Friday, July 06, 2007

The Sun Sets On That Little Theory

One of the arguments packed around by your typical Climate Change Denier, which they whip out at appropriate moments, is to admit the obvious--that the last century has seen significant warming--but to blame this warming on the "Solar Cycles"--increases in sunspots, solar irradiance, whatever. However, the folks at Deltoid were, as far as I know, the first to point to this bit of recent research that debunks the Sun/GW connection. And Eli the Techno Bunny is the first to point out that it looks like the scientists behind the best-known solar based theories have thrown in the towel:

On other timescales however, Sun-climate links may remain worthy of study. "Climate change is a cocktail of many effects," says Jasper Kirkby, a physicist at CERN, the European particle physics laboratory near Geneva Switzerland, who is leading an experiment aimed a simulating the effect of cosmic rays on clouds. "Past climate changes have clearly been associated with solar activity. Even if this is not the case now, it is still important to understand how solar variability affects climate"

One of the most obvious problems behind any theory of this kind is that, if GW is caused by solar cycles, the effect should be seen throughout the length and breadth of the solar system. But, as I tell all my Denier friends, its getting colder on Ur Anus (a line I will keep using until someone admits to me that its hilarious).

PS. You can see the actual paper, rather than a popular summary, here.


Anonymous said...

must have been all the SUV's way back then . . .

Scientists who probed two kilometers (1.2 miles) through a Greenland glacier to recover the oldest plant DNA on record said Thursday the planet was far warmer hundreds of thousands of years ago than is generally believed.

DNA of trees, plants and insects including butterflies and spiders from beneath the southern Greenland glacier was estimated to date to 450,000 to 900,000 years ago, according to the remnants retrieved from this long-vanished boreal forest.

That contrasts sharply with the prevailing view that a lush forest of this kind could only have existed in Greenland as recently as 2.4 million years ago, according to a summary of the study, which is published Thursday in the journal Science.

The samples suggest the temperature probably reached 10 degrees C (50 degrees Fahrenheit) in the summer and -17 C (1 F) in the winter.

They also indicated that during the last period between ice ages, 116,000-130,000 years ago, when temperatures were on average 5 C (9 F) higher than now, the glaciers on Greenland did not completely melt away.

"These findings allow us to make a more accurate environmental reconstruction of the time period from which these samples were taken," said Martin Sharp, a glaciologist at the University of Alberta, Canada, and a co-author of the paper.

"What we've learned is that this part of the world was significantly warmer than most people thought."

bigcitylib said...

How does this bear on the topic under discussion?

Anonymous said...

The WARMongers are losing ground. A fear and hysteria campaign is impossible to sustain.

"most Britons remain unconvinced about the extent of climate change and that terrorism, crime, graffiti and even dog mess are more pressing issues for the UK. The Ipsos-Mori poll found that 56 per cent of people believe scientists are still debating whether human activity is contributing to climate change.

Just over half of people, 51 per cent, believe climate change will have little or no effect and more than one-third admitted they were taking no action to reduce their carbon emissions

Anonymous said...

anons: Thanks for the pointless input.

anon2: Your argument is "half the British population doesn't believe it, so it's not true". Seriously, that is a stunningly ignorant statement to make.

Anonymous said... the sea level was once a lot higher and then we had an ice age and the sea level dropped as a result. Why exactly is this information supposed to bring comfort to people who live in cities at sea level now?
We also know that Greenland fairs pretty well with no ice with lush green landscapes. Well Greenland is in the North and so is Canada and its true we are expected to do better than most countries if the ice caps/glaciers melt. We are in the North though. How does this help the people farther South closer to the equator?
Really lame.

Anonymous said...

Don't be too harsh on the 'nonnies. It's meth and beer Friday in Fort Mac, after all.

Anonymous said...

How long have they been keeping accurate temperature records on Uranus? Do they understand the physical variables affecting that planet's temperatures besides sunlight? For how long have they been recording and studying those factors and how have they changed over time? Which other planets can correlate temperatures over the last 200 years, let's say, and further back?

Strange - a 'denier' is always asking questions, whereas you 'believers' simply take the first answer that fits your ideology and you deem it settled once and for all. With your attitudes, we'd still be in the Dark Ages on a flat planet.

Stick with the touchy-feely world, not science.

Jay said...

Is that you grandpa?

Have your misplaced your cholinesterase inhibitors again?

Anonymous said...

oh that's funny Jay

Anonymous said...

How RICH is that: 'deniers' taking credit for human progress!

Seriously, there is a big difference between asking intelligent questions that are indicative of contradictions in the theory at times when the risk of asking such questions and impeding future action is slight, and asking retarded questions over and over from an uninformed knowledge set while ignoring the rebuttals and refutations from *experts in the field* that are desperately trying to get their work done in an atmosphere of constant partisan skeptic ignorance.

Surely, there are some overestimations, and some underestimations. Not everyone can be right or perfectly accurate. Surely there are some unforseens; however, reasonable people are starting to weigh the risks, their likelihoods and the impacts, with the cost of mitigation at this point, and coming to the realization that the collapse of the world's bread baskets, e.g., is not a very difficult thing to achieve. Our society depends on constant climate in so many countless ways that the prospect of change in the climate NOW is so incredibly more serious than it was 450,000 or even 100 years ago.

On the eve of the collapse of many of the great civilizations, the members were almost always convinced that they should continue what they were doing, only with more vigor. They dug in their heels and made more sacrifices, or built more moai, or continued with greater militarism, etc, guaranteeing that they RAN, rather than walked, into the brick wall. I suspect - despite the power of culture to disseminate a shared history and aid in our learning from the past - that we may just continue on the same course we always have and ignore the dangers under the guise, this time, of "not enough data". The problem is that, as Ronald Wright said, each time history repeats itself, the price goes up.

It is strange that the elements of the far right like to take credit for intuition and common sense, and although risk management has been described as a 'common sense' skill more than a rational skill, they cling to their partisan denial in the case of the biggest risk we may have faced yet.

I guess erring on the side of caution is lost on some people.

Jay said...

To the first anon,

Convenient that you left out the fact mentioned in that report that anthropogenic sources of CO2 are a major issue because if there is "natural" warming occurring it is slow and what we are experiencing is fast because anthropogenic CO2 is exasperating the "natural" warming.

Do you understand the problem with slow vs fast warming? Slow warming allows animals to migrate and plants to migrate through seed dispersal. Plants can't walk.

Ecosystems need a hundreds of thousands if not millions of years to adapt to climate shift. What we are going to end up with is a loss of species so dramatic you will be lucky to find anything to eat because the plants, being unable to move quickly, will go extinct. You can have seed stores to assist but do you actually think we can re seed the entire planet in a couple hundred years?

You also fail to take into account that the gases in the atmosphere are also in your blood. Uping CO2 in the atmosphere will up the CO2 in your blood and that is a big health problem. Anemia for all. Every CO2 molecule contains O2 which is what you breathe and by binding it to carbon there is a reduction in oxygen in the air.

Our resources are finite and obviously you don't understand the idea of a planet surrounded by what is mostly a vacuum. No more O2 is going to becoming our way.

The O2 we breathe we received when our atmosphere went from reducing to oxidizing billions of years ago. That enabled complex organisms, like ourselves, to evolve.

Give your head a shake because what you are pushing forth if believed will result in mass extinction of almost everything including humans.
You will ahve played a part in it.

That could be called an accomplice to mass murderer.

But then again you don't care because you won't be here and would have spent the profits from your oil stocks well before then.

I thought dinosaurs went extinct but your the living proof that the pea brain they had lived on.

Anonymous said...

It would be hilarious if those two were geezers, wouldn't it? Because deniers are always geezers. If you're younger, you can't be a denier, you MUST be a believer. Or is it that you only give them credibility because they're not geezers?

Jay said...

If your younger you tend to be thinking with a modern sense of science.

If you are a geezer who either dropped out of school 60 years ago or went to university 50 years ago and never upgraded afterwards, then of course you cannot expect these people to be up to speed on the intricate details of climate change.

All can be expected is a superficial understanding. We all know you cannot rely on media to tell you the truth nor can googling it provide the truth either.

Anonymous said...

If you're younger, you've also experienced and seen less, and are more easily persuaded by one argument. You don't have a depth of understanding of a wide variety of topics.

And judging from look of the typical baggy-pants, hat on wrong, face full of fish hooks losers out there, I'd say 'youth' and 'science' aren't a particularly powerful combination on average.

I'll stick with the university research geezer, thanks.

Jay said...

Thats nice, I didn't know you could see carbon dioxide. Can you smell carbon monoxide as well? Is there some sense I am missing?

Since when did ones physical appearance and sense of style determine the ability to understand and care about our planet? I did not know baggy pants made you unable to comprehend science.

Maybe wearing your pants up under your armpits is the cause of global waring denying. Just trying to follow your logic here.

You know how geezers go on about "When I was your age I had to wake through 10 feet of snow bare foot in winter to get to work to school." Shouldn't that provide any hints about how our winters have changed?

I think I touched a nerve, you one of those global warming denying geezers? Hows your stocks in the tar sands doing?

Anonymous said...


Thanks again for my day's amusement. Your fundamental lack of understanding of basic scientific and mathematical principles, combined with a total lack of awareness of your limitations, provides for great entertainment.

You state: "You also fail to take into account that the gases in the atmosphere are also in your blood. Uping CO2 in the atmosphere will up the CO2 in your blood and that is a big health problem. Anemia for all. Every CO2 molecule contains O2 which is what you breathe and by binding it to carbon there is a reduction in oxygen in the air."

Where to begin? The air you breath in is about 20% (200,000ppm) O2. The air you breath out is about 16% (160,000ppm) O2 and 4% (40,000ppm) CO2. Upping the atmospheric CO2 levels from about 300ppm to 400ppm as we have done, or even to 600ppm as we may well do, makes very little difference. Let's say the extra 300ppm of CO2 comes as the expense of O2 -- we have reduced the O2 concentration to 199,700ppm. The horror!

I think you've got CO2 confused with carbon MONoxide, which is problematic in very low concentrations for very different reasons.

"The O2 we breathe we received when our atmosphere went from reducing to oxidizing billions of years ago. That enabled complex organisms, like ourselves, to evolve."

No, the O2 we breathe came (and comes) from plants photosynthesizing. The fact that plants put a lot of oxygen in the air is what made the atmosphere oxidizing.

"No more O2 is going to becoming our way."

Oxygen is one of the most common elements in the earth's crust. Nature has plenty of ways to turn that into gaseous O2, most of them passing through the above-mentioned photosynthesis.

"Ecosystems need a hundreds of thousands if not millions of years to adapt to climate shift."

Umm, most of the transitions from ice ages to interglacial periods occurred in a few thousand years. And the transitions into and out of the "younger Dryas" mini ice age occurred in a few decades.

"if there is "natural" warming occurring it is slow and what we are experiencing is fast because anthropogenic CO2 is exasperating [sic] the "natural" warming."

The late 20th century warming really is no different in rate from the early 20th century warming that peaked around 1940, and which no one ascribes to CO2.

You really need to go back to some very basic levels, like high school chemistry texts, read them and really understand them before spouting off again. You'll save yourself a lot of embarrassment.

Jay said...

Ed bo,
I am not mistaken. I have biochem, organic chem, atmospheric chem and phys chem behind me and masters degrees.

I find it funny you would challenge me when this is coming from a denier which is obvious from your assertion that warming has not increased when the sahara is now spreading into spain , europes baking, and so is the south US. I am sure you have your little propaganda sites to find whatever you want.

A reduction is a reduction and for people already with lung conditions, anemia, smokers, morbid obesity and the like you are making a vast generalization based on a perfectly healthy human being which many are not.

Not sure if you took high school chem yourself (or even high school) but those topics are not covered. High school chem covers basically all you would find a simple first year university intro course for people who never took chem at all.

Your view of global warming and the anons here make no difference. People know the difference and as we speak the biggest event of its kind ever staged is reaching more than 2 billion people and they will start demanding change from their leaders. Youth are engaged and they are the ones that will inherit the mess you guys are trying to sweep under the rug.

So keep it up, no one pays attention to you people anymore. They see you for what you are, liers, cheats and dangerous to mankind and the planet. Unless you change your own behaviors, you will pay through the nose in the form of carbon taxes.

That will be the final good news story for me. Making you guys pay for the damage you've done and want to keep perpetuating.

Jay said...

ed bo
As well your attempt to look smart is pretty much obviously a joke because you never even mentioned how temperatures affect the amount of space gases occupy. They expand, meaning less of the gases per volume of air inhaled. Less oxygen will dissolve in warm water suffocating fish.

Its obvious you have no clue about which you speak.

Jay said...

And the O2 we breathe can be traced back to billions of years ago. If that had not happened life would never had advanced past microbial stages, hence no plants and no higher life forms.

That can be found in any basic earth science text book. I can try and find mine and scan the sections for you if you wish.

Anonymous said...


When you're in a hole, stop digging! This is getting beyond comical.

"A reduction is a reduction..." You are talking about reducing the oxygen concentration to 99.9% of its previous value, the equivalent of going up in altitude a couple of meters or, to use your follow-up example, an increase of a fraction of a degree. It just doesn't make any difference to anyone, healthy or not.

And learn to read! I did not "deny" that it is getting warmer; I said that the RATE of warming in the late 20th Century is basically the same as the rate in the early 20th Century. I got this from the plot of instrumental temperatures 1850-2000 assembled by the UK Hadley Centre and featured prominently by the IPCC, hardly "fringe" sites. (And from the same sources, the 21st Century rate of warming so far is zero at best, but I don't make too much of that.)

"Not sure if you took high school chem yourself (or even high school) but those topics are not covered."

Where I grew up in the US, these topics -- the gas laws, partial pressures, photosynthesis, and respiration -- were standard parts of high school chemistry and biology, as they were considered part of basic scientific literacy. And my chemistry and thermodynamics courses at MIT went far beyond this.

"And the O2 we breathe can be traced back to billions of years ago. If that had not happened life would never had advanced past microbial stages, hence no plants and no higher life forms."

A couple of fundamental problems with this. First the scientific "consensus" (real this time) is that it was plants that produced the O2 in the first place. Remember -- plants take in CO2, put out O2. Second, this is an ongoing process. Look at the annual wiggles in the CO2 concentration measured at Mauna Loa. Every year, there is a significant dip in the CO2 concentration in spring/summer (about 10ppm I believe). This is from plants producing O2 and sequestering the C.

I both teach at the university level, both graduate and undergraduate, and hire and manage technical professionals. I both capacities for the last 25 years, I have had to distinguish between the people who understand things at a deep level, and those who simply parrot back things they have read without really comprehending them. You definitely fall into the second category.

Look, there are decent arguments that can be made for AGW. But you're not making them. Your assertions are so loopy that you actually discredit your cause.

Anonymous said...

Who is this jay fool?

Anonymous said...

Instead of demanding that all Canadians bow to YOUR view of how things should be done, and dictating that other non-believers contribute THEIR tax dollars to YOUR cause, why not just make it voluntary? You can give as much as each person wishes, you can solicit corporations, and the organization can be headed by a non-elected body so that you don't have to worry about a change in federal politics affecting your pet case. Kinda like the Humane Society, or Ducks Unlimited.

That way, when your letter asking for money to save the environment comes to my house, I can use it to start the woodstove.