Sunday, August 27, 2017

The sun or not the sun?

I reproduce below part of a curious article from Germany's generally scholarly Max Planck Society. The author, Helmut Hornung, admits that fluctuations in solar output can impact the earth's climate but says:  "Not this time".  Recent warming is not caused by solar change.  He is right. It was caused by El Nino.

But he is not talking about the 2015/2016 El Nino period.  For an unexplained reason he cherrypicks the 2001 to 2010 period. And he says that the temperature of that period was 0.2 degrees warmer than the previous decade.  And since the sun did not change during 2001-2010, the sun could not have caused that inter-decadal warming.

That sounds logical at first but the devil is in the detail. He pays no attention to the temperature fluctuations during those two periods.  There was something of a temperature step-change around 1998, when the temperature rose by about 0.2 degrees but there was no change thereafter.  The temperature just moved to a slightly higher plateau at that time. It reached a new level and stayed there.  It was NOT continuously warming during that decade.  So temperature and the sun actually mirrored one-another.  The sun did not change during 2000-2010 and nor did the temperature.  So if we look at the temperature details, they would seem to prove exactly what he wanted them to disprove.

That was the only attempt by him to prove his case. For the rest he just asserts that temperatures have gone up long term and CO2 has gone up long term.  But that proves nothing.  It is an asserted causal relationship, not a proven relationship. And it ignores the lack of a smooth relationship that you would expect of a causal relationship.  Both temperatures and CO2 went up in  fits and starts but they were not the same fits and starts. The precise effects on temperature that CO2 levels are supposed to produce were not produced.

CO2 molecules don't have a little brain in them that says "I will stop reflecting heat down for a few years and then start up again". Their action (if any) is entirely passive.  Yet temperature can stay plateaued for many years (e.g. 1945 to 1975) while CO2 levels climb.  So there is clearly no causal link between the two. One could argue that there are one or two things -- mainly volcanoes and the Ninos -- that upset the relationship but there are not exceptions ALL the time.  Most of the time a precise 1 to 1 connection should be visible.  It isn't, far from it.  You should be able to read one from the other.  You can't.

Another oddity:  He puts the increase in CO2 back to 1750:  "the carbon dioxide concentration has increased by 30 percent since industrialization began in the mid-18th century."  He may be right but most Warmists say 1950 or thereabouts

Interesting that he admits that the sun CAN have an influence though.  Warmists normally pooh pooh that altogether

It’s becoming warmer on Earth. Temperatures during the period spanning 2001 to 2010, for example, were around 0.2 degrees Celsius higher than the previous decade. No serious scientist doubts that humans play a decisive role here. Nevertheless, other factors also influence the global climate, for example the geometry of Earth's orbit and volcanic eruptions. But what role does the Sun play?

By way of its energy input, the Sun can directly influence the climate of our planet. However, the atmosphere only allows radiation to pass through in specific wavelengths, predominantly in visible light; the remainder is, in a manner of speaking, absorbed by molecules. Only part of the radiation therefore reaches Earth's surface and can heat it up. The irradiated surface, in turn, emits infra-red light, which is then held back by clouds or aerosols. This effect, without which the Earth would be around 32 degrees Celsius colder, warms the atmosphere. These processes resemble the conditions in a greenhouse.

To investigate the influence of the Sun on the climate, researchers look to the past. Here, they focus on the star's magnetic activity, from which the radiation intensity can be reconstructed. It is then apparent that the Sun produces more intense radiation during active periods – apparent thanks to numerous spots and flares – than during its quiescent phases.

The Sun had just such a break in activity during the second half of the 17th century, for example: between 1645 and 1715 its engine began to falter. During this period, referred to as the Maunder Minimum, Europe, North America and China recorded much colder winters. And even the summer was substantially cooler in some regions during this “Little Ice Age”. Paintings were made at the time, showing ice skaters on the frozen Thames, for example.

When looking back at the past the scientists work with both old records of observational sunspot data (beginning in 1610) and using the C14 method, which can be particularly well applied to wood, as Carbon-14 input at the ground (trees) is not constant, but also changes with solar activity. This radioactive isotope is created when what are known as cosmic rays meet an air molecule in the upper layers of Earth's atmosphere.

The solar magnetic field extends throughout the entire solar system and partially screens off cosmic rays. If the magnetic field fluctuates, so does C14 production. In this manner, the deviation between tree ring age and C14 age represents a measure of magnetic activity and consequently for the radiant power of the Sun.

So, how strongly does the Sun currently influence the climate? What is known is that Earth has become warmer by around one degree Celsius over the past 100 years. In the last 30 years alone, temperatures have increased at a rate not seen during the last 1000 years. It is another fact that the carbon dioxide concentration has increased by 30 percent since industrialization began in the mid-18th century.

During this entire period, the Sun has been subject to periodic fluctuations in activity. And there has certainly been no increase in the brightness of the Sun over the past 30 or 40 years, rather a slight decrease. This means that the Sun cannot have contributed to global warming. In fact, the temperature increase noted in recent decades cannot be reproduced in models if only the influence of the Sun or other natural sources are taken into account (for example volcanic eruptions). Only when anthropogenic, that is human-driven, factors are incorporated in the climate data, do they agree with the observational and measured data.

The researchers thus arrive at the conclusion that the increase in global temperatures since the 1970s cannot be explained by the Sun. The observed temperature trend over the past three decades is linear – if it is a result of the increasing greenhouse gas concentration. In brief: the human influence on the climate is orders of magnitude greater than that of the Sun.

On the other hand, the opinion of some scientists that the current decrease in solar activity will counteract global warming, does not stand up to a close examination, as global warming is a fact - and continues to advance. In contrast, it does appear possible that the Sun influences the climate in the long term. The exact extent and precise mechanisms remain unclear, however.


A new Russian tanker has cruised through the Northeast passage without an icebreaker escort for the first time

They do get to the point below after the routine bow to global warming.  The point being that the ship IS an icebreaker.  So comparing it with other ships not so equipped is totally invalid.

The Korean-built tanker features an ice-strengthened hull structure, which was fabricated using E-grade high-tensile special steel. Covered with 7cm of steel plates, the bow offers high manoeuvrability in open water and up to 1.5m-thick ice. The stern section is designed to enable navigation in severe ice conditions.

It may be worth noting that the time saved by using the Northern route may not always be great -- as the ship can make only a very slow 5kmh through ice, compared with 19kmh through open water

Experts claim that climate change is to blame as warming temperatures thaw the region's frozen waters.

The £234 million ($300 million) Christophe de Margerie completed the journey from Hammerfest in Norway to Boryeong in South Korea in just 19 days.

Using just its integral icebreaker, the tanker took just six and a half days to travel the northern sea section of the Russian Arctic, a new record.

The 300-metre-long (984 ft) ship, which was specially designed to take advantage of the Arctic's diminishing sea ice, crossed ice fields up to 1.2 metres (3.9 ft) thick.

While the rapid crossing time was thanks in part to the tanker's technology, the record journey highlights the effects of climate change on Arctic ice.

The ship completed its Arctic journey 30 per cent quicker than it would have along the alternative route, via the Suez canal.

Despite the ship having its own icebreaker, it has previously been impossible to traverse the icy route without a separate icebreaker escort.

But using only its integral icebreaker, the tanker took just six and a half days to travel the northern sea section of the Russian Arctic, a new record.

'It's very quick, particularly as there was no icebreaker escort which previously there had been in journeys,' Bill Spears, spokesman for the shipping company which owns the tanker, Sovcomflot, told the Guardian.

'It's very exciting that a ship can go along this route all year round.'

The 300-metre-long (984 ft) ship, which was specially designed to take advantage of the Arctic's diminishing sea ice, crossed ice fields up to 1.2 metres (3.9 ft) thick.

It was carrying a cargo of liquefied natural gas (LNG), which the ship can be powered by alongside conventional fuel to reduce sulphur oxide and nitrous oxide emissions.

'This is a significant factor in a fragile ecosystem,' Mr Spears said.

While the rapid crossing time was thanks in part to the tanker's technology, the record journey highlights the effects of climate change on Arctic ice.

Research published earlier this year suggested that 'polar heatwaves' had shrunk the icecaps down to an all-time low.


How alarmist rhetoric warps climate policy

Climate change is not the biggest challenge in our future

Promoting his climate change film An Inconvenient Sequel, former US vice-president Al Gore likes to say that the nightly news has become “a nature hike through the Book of Revelations”.

He’s not the only one touting an apocalypse. In a much-shared story, New York magazine warned that famine, economic collapse and “a sun that cooks us” will happen as soon as the end of this century, as “parts of the Earth will likely become uninhabitable, and other parts horrifically inhospitable”.

Even astrophysicist Stephen Hawking recently declared that US withdrawal from the Paris climate treaty “could push the Earth over the brink, to become like Venus, with a temperature of 250 degrees (Celsius), and raining sulfuric acid”.

This is silly. Even the worst case scenarios from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change show 5C-6C temperature increases, about 50 times less than Hawking fears.

The cost of weather damage is rising, but it’s because we’re richer. Since 1990, global weather damage adjusted for gross domestic product has declined. And because we’re richer and can afford better infrastructure, fewer people are dying. In the 1930s, droughts, floods, storms, wildfires and extreme temperatures globally killed almost 500,000 people every year. Today they kill fewer than 25,000 people. Despite the population trebling, we have seen a 95 per cent reduction in climate deaths.

The IPCC estimates that, by the 2070s, climate change may cost the world somewhere between 0.2 per cent to 2 per cent of GDP. That’s a problem, but by no means the end of the world. The IPCC finds that for most economic sectors, “the impact of climate change will be small relative to the impacts of other drivers” such as changes in population, age, income, technology, relative prices, lifestyle, regulation and governance.

Just pause and reflect on that. The UN organisation tasked with preparing for the risks of global warming warns that demographic changes and most other challenges are going to have a much bigger impact than climate change.

Global warming is an issue and one that we need to tackle, but the unglamorous truth is that it is by no means the biggest factor in our future wellbeing.

The reason for the over-the-top rhetoric is that climate policies are much more expensive than almost anyone is willing to go along with.

The Paris Agreement, supported by Gore and others, states that we should try to limit temperature increases to 1.5C. The evidence shows us this would require stopping all fossil fuel use in just four years. Humanity, which meets about 81 per cent of its energy needs with fossil fuels, would come to a standstill. People would starve: half the world’s population relies on food produced with nitrogen fertiliser, almost entirely processed with fossil fuels.

This extreme scenario is not going to happen. Study after study shows that most people are somewhat concerned about climate but only moderately interested in paying for a solution. In the US, the average annual willingness to pay is $US180 ($228) a household or $US70 a person. In China, it is $US30 a person a year. These are likely exaggerations, since people give a much bigger number when the question is hypothetical. Compared with the figure people say they would be willing to spend to offset CO2 emissions from flights each year, real-life travellers spend much less than 1 per cent.

The Paris Agreement will cost each American $US500 a year, each European $US600 and each Chinese person $US170. Despite rhetoric about keeping temperatures below 1.5C, these promises together will achieve almost nothing. By the UN’s own estimate, the Paris Agreement will reduce emissions by less than 1 per cent of what would be needed to keep temperature rises under 2C (a less ambitious target than 1.5C) yet will cost $US1 trillion to $2 trillion a year by 2030, mostly in reduced GDP growth. The treaty will deliver far less than most people expect, yet will cost much more than most people are willing to pay.

Achieving significant cuts would be much more expensive. For the EU to fulfil its promise of cutting emissions by 80 per cent in 2050 (the most ambitious climate policy in the world), the average of the best peer-reviewed models show that the cost would run to at least $US3 trillion a year, and more likely double that — meaning $US6000 for each EU citizen a year.

This helps explain why campaigners resort to painting ever-more catastrophic scenarios. Alarming predictions push us to devote more attention to climate policies — and, in the process, to spend more tax dollars on solar subsidies instead of healthcare, pension reform, libraries or education. People in the rich world — especially the poor, unemployed and elderly — are left paying for climate policies that will do little to fix the problem while leaving fewer resources for other issues.

The world’s poor are given an even worse deal. They are most vulnerable to climate change, but they are also the most vulnerable to a long list of health and development challenges that often go overlooked. Focusing just on climate means international concern and development spending is directed towards this rather than more pedestrian concerns such as tuberculosis, one of the leading causes of death in the world, where we could save 1.4 million lives every year for just $US8 billion. One-quarter of development now goes to “climate aid” — things such as ineffective off-grid solar panels. This is incredibly ineffective and not what the world’s poorest want: a UN global poll of nearly 10 million people finds climate to be the lowest policy priority, far behind education, food security and health.

Fostering a sense of panic doesn’t just distract us from other issues; it also means we don’t tackle climate change well. Economic studies show the right way forward is not subsidising inefficient solar panels, the mainstay of today’s climate spending, but to increase investment in green energy research and development to push down the cost below fossil fuels.

Over-the-top, alarmist rhetoric has a real cost. It encourages us to engage in phenomenally expensive and unhelpful climate policies while ignoring the smaller, cheaper and more realistic ways to respond to this and the challenges that will be much more pressing.


Al Gore’s Hype


I was surprised to discover that Al Gore’s new movie begins with words from me!

While icebergs melt dramatically, Gore plays a clip of me saying, “‘An Inconvenient Truth’ won him an Oscar, yet much of the movie is nonsense. ‘Sea levels may rise 20 feet’ — absurd.” He used this comment from one of my TV shows.

The “20 feet” claim is absurd — one of many hyped claims in his movie.

His second film, “An Inconvenient Sequel,” shows lower Manhattan underwater while Gore intones: “ This is global warming!”

My goodness! Stossel doubts Al Gore’s claim, but pictures don’t lie: The 9/11 Memorial is underwater! Gore is right! Stossel is an ignorant fool!

But wait. The pictures were from Superstorm Sandy. Water is pushed ashore during storms, especially “super” storms. But average sea levels haven’t risen much.

Over the past decade, they have risen about 1 inch. But this is not because we burn fossil fuels. Sea levels were rising long before we burned anything. They’ve been rising about an inch per decade for a thousand years.

In his new movie, Gore visits Miami Beach. No storm, but streets are flooded! Proof of catastrophe!

But in a new e-book responding to Gore’s film, climate scientist Roy Spencer points out that flooding in “Miami Beach occurs during high tides called ‘king tides,’ due to the alignment of the Earth, sun and moon. For decades they have been getting worse in low-lying areas of Miami Beach where buildings were being built on reclaimed swampland.”

It’s typical Al Gore scaremongering: Pick a place that floods every year and portray it as evidence of calamity.

Spencer, a former NASA scientist who co-developed the first ways of monitoring global temperatures with satellites, is no climate change “denier.” Neither am I. Climate changes .

Man probably plays a part. But today’s warming is almost certainly not a “crisis.” It’s less of a threat than real crises like malaria, terrorism, America’s coming bankruptcy, etc. Even if increasing carbon dioxide warming the atmosphere were a serious threat, nothing Al Gore and his followers now advocate would make a difference.

“What I am opposed to is misleading people with false climate science claims and alarming them into diverting vast sums of the public’s wealth into expensive energy schemes,” writes Spencer.

Gore does exactly that. He portrays just about every dramatic weather event as proof that humans have changed weather. Watching his films, you’d think that big storms and odd weather never occurred before and that glaciers never melted.

In his first movie, Gore predicted that tornadoes and hurricanes would get worse. They haven’t. Tornado activity is down.

What about those dramatic pictures of collapsing ice shelves?

“As long as snow continues to fall on Antarctica,” writes Spencer, “glaciers and ice shelves will continue to slowly flow downhill to the sea and dramatically break off into the ocean. That is what happens naturally, just as rivers flow naturally to the ocean. It has nothing to do with human activities.”

Gore said summer sea ice in the Arctic would disappear as early as 2014. Nothing like that is close to happening.

Gore’s movie hypes solar power and electric cars but doesn’t mention that taxpayers are forced to subsidize them. Despite the subsidies, electric cars still make up less than 1 percent of the market.

If electric cars do become more popular, Spencer asks, “Where will all of the extra electricity come from? The Brits are already rebelling against existing wind farms.”

I bet most Gore fans have no idea that most American electricity comes from natural gas (33 percent), coal (30 percent) and nuclear reactors (20 percent).

Gore probably doesn’t know that.

I’d like to ask him, but he won’t talk to me. He won’t debate anyone.

Critics liked “An Inconvenient Sequel.” An NPR reviewer called it “a hugely effective lecture.” But viewers were less enthusiastic. On Rotten Tomatoes, my favorite movie guide, they give “Sequel” a “tipped over popcorn bucket” score of 48 percent. Sample reviews: “Dull as can be.” “Faulty info, conflated and exaggerated.”

Clearly, Nobel Prize judges and media critics are bigger fans of big government and scaremongering than the rest of us.


Berkeley Obamabot resigns

He is clearly very confident of his own cleverness, a common Leftist ailment

Daniel Kammen, a renewable energy expert appointed last year as a science envoy to the State Department, resigned Wednesday, citing President Donald Trump’s response to the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, as the final straw that led to his departure.

In a resignation letter posted to Twitter, Kammen wrote that Trump’s remarks about the racial violence in Virginia had attacked "core values of the United States" and that it would have "domestic and international ramifications."

Kammen, who was appointed during Barack Obama’s presidency, said it would be unconscionable for him to continue serving the administration after those remarks. He said he stood with "the unequivocal and authoritative statements" of a slew of other public officials, both Democratic and Republican.

"Acts and words matter," Kammen wrote. "To continue in my role under your administration would be inconsistent with the principles of the United States Oath of Allegiance to which I adhere."

However, his most biting message may have come in the form of a hidden acrostic; the first letter of each paragraph spelled out "I-M-P-E-A-C-H."

The State Department appointed Kammen, an energy professor at the University of California, Berkeley, as one of five U.S. science envoys in March 2016. At the time, Kammen said he would be working on various global energy initiatives, as well as "the wider Paris Accord."

In his resignation letter, Kammen also cited other concerns that predated Trump’s Charlottesville comments, including the president’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accord in June.

Kammen did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday.

Kammen wrapped up his resignation letter with something of a warning for Trump, borrowing the words of President Dwight D. Eisenhower: "A people [or person] that values its privileges above principles soon loses both."




Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

re - "The sun or not the sun?"

Bob Tisdale has some interesting videos on the impact of El Nino/La Nina on that.