Thursday, April 30, 2009


An email from Will Alexander [] in South Africa

I read all those reports on the solar linkage with climate with a mixture of amusement and amazement. I was particularly amazed by David Whitehouse's conclusion that for now all scientists can do, along with the rest of us, is to watch and wait. This is nonsense. I was amused because the linkage was first reported in the South African literature more than a hundred years ago. I also reported it in 1978, again in 1995, and on a number of occasions since then.

Let me take your readers through the issue in simple steps. The analyses consist of simple school level arithmetic and standard serial correlation analyses. The data were not manipulated in any way before, during or after the analyses.

STEP 1. The following data are from website information distributed by the World Data Centre for the Sunspot Index (2005). There were eight complete cycles during the past century. These commenced with the sunspot minimum that occurred in June1913, and ended with the sunspot minimum that occurred in March 1996. The lengths of the cycles were 10, 10, 11, 10, 10, 12, 10 and 10 years, with a mean of 10.4 years. These values are within a narrow range of between 10 (minimum) and 12 (maximum) years. A corresponding increase in solar activity during the past century is reflected in the increase in the numbers of sunspots per cycle, commencing with the cycle that started in 1913. Alternating cycles are identified by negative values. The sunspot numbers per cycle were +442, -410, +605, -757, +950, -705, +829 and -785. The maximum was more than twice that of the minimum that occurred only three cycles earlier.

The lengths of the corresponding double sunspot cycles were 20, 21, 22 and 20 years with a mean of 20.8 years, a minimum of 20 years and a maximum of 22 years. The average numbers of sunspots in the alternating cycles that made up the double cycles were +706 and -664, demonstrating a meaningful difference in sunspot activity in the alternating cycles.

STEP 2. There are very clear and unambiguous reversals in the South African hydrometeorological data. The periods commenced with sudden changes from sequences of drought years that were suddenly broken by floods that persisted in the following years. The years in which the reversals occurred in South Africa's major river are as follows with the corresponding sunspot minima in parentheses. They were 1932/33 (1933), 1941/42 (1944), 1953/54 (1954), 1965/66 (1964), 1972/73 (1975), 1986/87 (1986), 1995/96 (1996), and 2005/06 (2006?).

The annual flows during the three years preceding the reversals averaged 60% of the record average annual flows and the subsequent three years averaged 156% of the average annual flows. The average sunspot numbers in the three years before and after the sunspot minima were 17 and 100 respectively. It is very clear that the sudden changes in river flow are closely linked with corresponding changes in sunspot numbers, and are not random events. This relationship exists despite the long and complex energy path starting at the sun and ending with the potential energy of the water in the river, which is a function of its elevation above sea level.

STEP 3. Records were long enough to detect 21-year periodicity in the data at the 95% level of statistical significance using standard serial correlation analyses. Serial correlation analyses showed a statistically significant, 95 percent level, 21-year serial correlation in many records BUT NO 11-YEAR SERIAL CORRELATIONS. The analyses demonstrated very clearly that the relationship between solar activity and river flow was synchronously related to the double sunspot cycles and not the single sunspot cycles.

STEP 4. The hydrological analyses showed a clear and unambiguous, slow but steady increase in open water surface evaporation during the 70 years of available records. Received solar radiation and not air temperature controls the evaporation process. This was confirmed by evaporation suppression experiments.

STEP 5. There was a similar, steady increase in rainfall during the past century. This is directly contrary to claims by climate alarmists that climate change will result in most of South Africa becoming warmer and drier.


There is a clear and unambiguous synchronous relationship between sunspot activity and river flow in South Africa. The increases in evaporation and rainfall coincided with increases in sunspot activity during the past century. Why were these linkages not detected in the milder climates of the northern hemisphere?

STEP 6. There are two reasons for this. First, most of the solar energy received in the high latitudes is transported from the tropics via the atmospheric and oceanic systems. The subtle signals of variations in received solar energy are subdued in the process.

STEP 7. Another factor is that the average annual rainfall in South Africa is only 500 mm compared with the world average of more than 800 mm. As a consequence our rainfall and river flows are strongly seasonal. There is very little carryover from one year to the next. The annual values are discrete events and the signals are much clearer.


For the past four years I have warned that South Africa, and possibly the rest of the world, are about to enter a drought cycle. There is about a 20% probability that the drought sequences will be as severe as those of the early 1930s. This was called the Great Depression Drought here in South Africa as it coincided with the worldwide economic depression. In the USA it was called the Dustbowl Drought.

My personal concern has increased greatly in recent months. If a severe drought occurs and it coincides with the present economic recession that seems to be heading towards a depression, there will be chaos in this country and elsewhere. I do not know how the prolonged quietness of the Sun will influence my prediction. The reports in CCNet of 27 April were not very helpful. Waiting for events to unfold is not an option.

ARIMA representation for daily solar irradiance and surface air temperature time series

(The scientific paper below shows that the earth's temperature closely tracks changes in the sun)

By Olavi Karner


Autoregressive integrated moving average (ARIMA) models are used to compare long-range temporal variability of the total solar irradiance (TSI) at the top of the atmosphere (TOA) and surface air temperature series. The comparison shows that one and the same type of the model is applicable to represent the TSI and air temperature series. In terms of the model type surface air temperature imitates closely that for the TSI. This may mean that currently no other forcing to the climate system is capable to change the random walk type variability established by the varying activity of the rotating sun. The result should inspire more detailed examination of the dependence of various climate series on short-range fluctuations of TSI.

Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics (In press)


The research aircraft "Polar 5" today concluded its Arctic expedition in Canada. During the flight, researchers measured the current ice thickness at the North Pole and in areas that have never before been surveyed. The result: The sea-ice in the surveyed areas is apparently thicker than scientists had suspected.

Normally, newly formed ice measures some two meters in thickness after two years. "Here, we measured ice thickness up to four meters," said a spokesperson for Bremerhaven's Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research. At present, this result contradicts the warming of the sea water, according to the scientists.

Apart from measuring ice thickness, the composition of arctic air was also investigated. With the help of a laser, the researchers studied the level of pollution of the atmosphere by emissions from industrialized countries. In the next few weeks the results will be evaluated. Some 20 scientists from the U.S., Canada, Italy and Germany took part in the expedition.

SOURCE [In German. transl. BJP]


Can we solve climate change? No we can't, according to a leading climate change professor. Mike Hulme professor of Climate Change at East Anglia University reckons we are heading up a "dead end" by putting climate change science at the top of the political agenda. In fact he thinks we are pretty arrogant to think we can control the climate.

Mike, who has spent the last 25 years researching climate change, has just written a book Why we disagree about climate change where he questions why climate change has become "the mother of all issues." "Why is it that climate change has taken this premier position as the issue that humanity's future is at stake if we don't attend to climate change?"

Mike reckons "climate change" is unsolvable. People round the world are too different, with different needs, to come together. Since the "landmark" Kyoto agreement ten years ago emissions have accelerated. Instead we should treat climate change as an idea like democracy or justice motivating us to live better so that we can act locally and regionally to get cleaner air, or power or eradicate poverty.

"We shouldn't be framing climate change as the problem that we have to solve above all others. If we do that we have constructed an unsolvable dilemma because of the multiple reasons why we disagree about climate change. We will never converge on a set of solutions.

"Rather than putting climate change at the pinnacle and if we fail on climate change everything else fails. Humanity is doomed, we've only got seven more years, the clock is ticking... what I'm suggesting is that we turn this whole thing around and think of climate change as an imaginative idea like democracy or nationality or justice. It's an idea that can be used but you cannot solve an idea. You can use an idea you can manipulate it, you can exploit it but you can't solve it.

"Let's be very clear about this I'm not denying climate change. I'm not questioning the fundamental science here. Humans are altering the climate around the world in my mind there's no doubt about that. And climate has an effect on eco systems around the world. "What I am questioning is that we can solve it in the way that we have it currently framed. We have reached this paralysis mode"

Mike says the way we are tackling climate change could even lead to reactionary and authoritarian policies such as sending mirrors into space or spraying aerosols in the atmosphere. "My basic thesis is that we should turn climate change around. It's localising issues. "We don't have to get global agreements to attend to fuel poverty in Britain or air pollution in China's cities.

"If by 2050 we have managed to limit global warming to 2 degrees will that world actually be a better world? Will it have attended to these other issues, nationally and globally? I'm not sure it will. "Physical climate is being changed by human societies. Human societies are having to grapple with what that means and just trying to deal with this in terms of science is a dead end, I think." "A more powerful way into these issues to localise them. We can improve the local environment in our cities by changing our transport systems we can buy local food. "They don't all have to tick the climate change box to be morally or ethically desirable. There are more games in town than simply climate change.

"I am not saying we don't want radical change. I am saying we should take the spotlight away from climate change at the top of the pile. "It is rather hubristic to think we can actually control climate. Climate change is the new human condition we have to live with. Let's accept this is the new reality. "Don't construct the problem in a way which means we cannot have a solution which is the way I think we have got it constructed at the moment."



Prince Charles, the heir to the British throne who is most famous for talking to plants, has signed a deal to make a movie and write a book about climate change. The project will be called "Harmony," because, in Charles's words, humankind must "rediscover that sense of harmony, that sense of being a part of, rather apart from, nature." His film will educate the unruly masses - with their fast cars, fridges, and other planet-destroying luxuries - that human beings "have a sacred duty of stewardship of the natural order of things."

The thought of being lectured about living more meekly by a taxpayer-subsidized prince who has never done a proper day's work in his life - and who is currently flying around Europe on a private jet with a master suite and plush bathroom that will spew a whopping 53 tons of CO2 into the atmosphere over the course of his five-day, $116,000 charter - is of course eye-swivellingly irritating. But this is something we're getting used to in Britain - because here, environmentalism looks very much like the Revenge of the Aristocrats. The British green lobby is stuffed with the sons and daughters of privilege, for whom environmentalism provides a perfect, scientifically tinged gloss for expressing in a new way their old foul prejudices against mass, modern society.

Many of the major players in British environmentalism are posh, rich, and hectoring. One of Charles's top advisers is Jonathon Porritt, a former director of Friends of the Earth and a patron of the creepy Malthusian outfit, the Optimum Population Trust (OPT). Porritt is a graduate of Eton, Britain's school of choice for the rich and well-connected, and is the son of Lord Porritt, the 11th Governor General of New Zealand. The increasingly influential OPT also counts Sir Crispin Tickell (who is as posh as his name suggests) and Lady Kulukundis, the wife of a Greek shipping magnate, among its patrons.



One of the oldest and most efficient wind farm in Britain is to be dismantled and replaced by a nuclear power station under plans drawn up by the German-owned power group RWE.

The site at Kirksanton in Cumbria - home to the Haverigg turbines - has just been approved by the government for potential atomic newbuild in a move that has infuriated the wind power industry.

Colin Palmer, founder of the Windcluster company, which owns part of the Haverigg wind farm, said he was horrified that such a plan could be considered at a time when Britain risks missing its green energy targets and after reassurance from ministers that nuclear and renewables were not incompatible.



So much for "Green jobs"

One of the biggest renewable energy manufacturers in Britain announced on Tuesday it is to cut more than half its UK jobs - blaming the government for failing to support the sector.

In a grave blow to the government's ambitions to create a "green" export industry, Vestas, the world's biggest maker of wind turbines, will axe about 600 of its 1,100 UK employees, probably closing its factory in the Isle of Wight and cutting jobs elsewhere in the UK.

Ditlev Engel, chief executive of Vestas, told the Financial Times: "We had been planning additional investment in the UK [because of government targets to increase renewables]. But the UK is probably one of the most difficult places in the world to get permission [for wind projects]. We can't afford to keep on this capacity."

The blow comes less than a week after Alistair Darling trumpeted the role of low-carbon industries in job creation, announcing new funding for renewables in his Budget.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


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