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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More strange adventures in TSI data: the miracle of 900 fabricated, fraudulent days

Funny things happen on the Internet sometimes. Rather spectacular claims were made that 900 days of data “were fabricated”. This claim was described as not just speculation, but “a demonstrable fact”, and worse, the crime was apparently even “admitted to” by the man himself! Except that none of it was real, and three tiny misunderstood dots were not fabricated, not data, and not important. Welcome to a Bermuda-Triangle-moment in blog-land, where facts vanish,  ships full of  misquotes appear from nowhere, and ghosts-of-malcontent and misunderstanding roam freely. This post here is to slay the last loose ghosts, lest anybody think they might still have life in them, or indeed, think they ever did.

Usually a live debate is a brilliant way for spectators to learn. But in that particular science thread, the main lesson is not science but manners. Common courtesy may seem a quaint anachronism, but without it, logic and reason die on the sword of uninformed passion. A simple polite email and an open mind could have saved the world from a cloud of nonsense.

Thanks to the many valiant souls who fought for common sense.

It’s rare in a complex [...]

The Solar Model finds a big fall in TSI data that few seem to know about

Leif Svalgaard claims “TSI has not fallen since 2003″. It’s technically true in a sense, but demonstrably false when discussing 11 year smoothed trends (which is written on the graph he was criticizing). Willis Eschenbach sadly was carried along. This post is in response to an overheated thread at WUWT. Both men owe David Evans an apology.

The fuss is over the big fall in TSI.  Leif Svalgaard said it was “almost fraudulent” that we claimed there was a fall in TSI since 2003 since there wasn’t a fall in this dataset. He says: “There is no such drop.” I say, look at the graph below, it’s even in your own data.  Svalgaard provided the link to his TSI set, and we’ve included that line in the graph below. It’s the light-purple line. (Has he paid attention for the last ten years?)

In his rush to call it “totally wrong” and to declare “the model is already falsified” he didn’t notice we were talking about a trend in 11 year smoothed TSI, and the fall is evident in whole cycles (but takes some wisdom to find in daily or monthly data). I guess that’s a mistake that could happen to [...]

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 [...]