JoNova

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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The Skeptics Handbook II

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BIG NEWS part IV: A huge leap understanding the mysterious 11 year solar delay

The Solar Series: I Background   |  II: The notch filter  |  III: The delay  |  IV: A new solar force? (You are here)  |  V: Modeling the escaping heat.  |  VI: The solar climate model   |  VII — Hindcasting   | VIII — Predictions

Implacably, the discovery of a notch suggests a delay of anything from 10 to 20 years but most likely 11 years. (Don’t miss the delay post — two very big important concepts out in two posts). The big mystery is what could cause such a long delay in the correlation of solar radiation with temperatures on Earth?

David and I spent months wondering “what on Earth” could drive it. There were many possibilities though none of them seemed to be able to respond with the right timing: A resonant slop in ocean circulation could absorb extra energy, but it was difficult to see how the timing would be so tight with solar peaks. Likewise changes in ice or land cover. Then there are lunar cycles of 9 – 18 years, potentially generating atmospheric standing waves, but they were not synchronous with the sun.

Given that marine life can [...]

The oceans, clouds and cosmic rays drive the climate, not CO2

Dr Noor van Andel

Dr Noor van Andel spoke at the Dutch Meteorological Institute (KNMI), provocatively concluding there is no observational evidence for the influence of CO2 on past or present climate. He has released a high caliber slide set. He is the former head of research at Akzo Nobel.

In the very long run, we need not mind about CO2 or global warming, but instead about higher [galactic cosmic ray] activity and global cooling. There is no way we can influence [galactic cosmic ray] activity, originating in active black holes and imploding supernovae.

Essentially he uses empirical evidence to draw the conclusion that most recent climate variability is due to Pacific Decadal Oscillation, and to Cosmic Ray effect as described by Svensmark. This fits with what William Kinninmonth explained and I described as essentially a massive pool of “stored cold”  in the abyssal depths of the oceans, which erratically reaches up and pulls in heat from the insubstantial atmosphere above. Air temperatures are at the beck and call of the releases of this “cold” (yes I know cold is just an absence of heat). In El Nino years when the cold pool lies deep and unstirred, the incoming [...]

If carbon didn’t warm us, what did?

Svensmarks Cosmic Ray Theory. TOP: If the sun’s magnetic field is weak it allows more cosmic rays, which may seed more clouds on Earth. BOTTOM: A strong solar magnetic field blocks the same rays and could mean less clouds and clearer skies.

People have known for 200 years that there’s some link between sunspots and our climate.  In 1800, the astronomer William Herschel didn’t need a climate model, he didn’t even have a calculator — yet he could see that wheat prices rose and fell in time with the sunspot cycle. Since then, people have noticed that rainfall patterns are also linked to sunspots.

Sunspots themselves don’t make much difference to us, but they are a sign of how weak or strong the sun’s magnetic field is. This massive solar magnetic field reaches out around the Earth, and it shields us from cosmic rays. Dr Henrik Svensmark has suggested that if more cosmic rays reach further down into our atmosphere, they might ionize molecules and help “seed” more clouds. As it happens, this year, the sun has almost no sunspots, but for much of the late 20th Century, the solar magnetic field was extremely active. If the theory is [...]