Archive for November, 2010

GREENBELT, Md. – NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and The University of Colorado’s Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP) announced the formation of a new collaborative research center dedicated to the study of the Sun’s effect on Earth’s climate. The center, called the Sun-Climate Research Center (SCRC), will be directed by Robert Cahalan, Head of Goddard’s Climate and Radiation Branch, Douglas Rabin, Head of Goddard’s Solar Physics Laboratory, and Peter Pilewskie, a LASP research scientist and CU professor.


John ‘o’ Sullivan recently posted on Judith Curry’s site to let us know he and 23 co-authors have a book out called ‘Slaying the Sky Dragon‘ which takes on various aspects of the AGW hypothesis. In the second volume Mišo Alkalaj claims to debunk the attribution of half the rise in co2 to fossil fuel burning.

“According to Mišo the fatal assumption made by the IPCC is that the atmospheric concentration of the 13C isotope (distinctive in prehistoric plants) are fixed. They also assume C3-type plants no longer exist so would need to be factored into the equations. Indeed, as Miso points out such plants, “make up 95% of the mass of all current plant life.”

Russian thermageddon: A historical perspective

Posted: November 28, 2010 by tallbloke in climate

Much muttering and cries of “unprecedeted” from the alarmists about Russia’s 2010 heatwave and the resulting forest fires.

Russian forest fire 2010

Russian forest fire 2010: Image courtesy of the BBC

From Guardian comment contributor Trofim:

1298: There was a wholesale death of animals. In the same year there was a drought, and the woods and peat bogs burnt.

1364: Halfway through summer there was a complete smoke haze, the heat was dreadful, the forests, bogs and earth were burning, rivers dried up. The same thing happened the following year . . .

1431: following a blotting out of the sky, and pillars of fire, there was a drought – “the earth and the bogs smouldered, there was no clear sky for 6 weeks, nobody saw the sun, fishes, animals and birds died of the smoke.

WUWT has a story today about a new paper just published which confirms the link between Solar activity levels and cloud albedo variation:

The paper is here:

This has made my day! 🙂

The effect of the Galactic Cosmic Ray (GCR) flux on Earth’s climate is highly uncertain. Using a novel sampling approach based around observing periods of significant cloud changes, a statistically robust relationship is identified between short-term GCR flux changes and the most rapid mid-latitude (60°–30° N/S) cloud decreases operating over daily timescales; this signal is verified in surface level air temperature (SLAT) reanalysis data. A General Circulation Model (GCM) experiment is used to test the causal relationship of the observed cloud changes to the detected SLAT anomalies. Results indicate that the anomalous cloud changes were responsible for producing the observed SLAT changes, implying that if there is a causal relationship between significant decreases in the rate of GCR flux (~0.79 GU, where GU denotes a change of 1% of the 11-year solar cycle amplitude in four days) and decreases in cloud cover (~1.9 CU, where CU denotes a change of 1% cloud cover in four days), an increase in SLAT (~0.05 KU, where KU denotes a temperature change of 1 K in four days) can be expected. The influence of GCRs is clearly distinguishable from changes in solar irradiance and the interplanetary magnetic field. However, the results of the GCM experiment are found to be somewhat limited by the ability of the model to successfully reproduce observed cloud cover. These results provide perhaps the most compelling evidence presented thus far of a GCR-climate relationship. From this analysis we conclude that a GCR-climate relationship is governed by both short-term GCR changes and internal atmospheric precursor conditions.

Well this is interesting

Leif offered us a graph of ‘Dst’ which is a measurement of earth’s horizontal magnetic field – in the plane of the orbits of the solar system’s planets.

From: A Continuous Long-Term Record ofMagnetic-Storm Occurrence and Intensity
Jeffrey J. Love USGS Geomagnetism Program

Measurements made near the Earth’s equator of
the disturbance of the horizontal magnetic field
made during magnetic storms can be represented
by an equivalent magnetospheric ring current in
the magnetosphere. The longitudinal average of
these measurments is the Dst index, a
fundamental measure of magnetic-storm intensity.

My bold
Eyeballing this graph I noticed that the positive and negative components of the Dst index when inverted would correlate quite well with Leif Svalgaard’s solar wind reconstructions and the sunspot record. This may or may not be a novel discovery. I don’t yet know if anyone has spotted it before. Vuk is busy working on this data too, so I hope he calls by with his opinion.


Our Friend Vukcevic has sent me an interesting graph with no supporting information on how the curve for ‘Earth’s wobble’ is constructed from the JPL ephemeris. I love mysteries. 🙂

He attaches a suitable health warning.

I would like to make it clear at the outset, it does not appear that correlation is ‘effective’, since signal so obtained does not possess the required energy.
Of course I could be wrong, but for time being it is just an interesting, let’s call it coincidence.

VukCevic CET-wobble
Wordpress’ Gif image reduction is a bit crunchy so click on image to open full size.

[Update] Just in from the man himself:


Climategate: first anniversary

Posted: November 19, 2010 by tallbloke in climate

Lest it be forgot. 🙂

I thought I’d post my favourite email from the archive. For me it has it all, the hubris, the uncertainty, the plotting, the denunciation, the recipient list…

Feel free to post your own favourites in comments, here’s the source whch auto redacts email addresses. Edit out phone numbers too please:

Cartoons by Josh

With permission from Josh.


From: Michael Mann <>
To: Kevin Trenberth <>
Subject: Re: BBC U-turn on climate
Date: Wed, 14 Oct 2009 10:25:25 -0400
Cc: Tom Wigley <>, Stephen H Schneider <>, Myles Allen <>, peter stott <>, “Philip D. Jones” <>, Benjamin Santer <>, Thomas R Karl <>, Gavin Schmidt <>, James Hansen <>, Michael Oppenheimer <>

Kevin, that’s an interesting point.


Whatever happened to back radiation? part II

Posted: November 16, 2010 by tallbloke in climate, Energy

A while ago I posted a tongue in cheek thread about the old Keihl and Trenberth Earth energy budget diagram and the new shiny all colour one NASA now has on their website. Here they are again for comparison:

New earth energy budget from NASA

Old energy budget from Keil and Trenberth

I picked up this tidbit on Judy Curry’s blog:

alistairmcd | November 13, 2010 at 11:43 am | Reply

When I posted on Real Climate pointing out the glaring error in the optical physics used in most if not all the climate models to predict cloud albedo from optical depth**, my post was taken down in less than a minute.

**Mie solved Maxwell’s equations for a plane wave so the assumption of constant ‘Mie asymmetry factor’ is correct only when light first enters a cloud. Also, substantial direct backscattering at the upper cloud boundary is ignored yet it has an opposite dependence on droplet size than diffuse scattering. Therefore, above a threshold ‘optical depth’, pollution causes a reduction of albedo, another form of AGW.

So, at the very least, the IPCC’s predictions of CO2-AGW should be reduced by a factor of about three, possibly much more if ‘cloud albedo effect’ heating explains most recent warming.


Frank on the realclimate ocean heating experiment

Posted: November 14, 2010 by tallbloke in climate, Energy

Over on Science of Doom there has been a long thread about radiative flux and ocean heating. Frank mentioned this in suggestions, so I’m reposting his comment here for discussion as S.o.D didn’t engage with this reply from Frank:

Frank said: November 11, 2010 at 5:48 pm

Tallbloke, Cynicus, SOD, et al: Is there one explanation that could satisfy all? An attempt to reconcile divergent views:

Cynicus wrote (11/7 8:11 pm):

The longwave heating of the top ocean layer has even been measured as reported by RealClimate:

This RealClimate post contains experimental evidence showing that the temperature difference between the surface of the ocean and 5 cm below the surface varies with net long wavelength radiation. The greater the observed imbalance between upward and downward long wavelength radiation, the colder the surface is compared with 5 cm below the surface. These observations demonstrate ONLY that DLR warms the top few microns of the ocean. This experiment demonstrates just what Tallbloke asserts and nothing else! The RealClimate author (Peter Minnett) SPECULATES that:

“Reducing the size of the temperature gradient through the skin layer reduces the flux” [of energy from the ocean to the atmosphere].


Scientist .of .Doom says:
You don’t seem to have a handle on the type of complexity we are dealing with here. Hint, check out where the heat comes from.

It only seems to be complex from the point of view of proponents of the co2 driven global warming hypothesis because they have to do complex contortions to try to make it seem like the energy is coming from the atmosphere and heating the ocean.

It’s actually pretty simple and the other way round. the energy is coming from the sun, into the ocean which then emits energy into the atmosphere which causes the atmosphere to warm.


On her blog Climate Etc, Judith Curry has said she is considering putting up a post where skeptics will get 750 words each “to give it their best shot”.

Well, I am going to host a thread (probably put it up around Thanksgiving, entitled “Skeptics: give it your best shot” and let people post what [they] have (750 words or less, with links) so we can all take a look and talk about it. Fish or cut bait time :)

This doesn’t give us long, so I’ve decided to get started early with my submission. Hopefully, the contributors here will be able to provide some helpful criticism and help me hone and sharpen this further. I’m currently 243 words over the limit, so suggestions on what I could chop out without losing meaning would be great.

Front lines in the climate debate

Posted: November 8, 2010 by tallbloke in climate

I had a look in the suggestion box this morning and found this from Dave Smith:

Michael Mann now says there is “an elaborate P.R. campaign” to discredit he and his mates. If I were to say similar, without showing any evidence of same, I’d be called a conspiracy theorist…

How true. I’ve been busy on two other blogs recently. Judith Curry’s ‘Climate Etc’, has been exploring IPCC Dogma, the war between AGW advocates and sceptics, and Ideologues. This latest thread looks at some of Mann’s pronouncements and examines the question of the etent to which it is science, and the extent to which it is ideology.

Needless to say, I couldn’t resist. 🙂

The other blog I’ve been firefighting on is Science of Doom. S.o.D. visited here a while ago and joined in the debate on the John Nicol thread. Prior to that, I’d had a discussion with S.o.D. regarding the (in)ability of back radiation to heat the ocean. A subject taken up at the S.o.D. blog since.

At some point, I’ll get some new posts up here, but at the moment, I’m out on campaign. 😉