Archive for December, 2010

Feynman on scientific method

Posted: December 31, 2010 by tallbloke in solar system dynamics

The great man himself reminds us how science should be conducted.

CLick ‘play’ on the embedded video in the first comment below.
H/t to ‘Hoi Polloi’ for this great vintage video link

Let’s have your favourite quotes in comments below.

Submitted on 2010/12/28 at 6:48 am

As one of the “stomata” people and author of the cited Tellus paper, I want to draw attention to one of the most interesting outcomes of our research. That is that for the past thousand years the stomata records seem to match with respect to timing to two Antarctic ice core records which are not often cited…. Matching variabilities between ice cores of such resolution has not been achieved yet… well, ice core people claim that they reproduce their flat liners, but if you zoom into detail the small fluxes never match with respect to timing… The lone fact that stomata data of the USA and Europe have the same timing of a CO2 wiggle which has also been recorded (but with a much lower amplitude) in two Antarctic ice cores is evidence enough that Co2 variability has been larger in the past millennium then assumed. If the variability would have been as small as the ice cores tell us, plants would never ever have picked up this signal on two different continents on another hemisphere…


Over on WUWT contributer ‘Just the facts’ provides a nice summary of NASA’s solar stories ver the last seven years. A useful reference for us, thanks mate!

Just The Facts says:

The following is a compilation of NASA’s solar prediction/observation press releases over the last 7 years. Those before 2009 are nothing short of awful, but there appears to have been some improvement (a decrease in wild speculation and sensationalism) since 2009:

Nov 12, 2003: “The Sun Goes Haywire – Solar maximum is years past, yet the sun has been remarkably active lately. Is the sunspot cycle broken?”
Oct 18, 2004: “Something strange happened on the sun last week: all the sunspots vanished. This is a sign, say scientists, that solar minimum is coming sooner than expected.”
May 5, 2005: “Solar Myth – With solar minimum near, the sun continues to be surprisingly active.”
Sept 15, 2005: “Solar Minimum Explodes – Solar minimum is looking strangely like Solar Max.”
Aug 15th, 2006: “Backward Sunspot – A strange little sunspot may herald the coming of one of the stormiest solar cycles in decades.”
Dec 21, 2006 “Scientists Predict Big Solar Cycle – Evidence is mounting: the next solar cycle is going to be a big one.”
Dec 14, 2007 “Is a New Solar Cycle Beginning? – The solar physics community is abuzz this week. ”
Jan 10, 2008: “Solar Cycle 24 – Hang on to your cell phone, a new solar cycle has just begun.
March 28, 2008: “Old Solar Cycle Returns – Barely three months after forecasters announced the beginning of new Solar Cycle 24, old Solar Cycle 23 has returned.”
July 11, 2008: “What’s Wrong with the Sun? (Nothing) – Stop the presses! The sun is behaving normally.”
Sept. 30, 2008: “Spotless Sun: Blankest Year of the Space Age
– Sunspot counts are at a 50-year low – We’re experiencing a deep minimum of the solar cycle.”
Nov. 7, 2008: The Sun Shows Signs of Life – I think solar minimum is behind us”
April 1, 2009: Deep Solar Minimum – We’re experiencing a very deep solar minimum – This is the quietest sun we’ve seen in almost a century”
May 29, 2009: “If our prediction is correct, Solar Cycle 24 will have a peak sunspot number of 90, the lowest of any cycle since 1928 when Solar Cycle 16 peaked at 78,”
June 17, 2009: “Mystery of the Missing Sunspots, Solved? The sun is in the pits of a century-class solar minimum, and sunspots have been puzzlingly scarce for more than two years.”
September 3, 2009: “Are Sunspots Disappearing? – The sun is in the pits of the deepest solar minimum in nearly a century. Weeks and sometimes whole months go by without even a single tiny sunspot. The quiet has dragged out for more than two years, prompting some observers to wonder, are sunspots disappearing?
September 29, 2009 “Cosmic Rays Hit Space Age High – In 2009, cosmic ray intensities have increased 19% beyond anything we’ve seen in the past 50 years,” says Richard Mewaldt of Caltech. “The increase is significant, and it could mean we need to re-think how much radiation shielding astronauts take with them on deep-space missions.”
March 12, 2010 “NASA – Solar ‘Current of Fire’ Speeds Up – the top of the sun’s Great Conveyor Belt has been running at record-high speeds for the past five years. ”
July 15, 2010 “A Puzzling Collapse of Earth’s Upper Atmosphere – This is the biggest contraction of the thermosphere in at least 43 years”
Sept. 21, 2010: “Solar Storms can Change Directions, Surprising Forecasters”
Dec. 13, 2010: “Global Eruption Rocks the Sun – A global eruption on the sun has shattered old ideas about solar activity.”

My question to NASA, is the sun still “behaving normally” and what exactly is normal behavior for a 4.6 Billion year-old G-type Main Sequence Star?

Weatheraction forecaster Piers Corbyn is on the publicity trail following his correct forecasts of deep cold in Europe this December and N.E. U.S. later this December. And why not! Well done Piers, keep telling them about your solar weather theory. Eventually they’ll get the message.

Links to video below the break:

Solanki, Krivova, Vieira: Crucial new solar paper

Posted: December 27, 2010 by tallbloke in climate, Solar physics

A good find over at the Hockey Schtick alerts us to a new paper by Max Planck Institute chief solar physicist Sami Solanki and co-authors Krivova and Vieira.

Between 2005 and 2010 these scientists have developed and validated a model which can accurately reconstruct not only TSI, but the spectral components within it. EUV is found to have increased by 50% since the Maunder Minimum. The model has nine(!) free parameters and is constrained by comparison with empirical data. The difference between the model output and the measured TSI is shown below.

Krivova, Vieira, Solanki Model-TSI difference


Vukcevic sets a Christmas puzzle

Posted: December 26, 2010 by tallbloke in solar system dynamics

Vuk has made an enigmatic comment on WUWT’s Christmas holiday open thread:

vukcevic says:

My friend Barry impressed by my graphing skills, send me some data to plot against CETs. Since it is open thread I thought the RESULT could be of interest to some but not all of the contributors.
Merry Christmas.

and further down the thread

For the line blue there is an easy clue; the name of the author in the bottom right corner. I applied a bit of arithmetic to Barry C Enter’s data.

Here’s the graph:
Vukcevic barycentre graph vs CET

My first post on this blog also looked at a curve I derived from ephemeris data relating to the motion of the sun with respect to the solar system centre of mass (the SSB or barycenter) and compared it to global surface temperature and changes in Earth’s length of day (LOD).

So come on Vuk, how have you derived the blue curve from the ephemeris?

Inquiring minds want to know! 🙂

Merry Christmas Everybody!

Posted: December 24, 2010 by tallbloke in solar system dynamics

Seasons Greetings from a cold and snowy UK. This year’s Christmas card is a satellite photo of the UK, which says it all:

Stay safe and warm wherever you are, and have a great time over the winter holiday.


Paul Hudson does it again!

Posted: December 22, 2010 by tallbloke in solar system dynamics

The BBC’s regular climate dissident, my local weatherman Paul Hudson, has blogged about the recent and continuing extremely cold weather over Britain. As well as mentioning several broken records.

Paul Hudson
he says:

In a discussion concerning Kevin Trenberth’s ‘missing heat’ on John Cook’s sceptical science blog, the following comment was posted by Péter Berényi:

Kevin Trenberth's 'missing heat'

Berényi Péter at 10:48 AM on 22 April, 2010
Well, I think I have found the solution. OHC reconstructions before mid 2003 are simply wrong.

Otherwise satellite TOA energy imbalance measurements have low accuracy but reasonable precision while ARGO OHC measurements are just the opposite.

Therefore I have calculated the integral of CERES FLASHFlux net TOA radiation imbalance between the fourth quarter of 2003 and third quarter of 2009. The linear component of this integral is arbitrary due to low precision. So I have calculated a least square fit linear approximation to the difference of the integral above and the NODC OHC reconstruction for the same period.

It gives the correct offset for TOA net radiation imbalance. With this correction we get the graph below:

Graph by Péter Berényi

The match is pretty good. I think the fluctuations of OHC around the TOA energy accumulation curve are not real, it’s just measurement noise.

Working out where the energy goes: Part 1

Posted: December 13, 2010 by tallbloke in solar system dynamics

I’ve been playing around with some Outgoing Longwave Radiation time series and I think this may be useful. I subtracted the NCEP reconstruction of ‘surface’ OLR from the satellite measured Top of Atmosphere OLR from KNMI and then subtracted the Southern Oscillation Index from the result (Blue curve). Then I compared it to detrended global temperature (red curve).  Wiggle matching is one of my favourite hobbies. 🙂

here is the result.


Christmas gift ideas: #0001 Personal Weather Station

Posted: December 7, 2010 by tallbloke in climate

You know how it is when you ask your partner what they’d like for Christmas, and they say:

Oh I don’t know, get  something for the house.

Well here’s your opportunity!

Our friend Anthony Watts could really do with your business at this time and he has great home weather station products and data loggers that would fulfill your partner’s climate monitoring needs. 🙂

Why not click the ad on the left and see what he has in stock.

Anthony has had some large and unexpected medical bills to cover and it would be great if we could help make life cheerier for his family during this festive season. If you can’t get away with buying a weather station, feel free to drop something in the WUWT tip jar in thanks for his sterling efforts in bringing climate science to the masses.

If no-one buys, I’ll list my other 999 ideas one post at a time so be warned…

John L. Daly: The Deep Blue Sea

Posted: December 6, 2010 by tallbloke in solar system dynamics

Still as relevant as when it was written, this repost is from John Daly’s website ‘Still Waiting for Greenhouse‘ maintained since John’s death in 2004 by Jerry Brennan.


John L. Daly

The Earth is essentially a water planet.

Over 70% of its surface area is covered by oceans, seas, and lakes, while a further 5% or so is covered by glaciers and ice caps resting on land areas. More than two-thirds of this water area is located in the southern hemisphere, and the ocean masses are typically 4 to 5 kilometres deep. With the Earth being over 75% covered by water in one form or another, it follows that the response of this 75% to any increase in greenhouse gases will be decisive in determining to what extent a warming, if any, will occur.

The atmosphere cannot warm until the underlying surface warms first. This is because the transparency of the atmosphere to solar radiation, (which is a key element in the greenhouse warming scenario), prevents the lower atmosphere itself being significantly warmed by direct sunlight alone.

The surface atmosphere therefore gets its warmth from direct contact with the oceans, from infra-red radiation off its surface being absorbed by greenhouse gases, and from the removal of latent heat from the ocean through evaporation. This means, therefore, that the temperature of the lower atmosphere is largely determined by the temperature of the ocean. In other words, it is necessary for the oceans to warm up first before the overlying atmosphere can warm.