NASA hides page saying the Sun was the primary climate driver, and clouds and particles are more important than greenhouse gases

The article was removed some time between 20 Dec 2010 and 19 Jan 2011.

Here’s the Wayback link to the 20 Dec 2010 page:


By Paul Homewood

Repost from Jo Nova:

ScreenHunter_3751 Feb. 19 11.04The NASA site used to have a page titled “What are the primary forcings of the Earth system?“. In 2010 this page said that the Sun is the major driver of Earth’s climate, that it controls all the major aspects, and we may be on the cusp of an ice age. Furthermore NASA Science said things like clouds, albedo and aerosol behaviour can have more powerful cooling effects that outdo the warming effect of CO2.

Today that page says Share the science and stay connected,  and “Access Denied”.



The Wayback Machine captured the same NASA “Primary Climate Forcings” link in 2010.


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Influence of solar activity on European rainfall

Reblogged from Watts Up With That:

Press Release

Institute of Hydrography, Geoecology and Climate Sciences (IFHGK),

15th February 2019

Influence of solar activity on European rainfall

A balanced level of precipitation provides the basis for a wide range of economic and social activities in Europe. Particularly agriculture, drinking water supply and inland waterway transport are directly affected. However, the amount of rain fluctuates strongly from year to year. While it may pour torrentially in one year, rain may remain absent for weeks in another year. The population is used to this variability and knows how to deal with it.

The chance discovery by an agricultural scientist from Münster, Germany, now suggests that in certain months rain over Germany and other parts of Europe follows a pattern that up to now has remained undetected. As part of agricultural consultation, Ludger Laurenz analyzed decades of rainfall records of his home weather station in Münster and noticed a constant up and down that followed an 11-year rhythm – especially in February. After detailed examination it was clear that this rhythm correlated closely with the activity of the sun: the well-documented 11-year sunspot cycle.

Laurenz next teamed up with two colleagues to examine the extent to which the observed pattern from Münster is reproducible in other parts of Germany and Europe, and whether the phenomenon also exists for the other months of the year. Horst-Joachim Lüdecke from the HTW University of Applied Sciences in Saarland gathered the precipitation data collected in Europe since the beginning of the 20th century. The physicist emeritus then developed a computer algorithm to determine the similarity of changes in rainfall and solar activity. All 39 European countries and every one of the 12 months of the year were quantified over a total of 115 years using mathematical correlations.

In order to include possible delay effects, the data series of rain and sunspots were systematically checked for shifts. For this purpose, the time series were gradually shifted in time against each other like combs and the respective change of the correlation quality was noted. The multidimensional data obtained in this way were evaluated for systematic trends by geoscientist Sebastian Lüning and visualized cartographically. Lüning is associated with the Swiss Institute of Hydrography, Geoecology and Climate Sciences (IFHGK) and is specialized in the research of solar climate effects.

The mapped out results show that the link between February precipitation and solar activity originally discovered in Münster is valid for large parts of Central and Northern Europe and has good statistical significance there. Towards southern Europe, however, the correlation weakens significantly.

The statistical investigation was also able to demonstrate systematic phase shifts across the continent. In Germany and neighboring countries, February precipitation was particularly low when the sun was very strong four years earlier. The delay seems to be due to the slow deep circulation of the Atlantic, as earlier work had already suggested. On the basis of the statistically-empirically determined correlation, February 2018 in Germany with particularly low precipitation can now also be explained, which followed a particularly high intensity peak of solar activity at the beginning of 2014.

Similar relationships between rainfall and solar activity have been observed in other months, although somewhat weaker, especially in April, June and July, which account for a large part of the vegetation period in Central Europe. The result was a complex interplay of sun and rain in Europe, which showed clear trends over 1000 km and varied strongly from month to month.

The study thus confirms the concept of a solar participation in the European hydroclimatic development, which had already been indicated by a whole series of local case studies of other authors. The exact mechanism by which the solar signal influences precipitation is still largely unclear and requires further research.

The solar precipitation effect now mapped out across Europe for the first time opens up new possibilities for improved medium-term precipitation forecasts. Agriculture in particular, but also protection measures against extreme weather damage in connection with heavy rainfall and droughts could benefit from this. The next step in refining the forecasting methodology is a more precise quantification of the effects of Atlantic Ocean cycles, which also play an important role in rainfall, especially in Western Europe.

Original publication:

Laurenz, L., H.-J. Lüdecke, S. Lüning (2019): Influence of solar activity on European rainfall. J. Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics, 185: 29-42, doi: 10.1016/j.jastp.2019.01.012

The pdf version can be downloaded free of charge at the following link until early March:

Recognition of Important Work and implications For Climate Change and Society

Reblogged from Watts Up With That:

Guest Blogger /

Guest Opinion: Dr. Tim Ball

Two events provide the catalyst for this column. First, was the passing of a dear friend Elmer Stobbe, a soil scientist whose career at the University of Manitoba extended after retirement to consultation in Abbotsford BC. The second was my annual interview with a radio station in Yorkton, Saskatchewan, to discuss current weather patterns and expectations for the 2019 growing season. Elmer specialized in soil erosion and especially preventative measures including zero-till and minimum till. In Canada, this work was triggered by the work of Canadian Senator Herbert Sparrow. A farmer from Indian Head, Saskatchewan, also the site of a major agriculture research centre in western Canada. He lived through the dust storms of the late 1930s and witnessed first-hand images similar to a 1933 dust storm in Regina (Figure 1).


Figure 1

Figure 2 was a little closer to his home because it shows a dust storm at Lethbridge airport. I joked with Elmer about the most frightening thing in the world for a farmer was to see your neighbors’ farm coming at you vertically.


Figure 2

The Canadian Prairie is at the northern end of the Great Plains and has a triangular shape with the 49th parallel forming the base. It is called the Palliser Triangle (Figure 3) and named after the British scientist sent across western Canada in 1857 to determine the agricultural capability of the region.


Figure 3

The three soil zones also approximate the biozones, with red supporting Short grass prairie, orange is Tallgrass prairie, and yellow is mixed Aspen woodland and Tallgrass prairie.

Palliser’s Report was an excellent assessment of the situation partly because he previously travelled extensively on the US side and new the geology, geography, and climate well. You can read about him in Canadian historian Irene Sprye’s book The Palliser Expedition: The Dramatic Story of Western Canadian Exploration, 1857-1860. His report was remarkably objective because he knew from his US travels that he was traveling during a drought cycle and yet the government wanted positive results. He did not compromise. Rather, he said don’t be fooled by the soils that were very good for grain agriculture, but what dictated ongoing success were the low humidity and periodic droughts.

Palliser represented the British government who were in negotiations to take over the holdings of the Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC) and turn them over to the newly formed Canadian government in 1867. That government was not enamored of Palliser’s Report and in 1877 hired John Macoun to revisit the area. Macoun travelled during a wet cycle, and so he presented a very different report of the potential. Settlers quickly followed and like the German immigrant in Figure 4 broke the land.


Figure 4

Because there were no trees, soils are deep (mostly glacial till) and rock outcrops sparse, they built their houses from what was at hand (Figure 5). This picture is from Kindersley, Saskatchewan.


Figure 5 How did she get the dress so white?

Everything went well, with increasing yields, the arrival of the railway, and growing markets in the east and Europe. The drought cycle on the Prairies is approximately every 22 years, as Douglass and others showed through the correlation with sunspot cycles using tree ring data. My research showed these droughts alternated between Cold Droughts with low precipitation, lower temperatures, and low wind speeds, and Hot Droughts” with low precipitation, high temperatures, and very strong winds. The Cold Drought around 1910 had a small impact, but the Hot Drought of the 1930s exposed the problems of breaking the land.

After the devastation of the 30s, the government created the Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Act (PFRA) in 1935, that became the Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Administration (PFRA). Its goal was to counter the impact of the drought and later to “drought-proof” the region. One thing they did effectively was to take marginal land out of production. There is less land under cultivation in western Canada today than there was in 1930.

The Prairie region is the only moisture deficit region in Canada. This makes conservation of moisture extremely important. The practice of summer fallow began so as to remove any vegetation that would use up the moisture (Figure 6).


Figure 6

They also extended the practice of crop rotation. This involves growing a sequence of crops over a period of four or five years with each putting different demands on the mineral resources, so they let acreage ‘rest.’

While the practice was effective a major side effect was exposure of the soil to wind and water erosion. On the Prairies the natural annual rate of erosion, that is without human interference, was 5 tons per acre per year. A major factor in this was the frequent grass fires. A late 18th century entry in the HBC journal at Churchill says the Indians report the whole of the Prairies is on fire. By the 1930s when the first Hot Drought hit the land became desiccated, and the wind began to blow. Figure 7 is a beautiful painting of a Prairie grass fire in southern Saskatchewan around by Paul Kane


Figure 7

By the 1970s concern about the rate of erosion began to grow. Estimates put the rate at double the grassland levels, that is about 10 tons per acre per year.

“In the 1980s, the use of fallow and the land practices were creating soil drifting and loss as bad as it had been since the 1930s,” said the executive director of the Soil Conservation Council of Canada.”

By now Herb Sparrow was a senior Senator with the opportunity to act. In 1984 the government produced his report Soil at Risk.

It wasn’t long before people started considering an alternative to summer fallow. It has various names including zero till, direct seeding, and conservation tillage. As with everything there were costs. Three main benefits were a reduction in soil erosion, ground cover that simulated the natural conditions, and retention of snow cover in the winter. Costs include the high price of chemicals to control the vegetation cover, which made products like Roundup so valuable. A delay in the rise of soil temperature necessary to allow seed germination. People don’t realize that a major function of plowing is to mix the soil. It takes the warmer surface soil and the vegetation down to the seed planting level. The albedo is changed significantly with a much darker surface absorbing more heat with fallow. Figure 8 is a NASA satellite image of North Dakota showing the patchwork quilt effect. Remove the summer fallow, and it is all much lighter.


Figure 8

Think about the impact of all this on the global albedo, moisture regimes, and global climate.

I have done a few interviews a year for over 30 years with the Yorkton radio station but two each year that include an agricultural outlook for the next six months. During the last interview, the host and I talked about Professor Stobbe and his work. He reminded me that the first time he interviewed me was at a farm meeting in Swan River Manitoba. I began my presentation with an explanation of the factors that determine the weather in their region. They know the microclimate on their farm, so they can understand and better adjust to changes if they can put it in the larger picture.

My second issue was my concern about the impact of zero tillage since they are at the northern limit of agriculture in Canada. They have a very short growing season and the loss of even a few days is critical. At the time, they were introducing warmer weather crops, such as canola, made possible by the warming that began around 1980. I warned them that zero-tillage would reduce their growing season by delaying soil temperature increase. This occurred, but the continuance of warming up to 1998 masked the problem. A week before my most recent appearance on his program, the host told me a specialist spoke about the problem showing up with decreasing temperatures and the pattern of snowfall.

Canadian farmers always joke about never losing a crop in January. The trouble is it is not true. Winter snowfall is critical to the moisture availability in the spring. The best determinant of crop potential is Fall precipitation because it charges subsoil moisture. Early snowfall also provides insulating cover to stop the freezing level going too deep into the ground. I recall years across the Prairies when the level went 3 meters down. In addition, the Spring snowmelt mostly goes into ditches, ponds, and lakes across the land to become the major source of evaporated moisture for summer rainfall. A small portion of the melt stays on the field to recharge the average soil moisture content of 12 cm, sufficient for seed germination. The soil is a poor transmitting media for heat, so the water is important for quickly raising the soil temperature.

I will not continue this micro and meso-climate discussion any further, except to say you have a taste of the complexities. There is a great deal of research available, such as an article titled “Soil water conservation under zero- and conventional tillage systems on the Canadian prairies” and “How farmers on the Great Plains are changing the local climate” or, look at the number of weather variables required in the Prairie Hydrological Model Study Progress Report.” This gives you an understanding of why the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) are wasting their time, especially when they write,

Unfortunately, the total surface heat and water fluxes (see Supplementary Material, Figure S8.14) are not well observed.

My good friend Elmer worked with farmers and agribusinesses in Canada throughout his academic career, and this continued in the post-retirement phase of his life. He was also responsible for establishing soil conservation and zero tillage programs in Africa and China. Elmer understood what Thomas Jefferson meant when he said,

“Agriculture is our wisest pursuit, because it will in the end contribute most to real wealth, good morals, and happiness.”

He also agreed with his observation that,

“Were we directed from Washington when to sow, and when to reap, we should soon want bread.”

Solar Cycle 24 Going Down As Quietest In Almost 200 Years, May Put The Brakes On Warming

Reblogged from No Tricks Zone:

The sun in December 2018

Von Frank Bosse und Fritz Vahrenholt
(German text translated / edited by P Gosselin)

Our sun was also very sub-normally active in December last year. We are writing the 121st month since the beginning of cycle number 24, in December 2008, and since 2012 (when we started the blog here) we could only reformulate the opening sentence once: In September 2017 when the sun was 13% more active than the long-term (since 1755) average.

All other months were below average. With the sunspot number (SSN) of 3.1 for the monthly average for December and a total of 24 days without any spot (throughout the second half of the month the sun was spotless) we are in the middle of the cycle minimum.

Fig. 1:  Solar Cycle 24 – red – is almost over. Since October 2017 (cycle month 108) we have been at the minimum and the next cycle should start at the beginning of 2020. The blue curve is the respective monthly average over the 23 cycles completed so far. The black curve (for comparison) SC 5, which was recorded around 1815 and was as similarly weak as the current cycle.

The following chart compares all the cycles observed thus far:

Fig. 2: The sunspot activity of our sun since cycle 1 (1755). The numbers are calculated by adding the monthly differences with respect to the mean (blue in Fig.1) up to the current cycle month 121.

Clearly SC 24 is the lowest activity since the Dalton Minimum (SC 5,6,7) around 1810 when using the entire cycle and not only the maximum activity in short peaks (see Fig. 1).

When does the new Cycle 25 begin? This is very difficult to say. In December a total of 3 spots were observed that belong to the new cycle because they are magnetically polarized the other way around than those of the old cycle. This January we are currently still seeing a lot of the “old cycle” again, so forecasts are probably premature. If something happens, here be the first to know!

Ocean Heat Content Surprises

Here are Dr. Curry’s summarizing comments:

JC reflections

After reading all of these papers, I would have to conclude that if the CMIP5 historical simulations are matching the ‘observations’ of ocean heat content, then I would say that they are getting the ‘right’ answer for the wrong reasons. Not withstanding the Cheng et al. paper, the ‘right’ answer (in terms of magnitude of the OHC increase) is still highly uncertain.

The most striking findings from these papers are:

  • the oceans appear to have absorbed as much heat in the early 20th century as in recent decades (stay tuned for a forthcoming blog post on the early 20th century warming)
  • historical model simulations are biased toward overestimating ocean heat uptake when initialized at equilibrium during the Little Ice Age
  • the implied heat loss in the deep ocean since 1750  offsets one-fourth of the global heat gain in the upper ocean.
  • cooling below 2000 m offsets more than one-third of the heat gain above 2000 m.
  • the deep Pacific cooling trend leads to a downward revision of heat absorbed over the 20th century by about 30 percent.
  • an estimated 20% contribution by geothermal forcing to overall global ocean warming over the past two decades.
  • we do not properly understand the centennial to millennia ocean warming patterns, mainly due to a limited understanding of circulation and mixing changes

These findings have implications for:

  • the steric component of sea level rise
  • ocean heat uptake in energy balance estimates of equilibrium climate sensitivity
  • how we initialize global climate models for historical simulations

While each of these papers mentions error bars or uncertainty, in all but the Cheng et al. paper, significant structural uncertainties in the method are discussed. In terms of uncertainties, these papers illustrate numerous different methods of estimating of 20th century ocean heat content.  A much more careful assessment needs to be done than was done by Cheng et al., that includes these new estimates and for a longer period of time (back to 1900), to understand the early 20th century warming.

In an article about the Cheng et al. paper at Inside Climate News, Gavin Schmidt made the following statement:

“The biggest takeaway is that these are things that we predicted as a community 30 years ago,” Schmidt said. “And as we’ve understood the system more and as our data has become more refined and our methodologies more complete, what we’re finding is that, yes, we did know what we were talking about 30 years ago, and we still know what we’re talking about now.”

Sometimes I think we knew more of what we were talking about 30 years ago (circa the time of the IPCC FAR, in 1990) than we do now: “it aint what you don’t know that gets you in trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just aint so.”

The NASA GISS crowd (including Gavin) is addicted to the ‘CO2 as climate control knob’ idea.  I have argued that CO2 is NOT a climate control knob on sub millennial time scales, owing to the long time scales of the deep ocean circulations.

A talking point for ‘skeptics’ has been ‘the warming is caused by coming out of the Little Ice Age.’   The control knob afficionadoes then respond ‘but what’s the forcing.’  No forcing necessary; just the deep ocean circulation doing its job.  Yes, additional CO2 will result in warmer surface temperatures, but arguing that 100% (or more) of the warming since 1950 is caused by AGW completely neglects what is going on in the oceans.


[Hifast Note: The comment thread at Dr. Curry’s Climate Etc. is essential reading as well.]


Climate Etc.

by Judith Curry

There have several interesting papers on ocean heat content published in recent weeks, with some very important implications.

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Greenland Is Way Cool

Reblogged from Watts Up With That:

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

As a result of a tweet by Steve McIntyre, I was made aware of an interesting dataset. This is a look by Vinther et al. at the last ~12,000 years of temperatures on the Greenland ice cap. The dataset is available here.

Figure 1 shows the full length of the data, along with the change in summer insolation at 75°N, the general location of the ice cores used to create the temperature dataset.

Figure 1. Temperature anomalies of the Greenland ice sheet (left scale, yellow/black line), and the summer insolation in watts per square metre at 75°N (right scale, blue/black line). The red horizontal dashed line shows the average ice sheet temperature 1960-1980.

I’ll only say a few things about each of the graphs in this post. Regarding Figure 1, the insolation swing shown above is about fifty watts per square metre. Over the period in question, the temperature dropped about two and a half degrees from the peak in about 5800 BCE. That would mean the change is on the order of 0.05°C for each watt per square metre change in insolation …

From about 8300 BCE to 800 BCE, the average temperature of the ice sheet, not the maximum temperature but the average temperature of the ice sheet, was greater than the 1960-1980 average temperature of the ice sheet. That’s 7,500 years of the Holocene when Greenland’s ice sheet was warmer than recent temperatures.

Next, Figure 2 shows the same temperature data as in Figure 1, but this time with the EPICA Dome C ice core CO2 data.

Figure 2. Temperature anomalies of the Greenland ice sheet (left scale, yellow/black line), and EPICA Dome C ice core CO2 data, 9000 BCE – 1515 AD (right scale, blue/black line)

Hmmm … for about 7,000 years, CO2 is going up … and Greenland temperature is going down … who knew?

Finally, here’s the recent Vinther data:

Figure 3. Recent temperature anomalies of the Greenland ice sheet.

Not a whole lot to say about that except that the Greenland ice sheet has been as warm or warmer than the 1960-1980 average a number of times during the last 2000 years.

Finally, I took a look to see if there were any solar-related or other strong cycles in the Vinther data. Neither a Fourier periodogram nor a CEEMD analysis revealed any significant cycles.

And that’s the story of the Vinther reconstruction … here, we’ve had lovely rain for a couple of days now. Our cat wanders the house looking for the door into summer. He goes out time after time hoping for a different outcome … and he is back in ten minutes, wanting to be let in again.

My best to all, rain or shine,


The Latest on the Double-Dynamo Solar Model, and Dr. Zharkova’s Predictions of a Grand Minimum

The Next Grand Minimum

By Stephanie Osborn

The Osborn post is a lengthy explanation of Dr. Zharkova’s model, model updates and predictions, with some additional example of how the ‘barycentric wobble’ influences the earth’s temperature. For readers who found Dr. Zharkova’s GWPF Presentation confusing, this article will help with the understanding of her model’s significance, and the output is worth considering. Osborn’s bio is HERE.

Osborn’s evaluation of Zharkova’s model:

Zharkova’s model is supported not only by sunspot numbers and solar activity, but by other solar-studies fields: magnetohydrodynamics and helioseismology. In fact, the resulting data plots from these fields are so close to Zharkova’s model predictions, that the model could as well be based on either of those. So this model is not functioning in isolation from related science, but is in fact harmonizing quite well with it.

The Dalton extended minimum (1790-1830) is evidently an example of a Gleissberg minimum, while the…

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It’s the gradient, stupid!

Reblogged form Watts Up With That:

How does the Sun drive climate change?

Guest Post by Javier

The dispute between scholars that favor a periodical interpretation of climate changes, mostly based on astronomical causes, and those that prefer non-periodical Earth-based explanations has a long tradition that can be traced to the catastrophism-uniformitarianism dispute and how the theory of ice ages (now termed glaciations) fitted in.

Prior to the scientific proposal of ice ages in 1834, most scholars that cared about the issue believed that the Earth had been progressively cooling from a hot start, as tropical fossils at high latitudes appeared to support. By 1860 scholars had been convinced by evidence that not one but several glaciations had taken place in the distant past. By then scientists trying to explain the cause of past glaciations were split in two. Those following Joseph Adhémar, who had already proposed orbital variations in 1842, and those following John Tyndall, who proposed that they were due to changes in GHGs (greenhouse gases) in 1859, particularly water vapor.

For a time, the anti-cyclical, pro-GHG camp had the advantage, after James Croll’s hypothesis was rejected, and Svante Arrhenius in 1894 proposed CO2 as the responsible GHG. But then, doubts about the CO2 effect and a new formulation of the cyclical astronomical hypothesis by Milankovitch appeared that fit popular geological reconstructions of past glaciations. This swung the field again.

By the late 1940’s Milankovitch theory was well established, particularly in Europe, but not so much in America where reconstruction of Laurentide ice-sheet changes did not match the theory very well. But in the 1950’s a new consensus formed. The GHG theory was reinforced by Suess, Revelle, and Keeling’s work, while carbon dating led to glacial reconstructions at odds with Milankovitch theory.

In the 1960’s and early 70’s Milankovitch theory was discredited with only a handful of followers left. The anti-cyclical, GHG explanation enjoyed wide consensus, but due to the cooling at the time, scholars believed other factors must be at play. Then disaster struck for the anti-cyclical camp. In 1976, Hays, Imbrie, and Shackleton, analyzing Indian Ocean benthic cores for the past 450,000 years and showed that glaciations followed some of Milankovitch frequencies within 5% error. A 140-year quest had ended, and the cyclical orbital supporters had won.

Of course, GHG supporters are bad players and did not accept the defeat graciously. Since it was soon discovered in ice cores that GHGs followed orbital changes (as they should), it was soon proposed (and accepted without evidence) that they were required to amplify the orbital changes and to maintain inter-hemispheric synchroneity. Trying to turn the defeat into a victory, they claim that the frequency is set by Milankovitch but a great deal of glacial-interglacial climate changes are due to GHG changes.

You would think that after showing that climate was cyclical and astronomically based, propositions that other astronomical phenomena (like lunar periodicities or solar variability periodicities), might affect climate would at least be given the benefit of doubt. But no. The anti-cyclical camp enjoys centennial beatings by the cyclical mavericks, so they are building up for the next one by flatly rejecting any significant climatic effect from periodical solar changes. Apparently, they are undeterred by the evidence showing most periods of low solar activity during the Holocene are associated with cooling and atmospheric circulation and precipitation changes, like the LIA. There are about 10 abrupt climate events (ACEs) associated with low solar activity during the Holocene. Some have names like the pre-boreal and boreal oscillations, or the 9.3 or 2.7 kyr events, showing that the most frequent cause for ACEs is prolonged low solar activity.

I have already shown some evidence for that in my previous articles:

Do-It-Yourself: The solar variability effect on climate

Do-It-Yourself: Solar variability effect on climate. Part II

I have also shown that ENSO is under solar control:

Solar minimum and ENSO prediction

Yet the anti-cyclical crowd (IPCC included) takes refuge in the bean-counting argument that solar variability is only 0.1% and therefore too small to produce much of a change. This only shows how narrowly focused their view of climate is. They think that Earth’s climate can be explained solely with terms of W/m2 and after all 0.1% is only 1.4 W/m2 over the 11-yr cycle (solar irradiation), adjusted to only 0.34 W/m2 annual average insolation change at top-of-the-atmosphere (TOA) at 1 AU. However, the Earth received the same TOA insolation during the Last Glacial Maximum as now, so climate is clearly not a case of bean-counting Watts.

Today I am going to show you how solar variability affects Earth’s rotation speed, and why it is important. This issue was raised several times in 2010, but it is not understood by most:

Changes in the rotation speed of the Earth are measured as variations in the length of day (ΔLOD) defined as the difference between the astronomically determined duration of the day and 86,400 Standard International (SI) seconds. ΔLOD has been measured daily down to a 20 microsecond (µs) precision by interferometry since 1962. Annual changes at 1 millisecond (ms) precision have been reconstructed for the telescope era from astronomical observations. Variations in ΔLOD on annual and seasonal (semi-annual) time scales are highly correlated with angular momentum fluctuations within the atmosphere, mainly due to changes in zonal winds. The averaged annual and semi-annual oscillations in ΔLOD feature almost equal amplitudes of approximately 0.36 ms.

The semi-annual oscillation in ΔLOD has the following characteristics:

From November to January the Earth accelerates to ~ 0.2 ms-day (ΔLOD changes by -0.2 ms). Then it decelerates by nearly the same amount by April. Afterwards it accelerates to ~ 1 ms-day by July (ΔLOD change of -1 ms), before decelerating back to the initial value by the next November. The average amplitude is ~ 0.35 ms, but the NH winter component is much smaller than the SH winter component (see figure 1, inset).

This change is caused by the angular momentum of the atmosphere being higher in winter because the meridional circulation is much stronger during that season. This is the result of the winter pole receiving very little insolation as the Sun is above the opposite hemisphere. The dark pole becomes colder and the latitudinal temperature gradient steeper, and as a result more heat needs to be transported poleward, activating the meridional circulation in that hemisphere. The asymmetry of the NH (Northern Hemisphere) winter and SH (Southern Hemisphere) winter components of ΔLOD is due to the asymmetry in land masses between hemispheres having a strong effect on wind circulation.

Le Mouël et al., 2010 showed that the semi-annual component of ΔLOD responds to solar variability. This is an extremely important result highlighted only by a few skeptics and ignored by everybody else. Part of the problem is that the article’s method to show it is quite complicated, and most people did not understand the article or its implications. Let’s try a simpler way.

Let’s concentrate only on the NH winter acceleration (ΔLOD decrease) that by being smaller, more clearly shows the effect. We start with LOD data from the International Earth Rotation and Reference System Service EOP C04 IAU2000A file:

This is a 20,700 data point file with daily ΔLOD values since 1962. It is converted to monthly values to work with only 680 points and eliminate all the oceanic and atmospheric tidal higher frequencies. The result is shown in figure 1.

Figure 1. Monthly ΔLOD. The inset shows two years of data with four semi-annual components. What I am going to measure every year is the acceleration (ΔLOD decrease) of the NH-winter component.

The NH winter trough in ΔLOD might take place in Dec-Jan-Feb (DJF), so for every year I select the lowest value among those three months, and then subtract from that value the highest value (ΔLOD fall peak) within the four prior months to the one selected. If there is no peak value in the 4 prior months this means there was no ΔLOD decrease the prior fall and I introduce a zero (it happened in 1983 and 1993, see figure 1). The result is a number for every year measuring the Earth’s acceleration from Oct-Nov to DJF in milliseconds, that varies between 0 and -0.9 ms.

As ΔLOD is affected by anything that affects the angular momentum of the atmosphere, like ENSO, the obtained NH winter acceleration yearly dataset is noisy, so we smooth it with a triangular filter (ΔLODsm[t] = 0.5*ΔLOD[t] + 0.25*ΔLOD[t-1] + 0.25*ΔLOD[t+1]). The result is then compared to solar activity, in this case monthly 10.7 cm flux smoothed with a gaussian filter. It is shown in figure 2.

Figure 2. NH winter ΔLOD vs. Solar activity

This is a simpler way to look at the dependence of the speed of rotation of the Earth on solar variability. Let’s remember that Le Mouël et al., 2010, and Paul Vaughan here at WUWT, showed that both semi-annual components respond to solar variability, and not only the NH winter one that I have shown. The agreement with solar data is even better using both components (see Le Mouël et al., 2010 or the WUWT links above).

Now we know how solar variability affects climate despite being only a 0.1% change in TSI. But before explaining that, let me explain why ΔLOD is so important for climate.

Changes in Earth’s rotation speed act as a climate integrator, reflecting changes in atmospheric circulation that then cause changes in temperature. ΔLOD is not known to be a cause for climate change, but a way of measuring it that responds in real time to changes in the angular momentum of the atmosphere. It is therefore a leading indicator of climate change. It is not known to respond to radiative changes and therefore to CO2, and thus it does not appear in the IPCC reports. I searched the WG1 AR5 report and could not find any mention of it. Yet, in 1976 Kurt Lambeck and Anny Cazenave reported that changes in ΔLOD for the past 150 years correlate well to a variety of climate indices, and they produced one of the few trend-change climate predictions that have proven accurate. They indicated that since ΔLOD had started accelerating in 1972 (see figure 1) the observed cooling trend was about to end. 1976 was the exact year when that happened.

Adriano Mazzarella in 2013, and Mazzarella and Scafetta in 2018 showed the good correlation between several climate indices and ΔLOD. In figure 3 I compare, as he did, yearly NH SST from HadSST3.1 and yearly ΔLOD (both linearly detrended for the period shown).

Figure 3. Detrended changes in Northern Hemisphere Sea Surface Temperature and detrended changes in Earth’s rotation speed (ΔLOD inverted).

On average changes in ΔLOD precede changes in SST by 4 years, indicating that atmospheric changes affecting ΔLOD are also responsible for cooling or warming the ocean surface.

So, how does the Sun affect ΔLOD? As figure 2 shows, when solar activity is high the winter NH acceleration does not take place, and when solar activity is low the winter NH acceleration is greater. So, the winter NH atmospheric circulation suffers more profound changes when solar activity is low. Low solar activity is also associated with a stronger activation of the winter meridional circulation that causes stronger meridional heat transport towards the poles and more frequent winter blocking. Further, low solar activity is associated with persistent winter negative NAO (North Atlantic Oscillation) conditions over high latitudes. The subpolar oceanic gyre then becomes weaker. A warmer North Atlantic current feeds more snow to Scandinavia (remember the great 2010 snowstorm that blanketed Great Britain and several other European countries), while weaker Westerlies result in a more southward winter storm track that dries Northern Europe and wets the Mediterranean.

During the LIA (Little Ice Age) the planet got stuck in this situation during years and decades of low solar activity. And every 200 years there was a Grand Solar Minimum that lasted for 80-150 years, so it got cooler and cooler and glaciers grew and grew, until solar activity returned to normal and there was a recovery. It was a slow cooling and it is a slow warming. Long-term solar activity has been growing to the late 20th century (figure 4). According to my calculations of solar periodicities, long-term solar activity should continue being high for at least another 100 years, but it won’t increase much more over the levels seen in the second half of the 20th-century. So, it should not significantly contribute to additional global warming.

Because of the land mass asymmetry between hemispheres, the atmospheric circulation changes caused by solar variability are proportionally smaller in the Southern Hemisphere. Although the effect is global it is stronger in the Northern Hemisphere, providing an explanation for the unexplained fact that climate change is more intense in that hemisphere. LIA effects were also stronger in the Northern Hemisphere, to the point of some suggesting it was a regional phenomenon. It is a feature of asymmetric solar variability effect on hemispheric atmospheric circulation, and the reason I selected NH-winter acceleration to show the effect.

Figure 4 shows how solar activity changed during the LIA and how it has been increasing since. Temperature has been trailing the recovery in solar activity with a delay. While solar activity started recovering after ~ 1700, temperature bottomed a second time in 1810-1840 and only started recovering after the cluster of large volcanic eruptions during the Dalton period (~1790-1840) ended. Temperature is affected by more things than just solar activity.

Figure 4. a) Solar activity reconstruction from 14C record (Muscheler et al., 2007), with a 2nd degree polynomial showing the long-term trend. b) Total solar irradiation reconstruction (Vieira et al., 2011) compared to Northern Hemisphere summer temperature reconstruction (Anchukaitis et al., 2017).

The planet’s climate is determined by the latitudinal temperature gradient, not the average global temperature. The poles are energy sinks to space (particularly in winter) and the efficiency of the poleward heat transport determines how much energy the planet retains, not the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere, which has a much smaller effect. We are studying the thickness of the glass in the windows, when it is the open door to the poles that matters regarding warming. The door has been closing, so the Earth has been warming, and solar variability is responsible, while CO2is just contributing. Zonal wind vertical strength is proportional to the latitudinal temperature gradient and inversely proportional to the Coriolis factor. Solar variability, despite being only 0.1%, shows a demonstrable capacity to affect the zonal/meridional wind balance during winters. There are several possible mechanisms, but a strong possibility is through stratospheric latitudinal temperature gradients due to winter ozone distribution and UV changes with solar variability. These gradients could affect tropospheric wind circulation through changes in geopotential height. Alternatively, the atmosphere is known to expand and contract with solar activity, but this effect is dominated by the rarefied outer atmosphere that has very little mass, and the atmospheric angular momentum changes that affect Earth’s rotation are dominated by the effect of tropospheric winds in the lower 30 km. It could be a combination of solar variability effects over the entire atmosphere acting in the same direction and affecting zonal wind circulation.

The importance of the latitudinal temperature gradient cannot be overstated. Christopher Scotese has been reconstructing the climate of the distant past by reconstructing changes in the latitudinal temperature gradient on a 10-million-year scale over the Phanerozoic. The main difference between a hothouse climate and an icehouse climate is in the gradient, and the average temperature of the planet is just the result of how much energy is moved through the gradient.

When this is sufficiently researched, once again the cyclical climate camp will have given a sound beating to the GHG crowd, let’s hope that this time is for good. And the TSI bean counters will discover that the climate of the planet is a lot more complex than they think and it is not only a matter of W/m2. Simple answers are satisfying, but rarely solve complex questions.

And if you want to know how climate change is going to evolve over the next 4 years, you only have to look at how ΔLOD is evolving now. You will know more about it than the IPCC, Gavin Schmidt, and all the consensus builders looking at their models based on an incorrect paradigm.

I leave for another day how the Moon produces some of the most abrupt cyclical climate change events of the past.


Hays, J. D., Imbrie, J. and Nicholas J. Shackleton. 1976. Variations in the Earth’s orbit: pacemaker of the ice ages. Science 194 (4270), 1121-1132. Link.

Le Mouël, J. L., Blanter, E., Shnirman, M., & Courtillot, V. (2010). Solar forcing of the semi‐annual variation of length‐of‐day. Geophysical Research Letters, 37(15). Link.

Na, S. H., Kwak, Y., Cho, J. H., Yoo, S. M., & Cho, S. (2013). Characteristics of perturbations in recent length of day and polar motion. Journal of Astronomy and Space Sciences, 30, 33-41. Link.

Lambeck, K., & Cazenave, A. (1976). Long term variations in the length of day and climatic change. Geophysical Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society, 46(3), 555-573. Link.

Mazzarella, A. (2013). Time-integrated North Atlantic Oscillation as a proxy for climatic change. Natural Science, 5(01), 149. Link.

Mazzarella, A., & Scafetta, N. (2018). The Little Ice Age was 1.0–1.5° C cooler than current warm period according to LOD and NAO. Climate Dynamics, 1-12. Link.

Muscheler, R., Joos, F., Beer, J., Müller, S. A., Vonmoos, M., & Snowball, I. (2007). Solar activity during the last 1000 yr inferred from radionuclide records. Quaternary Science Reviews, 26(1-2), 82-97. Link.

Anchukaitis, K. J., Wilson, R., Briffa, K. R., Büntgen, U., Cook, E. R., D’Arrigo, R., … & Hegerl, G. (2017). Last millennium Northern Hemisphere summer temperatures from tree rings: Part II, spatially resolved reconstructions. Quaternary Science Reviews, 163, 1-22. Link.

Vieira, L. E. A., Solanki, S. K., Krivova, N. A., & Usoskin, I. (2011). Evolution of the solar irradiance during the Holocene. Astronomy & Astrophysics, 531, A6. Link.

[Update, because of some rogue code that made it into this post, it may appear on your device that you can edit it.  Just refresh to undo any edits you think you’ve made.  No harm. No foul..~ctm]

[HiFast Note:  Lively comment thread at WUWT here.]

Prediction of the Strength and Timing of Sunspot Cycle 25 Reveal Decadal-scale Space Environmental Conditions

Reblogged from Watts Up With That:

Prediction of the Strength and Timing of Sunspot Cycle 25 Reveal Decadal-scale Space Environmental Conditions

Prantika Bhowmik1 and Dibyendu Nandy1,2,*
1Center of Excellence in Space Sciences India, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research Kolkata, Mohanpur 741246, West Bengal, India 2Department of Physical Sciences, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research Kolkata, Mohanpur 741246, West Bengal, India *Corresponding author:

The Sun’s activity cycle governs the radiation, particle and magnetic flux in the heliosphere creating hazardous space weather. Decadal-scale variations define space climate and force the Earth’s atmosphere. However, predicting the solar cycle is challenging. Current understanding indicates a short window for prediction best achieved at previous cycle minima. Utilizing magnetic field evolution models for the Sun’s surface and interior we perform the first century-scale, data-driven simulations of solar activity and present a scheme for extending the prediction window to a decade. Our ensemble forecast indicates cycle 25 would be similar or slightly stronger than the current cycle and peak around 2024. Sunspot cycle 25 may thus reverse the substantial weakening trend in solar activity which has led to speculation of an imminent Maunder-like grand minimum and cooling global climate. Our simulations demonstrate fluctuation in the tilt angle distribution of sunspots is the dominant mechanism responsible for solar cycle variability.

Full paper here

HT/Leif Svalgaard

Dr. Willie Soon versus the Climate Apocalypse

From Watts Up With That:

Guest Blogger /

More honesty and less hubris, more evidence and less dogmatism, would do a world of good

Dr. Jeffrey Foss

“What can I do to correct these crazy, super wrong errors?” Willie Soon asked plaintively in a recent e-chat. “What errors, Willie?” I asked.

“Errors in Total Solar Irradiance,” he replied. “The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change keeps using the wrong numbers! It’s making me feel sick to keep seeing this error. I keep telling them – but they keep ignoring their mistake.”

Astrophysicist Dr. Willie Soon really does get sick when he sees scientists veering off their mission: to discover the truth. I’ve seen his face flush with shock and shame for science when scientists cherry-pick data. It ruins his appetite – a real downer for someone who loves his food as much as Willie does.

You have got to love a guy like that, if you love science – and I do. I’m a philosopher of science, not a scientist, but my love for science runs deep – as does my faith. So I cannot help but admire Willie and his good old-fashioned passion for science.

Willie Soon may one day be a household name. More and more he appears at the pointy end of scientific criticism of Climate Apocalypse. In two recent lawsuits against Big Oil, one by New York City and the other by San Francisco and Oakland, Dr. Soon is named as the “paid agent” of “climate change denialism.” As the man who – Gasp! – singlehandedly convinced Big Oil to continue business as usual.

Can you even imagine that? I can’t: Big Oil couldn’t turn off its taps in big cities even if it wanted to.

Putting such silly lawsuits aside, it is a big honor, historically speaking, for Dr. Soon to be the face of scientific rebuttal of Climate Apocalypse, since feeding the developed world’s apocalypse addiction is the main tool of a powerful global political agenda.

The IPCC – along with the United Nations and many environmentalist organizations, politicians, bureaucrats and their followers – desperately want to halt and even roll back development in the industrialized world, and keep Africa and other poor countries permanently undeveloped, while China races ahead. They want Willie silenced. We the people need to make sure he is heard.

Dr. Soon never sought the job of defending us against the slick, computer model-driven, anti-fossil fuel  certainties of Climate Apocalypse. Willie just happened to choose solar science as a career and, like many solar scientists, after nearly three decades of scientific research in his case, came to believe that changes in the sun’s brightness, sunspots and energy output, changes in the orbital position of the Earth relative to the sun, and other powerful natural forces drive climate change. In brief, our sun controls our climate.

Even the IPCC initially indicated agreement with him, citing his work approvingly in its second (1996) and third (2001) Assessment Reports. That later changed, significantly. Sure, everyone agrees that the sun caused the waxing and waning of the ice ages, just as solar scientists say. However, the sun had to be played down if carbon dioxide (CO2) was to be played up – an abuse of science that makes Willie sick.

Unfortunately for the IPCC, solar scientists think solar changes also explain Earth’s most recent warming period which, they point out, began way back in the 1830s – long before we burned enough fossil fuels to make any difference. They also observed the shrinking of the Martian ice-caps in the 1990s, and their return in the last few years – in perfect time with the waning and waxing of Arctic ice caps here on Earth.

Only the sun – not the CO2 from our fires – could cause that Earth-Mars synchronicity. And surely it is no mere coincidence that a grand maximum in solar brightness (Total Solar Irradiance or TSI) took place in the 1990s as both planets’ ice caps shrank, or that the sun cooled (TSI decreased) as both planets’ ice caps grew once again. All that brings us back to Dr. Soon’s disagreements with the IPCC.

The IPCC now insists that solar variability is so tiny that they can just ignore it, and proclaim CO2 emissions as the driving force behind climate change. But solar researchers long ago discovered unexpected variability in the sun’s brightness – variability that is confirmed in other stars of the sun’s type. Why does the IPCC ignore these facts? Why does it insist on spoiling Willie’s appetite?

It sure looks like the IPCC is hiding the best findings of solar science so that it can trumpet the decreases in planetary warming (the so-called “greenhouse effect”) that they embed in the “scenarios” (as they call them) emanating from their computer models. Ignoring the increase in solar brightness over the 80s and 90s, they instead enthusiastically blame the warmth of the 1990s on human production of CO2.

In just such ways they sell us their Climate Apocalypse – along with the roll-back of human energy use, comfort, living standards and progress: sacrifices that the great green gods of Gaia demand of us if we are to avoid existential cataclysms. Thankfully, virgins are still safe – for now.

Surely Willie and solar scientists are right about the primacy of the sun. Why? Because the observable real world is the final test of science. And the data – actual evidence – shows that global temperatures follow changes in solar brightness on all time-scales, from decades to millions of years. On the other hand, CO2 and temperature have generally gone their own separate ways on these time scales.

Global temperatures stopped going up in the first two decades of this century, even though CO2 has steadily risen. The IPCC blames this global warming “hiatus” on “natural climate variability,” meaning something random, something not included in their models, something the IPCC didn’t see coming.

This confirms the fact that their models do not add up to a real theory of climate. Otherwise the theory would be falsified by their incorrect predictions. They predicted a continuous increase in temperature, locked to a continuous increase in CO2. But instead, temperature has remained steady over the last two decades, while CO2 climbed even faster than before.

IPCC modelers still insist that the models are nevertheless correct, somehow – that the world would be even colder now if it weren’t for this pesky hiatus in CO2-driven warming. Of course, they have to say that – even though they previously insisted the Earth would not be as cool as it is right now.

Still, their politically correct commands stridently persist: stay colder in winter, stay hotter in summer, take cold showers, drive less, make fewer trips, fly less, don’t eat foods that aren’t “local,” bury your loved ones in cardboard boxes, turn off the lights. Their list of diktats is big and continuously growing.

Unlike the IPCC, Willie and I cannot simply ignore the fact that there were multiple ice ages millions of years ago, when CO2 levels were four times higher than now. And even when CO2 and temperature do trend in tandem, as in the famous gigantic graph in Al Gore’s movie, the CO2 rises followed temperature increases by a few centuries. That means rising CO2 could not possibly have caused the temperature increases – an inconvenient truth that Gore doesn’t care about and studiously ignores.

Unfortunately, through their powerful political and media cadres, the IPCC has created a highly effective propaganda and war-on-fossil-fuels vehicle, to herd public opinion – and marginalize or silence any scientist who dares to disagree with it. For better or worse, richer or poorer, my dear, passionate Dr. Soon is one scientist who is always ready to stand in the path of that tank and face it down: anytime, anywhere.

I’m frightened by the dangers to Willie, his family and his career, due to his daily battles with the Climate Apocalypse industry. I can’t get it out of my mind that the university office building of climatologist John Christy – who shares Willie’s skepticism of Climate Apocalypse – was shot full of bullet holes last year. But let’s not let a spattering of gunfire spoil a friendly scientific debate. Right?

Willie’s courage makes me proud to know him, and to be an aficionado of science like he is. When it comes to the long game, my money is on Dr. Willie Soon. We the people hunger for truth, as does science itself. And that hunger will inevitably eclipse our romantic dalliance with the Climate Apocalypse.

Dr. Jeffrey Foss is a philosopher of science and Professor Emeritus at the University of Victoria, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada