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Coming Climate Change Attractions

Are you ready for a new glacial advance?

It is generally not possible to draw conclusions about climatic trends from events in a single year, so I would normally dismiss this cold snap as transient, pending what happens in the next few years.

This is where SOHO comes in. The sunspot number follows a cycle of somewhat variable length, averaging 11 years. The most recent minimum was in March last year. The new cycle, No.24, was supposed to start soon after that, with a gradual build-up in sunspot numbers.

It didn't happen. The first sunspot appeared in January this year and lasted only two days. A tiny spot appeared last Monday but vanished within 24 hours. Another little spot appeared this Monday. Pray that there will be many more, and soon.

The reason this matters is that there is a close correlation between variations in the sunspot cycle and Earth's climate. The previous time a cycle was delayed like this was in the Dalton Minimum, an especially cold period that lasted several decades from 1790.

Northern winters became ferocious: in particular, the rout of Napoleon's Grand Army during the retreat from Moscow in 1812 was at least partly due to the lack of sunspots.

That the rapid temperature decline in 2007 coincided with the failure of cycle No.24 to begin on schedule is not proof of a causal connection but it is cause for concern.

It is time to put aside the global warming dogma, at least to begin contingency planning about what to do if we are moving into another little ice age, similar to the one that lasted from 1100 to 1850.

It might be a PITA to dike Florida and Bangladesh, but it would be a lot easier than staving off half a mile of encroaching ice in the upper midwest and Europe. Crank up your SUV and build some new coal plants before it's too late!

[Update later afternoon]

Well, it's good news in the near term at least, for those living out west, which has had a drought for the past few years. This year was the biggest snow pack in this millennium.

[Thursday morning update]

The criticism begins.


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Robert wrote:

Jacques Marquette had to use quite ingenious methods to cope with the half mile of ice that covered the upper mid-west when he founded Sault Ste. Marie in 1668.

Rand Simberg wrote:

I see that you didn't bother to follow the link.

Robert wrote:

I was just having fun with the way you juxtaposed the excerpt and your commentary.

It seems much more likely that if the current interglacial period is ending, we entering a stadial period (like the Little Ice Age) rather than a glacial period, and Chapman points this out.

It is a good article - people should read it.

Rand Simberg wrote:

It seems much more likely that if the current interglacial period is ending, we entering a stadial period (like the Little Ice Age) rather than a glacial period

Why? The glaciers will return (barring some planetary engineering project that we might undertake to prevent it). Why would this not be the likely time? Particularly considering that they're overdue?

Robert wrote:

This isn't my field, but my understanding has long been that the next ice age isn't overdue according to most theories. At the very least, it is fair to say that answers vary wildly to the question of when the next ice age may occur.

For a quick overview, see
and see in particular

"The Earth is now in an interglacial period known as the Holocene. It was conventional wisdom that "the typical interglacial period lasts about 12,000 years" but that now appears to be incorrect from the evidence of ice core records. Therefore, it has been widely contradicted recently; for example, an article in Nature[7] argues that the current interglacial might be most analogous to a previous interglacial that lasted 28,000 years.

Predicted changes in orbital forcing suggest that the next glacial period would not begin before about 50,000 years from now, regardless of man-made global warming [8] (see Milankovitch cycles). However anthropogenic forcing from increased greenhouse gases might outweigh orbital forcing for as long as intensive use of fossil fuels continues[9]"

where [8] is CLIMATE: An Exceptionally Long Interglacial Ahead? Science (2002).

Wince and Nod wrote:

What this information begs for, to me, is the following:

1. Higher quality data (from weather monitoring and solar monitoring equipment) and more of it.
2. Better climate models, that include both water vapor and sunspot activity.
3. Terraforming methods such as orbital mirrors. If we are too cold, we have the mirrors reflect more sun towards the earth. If we are too warm, we have the mirrors reflect more sun away from the earth.

As you said Rand: Faster, Elon!


mz wrote:

Heh, climate models that include water vapor? Well, that sure is an improvement, why didn't the scientists think of it before?

The solar hypothesis for warming has had weak scientific evidence for affecting recent climate trends and has been vastly blown out of proportion by interested parties.

Rand is just joking about the whole thing. Everybody knows he is a sceptical person who doesn't jump in on the latest study paraphrased in some press article.

The temperature has already rebounded in 2008. Actually, with if the quick rate of warming continues, oceans will boil in decades. Horrible.

Here's the "standard", Lockwood's paper from 2007 looking at solar forcing theories and recent climate, finding little solar explaining power in the trend.

Of course, the Australian's article already reveals what will come with the phrase "true believers in global warming". Bullshit follows, with slight variety.

Karl Hallowell wrote:

The temperature has already rebounded in 2008. Actually, with if the quick rate of warming continues, oceans will boil in decades. Horrible.

This is unacceptable. I propose for the modest cost of a few trillion dollars, an orbiting death ray so that we can boil the oceans now. Also nuking the methane clathrate deposits with our modest nuclear weapon collection should help hasten this glorious day.

Brock wrote:

These types of things are one of the reasons why I want to live in an O'Neil Cylinder (or perhaps a super-big torus station). Barring the sun going nova, climate becomes setting the weatherstat to 72 F and breezy.

Mike Borgelt wrote:

Lockwood's paper has been comprehensively rebutted. It is the bullshit you refer to mz, along with computer models that cannot be falsified by measured data, feedbacks plucked out of thin air and surface temperature records whose station quality leaves much to be desired, to put it mildly. Along with "adjustments" to the data. Who would have thought that current measurements can change the past?

BTW who do you work for? Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, Al Gore? Or some other bunch of half wits?

Given Phil Chapman's background I suspect he's trying to cool the political hysteria surrounding the climate change topic before mz and his pals succeed in wrecking the world's economies so that there simply aren't any resources that will be devoted to expanding into space.

mz wrote:

Nah. Solar can help explain some variations but not the trend.
If you detrend and take out El Nino and Pinatubo, it's actually pretty nice looking.

Your other concerns are just a list of overblown PR talking points with no serious effects on the results.

I wish I'd get money from this, but I don't. I don't work for anyone.

The Chapman writeup is about as idiotic as it gets. It confuses the multi-thousand year ice ages and a one winter temperature anomaly. One can't get much below that in intelligence really.

mz wrote:

I don't know where Rand gets these, from the science howlers mailing list?

If you need to be constantly anti-science to support your political beliefs, maybe it's time to contemplate a bit.

Bill Maron wrote:

Setting aside mz's BS and looking at both sides, I conclude no one really knows what the weather will be like in 10 to 50 years. I do know the religious zeal GW proponents embrace proves the old adage; converts make the worst zealots.

mz wrote:

Bill, don't mix up weather and climate. Climate change is about long term trends.

In a noisy trend, it's next to impossible to attribute one spike's height to either the noise or the trend - it's asking the wrong question anyway. Long term trends rising will have many effects - just like it might be colder some days in Rome than in London but on average they have different climates. You don't have to know the weather exactly ten years from now to predict that on average London will be colder than Rome.

Any fool can take two small data points (january 2007 and january 2008) and argue anything about climate, but only an idiot will believe it.

The reality is of course that practically all of the science is on one side. It's just the public that doesn't really know this since the media has dropped the ball. It's like creationism. The Australian has a long history of publishing climate crap by amateurs, they are politically motivated, reviewed

Here's a short look into a list of "peer reviewed sceptical science", it fails the very first test:

mz wrote:

Ok, now some actual climatologist weighs in

Crispytoast wrote:

The reality is of course that practically all of the science is on one side. It's just the public that doesn't really know this since the media has dropped the ball.

That's ridiculous. In fact, the relentless media drumbeat of AGW and consensus "science" misrepresents the actual uncertainties and level of understanding of the Earth's climate. Anyone who purports to have a skeptical (i.e. scientific) bone in their body who's followed along with the horror stories of fast-and-loose data manipulation revealed at, or the flouting of standard procedures in something as basic and fundamental as temperature measurement shown by, would be forced to reconsider just how well we know what the IPCC claims as unassailable fact. The only "war on science" being perpetrated is by those who demand that Thou Shalt Not Question Our Methods or Conclusions.

Bill Maron wrote:

OK, setting aside mz's condescension and straw men, I've yet to see a "climatologist" who accurately predicted our current "climate" 20 or 30 years ago. If they couldn't do it then why can they do it now? Better computers and models? That's what they said then and no one got it right. I don't doubt the "climate" is changing. I doubt that those confidently predicting what will happen are accurate in their predictions. Your "climatologist" is funded by a far-left environmental group, no possibility of bias there. I get tired of any dissenting opinions being dismissed out of hand. As I said, coverts make the worst zealots.

Leland wrote:

I can't take serious a person who thinks the solar hypothesis for warming is weak, yet insists that ocean's will boil in a decade. It is simple absurdity to make such a claim.

The reality is of course that practically all of the science is on one side. It's just the public that doesn't really know this since the media has dropped the ball.

This written two days after "Earth Day", a pagan holiday hyped by the media and celebrated with discussions about how humans are affecting the natural balance of the Earth. It's nonsense to claim the media dropped that ball.

mz wrote:

Haha, Leland, my "oceans will boil since we can extrapolate from the last 3 months of warming" was a jab at this piece from the article:

On the other hand, it must be noted that the cooling in 2007 was even faster than in typical glacial transitions. If it continued for 20 years, the temperature would be 14C cooler in 2027.

By then, most of the advanced nations would have ceased to exist, vanishing under the ice, and the rest of the world would be faced with a catastrophe beyond imagining.

Australia may escape total annihilation but would surely be overrun by millions of refugees. Once the glaciation starts, it will last 1000 centuries, an incomprehensible stretch of time.

It was a joke illustrating the idiotic method in the article.

Earth day as pagan holiday, oh my, I'm laughing over here.

The Australian article is a total sham. The author takes a short one year period of cooling (or return to average temperatures really) and says it's unprecedented and predicts an ice age. He also talks about sunspots.

All this is completely wrong. The cooling is not unprecedented, there have been multiple episodes of such in the past, when the trend has still been rising. The sunspot data is wrong. But even all this doesn't matter as the time period is simply too short to say anything like that.

Rand and the commenters falling for even the shoddiest scams tells something of either not knowing or not wanting to know about the science.

Richard wrote:

mz: you want to do *what* about "detrending" and "leaving aside" data? Who's anti-science now?

Science is collecting data ("making observations" if you prefer) and THEN making a hypothesis that fits the empirical observation. It is emphatically NOT staking out a hypothesis, recording the data, and then tossing out those points which doesn't agree with preconcieved notions in the hypothesis. Don't bring me arguments from others, whatever they claim for credentials - credentials aren't data. Bring me the RAW data, preferably with a couple paragraphs on how the data were collected, and let me come to my own conclusions. If the data support one sect vs the other in this religious schism, then it should be self-evident, no?

mz wrote:

What are you talking about, Richard? The data is available. Actually, multiple sources are.

If you're talking about climate audit, surface stations etc, they are making mountains out of molehills. I haven't followed it that closely but the whole mess hasn't resulted in finding much difference at all in the results if you use GISS or their methods except for once - and then Hansen's GISS error was acknowlegded and corrected. That's great and climate audit did a good job in that (of course all the idiots went proclaiming that global warming is a hoax because of that, but they do it with everything, this Australian article a case in point). But mostly climate audit etc are just convenient posturing source for "sceptics".

How about being sceptical of a column by an amateur in a newspaper claiming a new ice age. The "study" has not been checked in any way, and it falls apart everywhere on multiple levels even with cursory understanding of the matters. No, of course not, how could it be wrong?

LB Parker wrote:

"The idea that it's the sun's activity, not carbon, that regulates earth's temperature, has never entirely gone away."

Is the author of the article arguing, by implication, that the sun has NO effect on our climate? Oh, my. . .

Leland wrote:

I think 1 century of data is pretty short. It doesn't stop AGW followers from claiming unprecendented global heating caused by humans. Other scientist that look at the history of earth look at events taking place over thousands to millions of years. Climatologist seem happy with a decade or so.

Talk about shams. Discovery Channel has this stupid "Alaska Exploration" series. The "scientists" are in this field noting the release of methane from decomposing grass. They then claim this is proof of mankind's impact on the environment. Really, this wasn't nearly as bad as their claim that a glacier was melting based on measurements they just took showing shrinkage; this after the narrator commented they were taking measurements in a place scientist were never able to take measurements before.

Hey, I don't blame these guys from taking a free trip to Alaska because Soros wants to give them a grant on the caveat that they mention "manmade climate change". For a trip like that, I'm sure many people would say and do all sorts of thing. But, don't expect people to buy the comments as genuine. It was like watching those stupid product placement ads in tv shows and movies.

Habitat Hermit wrote:

Can't do good science without scientific honesty about what one doesn't know.

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This page contains a single entry by Rand Simberg published on April 23, 2008 11:39 AM.

Whither VSE And ESAS? was the previous entry in this blog.

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