A Grand Experiment
Posted by Jeff Id on April 27, 2009
If you didn’t know yet, the sun isn’t making any spots. David Hathaway, now famous among skeptics for correcting his own solar cycle predictions so often that the only accurate prediction is that the prediction will be corrected. Seriously though the sun isn’t following it’s consensus ordained pattern, almost like it doesn’t care what we humans say.
“This is the quietest Sun we’ve seen in almost a century,” says NASA solar scientist David Hathaway.
The disappearance of sunspots happens every few years, but this time it’s gone on far longer than anyone expected – and there is no sign of the Sun waking up. “This is the lowest we’ve ever seen. We thought we’d be out of it by now, but we’re not,” says Marc Hairston of the University of Texas.
What’s most interesting about this situation is the temperature variation we’re seeing globally. Temps have basically stopped rising since the beginning of this century. This does not mean AGW has stopped but it may explain why we aren’t seeing the rise. What an extended event would do is give us an opportunity to judge the effect the sun has on long term warming of the Earth.
In climatology, the variance of solar output is considered too small to explain the warming trends measured. Of course those of us who have looked at how temps are measured know one thing, humans don’t know what the temperature was even 50 years ago to a high degree of accuracy. There are far too many instrument biases in ground measurements and the satellite measures and radiosonde (weather ballons) over the years suffer from their own inaccuracies as well so in my opinion it’s hard to claim the sun can’t explain it all. Perhaps a qualifier such as all the variation in the NOAA data would make me happier. The temperature rise is likely less than government temperature organizations report because of the large incompletely justified positive slope corrections added to the temp data scientists who do a horrendously and unacceptably bad job sorting and correcting instruments.
Computer models suggest that of the 0.5C increase in global average temperatures over the past 30 years, only 10-20 per cent of the temperature variations observed were down to the Sun, although some said it was 50 per cent.
It’s interesting to me that we can have such a consensus yet not actually know this simple detail, how much does the solar variance affect the earth. Model variation between 10 and 50 percent is pretty high.
This is the scary bit though.
Sunspots are dark, cooler patches on the Sun’s surface that come and go in a roughly 11-year cycle, first noticed in 1843. They have gone away before. They were absent in the 17th century – a period called the “Maunder Minimum” after the scientist who spotted it. Crucially, it has been observed that the periods when the Sun’s activity is high and low are related to warm and cool climatic periods. The weak Sun in the 17th century coincided with the so-called Little Ice Age. The Sun took a dip between 1790 and 1830 and the earth also cooled a little. It was weak during the cold Iron Age, and active during the warm Bronze Age. Recent research suggests that in the past 12,000 years there have been 27 grand minima and 19 grand maxima.
Throughout the 20th century the Sun was unusually active, peaking in the 1950s and the late 1980s. Dean Pensell of NASA, says that, “since the Space Age began in the 1950s, solar activity has been generally high. Five of the ten most intense solar cycles on record have occurred in the last 50 years.” The Sun became increasingly active at the same time that the Earth warmed. But according to the scientific consensus, the Sun has had only a minor recent effect on climate change.
If the earth cools suddenly at the same time we’re cutting back on our fuel sources, you can bet there will be a few red faced politicians sitting on their brand new cap and trade money redistribution scam, it will be one more disaster to befall our already stretched to the breaking point global economy.
Imagine the world wide strife a little ice age will inflict when it returns (as it inevitably will). We’ll be sitting here with no nuke plants to keep us warm, an aged and near defunked petrochemical industry taxed to the brink and frost bitten crops which are far less mobile than tree lines or flocks of migrating birds. In that situation, one certainty is that everything will be in line with updated computer models showing global warming underlying a strong cooling signal and politicians who claim to have warned us so the ignorant brainwashed masses will vote for them.
Since it will be hard to blame humans for the solar cooldown, there won’t be a UN organization committed to making money from it. I wonder how it will play out with no government push to take control and make money. What will they teach in liberal Environmental Governance classes to further brainwash our youth as to the glorious benefits of increased governance? Will they push for increased fossil fuel burning to warm the earth?
I find it amazing that we don’t often hear 5 of the 10 most active cycles on record happened in the last 50 years. Combine that with the known correlation between Dalton and Maunder minima’s to cold temps which we know simply due to the anecdotal evidence, not by inaccurate measurements or false temperature proxies. There has to be a bit of common sense here rather than complete reliance on computer models, everyone knows sometimes sensibility is lost in statistics. It seems possible to me we are on the brink of a grand experiment/demonstration by the sun god. I for one am in favor of it, consider if the Earth cools massively due to the increased complex interactions of cosmic rays with the earth atmosphere. Consider again what it means if it doesn’t. We could be settling this obviously overblown and politicized issue in the next decade. If the cool down isn’t too severe, we will have an opportunity to excise a bit of the political cancer invading our US government.
If the climate models are even close and the sun is creating the divergence between measured temps and models, our exit from this solar minima (which also will inevitably occur) could result in a large rapid spike upward in temps like we’ve never recorded before. Imagine how that would affect your own opinion on AGW.
A link to the interesting article from which the above comments were quoted.
May you live in interesting times.