Roger Andrews: The Solar-SST Relationship

Posted: February 13, 2011 by tallbloke in climate, Energy, solar system dynamics

It is very encouraging when people follow up on my ideas and work with the data themselves to help develop new hypotheses to explain the causes of climate change. Roger Andrews has taken my idea of integrating sunspot number as cumulative series departing from the phenomenologically derived ocean equilibrium value and compared it to his TSI analysis to try to improve the correlation between solar activity and global temperature by adding in co2 data. He informs me via email that from this he derives a rough estimate of climate  sensitivity to co2 which is in close agreement to the non-feedback value calculated from first principles, i.e. around 1.1C. This is a valuable contribution to the debate and I recommend downloading the pdf’s linked at the foot of the article so you can take a closer look offline.

THE SOLAR-SEA SURFACE TEMPERATURE RELATIONSHIP:
A DATA-BASED PERSPECTIVE

Roger Andrews 2011

In “The Sun-Climate Link” thread of February 2nd Tallbloke presented a graph that plotted HadSST2against sunspot numbers integrated above and below SSN=40. My independent reconstruction of this graph is reproduced in Figure 1. It’s pretty much the same as the original.

FIGURE 1 INTEGRATED SSN>40 VERSUS HadSST2Left scale; SSN. Right scale HadSST degrees C

The graph relates sea surface warming to the amount of solar heat added to the ocean, and indeed it shows a correlation between the two. However, it also makes the solar-temperature relationship look maybe a little less well-defined than it actually is. There are two reasons for this.

First, it compares the sunspot data with the HadSST2 sea surface temperature time series. (Links to the data sets used are given at the end to avoid cluttering up the text.) HadSST2 is of course the world’s“official” SST series – used by the IPCC and just about everyone else – but it has a problem. It’s wrong.(I can’t go into the details here, but I have sent Tallbloke a 20-page screed explaining why it’s wrong,and if he has any comments I’m sure he will add them.) The specific problem is the abrupt downwardshift in HadSST2 in 1946, which is now acknowledged to be an uncorrected bias effect (Thompson etal., 2008). It displaces the record artificially downwards by about 0.3C after 1945.

What happens when we correct this artificial shift out? We get the comparison shown in Figure 2. After some minor scale tweaking we have a still inexact but much more consistent solar-temperature match,although the downside is that we also have 0.3C more warming to explain.

The second reason is that the integrated SSN plot doesn’t show the rapid increase in solar activity thatoccurred between about 1900 and 1950. This rapid increase is illustrated in Figure 3, with the Lean TSI reconstruction (smoothed to remove the Schwabe cycle) used as an example. It correlates quite well,although again not exactly, with the rapid increase in SST over this period.

But the match gets more exact when we advance the TSI data by ten years to simulate a ten-year lag inthe SST response:

We get similar results using other measures of solar activity, such as sunspot number and solar cycleamplitude and period. The only problem is that all the comparisons also show the solar and SST plots diverging around 1990, which makes it difficult to attribute the recent SST warming to solar influences. (One up, incidentally, to Tallbloke’s comparison, which doesn’t have this problem.) Nevertheless, from a strictly data-based perspective there is still good correlative evidence for a dominant solar influence on climate over most of the last 100 years. And to this we can add the evidence from a number ofpaleoclimatic reconstructions that demonstrate a solar influence on climate going back thousands of years.

But we still don’t have a causative mechanism. Despite the good visual correlations the increase in TSI hasn’t by itself been anywhere near large enough to have caused the observed 20th century increase in SST. What do the data have to day about that? Well, they confirm that the TSI increase during the 20thcentury wasn’t large enough, but as the following list of estimates of the net watts/sq m TSI increase between 1900 and 2000 illustrates, we really have no idea exactly how large it was.

Beer 4.7 (1900-1995)
Krivova/Solanki 4.1 high, 3.4 low
Vaquero 3.8 high, 2.5 low (1900-1992)
Hoyt & Schatten 1.9Lean 1.4
Wang 0.7
Krivova 0.4
Svalgaard 0.2

The reason for this factor-of -twenty range seems to be disagreements as to the size of the “quiet sun”contribution, which is something I’m not qualified to discuss. But even if we take Beer’s estimate of4.7 watts/sq m we still get only about 0.8 watts/sq m of effective TOA radiative forcing after allowing for geometric and albedo effects, and this isn’t enough to cause a 1C increase in SST. (If we believe theIPCC, which says that 1.6 watts/sq m of TOA forcing since 1750 has caused 0.75C of warming, weneed 2.1 watts/sq m). So we have to assume large feedback effects if we want to attribute the 20thcentury warming to the sun.

In the earlier thread Tallbloke had this to say on this subject: “If Nir Shaviv’s peer reviewed paper … is near the mark, the ~0.25W/m^2 increase in TSI since 1749 gets amplified to ~2W/m^2 (probably viathe Svensmark effect of cosmic rays on cloud nucleation, which is solar modulated) and this is enoughto explain most of the warming since the LIA.” What do the data have to say about cosmic rays?

First, is there a correlation between cosmic rays and clouds? According to Shaviv’s paper there is a very close one (his Figure 3) and according to others there is no correlation at all, so I’ll let this go and pass on to the important question, which is whether there is a correlation between cosmic rays andSSTs.

Figure 5 compares cosmic ray counts from the Climax neutron monitor (scale inverted) with the SSTrecord after 1953, which is as far back as the cosmic ray data go. There’s a rough peak-trough match,but the SSTs trend upwards and the cosmic rays stay flat, which makes it difficult to see how cosmic rays could have contributed to the SST increase over the last fifty or sixty years.

However, there are two more data sets to consider. First is the AA geomagnetic index, which acts as acosmic ray proxy and extends much farther back in time than the Climax data. Figure 6 compares it with the SST record.


The AA index is calculated from magnetic field measurements taken at terrestrial stations. It doesn’t involve any measurements of, or assumptions regarding, solar flux. Yet it still shows the same trends as the TSI reconstruction in Figure 4 and about as good a fit to the SSTs when a six-year lag is applied.

However, the correlation again breaks down late, in this case at about the time of the 1997-98 El Niño.(Could the El Niño have caused the breakdown? Bob Tisdale theorizes that the warm water it brought to the surface didn’t go away during succeeding La Niñas – it stayed there, which could explain whythe SST record jumps up and stays up after 1997 while the AA index heads off downwards. But Idigress.)

The second data set is the Solanki-Krivova cosmic ray reconstruction, which is based on the Climax neutron monitor counts after 1953 and reconstructed from the AA index before then. However, there’s no need to show it because it’s effectively identical to the Figure 6 comparison.

So could cosmic ray feedbacks have amplified solar forcings to the point of causing a 1C increase inSSTs in the 20th century? The data are inconclusive. The neutron monitor counts indicate that they didn’t after 1953, but the AA index and Solaki-Krivova reconstruction show a strong cosmic ray-SSTcorrelation between 1910 and about 1960, indicating that over this period at least they could have.

Now let’s approach the question of solar impacts from the opposite direction. If the sun didn’t cause the20th century SST warming, what did? Climate models say it was anthropogenic forcing. Fine. So let’s plot anthropogenic forcings against SSTs and see how good a correlation we get. Figure 8 shows the results. The the forcing estimates are from GISS, with the anthropogenic forcings shown in gray andthe solar forcings in orange for comparison purposes :


Obviously there are a lot of features of the 20th century SST record that greenhouse gases can’t explain. But look at GISS’s solar forcings. They’re totally insignificant when plotted next to the anthropogenic forcings, but what happens when we plot them at an expanded scale? We’re back to where we started.


Yet we know that greenhouse gases do cause warming, all other things being equal, and theoretically they should have contributed about 0.4C in the 20th century even in the absence of feedbacks. So where is this warming? It has to be after 1960 because anthropogenic forcings were negligible before then, and if this is the case then maybe AGW is what causes the divergences between the SST and solar records after 1980-1990. Can we in fact explain the 20th century SST record by assuming a contribution from both solar and AGW?

Indeed we can, so long as we keep it simple. Figure 10 shows a simulation I constructed by applying different weightings to the GISS anthropogenic and solar forcings and playing around with them until I got a fit to the SST record – and a very good one too. The final weightings use a climate sensitivity of1.1C (i.e. no feedbacks) and an amplification factor of 10 for the solar forcings:


I don’t claim that these results solve the global warming conundrum; there’s obviously a lot more to it. But if nothing else they’re a diplomatic triumph. They support not only the skeptics’ claim that the sun was the dominant impact on temperature in the 20th century, but also the IPCC’s claim that “Most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations.”

LINKS:

HadSST2:
http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/cru/data/temperature/hadsst2gl.txt

Thompson et al. 2008:
http://www.atmos.colostate.edu/ao/ThompsonPapers/Thompson_etal_Nature2008.pdf-

Lean TSI reconstruction: http://bartonpaullevenson.com/LeanTSI.htmlClimax cosmic ray counts:
http://cr0.izmiran.rssi.ru/clmx/main.htm

AA geomagnetic index:
http://www.ngdc.noaa.gov/stp/geomag/aastar.html

Solanki-Krivova cosmic ray reconstruction: http://www.mps.mpg.de/dokumente/publikationen/solanki/r47.pdf

GISS forcing estimates:
http://data.giss.nasa.gov/modelforce/RadF.txt

Download Roger Andrews original pdf here
Download Roger Andrews HADsst2 critique here

Comments
  1. tallbloke says:

    OK, once again, big thanks to Roger Andrews for putting this analysis together for us to consider. Clearly, any curve fitting phenomenological analysis such as my original and Roger’s extended one necessarily suffer from oversimplification and a lack of ‘from first principles’ support.

    But given the complexity of the Earth’s climate system, which has so far laughed off all attempts to reduce it to equations, it is still a valid approach to getting some clues to the relative strength of forcings in my opinion.

    To spell out some of the uncertainties in addition to the ones Roger points out in his analysis which prevent us from drawing firm conclusions:

    1) GISS TSI is compromised by the statistical techniques employed by Benestad and Schmidt. These were addressed by Nicola Scafetta in his rebuttal paper. http://pielkeclimatesci.wordpress.com/2009/08/03/nicola-scafetta-comments-on-solar-trends-and-global-warming-by-benestad-and-schmidt/
    http://climateaudit.org/2009/08/07/bs09-and-mannian-smoothing/

    2) The data GISS TSI is based on is in dispute between the PMOD team headed up by Claus Frohlich and the ACRIM team headed up by its P.I. Richard WIlson. See this letter: https://tallbloke.files.wordpress.com/2010/11/acrim.jpg

    3) The TSI curve doesn’t account for the oceanic response to increased insolation caused by cloud albedo reduction. The decrease in tropical cloud cover (where insolation is most effective in warming the ocean) measured by the ISCCP from 1979-1998 could account for much of the additional warming if Roy Spencer’s estimates are near the mark. Although this is counted into the ‘amplification factor’ in the analysis, again, possible non-linearity isn’t considered and greater variation in U.V. with its possible effects on Ozone, marine biota and thus cloud nucleation are not considered. Not that we should blame Roger Andrews for not trying to take on the whole of the climate debate in a single post.

    4) The main thrust of argument for using cumulative integrated sunspot number as a proxy for ocean heat content is that it is now evident and admitted on all sides that oceanic natural variability occurs over extended timespans. This logically entails multidecadal storage and release of solar derived energy in the ocean. TSI studies do not address this issue, so the cumulative nature of ocean heat content buildup is not addressed.

    I hope Roger will join the discussion to address these issues and comment on how they might affect his analysis.

  2. David says:

    3) The TSI curve doesn’t account for the oceanic response to increased insolation caused by cloud albedo reduction. The decrease in tropical cloud cover (where insolation is most effective in warming the ocean) measured by the ISCCP from 1979-1998 could account for much of the additional warming if Roy Spencer’s estimates are near the mark.

    Has this been quantified and could it be graphed into these charts?

  3. tallbloke says:

    “Has this been quantified and could it be graphed into these charts?”

    Hi David. No. There are deep mysteries in the oceans. OHC prior to 2004 is problematic. I’m hoping to establish a solar and solar-cloud feedback derived proxy for OHC which will give us a better idea than the old XBT units, which had limited coverage, meta data issues, and which only go back to 1956 anyway.

  4. steven mosher says:

    Since SSN is beset with counting issues, integrating it can lead to problems, especially if it is over counted or undercounted. TB, why not use the flux number and see how that works.

  5. suricat says:

    Roger Andrews.

    “But we still don’t have a causative mechanism.”

    Have you considered the scenario of an increasing UV insolation and CME events?

    These both seem to pose a scenario where deep ocean becomes warmer, leaving SSTs at an elevated level.

    Best regards, Ray Dart.

  6. Roger Andrews says:

    Ray:

    No, I guess I didn’t look at the possible impacts of UV in any detail. But as far as the data comparisons are concerned we can use TSI or sunspots as a UV proxy because all of them show the same general trends.

    Coronal mass ejections I never even considered. Maybe Tallbloke has some thoughts?

    There’s another wrinkle related to ocean heating that I didn’t mention but will bring up now. Over the last 130 years the SST and air temperature records have oscillated regularly around each other, and these oscillations can be fitted with a sine curve with a period of 110 years and an amplitude of 0.6C. Building in a 10-20 year lag in temperature response then gives us another close match between the oscillations and solar activity (TSI, AA index, sunspots etc.) This match shows SSTs warming relative to air temperatures when solar activity increases and cooling relative to air temperatures when it decreases. Anyone have any ideas as to what might cause this?

  7. suricat says:

    Roger Andrews.

    “But as far as the data comparisons are concerned we can use TSI or sunspots as a UV proxy because all of them show the same general trends.”

    No we can’t, the atmosphere produces O3 at a limited rate to counter UV insolation from its outset. We can only include UV as its insolation value increases before O3 ‘blocks’ its passage to our oceans, etc. This may seem ‘mad’, but UV insolation can only take affect when it’s ‘increasing’. When it’s ‘decreasing’ there’s too much O3 around for UV to make any impact.

    “This match shows SSTs warming relative to air temperatures when solar activity increases and cooling relative to air temperatures when it decreases. Anyone have any ideas as to what might cause this?”

    This sounds a lot like the ‘La Niña/El Niño’ complex. I’ll leave it to the reader to decide.

    Best regards, Ray Dart.

  8. tallbloke says:

    Hi Steve,
    The F10.7 flux and sunspot numbers track very closely right up to the extended minimum the Sun fell into in 2007, so I think we can be fairly safe using SSN as a proxy for TSI and the F10.7 flux except when the sunspot number is really low, such as in the Maunder Minimum. Leif generally agrees with this, though he thinks spots are over counted at the modern end, especially the biggest ever cycle peaking in 1958. Paradoxically, he thinks the answer to this is to raise the earlier sunspot number, rather than adjusting the modern end down. Too many living scientists who oppose having their studies of modern climate messed up I guess.

    My personal view is that a lot of Leif’s justification for raising up the older sunspot numbers is now in question because it’s looking like the Dalton Minimum SSN is in line with this latest low cycle. We’ll have a better idea soon. Leif is trying to argue around this with the Livingstone-Penn effect, but unless there is a big divergence between F10.7 and SSN (not including tiny tims) during this cycle, I’d say his hypothesis will have to be revisited.

    In summary, there is uncertainty in the old SSN values, but not anything like as much as there is in global SST’s extrapolated from sparse data 1850-1930. See the animation in the Tim Channon post.

  9. tallbloke says:

    Roger and Ray:
    U.V. varies a lot more than overall solar output. Solanki and Krivova say 50% since the end of the little ice age. Leif Svalgaard disagrees (of course), but there is no question U.V. has taken a big drop recently – 15%, and who knows how much further there is to go.

    Although the energies contained in U.V. and CME’s in terms of Watts are small compared to the main flux of solar energy in the visible spectrum and near infrared, there seems to be an amplifying effect. This may be related to ozone and cloud nucleation, and may involve ocean surface biology too. 60 year cycles in fish species abundances indicate the base of the food chain fluctuates, and U.V. is a candidate for causation here.

  10. tallbloke says:

    “This match shows SSTs warming relative to air temperatures when solar activity increases and cooling relative to air temperatures when it decreases. Anyone have any ideas as to what might cause this?”

    Yes, lots. Basically, when the sun is active and clouds diminished, a lot of extra energy goes into the ocean. The increase in ocean heat content leads to an increase in surface temp, which warms the atmosphere. When the Sun goes quiet (less than 400ssn) the ocean is able to lose some of the excess energy it has stored. This warms the air and lowers the ocean heat content, reducing the surface temperature.

    The excess heat in the ocean tides us through times of low solar activity, because it is like a big battery of energy which can release more when solar activity is low. This is why there has been an EL Nino at or soon after every solar minimum for the last five solar cycles. I’ve written extensively about this on other posts around the blog and elsewhere.

  11. steven mosher says:

    Tallbloke. I wasnt looking for a discussion. I was looking for math. as in a comparison
    of actual numbers.

    WRT SST. I’m well aware. Roger should actually look at the source data as
    Peter webster and I have. Or he can download the movies I made of the data
    which actually is the source of the data he uses. shrugs.

    as for the uncertainty of SST, I see no numbers to back up the claims.
    The EOFs used to create the entire field dont drive a bias, they tend to attentuate
    variance.

  12. tallbloke says:

    Hi Steve,
    Well it should be possible to do an integration of TSI to compare, but it would still have to be calibrated against the sunspot number determination of the ocean equilibrium value. Which version of TSI shall we use? Scafetta and Wilson, or Frohlich and Svalgaard? Maybe do both and run an average?

    Sunspot numbers seem to reflect the effect of the sun on climate well. Perhaps they are more closely linked to the bigger swings in U.V. within the TSI envelope, and U.V. has an effect on climate beyond the raw wattage count. There is evidence for this, but hard numbers are hard to come by, because it’s effect is on stuff we haven’t measured very well, .like plankton coverage on the ocean surface.

  13. Roger Andrews says:

    Hi everybody:

    If my reponses are sometimes delayed it’s because there is a time zone problem (I’m on the west side of the Atlantic, actually in Mexico).

    Steve. The reason you see no numbers to back up the “uncertainty in SSTs” is that I didn’t present any. But believe me, they exist, and they have nothing to do with EOFs.

    Ray & Tallbloke: I’ve long been toying with the idea that excess solar heat in the oceans gets redistributed by ocean cycles, or is maybe what drives them. Most ocean cycles show a periodicity that broadly matches solar periodicity, although there’s usually a phase shift. The AMO in particular tracks solar activity going back almost to 1700. Ocean cycles clearly had an impact on temperatures in the 20th century but they aren’t allowed for in climate models because the models consider only TOA forcings.

    Ray: You say “UV insolation can only take affect when it’s ‘increasing’. When it’s ‘decreasing’ there’s too much O3 around for UV to make any impact.” Does this mean that UV can only heat the ocean and never cool it? Or am I missing something?

  14. P.G. Sharrow says:

    Roger; nice evaluation. It would seem that getting the scale and alignment of the graphs correct is the crux of the problem in evaluating cause and effect through their use. A slight jiggering could make a cause large or small as desired. Your figure 8 jumped out at me, as a slight change of the solar scale would make the anthropogenic forcing disappear. pg

  15. Roger Andrews says:

    P.G.

    Thank you. Actually I can’t make the anthropogenic forcing component disappear using the Lean TSI reconstruction. However, I can pretty much make it disappear if I splice Lean with ACRIM, as Scafetta does.

  16. Roger Andrews says:

    Tallbloke:

    Minor point, but I just noticed that your link to my “HadSST2 critique” also links to the original pdf for this post.

    [edit] Fixed, cheers.

  17. suricat says:

    Hi Roger.

    “Ray: You say “UV insolation can only take affect when it’s ‘increasing’. When it’s ‘decreasing’ there’s too much O3 around for UV to make any impact.” Does this mean that UV can only heat the ocean and never cool it? Or am I missing something?”

    My humble investigations into climate science lead me to understand that any solar insolation falling upon the Earth can only ‘excite’ Earth’s systems in some way, not de-excite them. That’s not to say that the shorter wavelengths of UV don’t disrupt other atractors of energy.

    ‘UVa’ and ‘blue vis’ exhibit the greatest depth of penetration into clear oceans, up to 700 metres (see this google books link, page 63, Figure 2.13 [this is for pure water, but clear ocean water shows little difference]):

    http://books.google.com/books?id=C5kRs1z_CYoC&pg=PA56&lpg=PA56&dq=UV+absorption+of+water+vapour&source=bl&ots=bLYkuKb6z8&sig=ShuCKHswM8g8Axo3FbNG27gSi7w&hl=en&ei=7KqASrLnO8SMjAem5IH2CQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=9#v=onepage&q&f=false

    Apologies in advance for the ‘wordy’ link TB.

    So Roger, I think you must realise that the Planck constant level is an all important component of the particular region of insolation under investigation. Thus, the Planck level is an indicator of the interactivity of the insolation component with different atractors. For example; UVc never reaches Earth’s surface because it strikes a ‘resonance frequency’ with O2 and N2 that subdues its penetration to Earth’s surface (its energy is used up by the changes made to atmospheric chemistry [ozone and NOx production]), UVb occasionally makes landfall when there are low levels of ozone (UVb also generates ozone), UVa, the longest wavelength of UV, almost always penetrates to Earth’s oceans, but because of its Planck level, its interaction seems undefined.

    Best regards, Ray Dart.

  18. Roger Andrews says:

    Hi Ray:

    Thanks for the link and apologies for the dumb question.

    Figure 2.13 shows absorption coefficients in the UV ranges that are several orders of magnitude higher than in the IR ranges. Moreover, a recent solar spectral reconstruction by Krivova et al.(http://www.mps.mpg.de/projects/sun-climate/papers/uvmm-2col.pdf) reaches the following conclusion.

    “The model predicts an increase of 1.25 W/m, or about 0.09%, in the 11-yr averaged solar total irradiance since the Maunder minimum. Also, irradiance in individual spectral intervals has generally increased during the last 4 centuries, the magnitude of the trend being higher towards shorter wavelengths. In particular, the 11-yr averaged Ly- alpha irradiance has increased by almost 50%.”

    I don’t know whether this disproportionate increase in UV would have been large enough to have caused any significant ocean warming since the Maunder minimum, but it’s certainly going in the right direction.

  19. P.G. Sharrow says:

    Very interesting Ray. The energy effects of UV is greatest in the atmosphere and ocean surface and solar UV output changes as much 20% in a cycle. But we are told that UV has little effect on the climate. Where as CO2 at 1/3 of 1/10 of 1% of the atmosphere has a large effect! I guess the science is way too complex for we non-climate professionals.
    😎 pg

  20. Anything is possible says:

    One possible problem I see WRT to your integrated SSN is that you appear to assume that it remains constant over time.

    It strikes me that as SST’s warm, then the level of solar activity (for which you are using SSN’s as a proxy) required to maintain an equilibrium temperature would also increase.

    Although this would complicate your study, it might help explain why the 1910-40 warming does not correlate well to your SSN integration – The answer being that a lower level of solar activity may have been sufficient to start warming SST’s that were over 1C cooler than they are today.

  21. tallbloke says:

    Roger and Ray: The Krivova model was covered here a while back:
    https://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2010/12/27/solanki-krivova-vieira-crucial-new-solar-paper/
    Although U.V. variation is not very significant in terms of wattage directly heating ocean water, the changes to atmospheric chemistry are potentially significant for climate. There could be a big effect on ocean surface biology too. It is though high U.V. levels reduce the number of phytoplankton. This might have a dual positive feedback on ocean temperature.

    1) Clearer water surface permitting more energy absorption.
    2) Less emission of cloud nucleating aerosols – reduced cloud cover – greater insolation.

    It should alway be remembered that Earth’s atmosphere is a product of its living skin, and that we have only the most primitive understanding of how it has helped maintain the Earth’s surface temperature within a steady range while the sun has increased in output by 25% over the last three billion years.

  22. tallbloke says:

    Anything is possible says:
    “It strikes me that as SST’s warm, then the level of solar activity (for which you are using SSN’s as a proxy) required to maintain an equilibrium temperature would also increase.”

    Good point, and welcome to the discussion.

    I have assumed, using my patented engineers back of envelope method, that a 1K difference in surface temperature, will equate to approx 0.5K in the bulk of the top 700m of the world ocean, given a linear falloff in temp to the thermocline from the bottom of the well mixed layer.

    This represents a 0.15% increase in temperature, so I doubt it will make a big difference to the ocean equilibrium value. In any case, the ocean equilibrium value is only a phenomenological determination, and includes the terestrial amplification discovered by Nir Shaviv in his JGR paper on using the oceans as a calorimeter. Given the uncertainty level in that (7 to ten times solar variation of ~0.1%) I think we can disregard it, except for consideration of the difference it might make to surface biology, another poorly understood variable included in the terrestrial amplification.

    The 1910-1940 oscillation in the SST record is probably partly bounceback from the drop in solar activity at the end of the C19th, and partly measurement methodology, but see ROger Andrews analysis in the pdf at the bottom of the main post. This deserves a new thread of its own really.

  23. David says:

    Roger Andrews says:
    February 14, 2011 at 3:05 am
    Ray:

    “… This match shows SSTs warming relative to air temperatures when solar activity increases and cooling relative to air temperatures when it decreases. Anyone have any ideas as to what might cause this?”

    Roger you may wish to consider the seasonal flux as a bi-annual experiment, where we can observe the effect of increased TSI on a monthly time scale. Sunlight, falling on the Earth when it’s about 3,000,000 miles closer to the sun in January, is about 7% more intense than in July. Because the Northern Hemisphere has more land which heats easier then water most people state that the Earth’s average temperature is about 4 degrees F higher in July than January, when in fact they should be stating that the stating that the ATMOSPHERE is 4 degrees higher in July. In January this extra SW energy is being pumped into the oceans where the “residence time” within the Earth’s ocean land and atmosphere is the longest. There are also other factors, such as the Northern hemispheres winter increase in albedo exceeds the southern hemisphere’s winter albedo due to the far larger northern hemisphere land mass. So at perihelion we have a permanent loss to space of ? W/2m SWR due to increased land albedo and a TEMPOARY loss of SWR to the atmosphere, as at perihelion the SWR is falling on far more ocean, where it is absorbed into the oceans for far longer then if that SWR fell on land. Do these balance (unlikely) or is the earth gaining or losing energy during perihelion??? The TOA seasonal flux should tell us and climate models should accurately predict the observation. These observations could tell us something about the longer solar cycle flux and how they impact the earths energy budget. The point is we have a known seasonal flux in SWR of very large magnitude. IMV SWR flux has a great deal more to due with our water planets heat budget, over time, then LWIR ever can.

  24. Roger Andrews says:

    David

    Thank you. There are large seasonal fluxes in the earth’s energy budget,and as you say these could tell us something about how longer-period solar flux could impact it. To explain a +/- 110-year cycle, however, we would have to assume some type of cumulative heating impact, as Tallbloke did with sunspots. Then we would have to explain why the air warms relative to the sea during for half of the cycle and cools relative to the sea for the other half.

    You might care to take a look at the comparison that shows the 110-year SST vs. air temperature cycle. It’s in Figure 18 of the “HadSST2 critique” at the bottom of the post.
    A recent paper by Komitov et al. (http://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/1011/1011.0347.pdf) identifies a 120 year solar cycle that increases in amplitude over the last 150 years, and this cycle correlates with the air-SST temperature differential.

  25. Tenuc says:

    Thanks Roger Andrews, for a thought provoking post. The following comment regarding your Fig10 surprised me, as the degree of warming seen recently has happened several times in the past, before mankind started producing CO2 from fossil fuels. Unknown unknowns are one of the biggest problems we have, not just in climatology, but in most areas of science.

    “I don’t claim that these results solve the global warming conundrum; there’s obviously a lot more to it. But if nothing else they’re a diplomatic triumph. They support not only the skeptics’ claim that the sun was the dominant impact on temperature in the 20th century, but also the IPCC’s claim that “Most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations.”

  26. suricat says:

    Hi Roger.

    “Figure 2.13 shows absorption coefficients in the UV ranges that are several orders of magnitude higher than in the IR ranges.”

    Yes, but for UVc and UVb. UVa is down there with radio waves and next to ‘blue vis’. We also know, after being reminded to cover up against UV, that the higher Planck level components of UV (that change DNA structure) often penetrate to the Earth’s surface with a significant flux. Significant enough to cause concern for an elevated propensity of skin cancers.

    Here’s where I thank tallbloke for reminding me of the ecological impact. When I’ve read of ‘coral bleaching’ I thought that ‘bleaching’ was the wrong word for a temperature event (Pasteurisation would’ve been a better descriptive word), but a UV ‘bleaching event’ seemed to fit better with the scenario.

    I’m not trying to make a case for UV energies warming the Earth, only that the occasional incursion of ‘shorter wavelength’ UV alters Earth’s system atractors, and that UVa and ‘blue vis’ penetrates to the greatest depth of Earth’s oceans. However, I do think that there’s a remarkable coincidence between high sunspot population, an elevating UV flux and SSTs, but that’s my conundrum to unravel.

    Best regards, Ray Dart.

  27. Roger Andrews says:

    Tenuc:

    I post a comment on a dominantly skeptic thread that supports an IPCC conclusion and no one calls me on it until now. Congratulations! You win the cement bicycle.

    I’m heartened to learn that you found the post thought-provoking, because that was the idea. Hopefully this response will provoke a few more.

    Using my crude model I can replicate the SST warming through about 1980 using just the GISS solar forcings. The problem, however, is that to make the model fit observations I have to assume that these forcings somehow get amplified by a factor of about ten, and while there are all kinds of ideas as to how this amplification might occur we still don’t have a proven mechanism. So here I am on shaky ground.

    On the other hand, everyone seems to agree that a doubling of CO2 causes an increase of about 1C in surface temperature in the absence of feedbacks. In fact, it seems to be about the only thing that everyone can agree on. So when the model gives me a best fit when I apply a 1C climate sensitivity to the GISS anthropogenic forcings I am on much firmer ground.

    These results force me to acknowledge that the IPCC might have a case. This case would of course be invalidated if it could be demonstrated that CO2 warming is offset by negative feedbacks (clouds or whatever), but then I would have to give a zero weighting to the CO2 forcings and my model wouldn’t fit the observations any more.

    As I mentioned in my earlier reply to P.G. Sharrow I can also explain pretty much all of the SST warming with solar if I splice Lean TSI with ACRIM after 1980. But here I am replacing a reasonably well-understood mechanism (CO2 warming) with a mechanism that we know very little about (solar amplification) and I’m also using ACRIM and not PMOD (shudder). Clearly I have less confidence in this result than I had in the original one.

    But then there are all the unknown unknowns you mention ….

    Let me leave you with one last thought. The empirical evidence that the sun had a major impact on the earth’s climate in the 20th century is overwhelming (in my opinion). Yet we have no way of predicting what the sun is going to do in the 21st. It seems to me that this fact alone makes projections of future climate change effectively impossible.

  28. Roger Andrews says:

    Ray:

    Relative to you last post. Thank you for all your helpful comments. All I can say is that I’m glad it’s your conundrum to unravel and not mine.

  29. P.G. Sharrow says:

    Roger Andrews says:
    February 16, 2011 at 12:26 am

    I appreciate your efforts to tease more knownlage out of what is known and not quite known. Working out in the ozone can be frustrating. That is why the experts created the CO2 myth to cover up their ignorance. One of my mental battles is to create an understanding of mass/inertia and a way to manipulate it and therefore gravity.

    At least the people that post and comment here are willing to wrap their minds around all the possiablities. This is unlike trained experts that know all the answers because they learned them in collage out of an old book.

    For me climate is what I live in and weather is what I deal with with. Over 6o years of living outside as a farmer and adventurer has given me some practical knowlage but most of the science is self study and reading blogs such as this.

    Most of my efforts have been in applied science in farming and industry, the how and why real things work, finding practical solutions to actual problems.

    I hope I can be of some help here. pg

  30. Tenuc says:

    Roger Andrews says:
    February 16, 2011 at 12:26 am
    “…On the other hand, everyone seems to agree that a doubling of CO2 causes an increase of about 1C in surface temperature in the absence of feedbacks. In fact, it seems to be about the only thing that everyone can agree on. So when the model gives me a best fit when I apply a 1C climate sensitivity to the GISS anthropogenic forcings I am on much firmer ground…”

    It is highly likely that changing the ratios of gasses in the atmosphere (including CO2 and water vapour) will have some effect on our weather/climate systems, but I don’t see enough evidence that this factor plays a dominant role.

    History confirms that there are plenty of times in the past when the Earth was warmer than it is now and times when it was colder, so what we observe today is not abnormal. However, it is abnormal to think that using a 30y period is suitable for diagnosing climate change as there are many overlapping climate quasi-cycles which last longer than climate sciences ‘normal’ period.

    Due to these quasi-cycles and the inherent deterministic chaos in our highly dynamic climate system, finding the signal for the contribution that GHG’s make to climate change is a difficult task. Until solid evidence that CO2 is the driving force, I’ll stick to the null hypothesis of natural climate oscillation until this has been falsified

  31. tallbloke says:

    P.G. Your contribution here is valuable and appreciated.

    Tenuc: Null hypothesis until proven otherwise. Standard scientific practice. Now we are getting solar back on the map after it’s long sojourn in the climate shadows, this is the only sensible position.

    Roger: Have a poke around this site. I’ve been working on methods to predict solar activity precisely because once we can do it, the sun will suddenly be of great interest to climatologists and other assorted weather guessers again. 😉

    Ray: what about U.V. killing plankton food so there is less plankton and so less production of the ions and aerosols from the sea surface to nucleate low level cloud?

  32. Roger Andrews says:

    Tallbloke:

    Can I add ocean cycles to the list? I have a sneaking suspicion that much of the solar heat in the upper layers of the ocean goes downwards rather than upwards and gets moved around by the PDO, AMO, ENSO etc. There are some broad matches between PDO cyclicity and solar cyclicity, and the AMO shows a respectably close match going back to 1750, as I recollect.

    Will look at your solar posts. Any post in particular?

  33. tallbloke says:

    Roger, spot on. Logic dictates that when the sun is more active, and the level of insolation at the surface rises above the ocean equilibrium value at which the ocean neither gains nor loses heat, additional energy must be forced down below the well mixed layer.

    This is why instantaneous TSI levels are not sufficient for consideration of the solar effect on ocean heat content, sea surface temperature and global surface temperature. That’s why I integrated the sunspot number. In order to simulate ocean heat retention and dissipation, which is likely operative at monthly, annual, decadal, centennial and longer timescales.

    At earlier epochs there were times when the ocean was much warmer all the way to the bottom, according to paleobotanical and other studies. It takes a long time for the ocean to change from that to near freezing in the deeps. Given that the top two metres of the ocean has a thermal capacity equal to that of the entire atmosphere above it, the ocean has the capability to keep the air temperature at comfortable levels for extended periods when the sun is less active.

    The fact that big el nino’s tend to occur soon after solar minimum, and la ninas often occur near solar maximum indicates that the direction of motion of energy in the ocean has ‘inertia’ and ‘momentum’ created by changing currents and overturning convections. This flattens the apparent effect of cyclic solar variation in the surface temperature record, and leads to the erroneous conclusion that the ~0.12C over the ~11 year solar cycles means solar variation has little effect on the climate. The surface record is only part of the energy throughput story.

    Several posts on the blog discuss these issues:
    https://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2010/07/21/nailing-the-solar-activity-global-temperature-divergence-lie/
    https://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2010/07/11/divergence-and-reconvergence-of-uah-and-hadcru/
    https://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2010/02/06/el-nino-and-the-solar-cycle/

    to name a few.

  34. David says:

    Re Roger Andrews says:
    February 15, 2011 at 3:01 pm
    David

    “Thank you. There are large seasonal fluxes in the earth’s energy budget, and as you say these could tell us something about how longer-period solar flux could impact it. To explain a +/- 110-year cycle, however, we would have to assume some type of cumulative heating impact, as Tallbloke did with sunspots. Then we would have to explain why the air warms relative to the sea during for half of the cycle and cools relative to the sea for the other half.”

    Thanks Roger, and I read your links also. The graph #18 was very curious. A part of my point was that the same atmosphere/ SST reversal happens annually and the cause is known, a change in the amount of SWR / TSI at the ocean surface. So the possible factors that influence SWR at the surface on a 110 or 120 year sine wave is , of course, one logical direction our inquiry can take.

    The problems I see are numerous. We do not know the TSI at the SURFACE over this period, nor can we quantify the possible factors that could change it. (Solar cycles and there affects on cloud formation, ESNO cycles, Jet streams and therefore cloud cover location, cloud cover changes affecting albedo, etc. We know neither the duration or magnitude of these relationships. We do not know the residence time or the spectrum flux of the various SWR solar spectrum that enters the ocean, therefore we do not know how much a small but prolonged change can be and has been amplified over time. If we do not know how this has changed over the 120 year period we should confess our ignorance, and the null hypothesis is certainly still in effect as the observed effects are within the range of natural changes. With all these possibilities, I see no reason to definitively point the finger at CO2.

    BTW, I saw an interesting link to a study at WUWT tips and notes indicating a 50% LARGER TSI change at the surface (in some SWR spectrums) measure at the artic (I think) then the increase at the TOA would indicate. I will take a look for it if you like.

    It is of interest to note that although the SST and atmosphere reverse there rate of change relative to each other, the sign between them is consistent with the atmosphere chasing the warmer ocean. The sine wave flux in the temperature distance between the two favors an OHC driven system. OHC changes favor SWR flux, due to SWRs greatly enhanced ability to affect OHC relative to LWIR.

  35. Roger Andrews says:

    David: Thanks for your comments. Figure 18 is indeed intriguing, and I now have another comparison that makes it even more intriguing.

    Tallbloke: If it’s OK with you I would like to continue the discussion of Figure 18 in a fresh (and much shorter) post. I could get it to you today.

  36. tallbloke says:

    Sure, send it over.

  37. suricat says:

    tallbloke.

    “Ray: what about U.V. killing plankton food so there is less plankton and so less production of the ions and aerosols from the sea surface to nucleate low level cloud?”

    I’ve been looking into this, on and off. for a couple of years now (it helps to keep me sane with my 24-7 care for mum), but I’ve not found anything set in stone yet. There are news reports that suggest plankton has been in decline since the 1950s:

    http://www.cbc.ca/canada/north/story/2010/07/28/phytoplankton-vanishing.html

    There are papers on modelling that suggest the plankton population ‘may/may not’ make a difference to SSTs:

    Click to access 3254_JCLI_June-2010.PDF

    However, the work that lead up to that paper refutes the ‘phytoplankton-vanishing’ news item of my first link and also doesn’t seem to deal with any UV spectrum data:

    Click to access osd-6-243-2009-print.pdf

    It’s impossible to come to any conclusion on the point of CCN with such a limited number of atractors modelled! Heck, I can’t even remember any mention of CCN in the links I’ve offered. This only increases the need for a ‘truly coupled’ ‘ocean/atmosphere’ model employing more atractors (with the associated reference to real data), but, it seems that in light of the current lack of model output definition, smaller, cheaper models are being recommended.

    A good pointer towards ‘real data’ is always needed (yes, I’m frustrated).

    The ‘logic’ of UV sterilisation just seems so right. 🙂

    Best regards, Ray Dart.

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