Les Chevaliers de l’Ordre de le Soleil gris

Posted: February 26, 2011 by tallbloke in climate, Solar physics

Some years ago, the Team’s Raymond Pierrehumbert (raypierre) took a nasty swipe at a couple of French scientists, Courtillot and Allègre, who had written an interesting paper on solar variation, geomagnetism and global temperature. The norealcluemate article was entitled ‘Les Chevaliers de l’Ordre de la Terre Plate’, (The Knights Of the Order of the Flat Earth)

It would be fair to say that despite the sarcastic title ‘raypierre’s’ wit is ropier than rapier-like. His criticisms included an accusation of the incorrect attribution of the temperature data set used to Phil Jones, who denied all knowledge of it, despite being the originator, and the truncation of Courtillot and Allègre’s datasets at 1992, “to conceal the strength of the trend from the reader, and shorten the period in which the most glaring mismatch between solar activity and temperature occurs.”

Of course, we need hardly say this is a severe case of la casserole calling le chaudier noir, and indeed Steve McIntyre created a humorous post in relation to this soon after:


Now fast forward a few years and we see another solar paper by French scientists featured on the Team’s website realclimate.org, or as I jocularly refer to it ‘norealcluemate’.

This paper:
A critical look at solar-climate relationships from long temperature series
B. Legras1, O. Mestre2, E. Bard3, and P. Yiou4

Is as long as the temperature series it uses, and man it’s duller than dishwater. hence the title of this thread. Impeccable statistically (as far as I can tell) it wastes a significant proportion of your life (if you are stoical enough to read it through to the bitter end)  showing you how little the sun correlates with the temperature in Bologna, and other exotic localities. ‘raypierre’ no doubt approves strongly of this one.


These guys need to lighten up and get over to the talkshop for some fresh thinking on the topic of solar-climate relationships in my opinion.

Here’s the link, for masochists:

  1. Roger Andrews says:


    I seem to remember that when I brought this paper to your attention I described it as the night soil of a very large and well-fed male ox. I was going to go back and read it in detail so I could make some scathing specific comments, but I just couldn’t grit my teeth tight enough. And as you say, who other than the Bolognese cares what temperatures in Bologna are anyway.

  2. tallbloke says:

    Hi Roger.
    Well, it’s not all bullshit. They are right to question conclusions drawn by other researchers who have used local time series which happen to correlate well with solar records. But after all, precipitation is highly localised, which means cloud is too, and temperature at the surface in a locality is more affected by cloud amount than just about anything else, as Willie Soon discovered. 🙂
    Soon insolation

  3. P.G. Sharrow says:

    The pdf wasn’t that bad a read. Bottom line they assumed at the start that the warming of the last 50 years was anthropological caused and therefore not caused by any changes in solar output. Their Bologna temperature series was poorly reconstructed. To me it appeared to show a flat to decreasing temperature average and the Pahra series demonstrated a distinct UHI effect on daytime high averages. A lot of BS (bad science) and some bs ( bull stuff). pg

  4. Roger Andrews says:

    OK. You force me into it. Here’s why I think Legras et al. is BS.

    First, it makes a number of tendentious and unsupported statements, such as: “Solar forcing cannot be considered alone without paying attention to other natural or anthropogenic forcings that may interfere in the climate system. In particular, the coincidence between high solar activity and anthropogenic forcing during the last 50 years of the 20th century invalidates any empirical proof of multi-decadal solar influence that does not take this overlap into account.” It does?

    And: “As shown by satellite data since the late 70s, the variations of total solar irradiance are rather small: 0.1% for the amplitude of the 11-yr cycle and even less for the long-term baseline over the past three cycles (Fr̈ohlich, 2009). These changes induce a climate forcing which is an order of magnitude smaller than the present increase of radiative forcing due to greenhouse gases.” This leaves us in no doubt as to where the authors are coming from.

    And: “It has also been observed that sunspot count alone is a poor indicator of solar activity.” Even RealClimate had problems with this.

    Second, it uses “homogenized” records. (“The long temperature series available from a number of weather stations should not be treated as homogeneous and calibrated datasets. Ignoring this fact may lead to spurious results and interpretations. A number of methods have been developed to circumvent this difficulty and generate homogenized dataset. Their application is often a lengthy and cumbersome task but this is a necessary step in data mining.”) There may in fact be some homogenized records that are better than the raw records they were based on, but I can’t think of any off the top of my head. What homogeneity adjustments routinely give us is more warming than is actually there (viz. the USHCN “corrections” to the US records, the AusBOM “corrections” to the Australian records and the NIWA “corrections” to the New Zealand records) and more artificial discontinuities than were present in the raw record.

    Third, it wastes a lot of time rebutting a couple of papers that don’t need rebutting. A solar- temperature correlation at three stations in Europe proves nothing, which is why the Le Mouël and Kossobokov papers passed largely unheeded in academic circles (“cited by 4″) and weren’t reported at all in the media. So why bother to rebut them? Because no stone can be left unturned in the fight against the sun-worshippers. And to judge by the glee with which Legras et al. was received by RealClimate, Tamino etc., the warmists regard the paper as a major victory.

    In short, Legras et al. is basically nothing more than a propaganda piece masquerading as research. It doesn’t advance the science by a jot or a tittle. That’s why I think it’s BS.

  5. Roger Andrews says:


    Was that a reply to my comment?

  6. tallbloke says:

    Additional info.

  7. tallbloke says:

    last Thursday’s M class flare, captured by SDO.