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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What’s really warming the world — NASA has no idea (Not the Sun, Never the Sun!)

In the twit-world, it’s being called Bloomberg and NASA’s “proof” that man made CO2 is causing global warming.

But it’s just a zombie rehash of the same-old routine I described in How to create a crisis graph in 6 simple steps. It’s all in the art of what you don’t say and the things you leave off the graph. This is a “NASA” graph that reduces everything about the sun to one single temperature. As if the magneto-nuclear-dynamo 1.3 million times the volume of the Earth would have a weather report that just read “still hot”. Nothing to see here…

Want to scare people with graphs? Pretend your climate models work. Ignore the missing hot spot, the pause, the record antarctic sea-ice, the lack of accelerating seas, and the utter failure of climate models to model anything before the last 150 years, as well as stuff like “rain[1]“, “ drought [2]” and “humidity[3]“. Include all the factors you can think of that don’t explain the latest bump in the squiggly line. Ignore all the factors that might like cosmic rays, solar wind, solar magnetic effects, solar spectrum cycles, lunar effects on our atmosphere, and who knows how many other potential [...]

Why Life in the 21st Century Will Be Nasty, Brutish, and Short

While some global whiners are predicting death, disease and reckless fish, an ominous array of other forces are gathering. The time of plenty, peace and abundance could be coming to an end. I’ve finally had a chance to look at David Archibald’s hot new book, and it’s a book that needs to be discussed. It’s the debate we ought to be having. (I’ll be referring to it again on this blog).

In the West we have rarely had it so good: since World War II things have been relatively peaceful; the sun reached a once-in-8000-year global maximum, keeping us warm; the big easy oil fields were tapped, gifting  us the cheapest energy in human history; and the most obvious gains in agriculture meant food supply increased even faster than populations grew.  David Archibald paints a provocative argument of a world where a cooling sun means grain supply can’t keep pace with demand, oil production starts to slide and forces of unrest in the mid East collapse to chaos while those in the far East rise ascendant.

David Archibald writes:

Who are those four horsemen?  A severe, solar-driven cooling is one.  Over the next twenty to thirty years, we are [...]

Solar effects seem to shift wind and rainfall patterns over last 3000 years in Chile

A team of researchers looked at the solar influence on Southern Hemisphere Westerly Winds (SWW). These winds influence rainfall patterns and ocean currents in the Southern Hemisphere. Varma et al infer rainfall patterns by looking at iron deposits in marine sediments near Chile, which are apparently higher during drier conditions and lower during wetter times. They compared these to both Beryllium (10Be) and Carbon-14 (14C) which they use to estimate solar activity.

The end result is they find that the westerly winds shift northwards towards the equator during lower solar activity, and conversely move southwards towards the poles during higher solar activity. The shifting wind patterns move the rainfall. An effect is apparent in records for the last 3,000 years.

In graph a below, 10Be (solar activity) and Fe (rainfall) have a decent correlation coefficient (r) of 0.45, while the 14C  (solar activity) and Fe (rainfall) correlation in b has a lower correlation (r) of 0.21. Varma et al say:

“the large correlation coefficient for 10Be would suggest that ca. 20% (i.e., r2) of late Holocene rainfall and hence SWW variability could be attributable to solar forcing.”

They conclude that the current models don’t give the sun a large [...]