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Climate Change and the Sun

New Material!!:

"We need to dramatically re-allocate climate-related science, program, and policy funding towards solar physics, astronomy, and geology. This implies a loss of policy analysts, scientists (including meteorologists) and engineers in other areas, plus a revamping of the many funding organisations and science management structures, but change is necessary."

It almost seems that one of the most politically-incorrect group of scientists today are solar physicists, as they are seen to be a threat to the "Kyoto Premise" view on Climate Change. Actually, geologists (more generally Earth Scientists) are more dangerous heretics as they are the hosts of all real climate change data and analysis on time scales that help us actually analyse the problem. But apart from industry geologists and the rare academic scientists, geologists have been rather quiet and well behaved.

However, perhaps starting with ??William Herschel's observation in ~1806 based on Adam Smith's "The Wealth of Nations"?? that wheat prices in England seemd to follow sunspot cycles, and certainly following Maunder's work on the Maunder minimum in the latter part of the 1800's and early 1900's, and his analysis of tree ring data from ?American scientist?, scientists have often found strong correlations between solar activity and terrestrial processes. Unfortunately, they have also often found that these correlations tend to disappear, sometimes as soon as they publish their papers, sometimes by the next generation of scientists, and sometimes when better mathematical statstical tools are applied. And, speaking personally, it's easy to catch the disease of "cyclomania"! Perhaps for these reasons, there isn't a high degree of confidence in the role of the sun for climate change or other processes.

When faced with spotty results like this, its a good idea to look elsewhere for theories that fit the data better, and which bring an understanding to the subject. Unfortunately, it often seems that alternative theories are selected that don't fit the data either at all, or when they do fit it they are suggestive of other theories. The role of anthropogenic GHGs in Climate Change fits this category.

But it seems to me that the huge gap that needs to be filled now is the requirement for mathematics and statistics that are appropriate for complex dynamical systems like the sun, which are chaotic or intermittent, discontinuous, and strongly time-lagged and non-linear. The vast majority of scientists don't have the background for tackling these systems, and their analysis and conclusions may therefore be useless, or even worse, highly misleading. Even experts in advanced systems analysis may have problems. Perhaps the areas of signal analysis and advanced control theory (perhaps most often applied to electrical engineering) are of critical importance here, and indeed, some of the best climate analysis and models seem to have benefitted from that type of background.

In any case, the focus of this web-page is to gather a number of key concepts that show the sun-climate link, and to broaden the approach by including other astronomical and geological drivers, and Earth Sciences and evolutionary biology mediators of climate. Proposals will also be made to change the scientists, institutions, prioritizations and processes for Climate Change science and policy.

Astronomy and geology as the dominant climate drivers
and clouds, glaciers, ocean currents, and evolutionary biology as climate mediators

Because this web-page is newly split-off from an earlier web-page (as of 04May07) and I am currently focussing on other priorities, it will be some time before I can "fill it in". Some key references are given below, and my primary current material is actually in the "background, concept framework" document for the rise and fall of civilisations:
Another more specialized web-page will be set up to address the role of galactic rays. The following text is extracted from the above document as an indication of how I see things at this point in time:

Glaciation models for the last 6 million years

Here are results so far for my modeling of glaciation over the last 6 million years (6 MyBP). In addition to a preliminary report with background information on past and current models of glaciation, computer software (from the group of Jaques laskar etal) and extensive Milankovic insolation data is posted on my website for calculating insolations using software from Laskar etal, and for calculating ice volumes (roughly related to earth temperatures).

Note that the software is generally written in the Q'Nial programming language, www.nialsystem.com, which is a great prototyping language, although most would use MatLab or Mathematica.

Holocene climate - Milankovic models plus sun-barycenter movements
First posted 24Oct07

There have for a LOOOONNG time been papers linking solar activity to the motion of planets in the solar system - in fact the FIRST models of solar activity (eg sunspot cycles) were of that nature (Charbonneau 2002). Strong "modern" advocates include the late Rhodes Fairbridge, Ivanka Charvatova, and Theodore Landscheit.

My own limited modelling has focussed on the sun / solar system barycenter distances and their effect on insolation. However, this is a "side-issue" for me for a casual project on the sun and civilisations, as opposed to being my major research thrust.

My results probably reflect those of many other teams that likely work in this area, but I haven't had a chance to dig all of that out yet. The results are quite exciting, as they suggest on the basis of insolation calculations what a few scientists have suspected for over 100 years: many of the sub-millenial climate and solar "quasi-cycles" could be explained by the sun-barycenter movements. This also implies that sub-millenial insolation changes are as large as the long-term Milankovic forcings. Butas the paper explains, I've only used a "half-a-deck-of cards" when all of the known/ suspected major climate drivers are considered (this list does NOT include CO2 concentrations above 40-60 ppm!).

As with the 6 My glaciation model above, computer software and extensive Milankovic insolation data is posted on my website for calculating insolations by combining sun-barycenter results from NASA-JPL's Horizon interface for their Ephemeris software, plus modifications to the software from Laskar etal mentioned above. Note that there are conceptual and software errors in my work, but the preliminary results show promise and point in a very useful direction.

Note that "most" of the softare source code, and "much" of the intermediate data is provided in the directories listed above. However, there are MANY huge data/results files missing, as that would take some time and a lot of disk space to set up. However, the source code will provide an exact view of the models, and the data/results provided provide great checks on consistency.

Appendix 2 - Climate Change: A current and controversial view

In a nutshell, the major climate drivers appear to be astronomy, geology, and evolutionary biology, and this is discussed in more depth in my web-document as linked under "Astronomy and geology" above, as well as many other sources such as the references in Appendix 1 (notably Khandekar, Weart, Shaviv & Veizer, etc). These major drivers are discussed according to various timescales below.

    Phanerozoic Era (~570 My to present) - The really BIG swings in temperature occur in quasi-cycles of somewhere on the order of 70 to 140 million years (My). The best (?only?) theory for this is that the interaction of galactic rays and the helio- & geo- magnetic fields drives cloud cover variability, which has a huge influence on Earth temperatures (Shaviv and Veizer ???). Galactic ray exposure vary because the solar system bobs above and below the plane of the Milky Way galaxy (that's ours) with a period of roughly ?70? My, and because the solar system passes through the spirals of the galaxy roughly every 140 My. These changes in the relative position of our solar system within the galaxy change our relative exposure to galactic rays. However, galactic rays can also because of galactic events (short term for sure, perhaps long terms as well.

    Intermediate timescale (5 to 20 My to present) - nothing to put here right now. Last 1 My - The dominant theory for recent glaciations is the role of Milankovic cycles - that is, the variation of solar insolation (the amount of solar power that reaches different latitudes) according to the eccentricity of the Earth's orbit, and the title and recession of the Earth's axis (other components are not yet covered in the data that we are using, although it should be noted that the moon's influence is, I believe, included). Refer to Wikipedia for an excellent description of the limitations and problems with the theory Milankovic theory of climate forcing.

    Holocene period (last 11 to 15 ky) - Right now it appears that Milankovic trends are the #1 influence and these occur gradually, but the effects occur through cloud, glacier and ocean circulation time-lags which can "flip" rapidly. Solar variability provides significant shocks and mid-term trends that are significant to civilisations. The relative impact of soalr variabiliy is certainly underestimated, as leveraging factors such as galactic rays and clouds.

    Modern Warm Period (1850 to present) - It seems clear that solar variability/ galactic rays explain the situation, probably with some help from the glacier/ ocean circulation "climate reseervoirs". Last 20 years - The recent climate trends apparently seem anomalous, but then again so is the behaviour of the sun. I don't have data and analysis, but I'll still bet that Kyoto Premise (see below) turns out to be a turkey. In a nutshell: Sun -> Cloud & Ice cover

    Kyoto Premise - The current science fashion/ cum science cult/ cum science religion regarding anthropogenic GreenHouse Gas (GHG - especially CO2) emissions doesn't even seem to register at any time scale other than perhaps as one of many possible minor but likely insignificant contributors to climate change in the last 20 to 50 years. Separate, web-posted papers provide an analysis of the failures of the current consensus (including the UN-IPCC reports), and an analysis of why scientific consensus and be so wrong for so long a time (this same story has been a lament all the way through history, and education and career long learning hasn't changed this).

References: selected articles, mostly related to solar and climate
  1. Edouard Bard, Martin Frank "Climate change and solar variability: What is new under the sun?" Earth & Planetary Science Letters 248 (2006) pp480-493
  2. Paul Charbonneau 2002 "The rise and fall of the first sunspot model" JHA xxxiii Science History Publications Ltd. - Provided by the NASA Astrophysics data system
  3. Ivanka Charvatova, Jaroslav Strestik 2004 "Periodicities between 6 and 16 years in surface air temperature in possible relation to solar inertial motion" Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics 66 (2004) pp219-227
  4. C1ay "Solar Cycle 25 could be one of the weakest in centuries" 11May2006 http://www.easternuswx.com/bb/lofiversion/index.php/t94927.html
  5. L. J. Gray, J. D. Haigh, R. G. Harrison "Influence of solar changes on the Earth's climate" Hadley Centre, UK, Technical note 62, January 2005 www.met-office.gov.uk/research/hadleycentre/pubs/HCTN/HCTN_62.pdf
  6. Douglas V. Hoyt, Kenneth H. Schatten "The role of the sun in climate change" Oxford University Press, Oxford UK, 1997, 279pp – superb background book
  7. Journalist? or website? NASA wbsite "Scientists Issue Unprecedented Forecastof Next Sunspot Cycle" - David Hathaway cited
  8. Cynthia Kuo, Craig Lindberg, David J. Thomson "Coherence established between atmospheric carbon dioxide and global temperature" Nature, vol343, 22Feb1990, p709-714
  9. Richard Mackey 2007 "Rhodes Fairbridge and the idea that the solar system regulates the Earth’s climate" Journal of Coastal Research SI 50 955 - 968 ICS2007 (Proceedings) Australia ISSN 0749.0208
  10. Nir Shaviv, Jan Veizer “Celestial driver of Phanerozoic climate?” GSA Today, July 2003, pp4-10
  11. Willie W-H Soon, S.H. Yaskell "The Maunder Minimum and the variable sun-earth connection" World Scientific Publ, Signapore, 2003 278pp
  12. W. W-H. Soon "Variable solar irradiance as a plausible agent for multi-decadal variations in the Arctic-wide surface air temperature record of the past 130 years" Geophysical Research Letters, vol 32, L16712, doi:10.1029/2005GL023429, 2005
  13. Ken Tapping "Modeling solar irradiance: values and uncertainties" - presentation to the Engineering Institute of Canada's Climate Change Technology Conference, Ottawa, 12May06 http://www.ccc2006.ca/eng/index.html (not published yet as of May06)
  14. Julio Valdes, Graham Bonham-Carter "Time dependent neural network models for detecting changes of state in Earth and planetary processes" Proceedings of IJCNN 2005, International Joint Conference on Neural Networks. Montreal, paper #1439, pp????-????, 31 July – 4 August 2005.
  15. Jan Veizer "Celestial climate driver: A perspective from four billion years of the carbon cycle" Geoscience Canada, vol32 n1, pp13-28, March 2005

Directory of available files for this webpage.

24Oct07 - Holocene climate paper comments/ link, improved references
04May07 - Updates: split out and expanded from previous webpage 04May07
06Oct06 - original