Doomed Planet: Changing Sun, Changing Climate

Today’s post is at Quadrant. Have you been there before? If not, you have a treat in store.

The editors supplied this quotation:

“Today’s debate about global warming is essentially a debate about freedom. The environmentalists would like to mastermind each and every possible (and impossible) aspect of our lives.”

Vaclav Klaus
Blue Planet in Green Shackles

Bob Carter, Willie Soon, and I provided this start:

Scientists have been studying solar influences on the climate for more than 5000 years.Chinese imperial astronomers kept detailed sunspot records, and noticed that more sunspots meant warmer weather. In 1801, celebrated astronomer William Herschel, the first to observe Uranus, noted that when there were fewer spots the price of wheat soared. He surmised that less “light and heat” from the sun resulted in reduced harvests.

Head over, then come back here to leave comments.

But while you’re there, stay and read Keith Windschuttle’s piece “Inventing massacre stories“, tales the Left uses to induce pleasurable guilt and sense of purpose.

See also the (not-too-often updated) Quandrant TV page, and watch Jim Franklin’s video, “What Science Knows.”


  1. Ken

    RE: “A strong sun-climate relationship requires mechanisms to exist whereby our sun can both cool and warm the Earth.” From the article at the first link…

    …TECHNICALLY (nitpickingly), isn’t the sun ALWAYS WARMING the Earth? When a warmed-up Earth is subjected to a sun that is warming less than before, the Earth can cool, but still, the sun is still warming the Earth. If it wasn’t, the Earth & us Earthlings would certainly chill-out quite a bit more!

    That aside, its always fun to point out to climate alarmists that there’s no way that CO2 emissions from humans are going to subside anytime relevant to any of us — absolutely no country will do what it takes to make a meaningful difference for that country’s output, and certainly not enough or all countries will to make any difference for the planet overall. Guaranteed.

    So, all the fuss about rising CO2 & lowering one’s “carbon footprint” is just so much pointless hooey and the real issue, which they don’t want to address, is devising means for dealing with the future sure to come.

    The alarmists are starting to realized this…which is why so little (next to none) of thier effort is expended on CO2 emission reduction techniques (really, can you recall any from any of the usual high priests of this movement?). Instead, they evalgelicize: emphasizing the need for belief that CO2 & greenhouse gasses warm things up.

    The alarmists are ALL ABOUT BELIEF and effectively nothing about any meaningful action, AND, are opposed to any action that would lead to successfully adapting to the warmer world they choose to believe is coming.

    That’s a religion. What Bret Stephens observes is a “sick-souled religion”:

  2. JH

    As I am very interested in the history of Chinese scientific heritage, I’d love to read any references for the statement that Chinese imperial astronomers kept detailed sunspot records, and noticed that more sunspots meant warmer.

    Some claims are based on overlaying two time series in one figure. The tracking patterns can be misleading because a change the scale of side=2 or side=4(vertical axis) would probably change the patterns. (Just change the scale of one of the vertical axes, you’d see if I am correct.) That is, the plots have not convinced me any STRONG correlation to me at all.

    Instead of a time series plot of two variables, how about a scatter plot of the two variables (v1 versus v2) to show the correlation?

  3. JH

    Correction: the plots have not convinced me of any STRONG correlation at all.

  4. Ray Kidd

    JH on 12 March 2013 at 11:15 am said:
    “Correction: the plots have not convinced me of any STRONG correlation at all.”

    Maybe this can help?

    A paper by I.G. Usoskin1, S.K. Solanki2, and G.A. Kovaltsov3
    Grand minima and maxima of solar activity: New observational

    has analysis of sunspot numbers over 11,000 years. A case for correspondence with climate can be made in that 14C radiocarbon dating, calibrated with dendrochronology, shows areas of poor growth during the Solar minima periods, the later periods can be verified historically.

    Ray Kidd

  5. Ken

    RE: “…not convinced … of any STRONG correlation….”


    That’s Dr. Jasper Kirkby’s presentation about a variety of correlations involving the sun, cosmic rays, and proxy measures for such activity. His perspectiven, then, was that solar activity affects cosmic ray access to Earth, which influence cloud formation, which influence weather/temperature (with more of certain types of clouds being associated with global cooling). He led the development of an experiment called CLOUD, to test the cosmic ray-cloud formation theory. Results didn’t meet expectations/hypothesis…but…opened up other intriging possibilities.

    Many have pointed this to support or refute the cosmic ray/cloud formation relationship. Fact is, there’s insufficient firm objective data to precisely know what is or is not happening in this regard.

    Regardless, before he got the CLOUD experiment going he was opposed by many in the global warming alarmist community…which did succeed in delaying that experiment. That bunch will say the data Kirkby presents showing solar/cloud/cooling correlations actually says something else…and such clashes & diametrically-opposite positions about the same measures is pervasive.

    Which should make anyone wonder: If we don’t understand the physical mechanisms for something as basic as cloud formation (which is a “top 3” uncertainty cited by the IPCC) and scientists assert the same data does & does not show such correlations…how knowledgable are we/they, really, about what’s physically happening?

    Given that significant uncertainty–outright unknowns, known to exist–over some of the most fundamental, and most significant, physical phenomena, how good can any computer model possibly be — one cannot model what one does not comprehend??

    And that’s a telling facet to the whole “alarmist” vs. “denier” aspect of the “debate” — scientific uncertainty is significant and the unknowns are postulated….any objective research challenge to those postulates is immediately challenged & opposed while concurrently postulates (hypotheses, really) are broadcast as fact and all derivations founded on these are likewise parroted as indisputable fact.

    This is precisely, exactly analogous to what we observe in pseudo-science such as faith-healing: a situation is asserted and any objective evaluation is opposed, etc.

    Which, again, is much the pattern observed with religion.

  6. JH

    Mr. Kidd,

    Thanks for the paper, which I skimmed through.

    As stated in the abstract, the authors present an updated reconstruction of sunspots number over multiple millennia, and compare their results to those produced by another model.
    After they define “grand minimum” and “grand maximum,” they study the statistics of the minima and maxima in the reconstructed data.
    They then employ waiting time probability distributions to model the waiting time between gand minima (and maxima), and conclude that “the occurrence of grand minima/maxima is not a result of long-term cyclic variations but is defined by stochastic/chaotic processes. This casts significant doubts on attempts of a long-term prediction of solar activity using multi-periodic analyses. I think this also implies that the well-known 11-year cycle is only true if you buy into a contain model.

    I am now even more skeptical about the claims in the post by Carter, soon and Briggs. I could be easily persuaded with adequate evidence/data and accurate analysis.

  7. john robertson

    Sorry, what does this predict for future temperature?
    I skimmed the article , saw no proposed tests.
    What test can we apply?
    That nature cycles and that the sun dominates our planet are evident in our histories, that is why climatology by computer models, producing linear outputs is not credible,but do we know enough about the subsystems of our weather to make testable prediction?
    Or do we need another 100 years of earth and sun observation?
    Nice to see a real statistician involved in the massaging of temperatures,acknowledgement of our wet world is encouraging, but I wonder if we know enough to distinguish noise from information, yet.
    Keep up the good fight, a real science will emerge from the ruin of climatology, because of work like this.

  8. Ray Kidd

    JH said:
    “I think this also implies that the well-known 11-year cycle is only true if you buy into a contain (sic) mode”

    I didn’t see that in the paper. There again I didn’t skim it.
    They specifically said their data was decadal, which I think means they were less interested in the short term 11 year sunspot cycle. They also applied a 1-2-2-2-1 Gleissberg filter to reduce noise.


  9. Bob Ludwick

    Much is made of the fact that TSI only varies by around +/- 0.1%, but I seem to recall reading somewhere that the spectral distribution can vary quite a bit, with UV (for example) varying in the percent range, with the variation at specific wavelengths exceeding 100% (Figures are from memory and I didn’t try to research them to verify them.).

    Is TSI the only important measure of solar influence on climate or does spectral distribution make a difference? Also, the ‘solar wind’ is apparently quite variable as is the cosmic ray flux. Both are unpredictable. The magnetic field of the Earth is also changing in magnitude and geometry, both of which are unpredictable in the long term and both of which affect the influence of solar wind and cosmic rays on the earth’s atmosphere.

    Do the CAGW advocates maintain that the above influence planetary climate only at the ‘noise’ level and that anthropogenic CO2 is the dominant climate driver despite the lack of notable correlation between measured CO2 and measured temperature? If not, and the above and who knows what other equally unpredictable drivers have appreciable influence on climate, how do they expect us to take them seriously when they predict the ‘Temperature of the Earth’ (undefined, of course) a hundred years in the future, with a precision of tenths of a degree? And (the only relevant predictions) how the ‘new’ temperature will adversely affect every aspect of our lives unless politicians are given essentially infinite power over the rest of us so that they can ‘so something right now’ to reset Earth’s thermostat.

  10. JH


    In the Introduction section:

    It is noteworthy that dynamo models do
    not agree how often such episodes occur in the Sun’s history and whether their appearance is regular or random. For example, the commonly used mean-field dynamo yields a fairly regular 11-year cycle, while there are also dynamo models including a stochastic driver…

    Anyway, the paper says nothing about the correlation or coincidence between solar radiation and the anomalies in average temperature.

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