that vary with the solar cycle, including the Maunder minimum, can be correlated (as one major forcing) with various climate temperature changes.

    Over the last half century, however, solar influences have changed in a direction opposite to temperature changes, decreasing insolation, whereas the order of magnitude greater GHG influences have increased along with temperatures. And those changes are over an order of magnitude smaller than GHG effects, at least according to historic observations of solar influences.

    Your "solar furries" influence, amplifying insolation, must have (a) changed direction of amplification ~1960, no longer varying with TSI, and (b) have never for some reason been observed. In addition, you will need to (c) show why the observed GHG spectroscopic changes haven't the effect that physics says they will, as otherwise there is no room for your "furries" to operate.

    Finally, you will have to (d) provide or suggest a testable mechanism for said "solar furries" to operate.

    If you cannot support those four points (a-d), I would have to consider your claims simply armwaving - the unsupported invocation of uncertainty in the face of repeated observations and data.
    0 0
  48. None of you are addressing the IPCC noted difference between observed solar forcing and TSI. That difference implies something else from the sun has caused the difference.

    There is no need for me to prove anything KR, since the IPCC itself admits there is something else: "The forcing from changes in total solar irradiance alone does not seem to account for these observations".

    And that is Rawls point. The IPCC finally admitted there's something other than TSI from the sun that could influence climate.
    0 0
    Moderator Response:

    [DB] Let me point out something from the Comments Policy to you:

    • Comments should avoid excessive repetition. Discussions which circle back on themselves and involve endless repetition of points already discussed do not help clarify relevant points. They are merely tiresome to participants and a barrier to readers. If moderators [meaning: me] believe you are being excessively repetitive, they will advise you as such, and any further repetition will be treated as being off topic.

    As KR points out below, you simply have not established your case. Simply repeating it, re-phrased, is insufficient. This is a science-based website. As such, the onus is on you and Mr. Rawls to prove your point with links from the published, reputable literature that actually support your case. Failing that, further prosecution of this line of discussion is without merit...and will be moderated accordingly.

  49. brr - You are continuing to ignore two very important points, points that Dana made and that Rawls neglected.

    * The direction of solar changes has been opposite temperature changes for the last half century. This means Rawls (even aside from the implications of violating his confidentiality agreement) is arguing against himself. Any such amplification is a cooling influence, not a warming influence.

    * Solar changes (of any kind) are orders of magnitude smaller than GHG changes over that period, according to all observations of past climate behavior. They simply do not overwhelm those GHG influences.

    Perhaps (only perhaps, not clearly established, as per the IPCC draft text) there are solar amplifications over and above insolation - the evidence thereof is very weak. But they do not, can not, dominate over the anthropogenic greenhouse gas changes - they are too small, and in the wrong direction. Rawls has highlighted sections of the IPCC draft that contradict his opinions.

    And your support of Rawls is (IMO) equally unsupportable. You have simply not established your case in the face of the internal contradictions of this leak. You appear to be suffering (again, IMO) from confirmation bias, seizing upon anything that supports your convictions.

    And yes, if you feel otherwise, you are going to have to support your opinions - or see those unsupported opinions (appropriately) dismissed.
    0 0
  50. brr @98, actually Rawls point was that:

    "The admission of strong evidence for enhanced solar forcing changes everything. The climate alarmists can’t continue to claim that warming was almost entirely due to human activity over a period when solar warming effects, now acknowledged to be important, were at a maximum. The final draft of AR5 WG1 is not scheduled to be released for another year but the public needs to know now how the main premises and conclusions of the IPCC story line have been undercut by the IPCC itself."

    What he has is the fact that the IPCC mentions a possibility (note again, "seems" does not mean "is") that total solar forcing is greater than 0.01667 of total anthropogenic forcing (ie, the ration of solar forcing to anthropogenic forcing). From this he concludes that the "admission ... changes everything" and "The climate alarmists can’t continue to claim that warming was almost entirely due to human activity over a period when solar warming effects, now acknowledged to be important, were at a maximum."

    Well, I have news for you.

    Acknowledging that something may have made more than a 1.667% contribution to the warming is not acknowledging that it is important. Further, you could increase solar forcing by a factor of ten, and the warming would still be "almost entirely due to human activity".

    Surely anybody competent enough to understand simple arithmetic can understand this.
    0 0

Prev  1  2  

You need to be logged in to post a comment. Login via the left margin or if you're new, register here.

The Consensus Project Website



(free to republish)



The Scientific Guide to
Global Warming Skepticism

Smartphone Apps


© Copyright 2014 John Cook
Home | Links | Translations | About Us | Contact Us