Friday, February 09, 2007


(Some excerpts below from a review of the scientific literature which shows that both cosmic rays and a variable sun are major drivers of temperature change on Earth. From Space Science Reviews, 31 January 2007)

By K. Scherer et al.


In recent years the variability of the cosmic ray flux has become one of the main issues interpreting cosmogenic elements and especially their connection with climate. In this review, an interdisciplinary team of scientists brings together our knowledge of the evolution and modulation of the cosmic ray flux from its origin in the MilkyWay, during its propagation through the heliosphere, up to its interaction with the Earth's magnetosphere, resulting, finally, in the production of cosmogenic isotopes in the Earth' atmosphere. The interpretation of the cosmogenic isotopes and the cosmic ray - cloud connection are also intensively discussed. Finally, we discuss some open questions.


1. Interstellar-Terrestrial Relations: Definition and Evidence

There is evidence that the galactic environment of the Solar System leaves traces on Earth. Well-known are supernova explosions, which are responsible for an increased 3He abundance in marine sediments (O'Brien et al., 1991), or catastrophic cometary impacts, which are considered as causes for biological mass extinctions (Rampino et al., 1997; Rampino, 1998). These and other events, to which also gamma ray bursts (Thorsett, 1995) or close stellar encounters (Scherer, 2000) can be counted, can be considered as 'quasi-singular' and belong to so-called stellar-terrestrial relations. From those one should distinguish 'quasi-periodic' events, which are connected to encounters of different interstellar gas phases or molecular clouds (Frisch, 2000), to the crossing of the galactic plane (Schwartz and James, 1984), and to the passage through galactic spiral arms (Leitch and Vasisht, 1998). As will be explained in the following, these quasi-periodic changes influence the Earth and its environment and are, therefore, called interstellar-terrestrial relations. The mediators of such environmental changes are the interstellar plasma and neutral gas as well as the cosmic rays, all of which affect the structure and dynamics of the heliosphere.

The heliosphere, however, acts as a shield protecting the Earth from the direct contact with the hostile interstellar environment. From all particle populations that can penetrate this shield, only the flux variations of cosmic rays can be read off terrestrial archives, namely the depositories of cosmogenic isotopes, i.e. ice-cores, sediments, or meteorites. The typical periods of interstellar-terrestrial relations seen in these archives are determined by external (interstellar) triggers on time-scales longer than about ten thousand years, while those for shorter time-scales are governed by an internal (solar) trigger. The latter results from solar activity, which leads to variations of the cosmic ray flux with periods of the various solar cycles, like the Hale-, Schwabeand Gleissberg-cycle amongst others. The interpretation of the cosmogenic archives is of importance for our understanding of variations of the galactic cosmic ray spectra and of the solar dynamo and, therefore, of high interest to astrophysics.

Moreover, the correlation of cosmogenic with climate archives gives valuable information regarding the question to what extent the Earth climate is driven by extraterrestrial and extraheliospheric forces. Candidates for such climate drivers are the variable Sun (solar forcing), the planetary perturbations (Milankovitch forcing), the variable cosmic ray flux (cosmic ray forcing), and the varying atomic hydrogen inflow into the atmosphere of Earth (hydrogen forcing). The current debate concentrates on solar and cosmic ray forcing, because the Milankovitch forcing is well understood and the hydrogen forcing is highly speculative. While there exists a vast amount of literature, especially reviews and monographs, concerning the solar forcing, the work on cosmic ray forcing is still largely scattered and no comprehensive overview has been compiled so far. This review intends to make the first step to change that situation by bringing together our knowledge about cosmogenic archives, climate archives, cosmic ray transport and heliospheric dynamics.



Considering that the "consensus" view (IPCC, 2001) favours CO2 as the principal climate driver on most (Ruddiman, 2001), or at least the human, time scales, it is important to ask what is the "sensitivity" of climate to doubling of CO2 from its "pre-industrial" value of c. 280 ppm . Direct radiative forcing of 4 Wm-2 , attributed to CO2 doubling, should theoretically increase the global temperature by c. 1.25 degrees C, short of the predictions by general circulation models (GCMs) of 1.5-4.5 degrees C. Similarly, direct empirical surface measurements show a centennial temperature rise of only c. 0.6 degrees C (IPCC, 2001), of which c. 1/3 is attributed to the observed increase in solar brightness. The "anthropogenic" greenhouse effect, of c. 80-100 ppm CO2, should thus account for c. 0.4 degrees C. An extrapolation of these empirical data to CO2 doubling would therefore suggest that the real climate sensitivity to CO2 is closer to, or below, the minimal model predictions of 1.5 degrees C (Shaviv, 2005), consistent with the direct satellite and balloon observations for the mid-lower troposphere (Sherwood et al., 2005; Mears and Wentz, 2005; Pinker et al., 2005).

The amplification of temperatures in GCMs is thus mostly due to the positive feedback of higher atmospheric water vapour concentrations, and the large spread in their predictions reflects essentially the differences in model parameterization of clouds [i.e. nobody knows how clouds behave]. The attribution of only c. 1/3 of the centennial temperature rise to solar forcing (Mitchell et al., 2001), despite very good correlation, is based on the empirical observation that averaged over the 11-year solar cycle the Total Solar Irradiance (TSI) variability is only 0.08% (1.1 Wm-2 ) (Lean, 2005; Gray et al., 2005), insufficient to account for the 0.6 degrees C centennial temperature rise in the GCMs.

An amplifier related to solar dynamics would therefore be required to explain the entire magnitude of the trend and the 1980-2002 satellite data (Scafetta and West, 2005, 2006) indeed show that the response to the 11-year TSI cycle is 1.5-3 times larger than in the GCM predictions. The galactic cosmic ray (GCR) flux was briefly considered to be such an amplifier, but dismissed because of the lack of understanding of physical processes, particularly cloud formation, that could point to a climate connection (Ramaswamy et al., 2001). Recently, however, a spate of empirical observations demonstrates that the "Sun-climate connection is apparent in a plethora of high-fidelity climate indicators" (Lean, 2005), such as surface temperatures, cloud cover, drought, rainfall, cyclones, forest fires....


Resume 16. Where do we Stand?

In this review the evolution of the cosmic ray flux from its origin into the Earth atmosphere is presented. The consequences of variable cosmic ray fluxes for the Earth environment, i.e. the production of cosmogenic isotopes and the interpretation of the related archives as well as the influence on climate is discussed. Although many of the physical processes seem to be understood and others are actively researched, many open questions remain. As the explicit formulation of such questions depends on the research field, it seems better to identify the most obvious tasks for future research....

Climate: Empirical evidence for an influence of "space weather and climate" on planetary environments, especially on the terrestrial climate, exists for many time scales, from decades up to billion years. As shown in this review it makes sense to distinguish between solar-terrestrial and interstellar-terrestrial relations, i.e. to distinguish between an internal solar and external interstellar trigger for influence on Earth and its environment. In contrast to the solar forcing the cosmic ray forcing operates, in principle, on all time scales. For both forcings the processes relevant for an influence on climate are unclear. Nonetheless, the evidence for the cosmic ray forcing is increasing as is the understanding of its physical principles. Cosmic rays despite their negligible energy compared to that of solar irradiance, are the main source of ionization in the troposphere. The detailed chain of processes connecting the variable cosmic ray flux with the terrestrial climate (i.e. via cloud formation) has still to be identified....

Astray in Greenland

In very large type, the New York Times Jan. 16 proclaimed "The warming of Greenland." But as has become increasingly typical of their reporting on climate change, that's only about half the news that's fit to print. The big story, of course, is the melting of Greenland's ice, and threats of a major rise in sea level. After all, if the entire 630,000 cubic miles of it disappeared, the ocean would rise 23 feet. The Times relied on an off-the-cuff estimate of ice loss, given to it by Professor Carl Boggild from the University Center at Svalbard. The Times reported he "said Greenland could be losing more than 80 cubic miles of ice per year."

Nowhere did the Times give the amount determined by meticulous analysis of recent satellite data, which is around 25 cubic miles, published by NASA's Scott Luthcke in Science less than two months ago. It then quoted Richard Alley, from Penn State, who reported "a sea-level rise of a foot or two in the coming decades is entirely possible." Wrong. It's entirely impossible.

First, the current sea-level rise contributed by this amount of ice loss is probably too small to even be able to measure in coming decades. The satellite data show a reduction of 3 hundred-thousandths of Greenland's total ice per year (while Mr. Boggild's figure "could" be around 12 hundred-thousandths [0.000012]). Multiplying the satellite-based figure by 23 feet gives the annual rise in sea level of .01 inch per year. Averaged over three decades, that's a third of an inch, which indeed is too small to be detectable. Over a century, the rise becomes a bit more than an inch. Mr. Boggild's guesstimate yields 31/2 inches per century.

In fact, there's nothing very new going on in Greenland. While the Times pays great attention to ice-loss in eastern Greenland caused by current temperatures, it conveniently forgets to look at nearby temperature histories. The longest record is from Angmagssalik. In the summer (when Greenland's ice melts) the temperature has averaged 43.1 degrees Fahrenheit over the last 10 summers. There was one very warm summer, in 2003, but the other nine years aren't unusual at all.

From 1930 through 1960, the average was 43.7 degrees. In other words, it was warmer for three decades, and there was clearly no large rise in sea level. What happened between 1945 and the mid-1990s was a cooling trend, with 1985-95 being the coldest period in the entire Angmagssalik record, which goes back to the late 19th century. Only in recent years have temperatures begun to look like those that were characteristic of the early 20th century.

Petr Chylek, from Canada's Dalhousie University, recently summarized Greenland's climate history in the journal Geophysical Research Letters. He wrote that "Although the last decade of 1995-2005 was relatively warm, almost all decades within 1915 to 1965 were even warmer at both the southwestern [Godthab Nuuk] and southeastern [Ammassalik] coasts of Greenland."

In fact, the Times could have written pretty much the exact same story in 1948, before humans had much of a hand in anything climatic. That's when Hans Ahlman wrote, in the Geographical Journal, a publication of the British Royal Geographic Society, that "The last decades have reduced the ice in some parts of Greenland to such an extent that the whole landscape has changed in character." So it's hardly something new when the Times reports, almost 60 years later, that temperatures in Greenland "are changing the very geography of coastlines."

This isn't the first time the Times has misled its readers about climate change in high latitudes. On Aug. 19, 2000, based upon reports from a cruise ship floating at the North Pole, they reported that "the last time scientists can be certain that the Pole was awash in water was more than 50 million years ago." The report received top, Page One billing. But in fact, during the end of summer there's often some open water at very high latitudes. So 10 days later, on Aug. 29, buried on Page D-3, the Times admitted it had misstated the true condition of polar ice and that an ice-free North Pole is hardly unprecedented. Yet, in the same issue, the newspaper again misled, saying, "The data scientists are now studying reveal substantial evidence that on average Arctic temperatures in winter have risen 11 degrees [F] over the past 30 years." It claimed its statement was based upon a recent paper published in the journal Climatic Change by University of Colorado's Mark Serreze. The average winter rise in Mr. Serreze's paper is 2.7 degrees F. The Times never even retracted its fourfold exaggeration of Arctic warming. Nor did they say there was only one very small area in the Arctic where there was an 11-degree rise.

To most readers, "average Arctic temperatures" means "temperatures averaged over the Arctic," not temperature change at one location. So, the fact the recent Greenland story ignored the historical record and the refereed scientific literature is nothing new. On reporting about polar climate, the Gray Lady has a consistent record of hiding parts of the truth that are inconvenient to whatever story it is trying to sell.



The oceans may be warming and air temperatures rising, but in recent days Iceland has bucked the global climate trend. Thick pack ice, the like of which has not been seen for decades, stretched into the western fjords as temperatures plummeted and a bitter wind blew in from -Greenland. The ice has proved a headache for fishermen, who have been unable to put to sea, but it is what comes with pack ice that has caused most concern: polar bears.

People living around the fjord of Dyrafjordur, which last week was almost filled with the ice, were keeping an eye on the sea, conscious that the bears live on the pack ice that covers much of the Arctic ocean. When chunks break off, as appears to have happened last week, the bears become stranded, drifting wherever the ice takes them. There have been numerous accounts of bears making land on the shores of Iceland in the past. But it is the bears who tend to come off worse in encounters with the Icelanders, who take a distinctly unsentimental approach to wildlife.

In 1993, the last time a bear is known to have made it to Icelandic waters, it was caught by a fishing crew and killed. It is believed to have been stranded on a piece of pack ice that broke off the main pack and melted, leaving the animal swimming in the open ocean 70 miles from the main ice sheet. Five years earlier, the last bear to make it to shore was promptly shot when it turned up near the town of Haganesvik in the north of the country. Coastguard commander Asgrinur Asgrinsson remembers a polar bear coming ashore on the island of Grimsey, north of the mainland, when he was a child. It was shot and stuffed and now has pride of place in the museum in the town of Husavik.

There are thought to be about 25,000 polar bears in the wild and environmentalists have warned that they are in danger of becoming extinct as their habitat shrinks. Climate change scientists say that with temperatures rising, the pack ice may have melted completely by 2040, leaving the Arctic ocean navigable and the polar bears with nowhere to go.

Last week's return of the pack ice to Iceland initially suggested that those predictions might have been overly pessimistic. "I have lived here my whole life, but I have never seen so much pack ice before," said Helgi Arnason, a farmer in Dyrafjordur. "Forty years ago, large icebergs drifted on to beaches but it was nothing compared with this. "[Pack ice] used to be Iceland's ancient enemy, but we stay calm so long as the situation doesn't worsen. This is just to remind us where we live."

According to the coastguard, the build-up of ice was the result of a combination of a high pressure system to the south of the mainland coupled with winds blowing in from Greenland, 300 miles to the west. "It looked like the main pack ice had reached the coast," said Mr Asgrinsson. "But in fact it was a piece of the main pack that had broken away."



By Hendrik Tennekes, retired Director of Research, Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute, former Professor of Aeronautical Engineering at the Pennsylvania State University and internationally recognized expert in atmospheric boundary layer processes

Seventeen years ago, I wrote a column for Weather magazine, expressing my concerns about the lack of honesty, integrity and humility of many climate scientists. "I worry about the arrogance of scientists who claim they can help solve the climate problem, provided their research receives massive increases in funding", reads one line from my text. Unknown to me, my friend Richard Lindzen was working on his famous paper "Some Cooling Concerning Global Warming", which appeared in the Bulletin of the AMS at the same time. This was early 1990.

It is 2007 now, and I want to ring the alarm bell again. There is a difference, though: then I was worried, now I am angry. I am angry about the Climate Doomsday hype that politicians and scientists engage in. I am angry at Al Gore, I am angry at the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists for resetting its Doomsday clock, I am angry at Lord Martin Rees for using the full weight of the Royal Society in support of the Doomsday hype, I am angry at Paul Crutzen for his speculations about yet another technological fix, I am angry at the staff of IPCC for their preoccupation with carbon dioxide emissions, and I am angry at Jim Hansen for his efforts to sell a Greenland Ice Sheet Meltdown Catastrophe. Speaking of Hansen, Dick Lindzen and I wrote a lighthearted April Fools' Day parody of his concerns, which was published on Fred Singer's SEPP website (search for Greenland Green Again) last year.....

I agree with IPCC that there is a likely link between fossil fuel consumption and increased temperatures. But this is where the much proclaimed consensus ends. Just one example: the models do not include feedbacks between changing farming and forest harvesting practices and the atmospheric circulation. Partly for that reason, they cannot seem to agree on precipitation patterns. It so happens that precipitation is far more relevant to the world's food production than a slight increase in temperature....

But the mainstream of dynamic meteorology refuses to study the slow evolution of the general circulation. It has become so easy to run General Circulation Models on supercomputers that most atmospheric scientists shy away from matters like a thorough study of the interaction between the Polar Vortex and the Arctic Oscillation. Mike Wallace mailed me a year ago, saying that there is not a beginning of consensus on a theory of the Arctic Oscillation. This was one of the highlights in an advanced senior-citizens' class on climate change I taught a year ago. It was announced as "A Storm in the Greenhouse", referring primarily to the increasingly bitter debates of the past fifteen years.

How does this problem affect climate forecasts? If there is not even a rudimentary theory of the Polar Vortex, much less an established relation between rising greenhouse gas concentrations and systematic changes in the Arctic Oscillation, one cannot possibly make inferences about changes in precipitation patterns. We do not know, and for the time being cannot know anything about changing patterns of clouds, storms and rain.....

I want to lobby for decency, modesty, honesty, integrity and balance in climate research. I hope and pray we lose our obsession with climate forecasting. Climate simulations are best seen as sensitivity experiments, not as tools for policy makers. I said it in 1990 and I am saying it now: the constraints imposed by the planetary ecosystem require continuous adjustment and permanent adaptation. Predictive skills are of secondary importance. We should stop our support for the preoccupation with greenhouse gases our politicians indulge in. Global energy policy is their business, not ours.

We should not allow politicians to use fake doomsday projections as a cover-up for their real intentions. If IPCC does not come to its senses, I'll be happy to let it stew in its own juices. There is plenty of other work to do. In 1976, Steve (Stephen H.) Schneider published a book entitled The Genesis Strategy. It made quite an impact on me at the time, primarily because Schneider did not promote technological fixes, but a global strategy of what is now called Adaptation, an idea reluctantly and belatedly embraced by IPCC.

Those were the days of Nuclear Winter, weather modification, Project Stormfury, stratospheric ozone destruction, and the sick idea of seeding all Arctic ice with soot to prevent the next ice age. In the preface to his book, Schneider quotes Harvey Brooks, then Harvard dean of engineering: "Scientists can no longer afford to be naive about the political effects of publicly stated scientific opinions. If the effect of their scientific views is politically potent, they have an obligation to declare their political and value assumptions, and to try to be honest with themselves, their colleagues and their audience about the degree to which their assumptions have affected their selection and interpretation of scientific evidence". I rest my case.



Even as environmentalists and leaders pressed Australia to sign the Kyoto protocol in the wake of the latest UN report on global warming, the country's Prime Minister on Saturday maintained his stand to not sign the protocol as it excludes world's major polluters. "Signing Kyoto is not going to solve the problem because Kyoto does not include the world's major polluters. We've moved on from that and in any event, we are going to meet our target under Kyoto, many of our critics who have signed Kyoto will not do so," Prime Minister John Howard said in a statement on Saturday. "Australia has already undertaken number of measures to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide going into the atmosphere. It will continue with those measures, but we will do it in a sensible, practical way which will make a contribution to solving the problem but will not do disproportionate and unfair damage to the Australian economy," he said.

The UN report that paints a bleak picture of higher sea levels and temperatures this century has urged the world to take action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions but Howard said looking to solar and wind energy is not the solution. Calling for the use of nuclear energy as an alternative, he said, "There is no point in the face of such comprehensive challenge of ruling out a consideration that may over time provide part of the solution." "Let's be realistic - you can only run on fossil fuel or in time, nuclear power," he said. Federal Opposition environment spokesman, Peter Garrett said the Government should establish a national carbon emissions trading scheme and sign the Kyoto Protocol immediately.



Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is generally to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

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