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Thursday, June 16, 2011

For All Climate Alarmists? Sundown, you better take care...

Thanks, Gordon! Gotta tell you that Gordon Lightfoot was one of my favorite singer/songwriters back in the day.   He knew how to tell a story and when his lyrics were cryptic it was just enough for you to grok them after a moment of reflection.   Most often, though, the story was straightforward and to the point, sometimes legendary, sometimes historical, always done well.   Many of you may know him from "The Wreck of The Edmund Fitzgerald."

If you have ever been a singer you know that there are few things more perfect than to have a good band and a good song and a microphone in your hand and a crowd of people to sing to...Hoagy Carmichael was surely the best songwriter in my (distant) family and perhaps my own mother, who was a professional singer for over fifty years, was the best singer.  I did both.  It's hard to explain how it feels when the crowd is with you and the band is with you and it all comes together - it feels like there are rockets under your feet preparing to launch you to the moon.  You feel like you were born to have a microphone and a band and a crowd and a song and that the time you are singing might be the beginning of the end of the world and you just don't care.  When you and the band are harmonizing and hitting the notes and flowing...perhaps you have been an athlete and know what it is like to "be in the zone" when it seems any old shot you put up goes in, or the baseball looks like a big old grapefruit easy to hit, that kind of thing?  Singers and bands get into zones, too.  

I haven't made up my mind yet, but I might be retired from the singing thing.  Injuries and accidents and illnesses took quite a toll on me.  I have to lose some weight and gain some energy before I would try to even sing with the church band again.  I'll never be a basketball player or baseball player again.  Still, I can remember being "in the zone" as clear as if it just happened.  Beauty is found in so many forms.  There are so many ways to be creative.  I do still sing to the music I play, or spontaneously begin singing on my own while putting a contract offer together.  Singers sing, so even if it is only at home and in my vehicle I will carry on.

So what does that have to do with Global Warming?  You know, the thing I usually call Global Dumbing?  Because it is such a dumb concept?   Well as it happens, even a standard ruling paradigm outlet like National Geographic gets it right now and again.

Sundown is a good song, but when the Sun is really slowing down it isn't so good. Al Gore may be a bonehead and the IPCC and the CRU and various other acronyms might still be trying to pull the Global Warming wool over your eyes, but as mentioned earlier it isn't actually getting warmer on Earth. In fact I happen to know that it is more likely to begin getting cooler. If you could read my mind...

...but you can't read my mind any more than the pitifully wretched so-called scientists who have been sounding Global Warming alarms can't read the real message of the climate data.   So I will just tell you what I think the evidence is saying.

When you put together the temperatures and readings and historical records from various cultures around the globe it is obvious that, other than the occasional huge volcano, the primary mover and shaker of the climate is the Sun. Right now the Sun is down...and that means temperatures are going to be going down. 

The sun in 2009.
What a quiet sun looks like: Very few active regions are visible in this 2009 satellite picture.
Image courtesy STEREO/NASA

Victoria Jaggard
Published June 14, 2011

Enjoy our stormy sun while it lasts. When our star drops out of its latest sunspot activity cycle, the sun is most likely going into hibernation, scientists announced today.

Three independent studies of the sun's insides, surface, and upper atmosphere all predict that the next solar cycle will be significantly delayed—if it happens at all. Normally, the next cycle would be expected to start roughly around 2020.

The combined data indicate that we may soon be headed into what's known as a grand minimum, a period of unusually low solar activity.

The predicted solar "sleep" is being compared to the last grand minimum on record, which occurred between 1645 and 1715.

Known as the Maunder Minimum, the roughly 70-year period coincided with the coldest spell of the Little Ice Age, when European canals regularly froze solid and Alpine glaciers encroached on mountain villages.
(See "Sun Oddly Quiet—Hints at Next 'Little Ice Age?'")

"We have some interesting hints that solar activity is associated with climate, but we don't understand the association," said Dean Pesnell, project scientist for NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO).

(Radar - Gee whiz, fellas, when the sun is less active it gets colder.  How hard is that to understand?)

Also, even if there is a climate link, Pesnell doesn't think another grand minimum is likely to trigger a cold snap.

"With what's happening in current times—we've added considerable amounts of carbon dioxide and methane and other greenhouse gases to the atmosphere," said Pesnell, who wasn't involved in the suite of new sun studies.

"I don't think you'd see the same cooling effects today if the sun went into another Maunder Minimum-type behavior."

(Radar - YOU don't think?!  Good grief!  Some of these guys need to be hit over the head with the evidence before they can think at all!   Solar activity maps to climate back as far as our records go.  CO2 is such a tiny fraction of the atmosphere that it has no impact and the most common "greenhouse gas" is water vapor.  Should we tax the ocean?) 

Sunspots Losing Strength

Sunspots are cool, dark blemishes visible on the sun's surface that indicate regions of intense magnetic activity.
For centuries scientists have been using sunspots—some of which can be wider than Earth—to track the sun's magnetic highs and lows.

(See the sharpest pictures yet of sunspots snapped in visible light.)

For instance, 17th-century astronomers Galileo Galilei and Giovanni Cassini separately tracked sunspots and noticed a lack of activity during the Maunder Minimum.

In the 1800s scientists recognized that sunspots come and go on a regular cycle that lasts about 11 years. We're now in Solar Cycle 24, heading for a maximum in the sun's activity sometime in 2013.

Recently, the National Solar Observatory's Matt Penn and colleagues analyzed more than 13 years of sunspot data collected at the McMath-Pierce Telescope at Kitt Peak, Arizona.

They noticed a long-term trend of sunspot weakening, and if the trend continues, the sun's magnetic field won't be strong enough to produce sunspots during Solar Cycle 25, Penn and colleagues predict.

"The dark spots are getting brighter," Penn said today during a press briefing. Based on their data, the team predicts that, by the time it's over, the current solar cycle will have been "half as strong as Cycle 23, and the next cycle may have no sunspots at all."

(Related: "Sunspot Cycles—Deciphering the Butterfly Pattern.")

Sun's "Jet Streams," Coronal Rush Also Sluggish

Separately, the National Solar Observatory's Frank Hill and colleagues have been monitoring solar cycles via a technique called helioseismology. This method uses surface vibrations caused by acoustic waves inside the star to map interior structure.

Specifically, Hill and colleagues have been tracking buried "jet streams" encircling the sun called torsional oscillations. These bands of flowing material first appear near the sun's poles and migrate toward the equator. The bands are thought to play a role in generating the sun's magnetic field.

(Related: "Sunspot Delay Due to Sluggish Solar 'Jet Stream?'")

Sunspots tend to occur along the pathways of these subsurface bands, and the sun generally becomes more active as the bands near its equator, so they act as good indicators for the timing of solar cycles.

"The torsional oscillation ... pattern for Solar Cycle 24 first appeared in 1997," Hill said today during the press briefing. "That means the flow for Cycle 25 should have appeared in 2008 or 2009, but it has not shown up yet."

According to Hill, their data suggest that the start of Solar Cycle 25 may be delayed until 2022—about two years late—or the cycle may simply not happen.

Adding to the evidence, Richard Altrock, manager of the U.S. Air Force's coronal research program for the National Solar Observatory (NSO), has observed telltale changes in a magnetic phenomenon in the sun's corona—its faint upper atmosphere.

Known as the rush to the poles, the rapid poleward movement of magnetic features in the corona has been linked to an increase in sunspot activity, with a solar cycle hitting its maximum around the time the features reach about 76 degrees latitude north and south of the sun's equator.

The rush to the poles is also linked to the sun "sweeping away" the magnetic field associated with a given solar cycle, making way for a new magnetic field and a new round of sunspot activity.

This time, however, the rush to the poles is more of a crawl, which means we could be headed toward a very weak solar maximum in 2013—and it may delay or even prevent the start of the next solar cycle.

Quiet Sun Exciting for Science

Taken together, the three lines of evidence strongly hint that Solar Cycle 25 may be a bust, the scientists said today during a meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Las Cruces, New Mexico.

But a solar lull is no cause for alarm, NSO's Hill said: "It's happened before, and life seems to go on. I'm not concerned but excited."

(Radar - Sure, why get excited?  The Thames might freeze over again and a few more feet of snowfall and a couple of extra months of winter never hurt anyone, right?)   

In many ways a lack of magnetic activity is a boon for science. Strong solar storms can emit blasts of charged particles that interfere with radio communications, disrupt power grids, and can even put excess drag on orbiting satellites.

"Drag is important for people like me at NASA," SDO's Pesnell said, "because we like to keep our satellites in space."

What's more, a decrease in sunspots doesn't necessarily mean a drop in other solar features such as prominences, which can produce aurora-triggering coronal mass ejections. In fact, records show that auroras continued to appear on a regular basis even during the Maunder Minimum, Pesnell said.

(See "Solar Flare Sparks Biggest Eruption Ever Seen on Sun.")

Instead, he said, the unusual changes to the sun's activity cycles offer an unprecedented opportunity for scientists to test theories about how the sun makes and destroys its magnetic field.

"Right now we have so many sun-watching satellites and advanced ground-based observatories ready to spring into action," Pesnell said. "If the sun is going to do something different, this is a great time for it to happen."


Yes, this was from National Geographic and they "buried the lead" by glossing over what a maunder period means, but it means that the Earth gets less energy from the Sun and therefore cools.   It may not be too long before we have a snow cover in place before Thanksgiving, and "over the river and through the woods" could literally include a horse-drawn sleigh.

The climate really is driven by the Sun and not by people grilling steaks or coal being burned to produce electricity or the kind of light bulb you use!  In the style of Bill Clinton...

It’s the Sun, stupid!

By Willie Soon, solar and climate scientist

5 Mar 09 – (Excerpts) "The amount and distribution of solar energy that we receive varies as the Earth revolves around the Sun and also in response to changes in the Sun’s activity. Scientists have now been studying solar influences on climate for 5000 years.

"Chinese imperial astronomers kept detailed sunspot records. They noticed that more sunspots meant warmer weather on Earth. In 1801, the celebrated astronomer William Herschel noticed that when there were few spots, the price of wheat soared – because, he surmised, less “light and heat” from the Sun resulted in reduced harvests.

          The price of wheat soared! As I've been saying all along, I fear that
          we'll be fighting in the streets for food long before we're covered by ice.

"Between 1645 and 1715, sunspots were very rare and temperatures were low. Then sunspot frequency grew until, between 1930 and 2000, the Sun was more active than at almost any time in the last 10,000 years. The oceans can cause up to several decades of delay before air temperatures respond fully to this solar “Grand Maximum.” Now that the Sun is becoming less active again, global temperatures have fallen for seven years. 

          More active than at almost any time in the last 10,000 years!

"We have known for nearly 80 years that small changes in solar activity can cause large climatic changes. Where sunlight falls, for how long, and with what effect, determine how climate will respond.

"The most recent scientific evidence shows that even small changes in solar radiation have a strong effect on Earth’s temperature and climate.

"In 2005, I demonstrated a surprisingly strong correlation between solar radiation and temperatures in the Arctic over the past 130 years. Since then, I have demonstrated similar correlations in all the regions surrounding the Arctic, including the US mainland and China.

"The close relationships between the abrupt ups and downs of solar activity and of temperature that I have identified occur locally in coastal Greenland; regionally in the Arctic Pacific and north Atlantic; and hemispherically for the whole circum-Arctic, suggesting that changes in solar activity drive Arctic and perhaps even global climate.

"There is no such match between the steady rise in atmospheric CO2 concentration and the often dramatic ups and downs of surface temperatures in and around the Arctic.

"I recently discovered direct evidence that changes in solar activity have influenced what has been called the “conveyor-belt” circulation of the great Atlantic Ocean currents over the past 240 years. For instance, solar-driven changes in temperature, and in the volume of freshwater output from the Arctic, cause variations in sea surface temperature in the tropical Atlantic 5-20 years later.

"These previously undocumented results have been published in the journal Physical Geography. They make it difficult to maintain that changes in solar activity play an insignificant role in climate change, especially over the Arctic.

"The evidence in my paper is consistent with the hypothesis that the Sun causes climatic change in the Arctic.

"It invalidates the hypothesis that CO2 is a major cause of observed climate change – and raises serious questions about the wisdom of imposing cap-and-trade or other policies that would cripple energy production and economic activity, in the name of “preventing catastrophic climate change.”

"Bill Clinton used to sum up politics by saying, “It’s the economy, stupid!” Now we can fairly sum up climate change by saying, “It’s the Sun, stupid!”

Willie Soon is a solar and climate scientist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center
for Astrophysics. This is his personal opinion based upon 18 years of scientific research.

See entire paper:
Thanks to Mike Kidd and Hans Schreuder for this link

The only good news about all this?  Real scientists ought to own up to the truth that fossil fuels are not going to cause a global catastrophe, so we should drill and dig and get all the coal and gas and oil we can and use it to power our industry right now because, ten years from now, we might all be very dependent upon our good old furnaces to keep the cold out!  A sound economy always drives new answers to old problems.  Edison didn't need a government grant to build a light bulb.  Newton didn't apply to the King of England for a salary to live on while he made his many discoveries.

So be carefree and go for it!  Build those power plants!  Drill for oil.  Make stuff, load them up on big rigs and set those big boys out on the open road!   When the rainy days come let's be rainy day people.   When it snows?  Build snowmen!  We were on a warming cycle for awhile there but that is now receding into the past.   Time to get ready for cooling and make sure your legislators understand that Manmade Global Warming is a scam not a science.   It's an easy phrase to remember.   Scam not science.