[Vision2020] Sunspots: 2009 Deepest Solar Minimum in Nearly A Century, Then 2010 Warmest Year in 131Years

Paul Rumelhart godshatter at yahoo.com
Tue Jun 21 19:59:21 PDT 2011

On 06/21/2011 03:49 PM, Ted Moffett wrote:
> On Venus (source for quotes and some exploration of scientific 
> complexities regarding "clouds" lower down) "only about 10 percent of 
> the Sun’s radiation penetrates the clouds and gets to the surface."   
> Yet "On the surface the temperature is 900 degrees F."  It seems this 
> example of rather serious "shading the ground" by clouds does not 
> result in a cool planet!
> You are misrepresenting your original comment ("...a weak sun allows 
> more cosmic
> rays to strike the Earth, leaving ionized air molecules for clouds to
> form around.  This causes a cooling of the Earth by shading the 
> ground...") and my request, in your response to my request on 
> Svensmark's cosmic ray/cloud formation theory regarding the variable 
> "shading the ground," so I'm not directly going to respond to this 
> question, except to point out that, "the Earth" is about 70 percent 
> covered by oceans, so "shading the ground" would only apply to the 
> about 30 percent of the Earth's surface that is land.

I meant that it shades whatever is underneath it, whether that is land, 
water, or a human on a hot day.  I didn't expect that clouds only formed 
over land.  Look, clouds can have a positive and a negative affect on 
temperature.  Clouds can shade the earth (ground, water, rooftops, etc), 
and clouds can also hold in heat.  This should be grade-school level 
stuff.  If you're out on a sunny day, clouds coming in front of the Sun 
are a welcome relief and cool you off.  On the other hand, if clouds 
cover the sky all night, it will stay warmer over night.

> Besides, your response seems to be dodging the central point of my 
> response to your "Sunspots" post:  For someone who is apparently 
> following and studying recent sunspot activity regarding the impact on 
> global climate and temperature, and historically (Maunder Minimum, 
> LIA), with some serious interest, to not mention the deep solar 
> minimum, the deepest in nearly a century, in 2009, and the associated 
> 2009 and 2010 global temperatures as the second and first warmest 
> years in Goddard's 131 year data set, which is relatively new and very 
> important empirical data regarding the debate on solar forcing of 
> climate, is, as I wrote, "a major and puzzling omission."

Here's Svensmark's theory in a nutshell.  When the Sun is more 
magnetically intense, the solar wind is stronger and keeps out more 
cosmic rays.  Cosmic rays ionize the air and cause low clouds to form 
that reflect more sunlight back into space (shading whatever is under 
them).  More cosmic rays cause a cooling effect upon the climate, fewer 
cosmic rays cause an increase in the amount of sunlight that reaches the 
Earth.  When the Sun is more active, as it has been up until the last 
few years, fewer cosmic rays make it through causing fewer low level 
clouds to reflect the sunlight back into space.

Now, we're talking about a statistical effect on the amount of low-level 
cloud cover.  I would imagine it would take a while to lower temperature 
when the magnetic intensity declines over time, especially since some of 
that heat is in the oceans.  That's just a guess.  I don't actually know 
how everything works.  But Svensmark's theory is compelling, especially 
in light of the Maunder minimum / Little Ice Age possible connection.

I mean, compare it to CO2.  Only lately, in the last few decades, has 
CO2 increased drastically due to man.  That doesn't explain the Medieval 
Warm Period or the Little Ice Age, or any other fluctuations in 
temperature over the last few thousand years.  Svensmark, on the other 
hand, can show a correlation between the magnetic intensity of the Sun 
and the temperature of the Earth that explains the Medieval Warm Period 
and the Little Ice Age, and that correlates well with past temperature 

So, the real question is, how do the increase in CO2 and the decrease in 
the magnetic intensity of the Sun affect each other?  I don't know the 
answer to that, and I suspect that the IPCC doesn't either.  It would be 
nice if they would at least consider the possibility that the Sun can 
affect the Earth's climate directly, through cosmic rays or some other 
mechanism, but they seem too focused on their climate models and CO2 as 
a driver to do so.

> But I have another planet for you to ponder regarding clouds impacting 
> planetary temperatures.
> Clouds have a complex impact on global temperature, both cooling and 
> warming.  Defining what a "cloud" is not as simple as it might seem.  
> Atmospheric water vapor is the dominant greenhouse warming variable on 
> Earth, and clouds are for the most part water in the atmosphere.  
> Skeptics of anthropogenic climate change often point out that CO2 has 
> a relatively small impact on the greenhouse effect on Earth compared 
> to water vapor, but they sometimes ignore the well established 
> positive feedback from increasing atmospheric CO2 levels also causing 
> increasing atmospheric water vapor levels, thus causing more warming 
> than would occur from the CO2 increase alone.

If CO2 had a positive feedback on temperature then in the past when CO2 
rose as the Earth warmed from the last ice age, we would have ended up 
with a runaway greenhouse effect.  Since this did not happen, something 
must overcome it, or it must be too small to matter.  That's the trouble 
with positive feedbacks, once you've knocked that marble down the hill, 
it's really hard to stop it.


> Venus has a cloud cover so dense that only "about 10 percent of the 
> Sun’s radiation penetrates the clouds and gets to the surface."  Quite 
> an example of "shading the ground," it appears, yet "On the surface 
> the temperature is 900 degrees F."
> http://www.brighthub.com/science/space/articles/68774.aspx
> From website above:
> Part of the reason for this planetary hothouse is Venus’ thick cloud 
> <http://www.brighthub.com/science/space/articles/68774.aspx#> cover 
> and atmosphere. Consisting mainly of carbon dioxide (CO_2 ), Venus’ 
> atmosphere carries the greenhouse effect to the extreme. As the 
> environmentalists keep warning, a buildup of CO_2 in our atmosphere 
> could increase Earth’s temperature to unbearable levels. It has on Venus.
> Add the thick cloud cover which also helps hold heat in, and you have 
> a world <http://www.brighthub.com/science/space/articles/68774.aspx#> 
> that can never cool off. In fact, the European Space Agency’s (ESA) 
> Venus Express probe has found that there is very little difference in 
> day and night time temperatures on the planet.
> Interestingly, the probe has found that only about 10 percent of the 
> Sun’s radiation penetrates the clouds and gets to the surface. But 100 
> percent what does reach the surface stays, because the greenhouse 
> effect and clouds hold it in.
> ------------------------------------------
> Vision2020 Post: Ted Moffett
> On Mon, Jun 20, 2011 at 7:09 AM, Paul Rumelhart <godshatter at yahoo.com 
> <mailto:godshatter at yahoo.com>> wrote:
>     Are you asking me to find you a peer-reviewed paper published in a
>     credible scientific journal that backs up my claim that "clouds
>     shade the earth"?  Really?
>     Paul
>     On 06/19/2011 10:28 PM, Ted Moffett wrote:
>         Excuse me?
>         You did not mention in your "Sunspots" post that in 2009 the solar
>         minimum was the deepest in nearly a century, nor mention that the
>         impacts on cooling global temperature that such a deep solar
>         minimum
>         should have were likely overcome by other forcings in the climate
>         system, given that 2009 and 2010 were the second and first warmest
>         years for global average temperature in Goddard's temperature
>         record
>         since 1880.
>         Given your emphasis on sunspot cycles having a major influence on
>         global temperature, to not mention the 2009 recent deep solar
>         minimum,
>         and the associated global temperatures, is a major and puzzling
>         omission.
>         As far as you posing as a credible critic of NASA's climate
>         scientist
>         James Hansen, pardon my intense skepticism.
>         At the website below from James Hansen read discussion
>         indicating that
>         variations in solar irradiance associated with sunspot cycles
>         do have
>         an impact on global temperature in short time frames, from year to
>         year, as does ENSO cycles, so the deep solar minimum of 2009, the
>         deepest in nearly a century, should have had an impact on 2009
>         or 2010
>         global temperature, even if small:
>         http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2010/01/2009-temperatures-by-jim-hansen/
>         > From website above:
>         "The 5 year mean is sufficient to reduce the effect of the El
>         Niño –
>         La Niña cycles of tropical climate. The 11 year mean minimizes the
>         effect of solar variability – the brightness of the sun varies
>         by a
>         measurable amount over the sunspot cycle, which is typically
>         of 10-12
>         year duration."
>         ------------------------------
>         Also, please refer to a published climate science article in a
>         credible peer reviewed journal where in reference to Svensmark's
>         cosmic ray/cloud formation theory the phrase "shading the
>         ground" is
>         used to indicate this is a major variable involved in cooling
>         or not
>         of the Earth's climate due to cosmic ray cloud formation
>         variables.
>         Good luck!
>         ------------------------------------------
>         Vision2020 Post: Ted Moffett
>         On 6/18/11, Paul Rumelhart<godshatter at yahoo.com
>         <mailto:godshatter at yahoo.com>>  wrote:
>             On 06/18/2011 11:47 AM, Ted Moffett wrote:
>                 The subject heading sums up the main point of this post.
>                 Odd (well, not really, actually what I've come to
>                 expect) that given
>                 your in-depth (?) research into solar activity and its
>                 relation to
>                 Earth's climate, you make no mention, in your sunspot
>                 comments below,
>                 of the very significant recent deep solar minimum in
>                 sunspot activity
>                 in 2009, the deepest solar minimum in nearly a
>                 century, according to
>                 NASA: "This is the quietest sun we've seen in almost a
>                 century,"
>                 agrees sunspot expert David Hathaway of the Marshall
>                 Space Flight
>                 Center:
>                 http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2009/01apr_deepsolarminimum/
>             Sure I did.  It was the part where I said (and I quote) "I
>             started this
>             a couple of years ago.  It was extremely boring at first,
>             because there would be stretches of sometimes months
>             between sunspots."
>             I've been watching the Sun, mostly daily, ever since.
>                 During and just after this deep solar minimum, Earth's
>                 average surface
>                 temperature in 2009 and 2010 remained among the top
>                 ten warmest years
>                 in the 131 year instrumental record from the Goddard
>                 Insitutue for
>                 Space Studies.
>                 In fact, 2010 was tied statistically with 2005 as the
>                 top warmest year
>                 in 131 years, according to GISS:
>                 http://www.giss.nasa.gov/research/news/20110112/
>                 http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/tabledata/GLB.Ts+dSST.txt
>             Wasn't 2010 an El-Nino year?
>                 The following article from the Earth Institute at
>                 Columbia University
>                 mentions the 2009 deep solar minimum impacts on global
>                 temperature:
>                 2000-2009: The Warmest Decade:
>                 http://www.earthinstitute.columbia.edu/articles/view/2620
>                   "In 2009, it was clear that even the deepest solar
>                 minimum in the
>                 period of satellite data hasn't stopped global warming
>                 from
>                 continuing," said Goddard Institute for Space Studies
>                 director Dr.
>                 James Hansen.
>             It would appear that a small drop in total solar
>             irradiance does not
>             have an immediate effect upon surface temperatures.
>              However, it would
>             be ill-advised to ignore the Maunder Minimum / Little Ice
>             Age connection
>             because of this.  There is a lot of heat currently in the
>             system, much
>             of it in the oceans.  Maybe it takes a few years to have
>             an effect.
>             That's if you trust the guys in charge of the surface
>             temperature data
>             sets, which I don't.
>                 ---------------------
>                 In 2009, during this deep solar minimum, there was
>                 speculation in the
>                 scientific community that we could be entering a
>                 prolonged period of
>                 very low solar activity, that "...sunspots could
>                 completely vanish
>                 around the year 2015."
>                 http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2009/03sep_sunspots/
>                 But this did not occur.  Solar cycle 24 has seen an
>                 increase in
>                 sunspot activity, with sunspot activity predicted for
>                 2015 above the
>                 2009 deep solar minimum.
>             According to my phone, which may be incorrect, we're
>             actually in 2011
>             right now.  The current sunspot cycle, which was much
>             delayed, is
>             currently running between half and two-thirds the power
>             that the last
>             cycle ran.  It's true that solar cycle 24 (the current
>             one) has seen an
>             increase in sunspot activity.  It's now in that part of
>             the cycle.  It's
>             turning out to be a rather dismal cycle for sunspots, though.
>                 There are always a wide variety of theories and
>                 speculations occuring
>                 in the science community on many issues.  Those with a
>                 biased agenda
>                 cherry-pick the theories and research to suit their
>                 confirmation bias
>                 filter, and conveniently ignore a balanced
>                 consideration of all the
>                 scientific research.
>                 On 6/17/11, Paul Rumelhart<godshatter at yahoo.com
>                 <mailto:godshatter at yahoo.com>>   wrote:
>                 "For example, there is an interesting theory by a guy
>                 named Henrik Svensmark that states that a weak sun
>                 allows more cosmic
>                 rays to strike the Earth, leaving ionized air
>                 molecules for clouds to
>                 form around.  This causes a cooling of the Earth by
>                 shading the ground
>                 and by changing the albedo."
>                 Your depiction of the cosmic ray/cloud formation
>                 impacts on cooling
>                 the Earth's is misleading.  Given my reading on this
>                 scientific issue,
>                 "shading the ground" is not a major impact of cloud
>                 formation
>                 associated with cosmic rays on temperature, though
>                 changes in albedo
>                 are:
>                 A detailed analysis of Svensmark's cosmic ray/cloud
>                 theories from
>                 Skepticalscience.com at this website:
>                 http://www.skepticalscience.com/print.php?n=388
>             "Shading the ground" not having a major impact is clearly
>             BS.  Ever
>             stood outside on a hot day when the sun is out and had a
>             cloud move in
>             front of the Sun?  Cools it down, doesn't it?
>             Paul
>                 ------------------------------------------
>                 Vision2020 Post: Ted Moffett
>                 On 6/17/11, Paul Rumelhart<godshatter at yahoo.com
>                 <mailto:godshatter at yahoo.com>>   wrote:
>                     I've been meaning to post on this subject for a
>                     while, but have been
>                     short on time.
>                     You've probably all seen the news about some
>                     research that was unveiled
>                     at a meeting of the American Astronomical Society
>                     that suggests that the
>                     Sun will become more quiet over the next few years
>                     as sunspots become
>                     rarer.  This is due mainly to a river of gas under
>                     the surface of the
>                     Sun which disrupts sunspots.
>                     Sunspots are holes in the outer layer of the Sun
>                     caused by magnetic
>                     fields.  The more sunspots on the Earth-facing
>                     side of the Sun and the
>                     hotter it is.  Of course, this varies only
>                     slightly in comparison to the
>                     overall output of the Sun.
>                     I just wanted to weigh in on this subject and to
>                     post some related
>                     information about it.  I'll also give my take on
>                     it.  Not that anybody
>                     cares.
>                     First, here is a representative article on the
>                     subject from the BBC:
>                     http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-13792479
>                     Global warming alarmists (as I like to think of
>                     them) were quick to
>                     rebut this idea.  Here is a representative article
>                     from Discover:
>                     http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2011/06/17/are-we-headed-for-a-new-ice-age/
>                     Here is a chart from NASA that shows solar cycle
>                     24 (the one we're
>                     currently in) compared to solar cycle 23.  It also
>                     shows their current
>                     predictions for the rest of this cycle:
>                     http://solarscience.msfc.nasa.gov/images/ssn_predict_l.gif
>                     One of the reasons that this topic is so important
>                     is that the last time
>                     sunspots declined for a long period of time during
>                     the Maunder Minimum,
>                     we had the Little Ice Age, which followed the
>                     Medieval Warm Period.
>                     Some people suspect there might be a link between
>                     the two events.  Here
>                     is some info from Wikipedia about LIA and the
>                     Maunder Minimum:
>                     http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Little_ice_age
>                     http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maunder_Minimum
>                     Now, the main objection to the LIA (aside from the
>                     whole "Hockey Stick"
>                     fiasco) seems to be that it was a phenomenon local
>                     to Europe.  However,
>                     there is a paper by Huang and Pollack (1997) that
>                     looked at 6,144 sets
>                     of heat flow measurements obtained from all over
>                     the globe suitable for
>                     reconstructing temperature over the Earth for the
>                     last 20,000 years and
>                     concluded that the Medieval Warm Period and the
>                     Little Ice Age were both
>                     global phenomena.  Here is a link to an article on
>                     CO2 Science about it:
>                     http://www.co2science.org/articles/V3/N22/C3.php
>                     Now, there have been lots of rhetoric from both
>                     sides of the fence about
>                     this.  No, I don't think we ought to all be idling
>                     our Expeditions so we
>                     don't get any colder.  I do, however, think there
>                     might be something to
>                     this.  Every day when I get up in the morning, I
>                     check my email, check a
>                     few forums I post on, and see how the sun is
>                     doing.  I like to follow
>                     the sunspot number, and since I check it every day
>                     I watch the
>                     individual sunspots form, decay, and rotate around
>                     the Sun.  It's an odd
>                     hobby, to be sure, but I find it fascinating.
>                      Here are a couple of
>                     websites where you, too, can spend your time
>                     watching the Sun instead of
>                     doing something constructive:
>                     http://www.spaceweather.com/
>                     http://www.solarham.com/
>                     I started this a couple of years ago.  It was
>                     extremely boring at first,
>                     because there would be stretches of sometimes
>                     months between sunspots.
>                     Now, the cycle has finally fired up.  The current
>                     sunspot number as of
>                     this writing is 62.  I've seen it up over a
>                     hundred, but that's still
>                     low compared to the last cycle.
>                     It makes sense to me that small variations in
>                     ahttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maunder_Minimum
>                     <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maunder_Minimum>
>                     large ball of fusing gas
>                     that gives us almost all our heat might have an
>                     affect on climate.  The
>                     professional climate modelers are convinced that
>                     the amount of
>                     fluctuation is too small to make a difference,
>                     since TSI doesn't change
>                     but by less than a percent.  The problem with this
>                     is that it, in my
>                     opinion, is pure hubris.  We know so little about
>                     how the Sun actually
>                     affects the Earth.  For example, there is an
>                     interesting theory by a guy
>                     named Henrik Svensmark that states that a weak sun
>                     allows more cosmic
>                     rays to strike the Earth, leaving ionized air
>                     molecules for clouds to
>                     form around.  This causes a cooling of the Earth
>                     by shading the ground
>                     and by changing the albedo.  This, of course,
>                     happens over a long period
>                     of time, but adds up.  Poor Svensmark, lacking his
>                     stamp of authority by
>                     the IPCC, has been shopping around begging for
>                     cloud chamber experiment
>                     time.  Here is a youtube video describing the theory:
>                     http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EpDDqGqN16s
>                     This is just one possible mechanism by which small
>                     variations in the
>                     Sun's output can affect climate.  To me, it seems
>                     crazy to discount the
>                     Little Ice Age and the Maunder Minimum as being
>                     local events are
>                     assuming they are not causally related simply
>                     because the climate models
>                     we've designed don't show as strong of a
>                     connection.  I consider most of
>                     the climate models unproven, while the global
>                     warming community
>                     apparently thinks they are evidence.
>                     So, may take on it is that the science behind the
>                     sunspot predictions is
>                     sound, there seems to be a connection between the
>                     last time this
>                     happened and a large cooling down of the climate,
>                     and that dismissing it
>                     out of hand is foolhardy at this stage.
>                     Paul

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