back to article Scientists to IPCC: Yes, solar quiet spells like the one now looming can mean Ice Ages

There's been criticism for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) over its latest AR5 report from many quarters for many reasons. But today there's new research focusing on one particular aspect of that criticism. The particular part of the IPCC's science in question is its accounting for the effects of changes …

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  1. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge

    The best word to describe IPCC AR5 is 'strange'.

    With regard to the Sun, one chapter says it has no effect on global climate at all, while another says that it is responsible for the recent lack of warming.

    Of particular interest is the apparent failure of the model projections to match reality, since they show continually increasing temperatures MUST happen if CO2 rises. Oddly, the last draft of AR5 shows this issue illustrated in graphical form with the model predictions running way higher than observations - the just released Final Draft shows a graph with the same data, but this time the model projections DO fit reality.

    Statisticians are currently wondering how this apparent miracle was achieved - it looks as if some undocumented changes have been made at the last minute to the papers which were accepted by the IPCC. But not by the original authors....??

    1. James Micallef Silver badge
      Boffin

      Energy

      A lot of climate discussion obscures the more important issue which is energy. If we have enough energy to work with, it does not matter if the global temperature warms, cools or stays the same, we have the tools to handle it... as long as we have the energy to power those tools.

      The real problem with coal, oil etc as power sources isn't so much that they emit CO2, as that they pollute* , they are finite/non-renewable, and a not-insignificant chunk of it comes from to countries that I would rather not be beholden to.

      Message to the moderate and right-thinking greenies - I'd love a future world powered by fusion / solar / hydro / geo at 100% renewable BUT at the moment and for the foreseeable future there is one choice to make for baseload power - either nuclear or carbon. It can't be neither. You cannot have your cake and eat it. We can build up renewable alternatives gradually, but we need one of those 2 big ones NOW. And if you don't want carbon, we need to start building nuclear NOW so it's ready in 10-20 years' time.

      Message to the ultra-greenies (the hardcore nutters) - NO we are not going back to the medieval age, which is what would happen with no nukes and no carbon.**

      *as in particulate pollution with very bad health consequences, see Beijing smog etc

      **or rather, the ultra-rich would be sitting pretty in their rooftop palaces powered by solar panels while the proles would be subsistence farming like it's fifteen-ninety-nine

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Energy

        "If we have enough energy to work with, it does not matter if the global temperature warms, cools or stays the same, we have the tools to handle it... as long as we have the energy to power those tools."

        Actually the upcoming major problem for humanity is the global food supply.

        If the climate goes horribly Pete Tong (*), whether due to human carbon emissions or some other cause, we will have an awful lot of trouble feeding 7 billion people if the viability of agriculture reduces due to too hot / too dry / too cold / too wet / too windy (think hurricanes/tornados) climatic conditions(**). There is only so much you can produce out of climate-controlled green houses of hydroponic farms. I'd hazard to suggest that GMO technology is unlikely to help to any significant degree.

        (* translation = 'wrong' for anyone not familiar with London Cockney double-speak)

        (** all of which occur when the energy in the atmosphere increases/decreases)

        1. johnnymotel

          Re: Energy

          hand in hand with food supply is over-population....no one seems to mention this elephant.

          1. Mage Silver badge

            Re: Energy

            USA throws away 40% of food.

            North America takes 75% of resources for 25% of population.

            Rats eat a lot of the food in Asia. Maybe 25% or more.

            We are very far off overpopulation. The problem is Greed and Corruption. Communism isn't the answer to those Capitalist ills though.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Energy

              "We are very far off overpopulation. The problem is Greed and Corruption."

              Not so, Mage. Greed and corruption may make matters somewhat worse, but it's the sheer numbers of people that are the real trouble.

              Before the Green Revolution, it was thought difficult to feed 4-5 billion people. Now we have over 7 billion, with no sign of growth in sight. What if the Green revolution turns out to be unsustainable? What if those bounteous fields of grain sooner or later turn dry and dusty and blow away? What if insects evolve resistance to the powerful poisons chemical companies use to keep them away from the crops? (Remember how anitbiotics were going to put an end to infectious disease?)

              You say "we are very far off overpopulation". How many people, in your educated opinion, can the Earth sustain indefinitely? 10 billion? 15 billion? 50 billion? "Very many"?

              1. Mage Silver badge

                Re: Energy: Population

                Population is a separate issue to Climate Change. Unless you are going to wipe out 2/3rds of the existing population. Assuming there is a Climate Change problem. Even if it's 100% true that we really do have global warming, and it's man made, some places will produce more food and some less. If there isn't global warming, man made or otherwise, then according to David Attenbourgh we have a Population problem anyway. But experts can't agree on the future growth nor sustainable level.

              2. soreron

                Re: Energy

                If you give people electricity, clean water and contraception.....guess what their populations go DOWN.

                Yes good news! Lets work to give the developing world these advantages and population will decline.

                Ask a German if you don't believe me.

                All those hand wringing Malthusians should work to better the living conditions of their fellow humans instead of winging about the environment. If somebody needs to cook and they don't have coal, gas or electricity they cut down trees. This leads to environmental degradation on a massive scale.

                Give 'em coal I say, even the trees will benefit!

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Energy

            "hand in hand with food supply is over-population....no one seems to mention this elephant."

            Very true - only it's not so much hand-in-hand as underneath, giving a free ride. Resource exhaustion, pollution, potential overheating, malnutrition, overcrowding, and endemic war are all inevitable consequences of overpopulation.

            The reason it is so rarely mentioned, of course, is that nobody - least of all politicians - can think of a practical way to deal with it. We have decided that the best form of government is one that respects the wishes of the broad masses, and the broad masses want to go on having families larger than 2.0 on average. Anyone of average intelligence, who has troubled to find out a few facts, understands that much. But actually stopping runaway overpopulation: that is too hard. So people simply ignore it.

          3. Ottis

            Re: Energy

            Nobody wants to keep their zippers done up!

        2. James Micallef Silver badge

          Re: Energy - Food

          Quite correct, food and water become increasingly important if climate change screws things up. But with enough energy we can make fresh water from sea water (and 75% of global population lives very close to sea), and use the obtained fresh water for irrigation. Rising sea levels can be countered by building barriers (and we're talking a few cm rise even in worst cases). And raw materials for construction can be obtained / refined / processed / transported as necessary if the energy to do so is available.

    2. John Hughes

      Dodgy, the best way to describe you is "a raving nutcase".

      Which chapter of AR5 says "[the sun] as no effect on global climate at all"?

      Which chapter says "[trhe sun] is responsible for the recent lack of warming"?

      Which graph are you referring to?

      Or are you just making all this shit up?

    3. NomNomNom

      "With regard to the Sun, one chapter says it has no effect on global climate at all, while another says that it is responsible for the recent lack of warming."

      Why do you make stuff up? Both those statements you have made are false. The IPCC report does not say the sun has no effect on global climate. Nor does it say it is responsible for the recent lack of warming.

    4. NomNomNom

      "Oddly, the last draft of AR5 shows this issue illustrated in graphical form with the model predictions running way higher than observations - the just released Final Draft shows a graph with the same data, but this time the model projections DO fit reality."

      The draft contained an error. It's a wonder all the skeptics who cited it did not spot it. I guess spotting errors in the IPCC report that run against their agenda is not a priority for skeptics.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @Dodgy Geezer

      "With regard to the Sun, one chapter says it has no effect on global climate at all, while another says that it is responsible for the recent lack of warming."

      That is entirely self-consistent. No effect = lack of warming. Where's your difficulty?

      Unless of course you have come to believe that the Earth MUST be steadily heating up, as a matter of religious faith (or something).

    6. Fluffy Bunny
      Holmes

      When you throw a hundred billion at a make-believe problem, you need to expect a bit of scientific fraud here and there. Hockey Stick effect, anybody?

  2. Testy
    Pint

    Make me another model this one does not fit!!!!

    Climate scientists agree that they will be sipping cocktails in St Tropez, but can't agree if they need to bring the ice or it will already be there, never mind another round of funding to get the next IPCC report should keep them going for a while. I wonder which one will do the King Canute impression this year always a hoot in the climate scientist annual lets ague about it but there' s sod all we can do about it conference.

  3. Brian Miller

    Baked? Frozen? It's the weather.

    Back in the 1970's, the scientists were screaming that we'd be under a sheet of ice by now. The scientists are currently screaming that we'll be baked off the surface of the earth. (OK, so in a couple billion years they'll be right.) If *all* of the earth's industrial output went to zero today (along with an associated die-off of humans), the warming (or cooling!) would roll along completely unimpeded.

    1. Graham Marsden
      Boffin

      @Brian Miller - Re: Baked? Frozen? It's the weather.

      "Back in the 1970's, the scientists were screaming that we'd be under a sheet of ice by now"

      No, they weren't. See http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2005/01/the-global-cooling-myth/ for facts.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: @Brian Miller - Baked? Frozen? It's the weather.

        Yes they were. Life Magazine 30 Jan 1970, " Others disagree, but scientists have solid experimental and theoretical evidence to support each of the following predictions:

        Increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will affect the earth’s temperature, leading to mass flooding or a new ice age."

        Note the words 'scientists', 'have' and 'evidence'.

        http://blog.modernmechanix.com/ecology-a-cause-becomes-a-mass-movement/

        1. Graham Marsden

          @jpf - Re: @Brian Miller - Baked? Frozen? It's the weather.

          No, they weren't. Note the words "scientific press" rather that "popular press":

          "I should clarify that I’m talking about predictions in the scientific press. There were some regrettable things published in the popular press (e.g. Newsweek; though National Geographic did better). But we’re only responsible for the scientific press. If you want to look at an analysis of various papers that mention the subject, then try http://www.wmconnolley.org.uk/sci/iceage/."

      2. Clunking Fist Bronze badge

        Re: @Brian Miller - Baked? Frozen? It's the weather.

        Good try there, trying to rewrite history, Graham. Orwell would be pleased.

        Luckily, some folk have compiled a bit of a db of the news:

        http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/03/01/global-cooling-compilation/

        http://stevengoddard.wordpress.com/2013/05/21/the-1970s-ice-age-scare/

        1. NomNomNom

          Re: @Brian Miller - Baked? Frozen? It's the weather.

          "Luckily, some folk have compiled a bit of a db of the news:"

          Did you not read the comment you were replying to?

          Note the words "scientific press" rather that "popular press"

          A db of the news is not a db of the *science*.

          Today there is a scientific consensus that man is warming the planet. Back in the 70s there was not a scientific consensus that an ice age was coming. All you have is a few news articles.

          1. Fluffy Bunny
            Go

            Re: @Brian Miller - Baked? Frozen? It's the weather.

            The fact you have a consensus just means you're popular. It doesn't mean your right.

            So many of the climate models (theories) predict 0.1 degree of warming per decade. That's because they were tuned to do that, because 0.1 degree of warming was considered to be the "right" answer. Now that even the IPCC has been convinced that the real warming is only 0.05 degrees, just watch the models being retuned to pump out 0.05 degree predictions.

            BTW, can somebody add an icon for "Scientific Fraud", or "Your Tax Dollar at Work" ?

      3. Dave the Cat

        Re: @Brian Miller - Baked? Frozen? It's the weather.

        Yes because realclimate.org is so impartial....

  4. Red Bren
    Happy

    Re: Bootnote

    Rik's first contribution on the subject was in June 2009. Richard's was in November 2011. Your skeptical voice went unchallenged for two years and you have been rather more prolific.

    I'm not saying skepticism is wrong, it's what drives advancement. It's just good to have some balance.

    1. codejunky Silver badge

      Re: Bootnote

      @ Red Bren

      "I'm not saying skepticism is wrong, it's what drives advancement. It's just good to have some balance."

      Funny how this idea pops up every time page posts an article. However the same rules dont seem to apply elsewhere. I found that the more the 'official line' was pushed the more page posted even to some of the less significant research. The more reaching and fantastical the pro-media pushed the more lewis seemed to push back.

      I like reading lewis's articles which I know will be leaning away from the mainstream view. I like it because I can hear/read the mainstream views through the news and activist claims of doom. But to balance them out are few.

      Science is science and not consensus. This is the problem with the pro-lobby, they have a consensus just like any other religion. There is also a smaller cult who are anti warmists to the religious extreme. But there are few people pro or anti looking at the science. Yet they are the only ones worth any time.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Bootnote

        No, science is consensus, that's the whole point.

        If you break your leg, you go to casualty, the doctor will use the best consensus science to treat you. He won't rub some herbs on it because psychic-Dave says that he reckons that will fix it. This is the whole point of peer review.

        One lone voice tipping over the consensus (which results in revised consensus, you'll note) has been the case so few times that we can all count the names on one hand. They are Einstein, Newton, Galileo and that's about it.

        1. Gordon 10 Silver badge

          Re: Bootnote

          You AC dont know your Science History. Its far more accurate to describe it as an newly emerging consensus driven by hundreds scientists challenging the status quo

          Add to those mentioned Hooke, Leibniz, Curie, Boyle, Millikan, Rutherford, Feynmann, and dozens if not hundreds of others. All of whom chipped away at the edifice of consensus to estabilish something new.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Bootnote

            @Gordon 10 - You prove my point - the people you name developed on top of existing scientific consensus, they didn't prove everything that was known up until that point didn't work in one way or another.

            Incidentally, you could have added the discovery of Plate Techtonics...

            1. Chet Mannly

              Re: Bootnote

              "You prove my point - the people you name developed on top of existing scientific consensus"

              OK Galileo then.

              The doctor you mentioned treated you with the best proven science. That is not always the same thing as the scientific consensus (as demonstrated by the Galileo "earth is not the centre of the universe example).

              As Einstein reportedly said `It doesn't take 100 scientists to prove me wrong, it takes a single fact'.

              Model forecasts by definition are not facts.

              1. poopypants

                Re: Bootnote

                Consensus is achieved when people have matching opinions.

                Science is about facts, not opinions.

                1. BristolBachelor Gold badge
                  Joke

                  Re: Bootnote

                  "Science is about facts, not opinions."
                  And that's your opinion. Sorry couldn't resist. Couldn't help myself. Also sorry to Sheldon's mun for stealing her line.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Bootnote

            No, science isn't about consensus. Consensus is used in politics. In science we use hypothesis and experimental refutation.

            It's easy to see the difference. The current "consensus" says that global climate modeling has predictive power and predicts that the world will warm. So what happens if that warming graph carries on not going up? What if it turns down?

            At some point (depending on how you assess the statistics), it will* experimentally refute the hypothesis. Where's your consensus then? It's wrong. Broken. Useless. Reliable experimental results *always* trump consensus.

            *I'm not claiming this will be the outcome, but just suppose it is.

  5. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Go

    Once again I cannot understand why the IPCC claims their confidence has *risen*

    As this research suggests they should be rather more cautious about their beliefs science.

    And may I suggest Dr (?) Haigh's comments be preferred for posterity?

    Note that it would appear that the Little Ice Age took both the solar minimum and multiple (and I think) large volcanic eruptions to trigger it.

    While not quite a "thumbs up" event (it's computer simulation, not actual field work) but congratulations to the Berne team for pinning down other options.

    1. NomNomNom

      Re: Once again I cannot understand why the IPCC claims their confidence has *risen*

      Confidence has risen that most of the warming since 1950 is human caused. I think even most skeptics accept that is very likely.

      1. flatline2000

        Re: Once again I cannot understand why the IPCC claims their confidence has *risen*

        mmmm nope, I believe they grew grapes in the South of England and a human population moved to greenland during the 1600 medieval warming period, something we have yet to do in this warming period (which now seems to be over for almost 2 decades now)....

        1. PatientOne

          Re: Once again I cannot understand why the IPCC claims their confidence has *risen*

          'I believe they grew grapes in the South of England'

          +

          'something we have yet to do in this warming period'

          Hate to say this but I have grape vines growing in my old greenhouse that has been left unattended for the last 5 years. Oh, and it's not got much glass left, either thanks to the various vines and weeds over the years, so it's pretty much open to the climate.

          It just happens to be a rather hardy grape vine and the grapes are rather small. But they are definitely grapes.

          1. Nial

            Re: Once again I cannot understand why the IPCC claims their confidence has *risen*

            They had _Vineyards_ as far north as Leeds.

            Not an odd straggly single vine with protection from the elements.

            1. Bunbury

              Re: Once again I cannot understand why the IPCC claims their confidence has *risen*

              Not that it's relevant one way or the other but Yorkshire has commercial vinyards today: Ryedale Vineyards for example. And North West Scotland has palm trees in places. It doesn't say a huge amount about average temperature through a region though.

            2. NomNomNom

              Re: Once again I cannot understand why the IPCC claims their confidence has *risen*

              "They had _Vineyards_ as far north as Leeds."

              We have vineyards further north today. There are more vineyards in this country now than at any time in it's history.

            3. This post has been deleted by its author

              1. Nial

                Re: Once again I cannot understand why the IPCC claims their confidence has *risen*

                "And now they're in the Yorkshire wolds.

                http://www.ryedalevineyards.co.uk/

                by the way, they're at 54N, i.e north of Leeds."

                So we're _starting_ to get back to the sort of climate they had in the middle ages, although I wonder how much of advantage modern vine strains give them?

                Good luck to them, I hope they prosper. I'm sure they're hoping for another degree or two of warming!

      2. Clunking Fist Bronze badge
        Devil

        Re: Once again I cannot understand why the IPCC claims their confidence has *risen*

        Err, no.

      3. Fluffy Bunny
        Stop

        Re: Once again I cannot understand why the IPCC claims their confidence has *risen*

        And yet the major plank of their theory has just been publicly disproved. Only 0.05 degree of warming - and then only with the right "smoothing".

    2. Clunking Fist Bronze badge
      Devil

      Re: Once again I cannot understand why the IPCC claims their confidence has *risen*

      JS19, I'm still laughing from "Children Just won't Know What Snow Is" and "The Artic will be Ice Free by 2013" and "28 Climate Change Experts Have Met with the BBC And agreed That The Science Is SOOOOO Settled that Skeptical Views Need Not be Aired"!!

      Luckily these days, we have the Wayback Machine to help us remember.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I was listening to Radio 4's "Tle Life Scientific" recently Professor Joanna Haigh (27/Aug) who specialises in this area was very clear - The sun's output does affect the Earth's temperature, but she would never suggest that the sun's output was anything like as important to global warming as CO2.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "I was listening to Radio 4's ....climate change propaganda"

      There, fixed it for you. The BBC have always been great enthusiasts for planet wrecking climate change, and actively censored any of their staff who wouldn't toe the party line.

    2. Mark Jan

      I was listening to Radio 4's "Tle Life Scientific" recently Professor Joanna Haigh (27/Aug) who specialises in this area was very clear - The sun's output does affect the Earth's temperature, but she would never suggest that the sun's output was anything like as important to global warming as CO2.

      In that case just do a thought experiment (no computers / simulations required). Imagine the sun turned itself off for a week or two. Would the CO2 (or anything else in our atmosphere for that matter) keep us warm for any length of time?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @Mark - What a ridiculous comment, of course the Earth would probably die if the sun switched off for a couple of weeks, but it's not going to, is it? The sun's output varies slightly over time. the output interacts with the greenhouse effect to make our planet habitable. Whacking millions of tonnes of greenhouse gasses into the environment is going to change the way the atmosphere holds energy. So, what one of the world's leading experts on the subject was saying was that the sun has some effect, but not as much as CO2.

        1. Mark Jan

          So, what one of the world's leading experts on the subject was saying was that the sun has some effect, but not as much as CO2.

          It's just a shame that the models and reality don't agree and have never agreed!

          Apart from that inconvenient truth, "one of the world's leading expert's" argument is sound!

        2. Clunking Fist Bronze badge
          Devil

          "Whacking millions of tonnes!"

          So we go from 250parts per million in preindustrial times to close to 500 parts now? That a change from 0.025% to 0.05%.

          1. NomNomNom

            "So we go from 250parts per million in preindustrial times to close to 500 parts now? That a change from 0.025% to 0.05%."

            Are you really not aware that the CO2 response is logarithmic? Therefore 250ppm to 500ppm is a 100% increase. But yeah if you rewrite it as small %s you can hide that inconvenient fact.

            1. Nial

              "Are you really not aware that the CO2 response is logarithmic? "

              On that note, at the current rate it'll take 230 odd years to get to 800ppm (on the probably incorrect presumption that there's no negative feedback in the Earth's eco-system) for the small increase

              of < 2 Deg C.

              DON'T PANIC.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Clunking Fist: "So we go from 250parts per million in preindustrial times to close to 500 parts now? That a change from 0.025% to 0.05%."

              NomNomNom: "Are you really not aware that the CO2 response is logarithmic? Therefore 250ppm to 500ppm is a 100% increase. But yeah if you rewrite it as small %s you can hide that inconvenient fact."

              You should both be debating a figure of ~400ppm.

              But please, don't let little issues like accuracy spoil your debate.

      2. Deadly Chicken

        "I was listening to Radio 4's "Tle Life Scientific" recently Professor Joanna Haigh (27/Aug) who specialises in this area was very clear - The sun's output does affect the Earth's temperature, but she would never suggest that the sun's output was anything like as important to global warming as CO2. "

        erm, hate to point out that the ONLY thing that effects the temperature on earth is the sun, without it we would be cold, with it where it is, we are warm.

        To say that CO2 has a bigger effect on the temperature on the earth than the sun is one of the stupidest things a scientist has ever said.

        1. John Hughes

          But of course nobody ever said that.

          What is said is that:

          1. There is a trend in temperatures (they're rising)

          2. There is a trend in CO2 (it's going up)

          3. There is no trend in solar output, (or any other solar parameter.

          So, yes the sun has an influence, but it isn't the source of the trend.

          1. Clunking Fist Bronze badge
            Devil

            Eh?

            1. Not for 17 years they haven't

            2. Agreed

            3. Bullshit

            But don't let me stop you: keep buying those shares in wind turbine and solar panel manufacturers, lol.

          2. Bunbury

            Re 3 perhaps more accurate to say there are short term cycles in solar heat received by the earth (the elliptical orbit, the 11 year or whatever it is sunspot cycle) that we know enough about to account for with a reasonable degree of accuracy but longer term cycles are less well known.

            We seems to be lacking in knowledge about what those long term cycles actually are, what the precursor activity is and what the likely change in solar output is. No doubt because we didn't have the instruments or recording capability at that time to capture the data.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @Deadly Chicken

          "To say that CO2 has a bigger effect on the temperature on the earth than the sun is one of the stupidest things a scientist has ever said."

          It is pretty dumb, yes. But it reminds me of a more commonly-believed fallacy that is very similar in terms of physics. Namely, that to keep warm all you need do is "dress up warmly". Lots of woollies and you'll be fine.

          That turns out to be very far from true. Put on as many warm clothes as you like, and sit motionless in a British house in winter (even autumn) for long enough, and you will suffer from hypothermia. When they crossed Antarctica on foot (yes, honest, they really did!) Ranulph Fiennes and Mike Stroud found that, no matter how many heavy clothes they wore, they could not safely stop walking for more than a few minutes. What kept them alive was the heat their bodies generated as a result of continuous exercise: 11,000 calories a day. If they stopped, they had to be inside their tent within 5 minutes or so, if they wanted to stay alive.

          It's the heat source that matters most, not the insulation that keeps some of the heat in. And obviously, if there is no heat source, there is nothing to keep in.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Who's the stupid one?

          @ Deadly Chicken. Sorry but you are clearly the stupid one here. What is being discussed is the TREND in global temperature/energy retained. In other words the degree of change, not the fact that the earth is warm.

          Absolutely NO-ONE is saying that CO2 has a bigger effect on the temperature of the earth than the sun - to suggest this just illustrates your total lack of knowledge about the subject. What is being said by scientists is that the increase in CO2 in the atmosphere is causing an INCREASE in the earth's temperature/energy retained. The increase in CO2 is also a much more significant factor in this trend than variations in the sun's output.

          This is symptomatic of pretty much all the argument against AGW - people who argue against it just don't do their homework properly and only vaguely understand the science. Yet all of these people for some reason believe that their instinctive reaction against the concept of AGW is definitively correct - they don't want it to be true so therefore it can't be true. That is not science.

          1. NomNomNom

            Re: Who's the stupid one?

            "Sorry but you are clearly the stupid one here. What is being discussed is the TREND in global temperature/energy retained. In other words the degree of change, not the fact that the earth is warm. Absolutely NO-ONE is saying that CO2 has a bigger effect on the temperature of the earth than the sun - to suggest this just illustrates your total lack of knowledge about the subject."

            Exactly, but unfortunately climate skeptics are not very good at logic.

            1. Fluffy Bunny
              Thumb Down

              Re: Who's the stupid one?

              Actually they are very good at thinking. They don't need to truly believe in something that has no evidence for it.

              And they are very good at finding the evidence you thought you had hidden from reach. for example, the sea levels rising 0.1 mm when your theory predicts 35 m !

          2. Nial

            Re: Who's the stupid one?

            >"The increase in CO2 is also a much more significant factor in this trend than variations in the sun's output."

            CO2 levels and sun activity increase, earth warms.

            CO2 levels continue to increase, sun activity halts, earth temperature halts.

            If the evidence doesn't match the theory the theory is WRONG. R Feynman.

            1. NomNomNom

              Re: Who's the stupid one?

              "CO2 levels continue to increase, sun activity halts, earth temperature halts."

              solar hasn't merely halted, it's declined. The correlation with tempeature is much much better for CO2.

              http://ourchangingclimate.files.wordpress.com/2010/04/720px-temp-sunspot-co22.png

      3. John Hughes

        Gedankenexperiment

        How's about this for a thouht experiement. Imagine that the Sun stayed the same but all the CO2 and water vapour disappeared from our atmosphere.

        Would you expect the surface temperature to fall, or rise, or stay the same?

        (Hint: you're lying in bed, someone steals your blankie. What happens?)

        1. Clunking Fist Bronze badge
          Devil

          Re: Gedankenexperiment

          A lack of CO2 would be a disaster... since it is important for plant life. Since the level of CO2 in the atmosphere has increased, plant growth has improved. Some scientists think that higher CO2 means lower moisture loss through leaves, as their pores need not open so fully, thus less water consumed by plants. Win-win.

          And without co2 and water vapour? I guess all the world would be like the Arizona desert: hot during the day, cold at night. Funny how it is cold at night, though, in spite of all the CO2.

          Unlike humid Manila, which is hot during the day... and hot at night.

          Makes you wonder about the power of CO2 as a greenhouse gas when deserts, with heat coming off the ground at night, is still a bit too cold...

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "but she would never suggest that the sun's output was anything like as important to global warming as CO2."

    That just "seems" so counter intuitive and I am willing to bet a beer she will be proved wrong in the long run.

    1. NomNomNom

      On one hand you have a star so far away and constant that variations in it's output amount to differences of just 0.4wm-2 in incoming energy hitting the earth.

      On the otherhand you have a greenhouse gas which is acknowledged by scientists and skeptics alike to reduce outgoing radiation by 3.7wm-2 every time it doubles in concentration.

      1. codejunky Silver badge

        @Nom

        "On one hand you have a star so far away and constant that variations in it's output amount to differences of just 0.4wm-2 in incoming energy hitting the earth.

        On the otherhand you have a greenhouse gas which is acknowledged by scientists and skeptics alike to reduce outgoing radiation by 3.7wm-2 every time it doubles in concentration."

        In a lab excluding all other interactions. Otherwise the earth would be warming faster (as the co2 theory predicts). Observation vs lab. The models can show an inferno but I wont get the marshmallows until they will cook

        1. Duncan Macdonald Silver badge

          Re: @Nom

          Outgoing radiation is proportional to the fourth power of absolute temperature so if the outgoing radiation is reduced by 3.7Watts/square metre then the earths temperature would rise by about 1.07 degrees centigrade. This is far less than changes that have occurred in the past when human involvment was non-existant. The only way that the "climate scientists" could get the high values that got the politicians attention (and funding for the climate scientists) was to postulate (with no proof) a number of positive feedback mechanisms and ignore any negative feedback mechanisms.

          (Average solar flux at earths surface over 24 hours is approximately 250 watts and the average surface temperature is approximately 15C (287 K). To radiate the extra 3.7 watts requires the absolute temperature to rise by the fourth root of (250/(250-3.7)) which is approximately a factor of 1.0037 which multiplied by the 287 K starting temperature gives a rise of about 1.07 K (or C).)

          1. Werner McGoole

            Re: @Nom

            Actually, it's by no means that simple. At the wavelengths absorbed by CO2 the Earth's atmosphere is optically thick. This means that the radiation occurs from the top of the atmosphere, so it's the temperature "up there" that matters.

            What happens is that the radiation surface "up there" moves up to a higher level in the atmosphere so it has a larger area and can radiate more heat. The temperature change at ground level results from the vertical temperature gradient in the atmosphere (the lapse rate) combined with this effectively increased depth of atmosphere. The lapse rate, in turn, is determined by the rate at which heat can be transported upwards through the atmosphere, largely by non-radiative processes like convection.

            Both this heat transport and the original greenhouse effect are also greatly affected by water vapour content, which depends mainly on temperature. Indeed, this is one of the main "feedback" effects.

            Of course, at other (non CO2) wavelengths, radiation leaves from lower down in the atmosphere and the situation is more like you assume. But in reality, the whole thing is pretty complicated and not very amenable to a back-of-the envelope calculation.

            If I had to put money on where the models are wrong (because I believe they probably are) it would be in the area of cloud cover, which is a poorly understood but very important area of feedback. Anything that significantly increases cloud cover as CO2 rises could easily negate any warning effect.

      2. Steve Crook

        They've already conceded it DOES have an effect.

        @nom

        What we're arguing about at the moment is the strength of the effect. I think everyone agrees that the changes in TSI are small, but there is growing evidence that the effects of those small changes can be quite large as they appear to have a significant influence on cloud formation.

        It's a bit like the effects of CO2, the actual radiative effect of CO2 would only give rise to a 1c change, but feedback may be adding another degree or two. There's a lot more science that needs to be done, contrary to the impression one might have gained from the extremely political AR5 SPM.

        1. Clunking Fist Bronze badge
          Devil

          Re: They've already conceded it DOES have an effect.

          Actually, whilst the energy changes may be minor, it is the effect that sunspots (or rather the current lack of) have on CLOUD FORMATION that the scientists say are having the effect. Sunspots are bursts of radiation that "blow away" cosmic rays that come from out side of the solar system. The cosmic rays appear to stimulate cloud formation, so more sun spots, less cloud, more sunlight falls on the earth, thus higher temps. So a lack of sunspots mean, according to this theory, that we get more cloud/less surface sunlight/lower temps.

          Clouds reflect sunlight/heat back into space.

      3. NomNomNom

        But guys we were talking about what is "counter intuitive"

        Obviously it is counter intuitive that a small change in incoming energy from the Sun is going to have a greater effect on global temperature than a much larger change for CO2 reducing outgoing energy.

        But the "Oh it must be the Sun" brigade are not clued into this yet.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "On one hand you have a star so far away and constant that variations in it's output amount to differences of just 0.4wm-2 in incoming energy hitting the earth.

        On the otherhand you have a greenhouse gas which is acknowledged by scientists and skeptics alike to reduce outgoing radiation by 3.7wm-2 every time it doubles in concentration."

        Ah, the old TSI/SSI chestnut and an affirmation of a personal confirmation bias?

        Reducing the impact of the Sun to such a simple definition, because it just happens to suit an argument or, because, as a scientific community, we know next to nothing about the subject matter is just too easy, don't you think?

        With time, it may indeed hold that solar forcing is negligible when measured against anthropogenic sources. However, at this time, science (not climatology, but science - physics) knows precious little about our nearest star, let alone the impact that may have on our planet, and how.

        But at the end of the day, the influence of the Sun is actually defined by far more than just the idiotically simplistic measure of TSI/SSI. Science understands this, climatologists choose to ignore this.

        This is one of the problems I have with current IPCC shenanigans. The 'scientific concensus' (scientific concensus, really?) is all to happy to paint a picture as scientific fact when it is, in fact, a 'guesstimate' based on incomplete science.

        Portraying a best guess as scientific fact used to be a heresy. How the world is changing.

        1. NomNomNom

          "Reducing the impact of the Sun to such a simple definition, because it just happens to suit an argument or, because, as a scientific community, we know next to nothing about the subject matter is just too easy, don't you think? With time, it may indeed hold that solar forcing is negligible when measured against anthropogenic sources. However, at this time, science (not climatology, but science - physics) knows precious little about our nearest star, let alone the impact that may have on our planet, and how."

          The intuitive idea that the Sun dominates the earth's climate through bulk changes in it's output is over. Measured TSI simply doesn't vary enough. So what are we left with? Holding out on the slim hope that there is some yet discovered rube goldberg-like machine is hiding in the details. A miracle in other words.

          There's no reason to expect such a mechanism should exist. This isn't 50/50 odds. This is slim odds for the Sun. CO2 is too far ahead and we are now late in the game to think a miracle is likely. The IPCC reports the current state of the science which is that CO2 dominates the solar forcing.

          It's not just TSI, but cosmic rays and sunspots also show appalling correlation with the recent temperature. The remaining room for little miracles to be hiding grows smaller and smaller.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Maybe it's just the way I explain myself, but my intent was not to say that the sun dominates or indeed plays a major role (I think that point should have been clear to most). But rather, I was attempting to say that science (think physicists, for example - as opposed to climatologists) don't yet know enough about the subject matter to be absolutely certain. Science is NOT about concensus, it never has been and it never will be.

            Remember, physicists still know very little about the sun. Climatologists know much, much less. On that basis alone it is folly for climatologists to simply dismiss it without a lot of additional science. TSI, SSI, cosmic rays. All rather simplistic analysis for what are, after all, simplistic climate models with many known issues.

            At the end of the day, AR5 like all of it's predecessors is just a 'best guess' and a best guess that is rooted in incomplete science, occasionally modified data and an underlying political agenda (just read what some authors have written with regard to political pressure and the politically correct appointment of poorly post qualified individuals).

            Don't get me wrong, there is a problem and we do not yet have the definitive answers - neither do the IPCC.

            Now, replace the IPCC with something open, transparent and free from political pressure and it's message may carry better.

      5. Fluffy Bunny
        Holmes

        "reduce outgoing radiation by 3.7wm-2 every time it doubles in concentration." - Not really. You can't go over 100% blockage.

  8. knarf

    Muppets

    The whole lot are Muppets as they seem to following a religious belief than try to find the truth.

    1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

      Re: Muppets

      In many ways I completely agree.

      There are muppets on both sides... one set with their fingers in their ears swearing blind that we can poison entire eco-systems, wreck global and regional cycles (nitrogen cycle is gone already through massive use of nitrogen fertilisers, the effect of this is a different discussion) and on the other side where some are predicting massive temperature rises or large and (possibly) frequent temperature variations that would become "normal" as a result of the damage and we should throw millions / billions their way to look into it or to mitigate it.

      A large problem is that predictions can only be accurately be tested (verified) after the event. At which point it's (a) too late to do much about it and (b) often nobody will believe you as they'll think that you adjusted your figures to match reality and besides, one accurate prediction needn't mean future ones will be accurate.

      A major stumbling block is that the ecosystem is a hugely complicated, and even studying the current interlocked cycles and feedback systems is a monumental task, predicting what would happen as a result of even subtle changes to one of more of these systems is vastly more difficult. For example, while a huge amount of impact could be predicted as a result of one action, another previously insignificant cycle could counterbalance the impact and the net result is minimal. However the upsurge of that balancing cycle could mean that another cycle is now unstable and one more tip could break something else... or not. Basically, I don't particularly envy the poor souls who have go through all of this and then stand up to the "scrutiny" from the deniers or the advocates of apocalypse.

      All we can really say is that poisoning our environment is bad. The level and extent of the bad, well that's something very hard to quantify.

      1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

        Re: Muppets

        "The level and extent of the bad, well that's something very hard to quantify."

        What is classed as a poison is also very important. If the argument had been pitched in terms of real pollutants (lead, excess nitrates, particulates etc), and efficient use of resources* I would have been behind the IPCC all the way. Putting the focus on CO2 menas that I am totally against them - the whole thing just seems to be about developed countries to shore up less-developed (but without giving the less-developed a way to catch up, because of stupid restrictions on energy production).

        *I'm just looking for a new house. One of the key criteria is that it will be able to have at least 4kW PV plus solar thermal, muti-fuel stove, and probably a ground-source heat-pump. It will also be insulated to the fullest (seriously looking at aerogel). I'm doing that because it is sensible and efficient, and it makes me less vulnerable to the lack of vision regarding power generation capacity. However, if anyone calls me a Green I'll get very upset.

      2. Clunking Fist Bronze badge
        Devil

        Re: Muppets

        Oh, so CO2 is a POISON now? Jesus: all those plants need to be told!

        You are making the same mistake a lot of genuine greenies have made: using CO2 as a proxy for pollution. I completely agree with you on pollution, by the way. But unfortunately, due to the focus on CO2, the ball has been dropped in other fields such as pollution, deforestation, overexploitation, etc, It also sees greenies preferring diesel cars over petrol cars, overlooking the soot problem that burning diesel brings.

        It's also why the genuine greenies are confused, so HAVE to protest against fracking: they see gas CO2 as being as bad as coal CO2... whereas in reality, burning coal is one of the most polluting ways to get our energy needs. If we fracked for gas, we could replace all coal fired power stations and maybe even convert our bus fleets to run on LPG or CNG. This would improve air quality in our cities.

        Fake greenies (i.e. anti-capitalists and/or malthusians and/or luddites) see ALL forms of relatively inexpensive energy as bad, as it leads to what they call "increased consumption" or what real people might call "a better standard of living".

  9. Pete 2 Silver badge

    Mark Twain was right

    > The current 11-year peak in solar action... may presage a lengthy quiet period

    And like everything to do with climate change, nobody can say for sure.

    It seems that the quote attributed to him turns out to have some substance after all. For those who missed it::

    There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesome returns of conjectures out of such trifling investment of fact

    or should that be his other one:

    Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please

    Either way, it's a great spectator sport, just so long as I don't have to do anything until we *know* what is actually happening - and whether it is turning out good or bad.

  10. Jim O'Reilly
    Holmes

    It's all politics

    IPCC has demonstrated that it isn't really a scientific body. They are intensely partisan on AGW, cherry-pick data to support it, and have a huge reluctance, to the point of malevolence, to accept alternative data and theories.

    This is the type of science where you decide waht you want to prove, then "fix" the experimental results to prove it. All it takes to understand this is to follow the money. No-one will pay for climate non-events. We need a dire prognostication to raise the cash to the current levels. This debate is all about rice-bowls, and not the ones people eat from!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It's all politics

      The IPCC reviews all peer-reviewed papers on the subject, so when you say they cherry pick, what do you mean?

      1. Steve Crook

        Re: It's all politics

        @AC

        He means they choose which papers to cite and which to ignore. Those they choose to ignore are usually those that don't tow the party line.

        For good reasons of course, when there's a consensus anything that goes against the consensus is most likely to be wrong and therefore not worth consideration. The fact that this artificially reinforces the consensus seems to be lost on them.

        It's a form of confirmation bias.

        Of course there's a good deal of political interference. Look at the contortions they went through between SPM last draft and release in an effort to obscure the pause.

  11. Mark 85 Silver badge

    I guess I got it wrong?

    So now, instead of upgrading my air conditioning system to compensate for increased warming, I should have been upgrading the furnace to counter global cooling? That'll teach me to listen to the talking heads on the 6 o'clock news.

    1. Chet Mannly

      Re: I guess I got it wrong?

      You should have bought a reverse-cycle air conditioner - then you are covered either way :-)

  12. BigFire

    Eddy Minimum here we goes.

    As the excellent XKCD comic Ice Sheets http://xkcd.com/1225/ demostrates, the vast majority of North American simply cannot survive the oncoming of another Ice Age. We simply have to move down south.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: Eddy Minimum here we goes.

      Bad times for Mexicans. Bad times.

    2. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

      Re: Eddy Minimum here we goes.

      For a fascinating imagining of the USA as the ice rolls down the country, have a read of "Fallen Angels" by Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle, and Michael Flynn.

      1. Fluffy Bunny
        Pint

        Re: Eddy Minimum here we goes.

        Read it. Loved the analysis of greenies mentality. Fleets of trucks with IR sensors searching for people secretly using electric heaters while the ice sheets slide south.

  13. Herby

    Meanwhile...

    On Mars.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Climate_of_Mars

    The more things change, the more they stay the same. YMMV.

  14. BWM

    15 year hiatus in global warming? BULLSH*T!!!

    Anytime you see an article that talks about a "15 year hiatus in global warming" or "global warming has paused since 1998" (15 years ago), be sure to turn on the bullsh*t filters.

    Teh articles l never say "14 years" or "16 years", and they'll never say "1997" or "1999". Why? Check out this graph:

    http://www.newscientist.com/data/images/ns/cms/dn11639/dn11639-2_808.jpg

    1998 was an aberration due to Pacific water warming from El Nino. The average temperature had a spike.

    Looking at the trend, 5 year averages, it's clear that the warming is continuing. Since 1998, we've have many of the warmest annual average temperatures on record.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 15 year hiatus in global warming? BULLSH*T!!!

      The warmists were certainly screamingly loudly about 1998's record temperatures back then as proof that not only do we have global warming, but we've reached a tipping point where it is accelerating.

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

        Re: 15 year hiatus in global warming? BULLSH*T!!!

        The good thing about tipping points is that you never know when it tips.

      2. NomNomNom

        Re: 15 year hiatus in global warming? BULLSH*T!!!

        "The warmists were certainly screamingly loudly about 1998's record temperatures back then as proof that not only do we have global warming, but we've reached a tipping point where it is accelerating."

        [citation needed]

        Generally it is the skeptics who cherrypick short-term trends. Trying to excuse that by blaming imaginary "warmists" for doing the same thing is kind of lame.

    2. Chet Mannly

      Re: 15 year hiatus in global warming? BULLSH*T!!!

      Problem is the modelling cited by the IPCC in report 4 assumed that warming would continue upward from that 1998 point, when temperatures actually flattened. That is why people rightly state that there has been a pause in warming since 1998 - the planet isn't hotter than it was in 98.

      BTW if you look at 5 year averages you eliminate the last 5 years of observations.

      1. NomNomNom

        Re: 15 year hiatus in global warming? BULLSH*T!!!

        "Problem is the modelling cited by the IPCC in report 4 assumed that warming would continue upward from that 1998 point"

        No it didn't. The IPCC report makes no predictions about "points".

    3. Nial

      Re: 15 year hiatus in global warming? BULLSH*T!!!

      > Since 1998, we've have many of the warmest annual

      > average temperatures on record.

      Do you not realise what happens when you get to the top of a sine wave?

      > Looking at the trend, 5 year averages, it's clear that the warming is continuing.

      You can take as many 5 year averages as you wan in the last 10 years.....

      http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut4gl/from:2003/plot/hadcrut4gl/from:2003/trend

      If that looks like continued warming to you then.....?

      1. NomNomNom

        Re: 15 year hiatus in global warming? BULLSH*T!!!

        and zoom out

        http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut4gl/from:1980/plot/hadcrut4gl/from:2003/trend/plot/hadcrut4gl/from:1980/trend

        1. Nial

          Re: 15 year hiatus in global warming? BULLSH*T!!!

          "and zoom out

          http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut4gl/from:1980/plot/hadcrut4gl/from:2003/trend/plot/hadcrut4gl/from:1980/trend"

          That is the historical record, NOT the _current_ trend, ie the derivative of the curve _now_.

          See point a in the first graph.....

          http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/math/derint.html

        2. Fluffy Bunny
          Holmes

          Re: 15 year hiatus in global warming? BULLSH*T!!!

          And zoom out a bit more...

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Vostok_Petit_data.svg

        3. Fluffy Bunny

          Re: 15 year hiatus in global warming? BULLSH*T!!!

          Here's a clearer graph. Notice the regular warming/cooling cycle? We are at the top right now and still climbing, so of course we get a regular stream of "record temperature" reports all the time. Just wait a little, that first step's a doozy.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Five_Myr_Climate_Change.png

      2. Fluffy Bunny
        Holmes

        Re: 15 year hiatus in global warming? BULLSH*T!!!

        "http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut4gl/from:2003/plot/hadcrut4gl/from:2003/trend

        If that looks like continued warming to you then.....?"

        The trend line is clearly downwards, but I have the same problem as I have with the warmist's cherry-picked data points. When you look at the data, not the trend-line, there is more noise than trend.

  15. itzman

    IPCC algorithms in a nutshell

    IF (its getting warmer)

    THEN its an irreversible change due to human activity, NOT anything else.

    ELSE IF (its getting colder)

    THEN its entirely down to anything else NOT a broken IPCC model.

    IF IsScary(SELECT(RANDOM(WeatherEvent)))

    THEN its down to man made climate change

    ELSE it's just 'weather'

    IF(recommended_policy==solvesClimateChange)

    denounce(policy)

    ELSE {

    praise(policy)

    call(moreFunding)

    add(staff)

    produce New report();

    continue;

    }

  16. Chemware

    Wood and trees, perhaps ?

    Given that solar output oscillates wildly:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_variation

    between 1365.5 and 1366.5 W/m2 - that is, about +/- 0.04%, it is not too surprising that climate scientists tend to focus on the 50% or so increase in CO2 levels, which contributes a forcing of around 2 W/m2:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Radiative-forcings.svg

    And rising.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Two Questions ??

    If the atmosphere is warming (irrespective of cause) woudn't it also be expanding and would that expansion be measurable ? (ie will the playmonaut have to ascend to a higher altitude to reach space)

    I understand the mechanisn of the greenhouse effect (greenhouse gas being more opaque to IR than plain air). Does CO2 laden air have the same transparency as plain air on incoming solar radiation ?

    These are genuine questions that I hope someone can answer

    1. Fluffy Bunny
      Holmes

      Re: Two Questions ??

      Intersting point. Basic thermodynamics, with black body radiation such as the sun, most of it's output is in the IR, very small part in the visible range, so more CO2 should actually block the incoming heat and therefore the Earth should cool.

  18. JCitizen Bronze badge
    Coffee/keyboard

    I saw on the news...

    just today, that for the 1st time in years, the average temperature dropped - I don't know by how much. I figure even if global warming is coming; a giant caldera explosion will put us in nuclear winter for 100 years, and we will all be crying about how cold it is!

    Even better yet, just have faith that things are chaotic and, short of switching to nuclear power, beyond the reach of man to do any thing measurable to solve this perceived problem. Ever tried to control a chaotic system? I have - and no amount of math or engineering could figure it out - I and my fellow operators just had to fly by the seat of our pants. Human intuition is remarkable that way.

    1. John Hughes

      Re: I saw on the news...

      What?

      The average temperature drops all the time.

      Look at a bloody graph:

      http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/uah

      Looks like your "human intuition" is broken.

  19. John Hughes

    Headline, is, as usual bullshit.

    No, "solar quiet spells" cannot cause ice ages.

    "the coming solar minimum - and/or volcanic eruptions that may occur in coming centuries - though it might seem like a minor effect, could actually be quite capable of triggering another small Ice Age.."

    No it couldn't.

    Because the "Little Ice Age" wasn't an Ice Age. It was a cold period of the current Ice Age. Yes, we don't have to worry about the Earth entering an Ice Age because we're already in one and have been for about 2.6 million years.

  20. PeterM42
    FAIL

    Of Course it's the bl**dy Sun

    What did you THINK was causing fluctuations in Earth's temperature?

    - Winston Churchill's cigars?

    - Harold Wilson's pipe?

    GET REAL you idiot scientists

  21. loneranger
    Thumb Up

    The Register is so un-PC

    My, my, the Register is really asking for it by publishing anti-establishment articles like this one poking holes in the modern version of "the emperor's new clothes".

    I find it incredibly refreshing. Keep up the good work.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    short term versus long term

    yes, greenhouse gasses influence the cliamte.

    yes, solar activity influences the climate.

    If the influence of solar activity masks the influence of the greenhouse gasses - as we can expect it will if the solar activity hit's it's cyclic minimum - then we'll see 'nothing much changes' for a short while...

    And then:

    When the solar activity inevitably ramps upwards again, and then greenhouse gasses are also pushing in the same direction, the climate will warm by 'a lot', and it will happen 'in a hurry'.

    And by then it will be very difficult to do anything about it.

  23. SRS0001

    You guys like to say boffin a lot...

    I think it all boils down to nobody really knowing what is going on, but they like to make people think that they do know.

  24. ktwop

    Note that the senior author is Thomas Stocker who is co-chair of the IPCC.

    Strange then that the IPCC would treat solar effects with such nonchalence.

    Nevertheless and even though not a single climate model is able to predict a global cooling while carbon dioxide increases, the Lnadscheidt Minimum is here and we have at least 2 decades of cooling ahead of us.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Using simulations on the CSCS supercomputer "Monte Rosa", the climate researchers searched for a feedback process that was capable of triggering the Little Ice Age1. As the driving forces of the climate, they applied volcanic eruptions and a weakening of solar radiation in their models. Although six slightly different starting conditions were selected for the simulations, every simulation initiated the same process: in the Barents Sea, the sea-ice masses grew and spread to the warmer sub-arctic area of the North Atlantic, where they melted. The freshwater inflow resulting from the meltwater altered the water stratification and thus the differences in density. As a result, the ocean convection, driven by the density differences, was weakened and less warm water was transported into the Nordic Seas, which in turn boosted the growth of sea ice. This so-called positive feedback process intensified the Little Ice Age especially in northern latitudes."

    So

    1) So climate skeptics are okay with climate models as evidence all of a sudden? Why the change?

    2) The suggested mechanism involves a positive ice feedback. But climate skeptics tell us the climate is governed by negative feedbacks and that positive feedbacks are alarmism or unphysical. Again, why the change?

    3) Arctic sea ice is in sharp decline, suggesting that this feedback is contributing to warming rather than cooling.

    4) Climate skeptics have been predicting an ice age for almost 10 years now and yet there hasn't been any global cooling. If you expect the world to cool, but it doesn't, perhaps it's time to start thinking about what warming element might be in play in the background!

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