Tag: Maunder Minimum

Plus ça change – sequel

Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose (“the more it changes, the more it’s the same thing”).

As I wrote yesterday, “… out of curiosity I wondered what I had published a year ago, in early February 2012.  To my amazement what was published was as fresh and relevant as if it had been published today.

So here’s the second part of that trilogy of posts from February, 2012.  (It reads in its original form with the links and references unchanged.)

oooOOOooo

Climate, truth and integrity, part two

Continuing from Part One last Friday.

Last Friday I started re-publishing the wonderful comments that had appeared on Climate Sight in response to a question that I had raised, namely,

While in every way that I can think of, I support the premise of mankind affecting global climate, I would love to hear from someone who could reconcile the Post above with these recent items:” and then included the links to the WSJ and Daily Mail items.

If you are not familiar with those WSJ and Daily Mail items, then you will need to go back to Friday’s Post.

So moving on.

The third response was from chrisd3, here’s what he wrote,

Paul, here is the Met Office’s response, which begins, “[The Daily Mail] article includes numerous errors in the reporting of published peer reviewed science undertaken by the Met Office Hadley Centre and for Mr. Rose to suggest that the latest global temperatures available show no warming in the last 15 years is entirely misleading.”

Here is Deltoid taking David Rose apart on some earlier pieces:

And NASA never said anything about the Thames freezing over. Rose just made that bit up.

Finally, here is a chart of global temps from HadCRU:

From this, it is pretty clear why Rose chooses 15 years as his starting point: 1997-1998 was the time of the largest El Nino ever recorded, resulting in a huge temperature spike. Using that as the starting point for a temperature comparison is absolutely classic cherry-picking.

And in any event, you can’t say anything about trends in noisy data by simply comparing two arbitrary points. That is not a valid way to analyze the data (especially if you pick an obvious outlier as your starting point!). It is like trying to say whether the tide is coming in or going out by looking at the height of two waves. It just doesn’t work that way. You have to look at the long-term trend to remove the noise.

Let me take you to that Met Office response (and I’m republishing it in full).

Met Office in the Media: 29 January 2012

Today the Mail on Sunday published a story written by David Rose entitled “Forget global warming – it’s Cycle 25 we need to worry about”.

This article includes numerous errors in the reporting of published peer reviewed science undertaken by the Met Office Hadley Centre and for Mr. Rose to suggest that the latest global temperatures available show no warming in the last 15 years is entirely misleading.

Despite the Met Office having spoken to David Rose ahead of the publication of the story, he has chosen to not fully include the answers we gave him to questions around decadal projections produced by the Met Office or his belief that we have seen no warming since 1997.

For clarity I have included our full response to David Rose below:A spokesman for the Met Office said: “The ten year projection remains groundbreaking science. The complete period for the original projection is not over yet and these projections are regularly updated to take account of the most recent data.

“The projections are probabilistic in nature, and no individual forecast should be taken in isolation. Instead, several decades of data will be needed to assess the robustness of the projections.

“However, what is absolutely clear is that we have continued to see a trend of warming, with the decade of 2000-2009 being clearly the warmest in the instrumental record going back to 1850. Depending on which temperature records you use, 2010 was the warmest year on record  for NOAA NCDC and NASA GISS, and the second warmest on record in HadCRUT3.”

Global average temperatures from 1850 to 2011 from the three individual global temperature datasets (Met Office/UEA HadCRUT3, NASA GISS and NOAA NCDC)

Furthermore despite criticism of a paper published by the Met Office he chose not to ask us to respond to his misconceptions. The study in question, supported by many others, provides an insight into the sensitivity of our climate to changes in the output of the sun.

It confirmed that although solar output is likely to reduce over the next 90 years this will not substantially delay expected increases in global temperatures caused by greenhouse gases. The study found that the expected decrease in solar activity would only most likely cause a reduction in global temperatures of 0.08 °C. This compares to an expected warming of about 2.5 °C over the same period due to greenhouse gases (according to the IPCC’s B2 scenario for greenhouse gas emissions that does not involve efforts to mitigate emissions).  In addition the study also showed that if solar output reduced below that seen in the Maunder Minimum – a period between 1645 and 1715 when solar activity was at its lowest observed level – the global temperature reduction would be 0.13C.

Back to that response from chrisd3.  He offered this, “Finally, here is a chart of global temps from HadCRU.”  Here is that chart, remember we are looking at Global temperatures.

Global temperature trend

OK, between this Post and my Post last Friday, you probably get the message!  There were many other contributions and I could go on and on quoting the great responses I got, all of them uniformly saying there IS global warming unprecedented in recent years.  The message is crystal clear and those who wish to deny the evidence … well, I can’t come up with a polite term, so will just leave it at that!

My final contribution is from Martin Lack, author of the Blog Lack of Environment, and a good friend of Learning from Dogs.  Here is what he wrote in a recent email,

You may have seen my latest response to How much is most?

When I eventually saw your earlier comment, I was surprised and disappointed in equal measure because I almost feel that I have failed in some way. Let me explain:  Unlike ClimateSight and SkepticalScience, which both do an excellent job of focusing on the science of climate change, my blog is deliberately focused on the politics underlying the denial of all environmental our problems; including 2 key aspects to my MA dissertation, namely the political misuse of scepticism; and the psychology of denial.  See my How to be a Climate Change ‘Sceptic’  for more detail.

Therefore, although not specifically categorised as such, just about everything I have posted is traceable back to Paul and Anne Ehrlich’sBetrayal of Science and Reason (1996) and/or Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway’s Merchants of Doubt (2010).  For someone who does not currently go to any Church, I am remarkably fond of quoting Scripture so, if necessary, please forgive me but, as the Good Book says:  “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9).

Therefore, I do not think you should be surprised by the amount of misinformation and misrepresentation contained in the original WSJ Sixteen’s article; and/or the fact that denialist arguments are repeated no matter how many times they have been shown to be false.  Furthermore, I would warn against trying to summarise it all on Learning from Dogs.  This is definitely Book territory and, in addition to the two mentioned above, the market is already saturated by the likes of Climate Change Cover-up by James Hoggan and Climate Change Denial by Haydn Washington and John Cook.

With very best wishes for a fog-free future,

What to say to close these two Posts off?  Frankly, it’s difficult to know how to pitch it.  The science seems clear beyond reasonable doubt.  But if you are reading this and disagree, then PLEASE offer the science to refute the conclusions presented here.  I promise you that I will present it on Learning from Dogs.

So let me end with a simple photograph.

Earthrise

This is the photograph that wilderness photographer Galen Rowell called, “the most influential environmental photograph ever taken.”

The now world-famous photograph was taken by Astronaut William Anders from Apollo 8, the first manned mission to the Moon, a little over 43 years ago on December 24th, 1968.

As the Earth rose above the horizon of the moon, NASA astronaut Frank Borman uttered the words, “Oh my God! Look at that picture over there! Here’s the Earth coming up. Wow, is that pretty.”  Bill Anders then took the ‘unscheduled’ photograph.

Now project forward 43 years to the year 2055 and play with the idea of what ‘pretty‘ planet Earth will be like for mankind and so many other species, including our longest companion, the dog, if we don’t get our act together pretty soon!

Climate, truth and integrity, part two

Continuing from Part One last Friday.

Last Friday I started re-publishing the wonderful comments that had appeared on Climate Sight in response to a question that I had raised, namely,

While in every way that I can think of, I support the premise of mankind affecting global climate, I would love to hear from someone who could reconcile the Post above with these recent items:” and then included the links to the WSJ and Daily Mail items.

If you are not familiar with those WSJ and Daily Mail items, then you will need to go back to Friday’s Post.

So moving on.

The third response was from chrisd3, here’s what he wrote,

Paul, here is the Met Office’s response, which begins, “[The Daily Mail] article includes numerous errors in the reporting of published peer reviewed science undertaken by the Met Office Hadley Centre and for Mr. Rose to suggest that the latest global temperatures available show no warming in the last 15 years is entirely misleading.”

Here is Deltoid taking David Rose apart on some earlier pieces:

And NASA never said anything about the Thames freezing over. Rose just made that bit up.

Finally, here is a chart of global temps from HadCRU:

From this, it is pretty clear why Rose chooses 15 years as his starting point: 1997-1998 was the time of the largest El Nino ever recorded, resulting in a huge temperature spike. Using that as the starting point for a temperature comparison is absolutely classic cherry-picking.

And in any event, you can’t say anything about trends in noisy data by simply comparing two arbitrary points. That is not a valid way to analyze the data (especially if you pick an obvious outlier as your starting point!). It is like trying to say whether the tide is coming in or going out by looking at the height of two waves. It just doesn’t work that way. You have to look at the long-term trend to remove the noise.

Let me take you to that Met Office response (and I’m republishing it in full).

Met Office in the Media: 29 January 2012

Today the Mail on Sunday published a story written by David Rose entitled “Forget global warming – it’s Cycle 25 we need to worry about”.

This article includes numerous errors in the reporting of published peer reviewed science undertaken by the Met Office Hadley Centre and for Mr. Rose to suggest that the latest global temperatures available show no warming in the last 15 years is entirely misleading.

Despite the Met Office having spoken to David Rose ahead of the publication of the story, he has chosen to not fully include the answers we gave him to questions around decadal projections produced by the Met Office or his belief that we have seen no warming since 1997.

For clarity I have included our full response to David Rose below:A spokesman for the Met Office said: “The ten year projection remains groundbreaking science. The complete period for the original projection is not over yet and these projections are regularly updated to take account of the most recent data.

“The projections are probabilistic in nature, and no individual forecast should be taken in isolation. Instead, several decades of data will be needed to assess the robustness of the projections.

“However, what is absolutely clear is that we have continued to see a trend of warming, with the decade of 2000-2009 being clearly the warmest in the instrumental record going back to 1850. Depending on which temperature records you use, 2010 was the warmest year on record  for NOAA NCDC and NASA GISS, and the second warmest on record in HadCRUT3.”

Global average temperatures from 1850 to 2011 from the three individual global temperature datasets (Met Office/UEA HadCRUT3, NASA GISS and NOAA NCDC)

Furthermore despite criticism of a paper published by the Met Office he chose not to ask us to respond to his misconceptions. The study in question, supported by many others, provides an insight into the sensitivity of our climate to changes in the output of the sun.

It confirmed that although solar output is likely to reduce over the next 90 years this will not substantially delay expected increases in global temperatures caused by greenhouse gases. The study found that the expected decrease in solar activity would only most likely cause a reduction in global temperatures of 0.08 °C. This compares to an expected warming of about 2.5 °C over the same period due to greenhouse gases (according to the IPCC’s B2 scenario for greenhouse gas emissions that does not involve efforts to mitigate emissions).  In addition the study also showed that if solar output reduced below that seen in the Maunder Minimum – a period between 1645 and 1715 when solar activity was at its lowest observed level – the global temperature reduction would be 0.13C.

Back to that response from chrisd3.  He offered this, “Finally, here is a chart of global temps from HadCRU.”  Here is that chart, remember we are looking at Global temperatures.

Global temperature trend

OK, between this Post and my Post last Friday, you probably get the message!  There were many other contributions and I could go on and on quoting the great responses I got, all of them uniformly saying there IS global warming unprecedented in recent years.  The message is crystal clear and those who wish to deny the evidence … well, I can’t come up with a polite term, so will just leave it at that!

My final contribution is from Martin Lack, author of the Blog Lack of Environment, and a good friend of Learning from Dogs.  Here is what he wrote in a recent email,

You may have seen my latest response to How much is most?

When I eventually saw your earlier comment, I was surprised and disappointed in equal measure because I almost feel that I have failed in some way. Let me explain:  Unlike ClimateSight and SkepticalScience, which both do an excellent job of focusing on the science of climate change, my blog is deliberately focused on the politics underlying the denial of all environmental our problems; including 2 key aspects to my MA dissertation, namely the political misuse of scepticism; and the psychology of denial.  See my How to be a Climate Change ‘Sceptic’  for more detail.

Therefore, although not specifically categorised as such, just about everything I have posted is traceable back to Paul and Anne Ehrlich’sBetrayal of Science and Reason (1996) and/or Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway’s Merchants of Doubt (2010).  For someone who does not currently go to any Church, I am remarkably fond of quoting Scripture so, if necessary, please forgive me but, as the Good Book says:  “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9).

Therefore, I do not think you should be surprised by the amount of misinformation and misrepresentation contained in the original WSJ Sixteen’s article; and/or the fact that denialist arguments are repeated no matter how many times they have been shown to be false.  Furthermore, I would warn against trying to summarise it all on Learning from Dogs.  This is definitely Book territory and, in addition to the two mentioned above, the market is already saturated by the likes of Climate Change Cover-up by James Hoggan and Climate Change Denial by Haydn Washington and John Cook.

With very best wishes for a fog-free future,

What to say to close these two Posts off?  Frankly, it’s difficult to know how to pitch it.  The science seems clear beyond reasonable doubt.  But if you are reading this and disagree, then PLEASE offer the science to refute the conclusions presented here.  I promise you that I will present it on Learning from Dogs.

So let me end with a simple photograph.

Earthrise

This is the photograph that wilderness photographer Galen Rowell called, “the most influential environmental photograph ever taken.”

The now world-famous photograph was taken by Astronaut William Anders from Apollo 8, the first manned mission to the Moon, a little over 43 years ago on December 24th, 1968.

As the Earth rose above the horizon of the moon, NASA astronaut Frank Borman uttered the words, “Oh my God! Look at that picture over there! Here’s the Earth coming up. Wow, is that pretty.”  Bill Anders then took the ‘unscheduled’ photograph.

Now project forward 43 years to the year 2055 and play with the idea of what ‘pretty‘ planet Earth will be like for mankind and so many other species, including our longest companion, the dog, if we don’t get our act together pretty soon!

Next ice age?

Uh, thought the great issue was global warming!

So just a day after the 2011 Summer Solstice, the sun is again a topic on this Blog.

Last Saturday’s issue of The Economist had amongst it’s leaders, a piece with the headline of Several lines of evidence suggest that the sun is about to go quiet.

Coincidentally I had seen, just a few hours previously, a similar story on the UK website The Register.  Let me quote a little from that item.

Earth may be headed into a mini Ice Age within a decade

Physicists say sunspot cycle is ‘going into hibernation’

By Lewis Page • Posted in Science14th June 2011 17:00 GMT

What may be the science story of the century is breaking this evening, as heavyweight US solar physicists announce that the Sun appears to be headed into a lengthy spell of low activity, which could mean that the Earth – far from facing a global warming problem – is actually headed into a mini Ice Age.

The announcement made on 14 June (18:00 UK time) comes from scientists at the US National Solar Observatory (NSO) and US Air Force Research Laboratory. Three different analyses of the Sun’s recent behaviour all indicate that a period of unusually low solar activity may be about to begin.

It was a moment’s effort to go to the US National Solar Observatory website (great website, by the way) and read that recent press release.  The press release link is here and it really is a ‘must read’ item.  Here’s just a flavour of what was written,

WHAT’S DOWN WITH THE SUN?
MAJOR DROP IN SOLAR ACTIVITY PREDICTED

A missing jet stream, fading spots, and slower activity near the poles say that our Sun is heading for a rest period even as it is acting up for the first time in years, according to scientists at the National Solar Observatory (NSO) and the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL).

As the current sunspot cycle, Cycle 24, begins to ramp up toward maximum, independent studies of the solar interior, visible surface, and the corona indicate that the next 11-year solar sunspot cycle, Cycle 25, will be greatly reduced or may not happen at all.

“This is highly unusual and unexpected,” Dr. Frank Hill, associate director of the NSO’s Solar Synoptic Network, said of the results. “But the fact that three completely different views of the Sun point in the same direction is a powerful indicator that the sunspot cycle may be going into hibernation.”

Spot numbers and other solar activity rise and fall about every 11 years, which is half of the Sun’s 22-year magnetic interval since the Sun’s magnetic poles reverse with each cycle. An immediate question is whether this slowdown presages a second Maunder Minimum, a 70-year period with virtually no sunspots during 1645-1715.

Hill is the lead author on one of three papers on these results being presented this week. Using data from the Global Oscillation Network Group (GONG) of six observing stations around the world, the team translates surface pulsations caused by sound reverberating through the Sun into models of the internal structure. One of their discoveries is an east-west zonal wind flow inside the Sun, called the torsional oscillation, which starts at mid-latitudes and migrates towards the equator. The latitude of this wind stream matches the new spot formation in each cycle, and successfully predicted the late onset of the current Cycle 24.

“We expected to see the start of the zonal flow for Cycle 25 by now,” Hill explained, “but we see no sign of it. This indicates that the start of Cycle 25 may be delayed to 2021 or 2022, or may not happen at all.”

As I said, the item is essential reading and the full release may be read here.  Another benefit of going to that NSO press release is that you will find another link to the full text and pictures.  The pictures are just stunning.  Here’s one of them.

The Sun viewed in visible light, at minimum phase (2006) and maximum phase (2001)

Seriously, if you are interested in learning more about our Sun and the nature of solar cycles, this strikes me as an excellent place to start.

However, let me close this article by returning to the final paragraphs of that NSO Press Release.  Here they are,

All three of these lines of research to point to the familiar sunspot cycle shutting down for a while.

“If we are right,” Hill concluded, “this could be the last solar maximum we’ll see for a few decades. That would affect everything from space exploration to Earth’s climate.”

In response to news inquiries and stories, Dr. Frank Hill issued a follow-up statement:

“We are NOT predicting a mini-ice age. We are predicting the behavior of the solar cycle. In my opinion, it is a huge leap from that to an abrupt global cooling, since the connections between solar activity and climate are still very poorly understood. My understanding is that current calculations suggest only a 0.3 degree C decrease from a Maunder-like minimum, too small for an ice age. It is unfortunate that the global warming/cooling studies have become so politically polarizing.”

Just take that last quotation from Dr. Frank Hill and ponder, “It is unfortunate that the global warming/cooling studies have become so politically polarizing.” [my italics].

That statement from Dr. Hill combined with my friend Dan’s posting of the 16th are food for thought.  More about this on Learning from Dogs soon.