Frozen In Time

December 27, 2009

In the wake of Climategate, common sense deniers like to say that there is lots of other evidence for global warming, in addition to that which has been debunked by the East Anglia whistleblower. Actually, however, the scientific evidence for AGW is remarkably weak. At Icecap, Lee Gerhard, geologist and reviewer for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, sums up the key scientific evidence with admirable brevity:

It is crucial that scientists are factually accurate when they do speak out, that they ignore media hype and maintain a clinical detachment from social or other agendas. There are facts and data that are ignored in the maelstrom of social and economic agendas swirling about Copenhagen.

Greenhouse gases and their effects are well-known. Here are some of things we know:

• The most effective greenhouse gas is water vapor, comprising approximately 95 percent of the total greenhouse effect.

• Carbon dioxide concentration has been continually rising for nearly 100 years. It continues to rise, but carbon dioxide concentrations at present are near the lowest in geologic history.

• Temperature change correlation with carbon dioxide levels is not statistically significant.

• There are no data that definitively relate carbon dioxide levels to temperature changes.

• The greenhouse effect of carbon dioxide logarithmically declines with increasing concentration. At present levels, any additional carbon dioxide can have very little effect.

We also know a lot about Earth temperature changes:

• Global temperature changes naturally all of the time, in both directions and at many scales of intensity.

• The warmest year in the U.S. in the last century was 1934, not 1998. The U.S. has the best and most extensive temperature records in the world.

• Global temperature peaked in 1998 on the current 60-80 year cycle, and has been episodically declining ever since. This cooling absolutely falsifies claims that human carbon dioxide emissions are a controlling factor in Earth temperature.

• Voluminous historic records demonstrate the Medieval Climate Optimum (MCO) was real and that the “hockey stick” graphic that attempted to deny that fact was at best bad science. The MCO was considerably warmer than the end of the 20th century.

• During the last 100 years, temperature has both risen and fallen, including the present cooling. All the changes in temperature of the last 100 years are in normal historic ranges, both in absolute value and, most importantly, rate of change.

Contrary to many public statements:

• Effects of temperature change are absolutely independent of the cause of the temperature change.

• Global hurricane, cyclonic and major storm activity is near 30-year lows. Any increase in cost of damages by storms is a product of increasing population density in vulnerable areas such as along the shores and property value inflation, not due to any increase in frequency or severity of storms.

• Polar bears have survived and thrived over periods of extreme cold and extreme warmth over hundreds of thousands of years – extremes far in excess of modern temperature changes.

• The 2009 minimum Arctic ice extent was significantly larger than the previous two years. The 2009 Antarctic maximum ice extent was significantly above the 30-year average. There are only 30 years of records.

• Rate and magnitude of sea level changes observed during the last 100 years are within normal historical ranges. Current sea level rise is tiny and, at most, justifies a prediction of perhaps ten centimeters rise in this century.

The present climate debate is a classic conflict between data and computer programs. The computer programs are the source of concern over climate change and global warming, not the data. Data are measurements. Computer programs are artificial constructs.

Public announcements use a great deal of hyperbole and inflammatory language. For instance, the word “ever” is misused by media and in public pronouncements alike. It does not mean “in the last 20 years,” or “the last 70 years.” “Ever” means the last 4.5 billion years.

For example, some argue that the Arctic is melting, with the warmest-ever temperatures. One should ask, “How long is ever?” The answer is since 1979. And then ask, “Is it still warming?” The answer is unequivocally “No.” Earth temperatures are cooling. Similarly, the word “unprecedented” cannot be legitimately used to describe any climate change in the last 8,000 years.

There is not an unlimited supply of liquid fuels. At some point, sooner or later, global oil production will decline, and transportation costs will become insurmountable if we do not develop alternative energy sources. However, those alternative energy sources do not now exist.

A legislated reduction in energy use or significant increase in cost will severely harm the global economy and force a reduction in the standard of living in the United States. It is time we spent the research dollars to invent an order-of-magnitude better solar converter and an order-of-magnitude better battery. Once we learn how to store electrical energy, we can electrify transportation. But these are separate issues. Energy conversion is not related to climate change science.

I have been a reviewer of the last two IPCC reports, one of the several thousand scientists who purportedly are supporters of the IPCC view that humans control global temperature. Nothing could be further from the truth. Many of us try to bring better and more current science to the IPCC, but we usually fail. Recently we found out why. The whistleblower release of e-mails and files from the Climate Research Unit at East Anglia University has demonstrated scientific malfeasance and a sickening violation of scientific ethics.

If the game of Russian roulette with the environment that Adrian Melott contends is going on, is it how will we feed all the people when the cold of the inevitable Little Ice Age returns? It will return. We just don’t know when.

Read more here.


Research Validates Key Role for Cosmic Rays in Climate Change

October 8, 2009

TEHRAN (FNA)- New research by the National Space Institute in the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) validated 13 years of discoveries that point to a key role for cosmic rays in climate change.

Billions of tons of water droplets vanish from the atmosphere in events that reveal in detail how the Sun and the stars control our everyday clouds.

DTU Researchers have traced the consequences of eruptions on the Sun that screen the Earth from some of the cosmic rays – the energetic particles raining down on our planet from exploded stars.

“The Sun makes fantastic natural experiments that allow us to test our ideas about its effects on the climate,” lead author of a report newly published in Geophysical Research Letters Prof. Henrik Svensmark said.

When solar explosions interfere with the cosmic rays there is a temporary shortage of small aerosols, chemical specks in the air that normally grow until water vapor can condense on them, so seeding the liquid water droplets of low-level clouds.

Because of the shortage, clouds over the ocean can lose as much as 7 per cent of their liquid water within seven or eight days of the cosmic-ray minimum.

“A link between the Sun, cosmic rays, aerosols, and liquid-water clouds appears to exist on a global scale,” the report concludes.

This research, to which Torsten Bondo and Jacob Svensmark contributed, validates 13 years of discoveries that point to a key role for cosmic rays in climate change.

In particular, it connects observable variations in the world’s cloudiness to laboratory experiments in Copenhagen showing how cosmic rays help to make the all-important aerosols.

Other investigators have reported difficulty in finding significant effects of the solar eruptions on clouds, and Henrik Svensmark understands their problem.

“It’s like trying to see tigers hidden in the jungle, because clouds change a lot from day to day whatever the cosmic rays are doing,” he says.

The first task for a successful hunt was to work out when “tigers” were most likely to show themselves, by identifying the most promising instances of sudden drops in the count of cosmic rays, called Forbush decreases.

Previous research in Copenhagen predicted that the effects should be most notice-able in the lowest 3000 meters of the atmosphere. The team identified 26 Forbush decreases since 1987 that caused the biggest reductions in cosmic rays at low altitudes, and set about looking for the consequences.

The first global impact of the shortage of cosmic rays is a subtle change in the color of sunlight, as seen by ground stations of the aerosol robotic network AERONET.

By analyzing its records during and after the reductions in cosmic rays, the DTU team found that violet light from the Sun looked brighter than usual. A shortage of small aerosols, which normally scatter violet light as it passes through the air, was the most likely reason. The color change was greatest about five days after the minimum counts of cosmic rays.

Henrik Svensmark and his team were not surprised by it, because the immediate action of cosmic rays, seen in laboratory experiments, creates micro-clusters of sulphuric acid and water molecules that are too small to affect the AERONET observations.

Only when they have spent a few days growing in size should they begin to show up, or else be noticeable by their absence. The evidence from the aftermath of the Forbush decreases, as scrutinized by the Danish team, gives aerosol experts valuable information about the formation and fate of small aerosols in the Earth’s atmosphere.

Although capable of affecting sunlight after five days, the growing aerosols would not yet be large enough to collect water droplets. The full impact on clouds only becomes evident two or three days later.

It takes the form of a loss of low-altitude clouds, because of the earlier loss of small aerosols that would normally have grown into “cloud condensation nuclei” capable of seeding the clouds.

“Then it’s like noticing bare patches in a field, where a farmer forgot to sow the seeds,” Svensmark explains. “Three independent sets of satellite observations all tell a similar story of clouds disappearing, about a week after the minimum of cosmic rays.”

Averaging satellite data on the liquid-water content of clouds over the oceans, for the five strongest Forbush decreases from 2001 to 2005, the DTU team found a 7 per cent decrease, as mentioned earlier.

That translates into 3 billion tons of liquid water vanishing from the sky. The water remains the-re in vapor form, but unlike cloud droplets it does not get in the way of sunlight trying to warm the ocean. After the same five Forbush decreases, satellites measuring the extent of liquid-water clouds revealed an average reduction of 4 per cent. Other satellites showed a similar 5 per cent reduction in clouds below 3200 meters over the ocean.

“The effect of the solar explosions on the Earth’s cloudiness is huge,” Henrik Svensmark comments.

“A loss of clouds of 4 or 5 per cent may not sound very much, but it briefly increases the sunlight reaching the oceans by about 2 watt per square meter, and that’s equivalent to all the global warming during the 20th Century.”

The Forbush decreases are too short-lived to have a lasting effect on the climate, but they dramatize the mechanism that works more patiently during the 11-year solar cycle.

When the Sun becomes more active, the decline in low-altitude cosmic radiation is greater than that seen in most Forbush events and the loss of low cloud cover persists for long enough to warm the world.

That explains, according to the DTU team, the alternations of warming and cooling seen in the lower atmosphere and in the oceans during solar cycles.

The director of the Danish National Space Institute, DTU, Eigil Friis-Christensen, was co-author with Svensmark of an early report on the effect of cosmic rays on cloud cover, back in 1996.

Commenting on the latest paper he said, “The evidence has piled up, first for the link between cosmic rays and low-level clouds and then, by experiment and observation, for the mechanism involving aerosols. All these consistent scientific results illustrate that the current climate models used to predict future climate are lacking important parts of the physics”.

Translated from Far News:


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