A science presenter, writer, speaker & former TV host; author of The Skeptic's Handbook (over 200,000 copies distributed & available in 15 languages).


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New Science 21: The mysterious Notch in the Sun-Earth relationship — the dog that didn’t bark

The notch in the Sun-Earth relationship is the dog that didn’t bark — the clue that was there all along, telling us something about the way the Sun influences Earth’s climate. There is a flicker of extra energy coming in at the peak of every solar cycle — roughly every 11 years. It’s only a small peak, but there is no warming on Earth at all — it’s like the energy that vanished. A good skeptic would be saying but, the increase in energy is so small, how could we find it among the noise? And the answer is that Fourier maths is so good at doing this that it is used every day to find the GPS signals which (as David details below) are so much smaller than the noise that they are much harder to find than this signal from the Sun.

Thousands of engineers know about and use Fourier maths and notch filters, but due to a strange one-sided bureaucratic funding model, none of those thousands of experts have applied that knowledge, which is so well adapted to feedback systems to the Sun Earth energy flows. David has used an input-output “black box” method to find the empirical transfer function and discover the notch. Viva the independent scientist, supported only by independent donations  — at a fraction of the cost of the billion dollar models, David Evans has done something in three years which none of the bureaucrat-driven golden icons have managed in thirty years.

Is the notch real? It shows up independently in different eras and different datasets (see  fig 2). What does it mean? Something is occurring which is “tuned” to the solar cycles to change the way the Earth reacts to incoming solar radiation just as that radiation peaks. The mechanism for this must originate on the Sun, because the timing is too accurate, and that unknown mechanism obviously has an influence on Earth’s temperature (maybe through clouds). Obviously to build a full climate model we need to understand that.

Notch filters are used in electronics to filter out “hum”. Notch filters usually do not involve a delay, but they could, which alerted us to the possibility of a delay. This eventually led to the discovery of an 11-year (or half solar cycle) delay, originating on the Sun, between the solar peaks in sunlight and the factor that neutralizes their effect. David discusses a few possible mechanisms in a later post. He finds evidence suggesting that that this indirect effect of the Sun is ~14 times more powerful at driving changes in our climate than the influence of variations in direct solar heating. Something about the Sun, some force, is changing conditions on Earth in a way that conventional climate models don’t understand. They are “plugging the gap” with CO2 in the last 50 years, but can’t possibly work until they understand this missing key. In this post we start the hunt.

Thank you to those who keep us going. Together we hope to advance our understanding of what controls the climate…

– Jo


21. The Notch in the Empirical Transfer Function

Dr David Evans, 27 November 2015, Project home, Intro, Previous.

This post begins the search for the cause of global warming. This is the most mathematical post of the solar part of this series.

We start by finding the empirical transfer function from total solar irradiance (TSI) to surface temperature — which tells us how much surface warming we get per increase in TSI, at each frequency. We find an unexpected notch therein, and discuss its implications.

Our Formal System

For simplicity while searching for a relationship between TSI S and the surface temperature TS, we assume that the TSI is the only influence on TS. As discussed in the previous post, it is plausible that TSI is a dominant cause of global warming — or more precisely, contains information about a dominant cause because the mechanism is indirect. If TSI mostly predicts TS, and there is a strong and obvious relationship between them, then this assumption is adequate for the exploratory analysis here.

Formally, consider the system whose input is the TSI anomaly at 1 AU (the change in TSI at the average distance of the Earth from the Sun, one astronomical unit), denoted by ΔS, and whose output is the mean global surface temperature anomaly, ΔTS. Both ΔS and ΔTS are functions of time.

Formal system from TSI to surface temperature.

Figure 1: The formal system under consideration: surface warming 100% controlled by changes in TSI.


Some Background on Transfer Functions

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Life copes: The horses that adapted to massive climate change in just 800 years

Biology, adaption, climate change, horse

In evolutionary terms, it’s a blink. Around 1200-1400AD a bunch of people bought a few domestic horses to far east freezing Siberia, where the temperature sometimes falls below -70. Somehow the horses have already become physiologically and genetically well adapted to the extreme climate. The panic-merchants would have us believe that the climate is changing “faster than evolution”, but biology and genes turn out to be amazingly flexible. (Who knows, maybe 4 million years of swinging ice ages has that effect on gene pools?)

DNA studies revealed that these horses were all derived from distant domestic horses, even though wild unrelated horses lived in the region til 5,000 years ago. This is pretty spectacular.

Dr. Ludovic Orlando: “This is truly amazing as it implies that all traits now seen in Yakutian horses are the product of very fast adaptive processes, taking place in about 800 years. This represents about a hundred generations for horses. That shows how fast evolution can go when selective pressures for survival are as strong as in the extreme environment of Yakutia.”

Analyzing the genomes shows that it’s not driven by mutations in genes as much as by changes to the regulatory parts of the genome. In other words, the instructions about the instructions changed. Useful genes (like fur) get expressed more often, less useful ones become dormant. Imagine all mammal species, say, carry a similar toolkit. It’s not a question of inventing fur, just of making it thicker, or stick around longer. A bit like building houses — if we change the instructions – the same tools and types of materials can make good houses in both Darwin and Greenland. A brick is a brick, but you can have lots of bricks, high walls, thicker walls, and empty spaces. A small change in the plans makes all the difference.

Humans, mammoths and horses appear to have separately picked up changes in things like shivering, or fur thickness that help them adapt to the extreme cold. It’s called “convergent” evolution.

It doesn’t prove that all species will adapt to big changes, but it shows that things are (yet again) a lot better than the apocalyptic scenarios suggest. It’s possible that life can adapt.

To believe that a slight climate-change,
Could destroy life on Earth is most strange,
When in fact what we find,
Is that beasts and mankind,
Can adapt through a vast climate range.

                          — Ruairi


Adapting to -70 degrees in Siberia: a tale of Yakutian horses


From an evolutionary perspective it happened almost overnight. In less than 800 years Yakutian horses adapted to temperatures of -70 degrees found in the extreme environments of eastern Siberia. The adaptation mechanisms involved the same genes found in humans as well as the extinct wooly mammoth.

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Climate Spectator bites the dust

Shucks. A few days before the giant UNFCCC starts in Paris, Climate Spectator has been closed. (Didn’t know it existed? It was a part of the Business Spectator). Maybe Big Renewables is not doing such a roaring big business?

You can see how active and non-stop the pro-green energy message was, thanks to Google caching of The Climate Spectator. That was yesterday. For some odd reason the headline link to it is already gone, obliviated already and fed through to the mother-publication by default. Typically, the more popular articles got 5 – 10 comments, the rest, zero. To get the flavor, see “Going off grid” — where Tristan Edis argues that all that solar energy you make will be wasted (and it will cost you a lot of money too). He seems to think that intermittent unreliable energy is “useful” to the Grid, and there’s no sense in the article that I can see of the waste of the Grid’s resources and energy in accommodating his surplus.

The collapse of the Climate Spectator is of course, framed by some as “Murdoch strikes again”. Presumably Murdoch acquired it in 2012 and has been waiting all this time to fulfil his evil plan…

The Climate Spectator was part of suite of news website that came with the acquisition of Australian Independent Business Media by News Corp in 2012….

It’s a conspiracy you know. Though the love media, like Fairfax, have also been cutting other journalists. Coincidence?

Editor, Tristan Edis let slip that he sometimes cursed the competition from The Conversation:

“The Conversation has also added a new insightful set of voices, even though I often cursed it for taking away several learned voices of friends and long-time colleagues I would have preferred to have been writing for Climate Spectator exclusively.

Yet again the government funded groups help drive out the free market competitor that provides the same service at no expense to the taxpayer.

It’s tough competing with the ABC, SBS,  and The Conversation.

The Climate Spectator may be just another victim of Big-government.
h/t to Jim S.

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Only 3% of US people think climate is most important issue

Has there ever been a greater disconnect between what the elected leaders are offering and what the public really wants?

Obama must know what these polls say, so when he tells us that “climate change is the greatest threat” we know he’s not doing it to win votes. If he is  hoping to “lead” the people, his failure is dismal.

Is there any doubt left that The Climate Cause serves politicians and not the people?

USA, Poll, Fox News, Climate Change, Greatest Threat, 2015

The numbers have shifted since July when the survey was last done. “Terrorism was up from 11% to 24% thanks to Paris. The economy and jobs was down from 30% to 21%. Climate change was all of 5% then, dropped to 3% now (pretty much in the error margin).

SOURCE:  Fox News Survey. 1,016 registered voters of a random national sample with a margin of error of plus or minus 3%.


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The original meaning of “denier” was those who reject a religion

Rajendra Pachauri, IPCC, Wind Poer, Climate Religion, Denier


In 1475, the word “Denier” meant those who did not accept the church doctrine.

Five hundred years later, not much has changed.

“According to the Oxford English Dictionary, OED, the term “denier” — starting with its coinage in 1475, during the language’s transition period — has traditionally been used in a theological context, as in “Deniers of Christ Jesus.”

Yale Climate Media Forum

The use of “Denier” in a theological sense continued for hundreds of years. Here it is in 1835:

“A denier of our Lord’s divinity will argue that it was an exclamation of surprise and ignorance; he makes it, in fact, a sort of modern  profaneness.

The Literary and Theological Review, Leonard Woods Junior, 1835. p449

In 2015, anyone who thinks that leeks and lightbulbs won’t stop floods in Peru is a “denier”. If you don’t accept that your air-conditioner causes war in Syria, or that sharks can protect us from heatwaves, get used to being referred to as a mindless denying apostate.

I’ve put in excerpts from an 1840 book below. Breathe deeply:

“FOURTH. Point out the difficulties of Atheism

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US Presidential candidates ranked for independent thinking and gullibility on climate science

How many Presidential candidates are susceptible to groupthink, scare campaigns and low-base science agitprop? Thanks to Seth Borenstein, Michael Mann & Andrew Dessler we can rank them according to their ability to resist profoundly unscientific propaganda like “there is a consensus”.

Ted Cruz is clearly the best at holding his own in the independent thinker stakes.  Ben Carson and Donald Trump do well. But poor Hillary Clinton doesn’t stand a chance against the onslaught of junk graphs, hyperbolic claims, and inane bumper-sticker cliches.

US presidential Candidates, climate science, groupthink

Those who fall for the consensus argument are in no position to run a nation.  Firstly it’s profoundly unscientific — we don’t vote for the laws of science; scientific theories are either true or not true regardless of opinions. Secondly, it only takes ten minutes of independent searching to find that there is no consensus among scientists as a broad group, anyway. There is a consensus among various definitions of certified climate scientists, but not among meteorologists , geoscientists and engineers or other hard science areas.

As I’ve said before, skeptics outrank and outnumber believers, they make planes fly, find mineral deposits, and walked on the moon. Believers produce climate models that don’t work. If climate scientists were good scientists, the first people they’d convince would be the physicists, mathematicians, geologists and engineers.

Most readers of skeptical blogs (who chose to respond to surveys and list their qualifications in  comments^) have hard science degrees. Dan Kahan conducted a survey of 1,500 people and found people who knew more about maths and science were more likely to be skeptical. In other words, skeptics were better informed about science^. If we had to name a list of skeptics versus believers, the skeptics number 31,000, yet there is no list of named scientists who believe that comes close — let alone a list of 300,000 which would imply some truth to the statement that the science is settled, and the world’s scientists agree.

The famous 97% consensus is really a 0.3% consensus.

See real scientists review climate science with thousands of peer reviewed papers. NIPCC report.

Climate Depot, Pat



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New Science 20: It’s not CO2, so what Is the main cause of Global Warming?

We are back in the hunt for the main mystery drivers of our climate. The IPCC says it can’t be the Sun because the total amount of sunlight barely changes. Which is the usual half-truth that  pretends the Sun is simple a ball of fire with no magnetic field, no solar wind, and has no changes in the “color” of the spectrum it emits. But the Sun has a massive fluxing magnetic field that turns itself inside out and upside down regularly, it churns off a stream of charged particles that rain on Earth, and if human eyes could see infra red and UV, we’d see the color of the Sun change through the cycle. We  are only just beginning to figure out how these aspects affect the climate. But we know these factors influence ozone, probably cloud seeding, and possibly jet streams.

The only good long data we have on the Sun are the sunspots, which give us a reasonable idea of total sunlight since 1610. David uses Fourier maths to find the way that total solar irradiance (TSI) might relate to temperatures on Earth. TSI itself barely changes, so it could only have caused about 10% of the variation of Earth’s temperature since 1900 (if the official temperature records are to be believed). But it’s the main clue we’ve got to figure out how other parts of the solar dynamo may be changing the weather here on Earth.

The most likely mechanism is through cloud cover, which covers 60% of the Earth and reflects 30% of the incoming energy. And small change will make a big difference. David‘s model looks for externally driven changes to albedo, which means forces other than surface warming that influence our clouds. The IPCC assumes this doesn’t happen. What can I say? Their models don’t work.

The notch delay solar model is a physical model, based on physical principles, not curve fitting. It uses standard analytical tools employed throughout the electronics industry. Few climate scientists were trained in them — they have probably never heard of most of them. But engineers have to get the maths and the feedbacks right, or the phone and the electricity don’t work… these tools have been tested.

When the signals from the Sun are pulled apart this way, the patterns show a classic notch filter. At the frequency of a half solar cycle (about 11 years), some mechanism operates which temporarily reduces the effect of incoming solar radiation. Because it is so in tune with solar cycles it must originate on the Sun itself. Further, here seems to be a delay between changes in TSI and its effect on Earth’s temperature, also of about 11 years. The maths of notch filters shows this delay might be part of the notching mechanism, or might be separate. Obviously sunlight itself is not having a delayed effect on Earth 11 years later, instead a change in total sunlight is a leading indicator of some other solar factor that changes a half cycle after TSI changes.  The delay is synched to the Sun. The exact mechanism is still to be figured out (there are several candidates).

David updates the progress on this from last year. While we said then that a notch filter dictated that there had to be a delay, Bernie Hutchins pointed out that it didn’t guarantee it. But by then we’d found other independent empirical evidence — published in a few papers over the last 20 years, that indicate a delay must be occurring.



20. So What Is the Main Cause of Global Warming?

Dr David Evans, 22 November 2015, Project home, Intro, Previous, Next.

Background of the last 19 posts: our understanding of carbon dioxide is framed by the top-down conventional basic climate model. But that model has major architectural errors. When the errors are fixed, the model estimates the Earth is not very sensitive to carbon dioxide. Indeed, it’s an order of magnitude less important than the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) calculated. All that extra atmospheric carbon dioxide very likely caused less than 20% of the global warming of recent decades*. (Kindly note that those findings are logically distinct from the notch-delay hypothesis coming up, so even if that hypothesis proves to be wrong then the critique of the architecture of the conventional basic climate stands.)

So if carbon dioxide is not the cause of 80% of global warming, what is? Let’s start by ruling out what it is not.

It’s Not Variations in Direct Heating by the Sun

The dog-obvious suspect is the Sun. But the IPCC is adamant that it’s is not that important. You  have to read the fine print – they only consider the direct heating effect of the total solar irradiation (TSI), not all the other potential solar factors.

The energy from the Sun is almost constant.

Figure 1: The energy from the Sun is almost constant. (Source)

Keep reading  →

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The one most important factor for Paris — The US congress

Will Obama and the UN succeed in forcing “climate taxes” on the US?

h/t to GWPF for finding the stories that matter

When the press releases come out saying that Paris has succeeded (which will happen, no matter the outcome) the key factor is not just whether the agreement has any meaningful teeth, but whether it can be forced on the US without approval of Congress. The US didn’t approve Kyoto, and now, more than then, there is no reason to think anything significant would get through. The GOP Republican candidates are not paying lip service to the global warming meme anymore, things have changed so much they’re almost all competing to be skeptics. Just 6 weeks ago a poll in the US showed the amazing, astonishing result that 31% of respondents agreed with GOP candidates statement that Climate change is a total hoax.

The EU and UN players know they can’t convince the US people, and nor can they get past their elected reps so they are talking of doing things in ways that don’t require congressional approval. Naturally, if they had overwhelming evidence, and half a case, they wouldn’t have to do that.

No matter what country you live in, remind all your politicians, journalists, and delegates to Paris that no matter what Obama says or signs, the US Congress is vowing not to pour money into the climate deals.

U.S. Senate Republicans on Wednesday said Congress would not approve the Obama administration’s $500 million request for its first payment into a United Nations climate fund, a move they said would undermine the upcoming climate change summit in Paris.

“This president is going to go (to Paris) with no money,” said Republican Senator Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, who chaired a hearing in the Senate environment panel on the international climate negotiations, which begin on Nov. 30.

Capito and other Republican members of the committee said they will ensure any deal the U.S. strikes in Paris will face congressional scrutiny, and warned they will block President Barack Obama’s 2016 budget request for the first tranche of the $3 billion pledged last year to the U.N. Green Climate Fund. — Reuters

The American Interest

Fifty two senators voted to block the US EPA rule that would cut coal power station emissions. While Obama could veto that, the message is that the Senate is not going to approve his climate ambitions:

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Weekend Untheaded

I’m travelling today…

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1 million German households had power shut off in last three years due to green energy cost

How much further backward do things have to get?

In the great industrial nation of Germany power companies are going broke, and 350,000 households are getting their electricity turned off each year because they can’t afford the bills. In a nation of 82 million, power companies are issuing some 6 million threats to cut electricity.

Pierre Gosselin no trickszone: Socially explosive German homes losing power

From Speigel:

“Over the past three years it all totals to be a whopping 1.025 million households.”

“Spiegel writes that the price of electricity in Germany has doubled since 2002 in large part because of the renewable energy feed-in surcharge. Private households are the hardest hit; they have to pay some 45% more than the EU average (while German power producers get 30% less than the EU average)! The government-interfered market is grotesquely distorted.”

It is not only Germany’s power companies who are bleeding to death financially, but so are many private citizens, who are unable to pay for their power. A shocking situation in one of the world’s most technically advanced nations.

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