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Met Office wakes up to solar influence on climate

Paul Hudson | 15:09 UK time, Wednesday, 12 October 2011

For as long as I have been a meteorologist, the mere suggestion that solar activity could influence climate patterns has been greeted with near derision.

Quite why this has been the case is difficult to fathom. But it's been clear for a long time that there must be a link of some kind, ever since decades ago Professor Lamb discovered an empirical relationship between low solar activity and higher pressure across higher latitudes such as Greenland.

Perhaps the art of weather forecasting has become so dominated by supercomputers, and climate research so dominated by the impact of man on global climate, that thoughts of how natural processes, such as solar variation, could influence our climate have been largely overlooked, until very recently.

In fact new research published this week & conducted by the Met Office and Imperial College London, showing how solar variability can help explain cold winters, will come as no surprise to readers of this blog.

Most studies in the past have largely focused on the sun's brightness, but this research has discovered that it's the variation in the sun's Ultra Violet (UV) output that's crucial.

According to the new paper, published in the journal Nature Geoscience, when UV output is low, colder air than normal forms over the tropics in the stratosphere. This is balanced by a more easterly flow of air over the mid-latitudes. The cold air in the stratosphere then makes its way to the surface - leading to bitterly cold easterly winds across the UK and parts of Europe.

When UV output is higher, the opposite is true, with warmer air making its way to the surface, and carried across the UK and Europe from the west.

Of course there are other factors involved in determining our weather, and this alone does not mean scientists have discovered the holy grail of long range forecasting.

Looking globally the research makes clear that the impact of the sun's changing UV output acts to redistribute heat, with cold European winters going hand in hand with milder winters in Canada and the Mediterranean, for example, with little impact on overall global temperatures.

The work is based on an 11 year solar cycle, with the regional temperature changes associated with the peaks and troughs of the UV cycle effectively cancelling each other out over that time.

But there are some scientists who believe that there are longer term cycles, such as the bi-centennial cycle and that on average over the coming decades solar activity will decline.

If so, not only will cold European winters become more common, but global temperatures could fall, too, although the general consensus amongst most scientists at the moment is that any solar-forced decline would be dwarfed by man-made global warming.

This is an exciting time for solar physics, and its role in climate. As one leading climate scientist told me last month, it's a subject that is now no longer taboo. And about time, too.


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  • Comment number 1.

    OMG - I hope you have your flame proof suit on today Paul. The heresy that dare not speak it's name.

    I look forward to the blizzard of rebuttals to this theory, although interestingly one of those is Piers (it's the Sun) Corbyn, who says the UV angle is a distraction and still maintains the 22 year magnetic cycle is the key.

  • Comment number 2.


    From my own trawls, I haven't detected any general view amongst scientists that the sun has no effect on climate. Rather they have tended to point out that solar effects are unlikely to explain the recent warming trend in global temperatures.

    So perhaps your own experience with the Met Office relates to an unwillingness on their part to discuss things which could be misconstrued by some as an alternative to AGW.

    On a previous recent thread we discussed a recent paper by Lockwood which linked low solar activity to cold winters in Europe. There is also this paper from 1999:

    "Solar Cycle Variability, Ozone, and Climate" by Drew Shindell, David Rind, Nambeth Balachandran, Judith Lean, Patrick Lonergan.

    It's a PDF, so I can't link to it.

    This also proposed that UV could interact with stratospheric ozone to amplify the effects of the solar cycle. Again, the effects were found to be primarily on the regional distribution of heat rather than on global temperature.

    So the present paper is not a totally new idea.


  • Comment number 3.

    I have already published much the same conclusions here:


    I think my version is more accurate and more complete.

  • Comment number 4.

    Well said, that man!

  • Comment number 5.

    Is it a case of?:


    And with so many fat pigeons about - could be a good time to be a cat.

  • Comment number 6.

    The problem with the climate models is that they are based on four scientific fallacies.

    1. Ice ages do not end by CO2-GW amplifying TSI change. Instead the warming of the southern ocean deeps occurs 2000 years before any CO2 increase and is a form of bio-feedback reducing cloud albedo. The same mechanism explains present Arctic behaviour, a 60-70 year cycle [the Arctic is now freezing at the fastest ever recorded rate].

    2. 'Back radiation' is an elementary mistake by people who don't know basic radiation physics - it's really Prevost exchange energy and can do no work.

    3. The 'cloud albedo effect' cooling supposed to hide 2 is equally imaginary, a mistake by Sagan. In reality it's heating hence 1.

    4. The IPCC's claim of 33K present greenhouse heating is a Big Mistake because it includes lapse rate. The real GHG heating is c. 9K.

    So, the IPCC science is and always has been bunkum. NASA knew this by 2004 and tried to bluff it out by inventing fake 'surface reflection' physics. This deceived the rest of climate science. Real CO2 climate sensitivity can't be more than about a tenth of the IPCC claim. These people really are numbskulls for having been conned by NASA/Boulder.

  • Comment number 7.

    sparticusisfree @ #6

    I'm sure someone is going to ask you, so it might as well be me......!

    Do you have any references to scientific literature supporting your claims. I'm afraid it's new science to me!


  • Comment number 8.


    I know Piers gets very excited about all this UV stuff but you must accept the position this BBC operative is coming from. You will recall the favourable comment he made about Piers' accuracy recently.

    As Paul says above - "But there are some scientists who believe that there are longer term cycles, such as the bi-centennial cycle and that on average over the coming decades solar activity will decline."
    (For some scientists read Piers Corbyn).

    Again, from Paul's position you can see why we must all read between the lines.
    The fact that he appears to embrace solar science as an exciting new (for him) development, rather than trash it, is to be welcomed.

  • Comment number 9.

    It's personal research which I intend to publish. I set out after ClimateGate [40 years post PhD experience in research] to check the science. What triggered my interest was seeing clouds darken underneath as droplets coarsened. This is the reverse of what is predicted by the aerosol optical physics in the climate models, basically derived by Carl Sagan. He got it wrong and there is no cloud albedo effect cooling except for thin clouds.

    Sean Twomey warned others not to extrapolate his Mie physics to thick clouds. What NASA did in 2004 was to substitute the fake 'surface reflection' physics for Twomey's. They did it here: https://geo.arc.nasa.gov/sgg/singh/winners4.html

    NASA knew by then the satellite data showed much lower 1st AIE. So, AR4 got -0.7W/m^2 'cloud albedo effect' but there's no experimental proof and the physics predicting it is wrong. Hansen is now claiming this is really -1.6W/m^2: https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cache:4Z2HU8yL-2gJ:www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/mailings/2011/20110415_EnergyImbalancePaper.pdf+hansen+and+sato+2011&hl=en&gl=uk&pid=bl&srcid=ADGEEShTVWWzMM2RC6Y-qizornpc-Dm0EogCp0YjNv99SF1bQ-58D-hVUNrd7GlOpsk2gc6C_9D5LK6UbPY06JQpSeryN7eIp9A-4HVnKJ_J0PICrfRE-K5VQXH0TDiHG-POUTsaSs5_&sig=AHIEtbQy0zqjwH_fiLTQ188OquAzjLEWLg

    As for the lapse rate, easy to prove how the IPCC deceived us: they claim that if you take out all GHGs the -18°C of the composite emitter in the upper atmosphere will coincide with the Earth's surface so present GHG heating is +15-(-18)=33K.

    But no H20 means no clouds or ice so albedo falls from 0.3 to 0.07. Redo the radiation calculation and surface temperature - 0°C. Redo including aerosols and lapse rate and we get 9Lk net FGHG warming offset by cooling from clouds.

    Trenberth made a real cock up of the physics with forcings and back radiation and Hansen added Sagan's stuff. Lindzen sussed it out as incorrect but he hasn't worked out the true GHG warming sums.

    Of course, I could be wrong but someone had to point out the enormity of the incorrect science/scam. As for the correct optical physics, it's direct backscattering and I'm tidying up the maths - same as the rainbow but highly dependent of the droplet size distribution. Fascinating stuff which also explains the end of ice ages - they were very, very dark!

  • Comment number 10.

    sparticusisfree @ #9

    OK. So you haven't yet submitted this to a journal, which is why I hadn't come across the arguments before.

    I don't pretend to fully understand radiative physics or the calculation of forcing, although, as I understand it, Lindzen and other sceptical scientists don't dispute the forcing for CO2 stated by the IPCC. However, being far from an expert on such things, I'll have to leave it to the reviewers of your paper to discuss the more technical aspects with you.

    I do, however, have one question. You appear to be saying that the greenhouse effect is far lower than most scientists believe. The implication of this is that climate sensitivity to CO2 is extremely small. If this is the case, how do you explain the multiple lines of evidence from the fossil record which can only be satisfactorily explained by CO2 having a substantial influence on climate?

    I apologise for the long video, but this presentation from Prof. Richard Alley is an excellent summary of the evidence:



  • Comment number 11.

    Paul: yes the standard explanation is that CO2 accelerates the earth coming out of an ice age by amplified GW. However, I am not the normal scientist: I approach things from first principles.

    As there is absolutely no evidence of any net CO2-AGW [admitted in 2007 by Kiehl] and the argument I gave shows that the IPCC has got present GHG heating very wrong, I searched the literature: https://www.sciencemag.org/content/318/5849/435.full

    As an engineer, I knew that before tropical seas warmed to give up CO2 you had to kick start deep ocean currents by melting Antarctic ice and this was where the amplification of TSI occurred.

    You also have to realise that before the Pliocene, when there was no isthmus of Panama, the ice age period was 41ky not 100ky. So, it's the deep currents that matter and there's plenty of literature showing that there are many attempts via biofeedback to trigger the ice age exit before success.

    It's the decrease of cloud albedo 1000-1300 years before any SST warming that causes the ice age exit. The CO2-GW mechanism is bunkum whatever anybody else says!

    Always been an iconoclast. In this subject so much money has made the people lazy and there appear to be relatively few good scientists who can and do work from first principles to check things like the optical physics and 'back radiation'. In fact I will state that this appears to be the worst run programme I have ever come across, probably since Phlogiston!

  • Comment number 12.

    Mr Hudson must surely know there is something fundamentally wrong with a scientific discipline like climate science, where the utterance of solar activity in the context of climate influence is taboo. It has indeed been a taboo subject in climatic circles, much to the shame of the climate science community. This is just one of many taboo subjects which need addressing before climate science can hope to regain the trust it has abused for so long, and ultimately lost.

    Broad community recognition (if and when it actually happens) of the potential impact of solar variance on climate is a small step in the right direction, and it is long overdue. This is surely going to be a long journey back from a very dark place in science.

  • Comment number 13.


    Well done for your reportage of this; and me saying that wont help your BBC career, but well, maybe one day scientific objectivity will trump ideology.

    It is indeed significant that Met Office, Imperial college, and BBC are implicitly conceding the sun (in terms of it's activity cycle) does anything because that does undermine the "CO2 Rules - pay more for electricity" scam which they propagate daily.

    HOWEVER, this important study is carried out (or rather presented) by abject apologists for the CO2 global warming 'religion' and this fact devalues the work of the teams involved and severely limits any possible advances. Please see my comments on ClimateRealists - https://bit.ly/nCydD2

    In terms of the work itself:-

    1. At public pre-publication meetings in Imperial college it was pointed out that the data employed was too short to draw too many conclusions - eg of 11yr consistency. This was a point made by other than me but it must have some validity. If you want to see what data Prof Joanna Haigh did use in any update (but I don't think it changed) you must unfortunately pay on the link https://bit.ly/nd2BAQ (via note 4). This I find unsatisfactory because we have already paid for BBC, MetOffice and Imperial College through taxation; so why should we pay twice? I know at Weatheraction.com we charge for forecasts but they would be free if I were taxpayer funded!

    2. We know as an observational FACT that the 11yr cycle is generally weak, very weak or non existent in real data either world wide (completely non-existent) or regional / seasonal and the solar magnetic cycle (~22yr) overwhelmingly dominates. This means that 11yr UV effects must be modulated differently in alternate solar cycles, and models based on 11yr cycles will and do fail. I pointed this out at these events in Imperial College.

    3. Yes OK you will say, all models fail, so what? Here however the point is that these scientists and others (eg Lockwood) persistently present the 11 year cycle as THE KEY of solar activity effect on Earth. On more than one occasion it has been demonstrated - eg by Lockwood disproving his own bogus assumption - that the 11yr cycle doesn't work and then concluded therefore it is not solar activity which drives weather and climate and must be CO2.
    This is a fundamentally dishonest conclusion - see https://bit.ly/2a96w9 - especially when they know real data shows the 22 year cycle; a fact which I have reminded them of.
    It's not clear that these MetO-IC findings can/will actually be used predict anything but if they do and fail (which they will) you can bet the conclusion will be "Oh CO2 messed it up", rather than "actually a magnetic effect dominates and WeatherAction.com already apply this knowledge to make reliable long range forecasts" (which dare I say Paul Hudson found were better than all others for summer 2011 in UK!).

    4. I strongly welcome your note on the pioneering work of Prof Hubert Lamb of the University of East Anglia and would like to put on record that he wrote to me a year or so before he died saying how strongly he supported my work and how upset he was that the Department/Unit he had founded at the University of East Anglia had been usurped by others who were taking his name in vain. I am disgusted how the CO2 warmists who run the CRU-UEA show purport to somehow be his heirs.

    Happy weather!

    Piers Corbyn ARCS (First class Physics Imperial College), MSc, FRAS, FRMetS
    founder WeatherAction.com long range forecasters
    (twitter address Piers_Corbyn)

  • Comment number 14.

    Well said Piers. As another First class Physics Imperial College, I endorse his statement.

    Spartacus: keep up the good work and I hope you succeed in publishing, despite all the resistance you will meet from the establishment climate "science". I have read your theories before, under your other names.

    Paul Hudson: I hope you can continue to be a breath of fresh air in the BBC.

  • Comment number 15.

    @Paul Hudson

    Trying to get yourself fired, Paul (what is the redundancy pay like at the Beeb)?

    I hope not, it's good to hear a lone voice speaking where others repeat the usual tripe (and the others know who they are)


  • Comment number 16.

    This has gone much better that I had hoped. Instead of a blizzard of Luddite "this is hogwash" skepticalscience based rebuttal pieces this has not only flushed out Mr Corbyn to comment but brought to these pages the work of Spartacus - whom I dearly hope is able to dodge the AGW bullets to publish and drive a heavy nail into the coffin of the climate scam. It is going to be a big ask as science generally only has a voice when it concurs with the position of Big Money, not when it attempts to counter it.

    This is a landmark point in the continuing struggle against this dogma and thanks indeed to Paul Hudson for helping it along. I still believe this UV theory is an AGW straw man, but with people like Piers and Spartacus both flagging that we are on to them, and continuing to drive science forward in this field, it will turn out to be yet another futile attempt by the AGW crowd to protect the CO2 bastion.

  • Comment number 17.

    @ Paul a great post thanks. It's heartening to know that natural forcings are finally (beginning) to be looked into in some detail now.

    It was hubris of the highest order to assume they had no effect (the degree of effect is still debatable though!)

    @Sparticus, that's fascinating stuff. Please keep us updated on your paper submittal!

    @ Paul Briscoe :-)

    just this :
    ", how do you explain the multiple lines of evidence from the fossil record which can only be satisfactorily explained by CO2 having a substantial influence on climate?"

    In the irreverant words of the virgin Mary, come again?

    I've yet to see a convincing explanation that deals with the C02 lag in the historical records, we've been over this ground many times before Paul, were co2 to be as important as posited by the cAGW proponents, the temperature reduction trend (especially while co2 levels were so high) would be significantly different.

    Did i ever link that (engineering software) temperature control-program graph to illustrate this point? I can't remember- if i didn't i can dig it our for you, it's a nice illustration of the point.

  • Comment number 18.

    Great article Paul.

    Good to see Piers Corbyn here.

    Spartacus is free please keep us informed.

    Thank you.

  • Comment number 19.

    @ sparticus # 11

    "However, I am not the normal scientist: I approach things from first principles."

    I'm a scientist and it seems (and is) a sensible approach to me.

  • Comment number 20.


    I'm not a scientist, and it still seems sensible to me (although building on others work is sensible too - reinventing the wheel is pointless)

  • Comment number 21.

    Paul, we love your honest, informed and objective approach to climate change matters but let me add my voice of concern to others on this blog about your future employment with the BBC.

    In Newswatch on November 29th, 2010 David Jordan, the lead author of the new BBC editorial guidelines, admitted that when it comes to climate change, the word ‘impartiality’ has a different meaning to the dictionary definition.

    You can see it here at:

    Just to be clear, David Jordan actually says: “If both sides of the debate were to be reflected it would give the impression that both sets of views were equal and we don’t have to approach impartiality in climate change in that way”.

    So, Paul, please be aware that in matters of climate change reportage, impartiality by BBC staff is not to be encouraged.

    Keep up the good work - but watch your back.

  • Comment number 22.

    Heretic, heresy and hearsay Paul

    You will forever be damned by Gaia and the Team.

    When can we expect your resignation and apology?

  • Comment number 23.

    Blimey Paul, don't let the BBC High Command see this.

  • Comment number 24.

    Paul you have made it onto the planet's most skeptic web site Climate Depot. Well done.

    But the BBC still ignore solar magnetism influence on climate whilst the UV factor has been suspect for some time.

    Never mind we are getting there. The truth will out.

  • Comment number 25.

    Well done Paul. To quote George Orwell 'In times of universal deceit telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act'. Keep up the good work and long live the revolution!

  • Comment number 26.

    "For as long as I have been a meteorologist, the mere suggestion that solar activity could influence climate patterns has been greeted with near derision."

    I don't understand where you're coming from here Paul. It's always been my understanding that the sun's output and cyclical behaviour has been considered important in influencing climate. In fact even the IPCC AR4 report supports the view that the sun was partly responsible for the warming observed in the earlier part of the 20th century.

    My education is in environmental science though it did touch occasionally on climate science. I'm quoting from an OU text book [Cockell, 2007: An Introduction to the Earth Life System; pp. 19] which says "... climatic changes in the 20th to 21st centuries can only be fully explained when both natural and anthropogenic effects are taken into account". That has always been my understanding.

    So I am at a loss as to how you think remarks supporting an influential role for the sun in natural climate/weather would result in 'derision'. Maybe that's the way it was 20 years or so ago, but not today.

  • Comment number 27.

    I don't believe this! How dare anyone stray off the "carbon dioxide is to blame" story. The science is settled when it comes to climate change. It's carbon dioxide. The IPCC said so. The numerous science academies said so. The so called 'consensus of scientists' said so. Governments said so. More importantly, the High Priest of man-made global warming scare stories, Al Gore, said so.

    So why these studies on the sun or on cosmic rays or on ultra violet rays or cloud formation? The UK has the Climate Change Act to combat carbon dioxide because the UK Parliamentarians are so certain its carbon dioxide. They must be right. The Europeans must be right ... with their emissions trading scheme.

    Yes, indeed.... why these studies???????? Perhaps because the carbon dioxide scare is being exposed as very highly improbable. The real world observational data are demonstrating that the IPCC's model-based scenarios (predictions) are way off track... and that the computer models are just plain wrong. They cannot predict climate.

    What has been the game changer is when Dr Kirkby (CERN Geneva) announced the results of his CLOUD experiment. How could his team of expert scientists be wrong? Their results sealed the fate of the IPCC's mantra about carbon dioxide being the key driver of global warming and climate change. The evidence that the sun is the major driving force on climate change and global warming/cooling is now so evident, based on latest studies and real world observational data on climate, that those who still maintain it is carbon dioxide driving climate change are now looking very non-scientific and pretty stupid, actually!

    Sadly, the carbon dioxide scare will be promoted even more vigorously in IPCC AR5 because too mush is at stake to admit it could be the sun. Too many careers and reputations are now at stake for pinning their pseudo-scientific beliefs in the carbon dioxide scare.

    I'm just amazed this article has even been allowed to appear!

  • Comment number 28.

    comments so far seem to be more concerned about Paul losing his job.

    I guess those of us that have never accepted the whole CO2 driven globam warming rubbish don't really consider this story being new

    but well done Paul

  • Comment number 29.

    An impressive article. As always Paul Hudson manages to be his own man in the murky world of climate studies.

  • Comment number 30.

    There seem to be a lot of comments here congratulating Paul Hudsun for something he hasn't actually said. The only surprising thing for me, as I mentioned @ 26 above, is that Paul thought the consensus scientific view dismissed the role of the sun in climate - it most certainly doesn't.

    Paul makes it clear in this article that while "the impact of the sun's changing UV output acts to redistribute heat", it has "little impact on overall global temperatures".

    Despite some rather hysterical claims to the contrary, this research, like the recent CLOUD study from CERN, does *not* describe any mechanism that would explain the observed increase in global surface temperatures over the past few decades.

    As Paul states, "the general consensus amongst most scientists at the moment is that any solar-forced decline would be dwarfed by man-made global warming." That remains the case.

  • Comment number 31.

    "at the moment"

    if climate "scientists" are truely scientists then they will have no problem being sceptical of the consensus and change their minds if the data dictates

    that remains to be seen

  • Comment number 32.

    31. MangoChutneyUKOK wrote:

    "if climate "scientists" are truely scientists then they will have no problem being sceptical of the consensus and change their minds if the data dictates"

    I would hope that has always been the case - for scientists on all sides of the debate.

  • Comment number 33.

    we both know climate "scientists" have been less than open to sceptical arguments and have refused to debate or cancelled debates, but let's not get into that debate, please

    instead let's concentrate on the issue

  • Comment number 34.

    30.At 13:18 13th Oct 2011, newdwr54 wrote:

    'Despite some rather hysterical claims to the contrary, this research, like the recent CLOUD study from CERN, does *not* describe any mechanism that would explain the observed increase in global surface temperatures over the past few decades.'

    Do you mean like this:

    99.At 16:57 3rd Jul 2011, newdwr54 wrote:

    'That's not what I said, with respect. What I said was that reduced Arctic Sea ice has opened up large areas of ocean to direct UV heating; whereas previously the ice had reflected this off into space.

    Some of that UV heat energy is absorbed by the ocean, some of it is radiated off to the atmosphere as IR heat energy. A large proportion of IR radiated off the ocean is absorbed by greenhouse gases, and effectively re-cycled as heat in the atmosphere before eventually escaping to space.

    Some of this IR is re-radiated back to the surface, including the ocean surface. In areas where the sea surface is colder than the atmosphere above it, some heat will be transferred from the atmosphere to the ocean surface. However, by far most ocean heating comes from direct UV radiation due to ice melt, and the more ocean that is exposed to UV, the more heat is absorbed.'

  • Comment number 35.

    taboo subject? well here's an example from SkS . . .

    As illustrated above, neither direct nor indirect solar influences can explain a significant amount of the global warming over the past century, and certainly not over the past 30 years. As Ray Pierrehumbert said about solar warming,

    “That’s a coffin with so many nails in it already that the hard part is finding a place to hammer in a new one.”

    Okay, the post from Paul Hudson doesn't suggest that AGW can be replaced with 'it's the sun wot did it'. But the excerpt from SkS gives what I believe to be at the heart of many a skeptic's skepticism. It's as though climate scientists stopped looking at the most obvious thing. Once the correlation broke down, the solar theory was binned.

    Now contrast that with the 'thousands' of peer reviewed papers saying it's all down to CO2. They got the funding to look for a CO2 link and surprise surprise, they found one. When CO2 based correlations break down or models are out of sync, more funding is made available to 'correct' observations. Once they match the models - that's fine.

    I strongly suspect that getting funding for anything that implied a greater solar influence was shoved to the bottom of the pile - repeatedly. Hopefully, this will change.

  • Comment number 36.

    And another thing on correcting observations.
    The new Church and White paper showing that OHC continues to rise is described by one commentator at SkS thus . . .
    "Finally as far as I can tell the total heat content of the ocean is not directly measured in this paper, but inferred from sea level rise, correcting for factors such as ice sheet melt, ground aquifer depletion, and then assuming the rest of the sea level rise is thermal expansion."

    Now assuming that he's correct, would this sea level rise be including the 0.3mm addition for expanding ocean basin? Because before that, the rate of rise was falling. This despite the ever increasing claims of antarctic ice melt doom and gloom. At SkS, they posted along the lines that the lack of sea level rise was due to an increase in precipitation events, the heavy snows and flooding etc. Well excuse me, but with the volumes of water we're looking at, wouldn't that show up very clearly as a massive increase in global cloud cover? Further, how does that precipitation average out globally when you take into account all of the CO2 induced droughts?

    Again, as a non-scientist I'm often bewildered by the sheer number of papers that consensus science can draw upon. I'm very doubtful that these 'thousands of peer review papers' actually agree with each other most of the time.

    Finally, this recent comment attacking 'denialists' from an SkS regular (Clouds over peer review) had me rolling on the floor.
    "If they KNEW that their position was incorrect they'd take care to make their arguments difficult to prove one way or the other. Their predictions would all be very long term or vague enough to allow 'wiggle room'. In short, if they were deliberately trying to deceive others they'd do a better job of it."

  • Comment number 37.

    @ 36. that quote at the bottom of your post just made me spit tea over my monitor.

    The irony, it hurts.

  • Comment number 38.

    The UKMO has cast doubt on recent predictions of a cold winter:
    Note that they don't say it won't be cold, only that it is not possible to forecast accurately so far ahead.
    Of course, this is really leaving themselves open to looking foolish, if the forecasts prove to be correct.

  • Comment number 39.

    My, this thread has grown fast!!!

    First if all, I'd like to echo newdwr54's comments as post #30.

    The suggestion that scientists have been in some kind of denial over the possibility that the sun affects climate is not borne out by the facts. Indeed, I think if you check IPCC AR4 you'll find it confirms that the warming in the first half of the 20th century cannot be explained WITHOUT natural forcings, including the sun.

    At post #36, lateintheday pointed to a comment at the end of a Skeptical Science article. What he missed was that the same article discussed in some detail the paper I mentioned in post #2 of this thread - its findings were almost identical to the new paper Paul Hudson describes in his blog. Of course, Skeptical Science is a fairly recent phenomenon, but Realclimate had discussed the same paper, along with several other related ones, several years earlier.

    In fact, if lateintheday had followed the Skeptical Science link to Ray Pierrehumbert's actual comment:


    he would have also found that the Realclimate article linked to yet another paper by Lockwood and Frolich. As Pierrehumbert points out: "This is notable because the lead author Mike Lockwood has worked extensively on solar physics and effects on climate and certainly can’t be credibly accused of wanting to minimise the role of solar forcing for nefarious pro-CO2 reasons!"

    Lockwood has also published a paper confirming the relationship between low solar activity and colder winters in Europe. Yet Lockwood and Frolich still concur with the view held by most climate scientists. They stated:

    "There is considerable evidence for solar influence on the Earth’s pre-industrial climate and the Sun may well have been a factor in post-industrial climate change in the first half of the last century. Here we show that over the past 20 years, all the trends in the Sun that could have had an influence on the Earth’s climate have been in the opposite direction to that required to explain the observed rise in global mean temperatures."

    In other words, Paul Hudson's interpretation is correct. This latest research in no way conflicts with the scientific consensus on AGW.


  • Comment number 40.

    34. ukpahonta wrote:

    Re your comment and my quote from a previous thread: You highlighted this:

    "However, by far most ocean heating comes from direct UV radiation..."

    That's always been the case as far as I understand it. The point I was making in that post was, as a I recall, that reduced sea ice means reduced albedo, and hence more UV warming of the Arctic Ocean.

    In my view this cannot account for the global heat energy increase observed over the past 40 years since: i) it is occurring over a relatively small area with weak UV even in summer; and ii) UV shuts off completely in winter when there is no insolation in the Arctic.

    Reduced albedo in the Arctic summer is more likely to have a localised impact than a global one, in my view.

  • Comment number 41.

    Will the government now drop all of those ridiculous green taxes and stop covering our countryside with useless windmills? Don't hold your breath.

  • Comment number 42.

    @41 Roger S

    Why? The paper and the article above DO NOT say that CO2 has no effect. They say the UV affects weather patterns NOT the overall global Temp.

    Talk about reading what you want rather than what it says....

    Another CO2 Theory killer paper...zzzZZZzzzz... let me know when one actually turns up!

  • Comment number 43.

    LabMunkey @ #17

    "I've yet to see a convincing explanation that deals with the C02 lag in the historical records, we've been over this ground many times before Paul, were co2 to be as important as posited by the cAGW proponents, the temperature reduction trend (especially while co2 levels were so high) would be significantly different."

    In fact, I was talking about the fossil record, not the ice cores. Prof Alley's lecture touched on the ice cores but concentrated on the evidence from earlier times. You might want to check it out.

    However, you do still seem to be labouring under the misapprehension that scientists who have been studying this subject all their lives have all failed to think it through properly (with the implicit assumprion that you know better). Your argument is actually fundamentally flawed. Consider this:

    CO2 can only exert a forcing if its atmospheric concentration changes. The larger the change, the larger the forcing.

    If the rate of change in CO2 concentration is very slow, global temperatures can almost keep up with the effects of the changing CO2, so the net forcing at any point in time is CLOSE TO ZERO.

    The difference in CO2 levels between glacial and interglacial periods was at most 100ppm (and at least 100ppm lower than today) and the change took place over thousands of years in response to the gradual changes in ocean temperature. Consequently, the very gradual increase in CO2 levels could never have exerted sufficient warming effect (it's strictly a feedback in this case) to overcome the effects of other changes due to albedo and Milankovitch cycles. Instead, its concentration simply rose and fell in response to the ocean temperature changes caused by other things.

    So in that particular scenario, CO2 could only ever have amplified the effects of other things (indeed, the large changes in temperature cannot be explained without it).

    I think the point you're missing is that CO2 cannot "protect" the Earth against cooling due to other processes unless its own concentration is rising quite fast...... whereas going into a glacial period it would actually be falling due to falling ocean temperature, hence amplifying the cooling.


  • Comment number 44.

    I suspect that it is pretty easy to mislead a generation of people brought up in houses with central heating and no radiant fire in their living room like in the old days. It is pretty easy for anyone brought up with a coal or gas fire in the front room to get their head around the fact that Venus will be far hotter than Earth, yet the warmists attempt to portray that it would be inhabitable if it was not for the high concentration of CO2 in its atmosphere. Like everything the warmists attempt to portray they are intellectually dishonest and use their university qualifications as a mask to deceive the general population for corporate financial benefit.

  • Comment number 45.


    Don't be so sure. With luck Huhne will get shafted by his speeding ticket dodge and give DC the opportunity to put in someone less blinkered.

    I believe the public are starting to cotton on to just how much their bills will be rising due to the guaranteed profit offered to the wacky windmills and similar brigade. It appears they also make money by being paid NOT to generate when base load is sufficient.

    By best wacky windmill moment of the year? Waking up in February, drawing the curtains on one of the coldest mornings for a long while and seeing the neighbour's flag hanging limply on its pole. Where is wind power when you need it?

  • Comment number 46.

    The UKMO have now published the September HadSST2 anomaly figures, from which I have been estimating monthly HadCRUT3 figures.
    The global anomaly was 0.280c, down from a revised August figure of 0.354c (previously 0.364c).
    The NH anomaly was 0.393c, down from an almost unchanged August figure of 0.461c.
    The SH anomaly was 0.168c, down from a revised August figure of 0.248c (previously 0.266c).
    Using a linear formula obtained from the relative HadSST2 and HadCRUT3 figures for 2000-2010, the estimated HadCRUT3 figures using the above HadSST2 figures are as follows:
    Global = 0.360c +/- 0.05c (August = 0.458c)
    NH = 0.490c +/- 0.1c (August = 0.620c)
    SH = 0.219c +/- 0.05c (August = 0.296c)
    There is a slight discrepancy between the predicted global figure and the average of the predicted NH and SH figures, which I am currently unable to explain, although the figures are consistent when the error margins are taken into account.
    I am slightly surprised by the size of the above predicted falls in the HadCRUT3 anomalies, but like last month, I suspect that the actual figures will be in the upper range of predictions. Even so, I wouldn't be surprised by a global anomaly figure of below 0.4c.
    I think that it is worth noting that the global HadSST2 figure of 0.28c is the lowest September figure since that of 0.275c in 2000, which produced
    a HadCRUT3 figure 0.32c. The NH September HadSST2 figure is the lowest since 2007 and the SH figure is the lowest since 1996.

  • Comment number 47.

    I understand that David Bellamy's career was sidelined, after he denied Global warming by man. People don't like the truth, if it doesn't agree with the dogma.

  • Comment number 48.

    Paul Briscoe, I think you've mis-read my post. I wrote . . .
    "Okay, the post from Paul Hudson doesn't suggest that AGW can be replaced with 'it's the sun wot did it'."

    I've not read the Church and White paper and probably wouldn't understand it even if I did. However, it appears from the comment I read (which went unchallenged) that the increase in OHC is not a directly observed phenomenon and could therefore be a phantom of statistical juggling. The paper no doubt, defines this 'rise' as being in line with model projections of warming ascribed to CO2.

    So we have an assumption of significant extra heat below 700m, with no known mechanism for getting it there, invisible to the argo buoys and all other high tech tech kit, which has hidden from our top climate scientists for years.

    Now my point is this. If that heat really does exist, then why cannot the Sun, Moon, Stars or my Aunt Fanny also be responsible for it. Maybe, that extra heat has been accumulating there since the early 20thC, when apparently the Sun did have some influence. Then again, maybe it's not even there.

  • Comment number 49.

    46. At 19:04 13th Oct 2011, QuaesoVeritas

    Thanks for the info/data, very interesting.

    Have you done any work on the relationship over the years between HadSST2 and CRUTEM3?

    I am ploughing through at present but suffering from a recalcitrant computer.

  • Comment number 50.

    to euroslayer #21
    Regarding BBC impartiality. As far as I am aware, in respect of climate change, these guidelines come about because of criticism that the BBC have been giving too MUCH rather than too little credence to AGW skeptic views - far from supressing them!

    The point being that giving two opposing views an equal amount of air time is not the same thing as "balance". If one point of view, however interesting, represents a minority opinion then there is a risk that giving it routinely equal expression with a majority view will tend to mislead people into believing that they both carry equal weight.

    Parallels have been drawn with the famous vaccination/autism scare of a few years back. You may recall, one scientist - against the testimony of the entire of the remainder of the medical profession -was given so much coverage of his views (that MMR caused autism), that it caused huge no.s of parents not to vaccinate their children. His evidence proved totally fallacious, yet from listening to the media, you would think he represented a virtually 50/50 opinion.

    This I guess is the principle in mind when attempting to achieve true "balance" in tha AGW debate. And so far, myself, I get the impression that some of the blogs above are getting just a trifle over excited.

    No doubt all this "sun" stuff will play out into quite a drama. But reading some of the "counter" comments - I suspect it will end up more of a storm in a teacup than an AGW tsunami. But time will tell.

    I think the majority of scientists will change their views if faced with convincing new evidence. But if you have already made up your mind its all a conspiracy, then nothing will convince you anyway.

  • Comment number 51.


    You are a brave man to speak truthfully about a subject that is so distorted by the BBC. Especially, at a time when jobs are being cut. Your integrity is something that these evil people can never take away from you! Thank goodness for one honest man. Hopefully your bravery will encourage others to speak out against the man-made global warming SCAM and FRAUD. It is obvious that the majority of climate change is entirely natural and finally people are awakening to the BS we have been spoonfed by the media for the last two decades.

  • Comment number 52.

    Coincidentally, the NASA/GISS and NCDC/NOAA anomalies also appear to have been published today.

    The NASA/GISS global anomaly is down from 0.61c to 0.48c, which is equivalent to a fall from 0.5c to 0.37c over the period 1961-90.
    However, the NH anomaly is up from 0.59c to 0.63c, equivalent to a rise from 0.526c to 0.566c over 1961-90, and the SH anomaly is down from 0.63c to 0.33c, equivalent to 0.493c to 0.193c over 1961-90.
    So while the global figure ties in quite well with my HadCRUT3 prediction, the NASA/GISS NH figure is now higher and the SH figure is a bit lower. Last month the NASA/GISS SH figure was very high and the latest figure brings it back more in line with the other anomalies.

    The NCDC/NOAA figures do not yet appear to be in the actual data files, but these are from the Global "State of the Climate Report".

    The Global anomaly is down from 0.55c to 0.53c, equivalent to a fall from 0.41c to 0.39c over 1961-90.
    The NH anomaly is down from 0.618c to 0.6c, equivalent to 0.528c to 0.510c and the SH anomaly is down from 0.486c to 0.46c, equivalent to 0.310c to 0.284c. So while the falls in the NCDC/NOAA anomalies are not as dramatic as those predicted for HadCRUT3, the resulting figures seem to be broadly in line with them and support the possibility of a global HadCRUT3 figure below 0.4c.

  • Comment number 53.

    lateintheday @ #48

    Sorry, I wasn't really trying to get at you! It was just that I felt you'd not reflected the Skeptical Science article as accurately as you could have.

    Regarding OHC, I haven't yet seen the details of the Church et al paper, but it is certainly difficult to get a truly representative measure of ocean heat content. I think Church et al relied on sea level to estimate it. Realistically, I suspect that the best you can do is decide on your method and stick to it - that way at least you stand some chance of detecting trends.

    I don't think it's fair to say that there is no mechanism for getting heat below 700m - deep ocean currents are surely more than capable of that. The fact that satellite data show a positive energy imbalance whilst surface warming has slowed does indicate that ocean currents have probably been taking more heat than usual down into the ocean depths in recent years.

    However, I don't buy the suggestion that such a process could have accumulated heat back in the early 20th century, returning it to the surface over half a century later to an extent that could account for recent warming. Apart from anything else, if that were the case the warming of the upper oceans and atmosphere would have been accompanied by a NEGATIVE energy balance at the top of the atmosphere. Also, recent work by Meehl et al indicates that such heat exchange acts over decadal rather than multi-decadal periods. This also fits in with the widely held view that the oceans take at most 40 years to respond fully to an external forcing.


  • Comment number 54.

    Paul, I stand in awe of your bravery in going against the official BBC line on this subject.


  • Comment number 55.

    @54 Potty Harry

    He hasn't gone against anything?

    Does anybody actually read the articles before posting??

  • Comment number 56.


    The average temperature of the globe is calculated (how do you go about that?)to be about 288°Kelvin. According to the most reliable data available from climatologists, this average has increased by about 0.8°Kelvin in the last 150 years.

    Hardly a disaster, and well within the margins of error which surround such measurement.

    However, The BBC has been pushing the notion that somehow this translates into evidence that man, and man alone, is responsible for this increase, and his activities must be monitored and controlled (by whom?) in order to prevent a catastrophe that lies largely in the fevered imaginations of the converted, and the computer simulations of those paid to find evidence of it.

    What Paul has done, rather bravely, is to posit an alternative hypothesis.

    I fear for his future at our national broadcaster.

  • Comment number 57.


    I have plotted the 12 month averages of HadSST2 v HadCRUT3 since 1850 and they are very similar, although I don't have any numbers as such.
    The linear trend for HadCRUT3 is slightly higher than for HadSST2, indicating that the land/sea is warming slightly faster than the sea alone.
    The differences for individual months seems to have been greater during the late 19th century, although overall, there appears to have been no long term bias until the 1980's, since when HadCRUT3 has tended to be about 0.1c above HadSST2.
    I started looking at the relationship for individual months earlier this year, when HadCRUT3 figures started to be delayed. Since HadSST2 is calculated more automatically, it is usually available about 2 weeks before HadCRUT3, although that wasn't always the case.

  • Comment number 58.

    "47. At 19:49 13th Oct 2011, Sheffield_city wrote:I understand that David Bellamy's career was sidelined, after he denied Global warming by man. People don't like the truth, if it doesn't agree with the dogma."

    Yes this is absolutely true. This is is the nasty underbelly of the radical religious dogma of CAGW. David Bellamy could not possibly have more effectively ended his career than if he had jumped in front of a bus.

    This is why so many people are scared to speak out. It is the same in teh work place, as it is in schools across the country. Everyone feels the eyes of the "thought police" and are worried that they might incur wrath of management, teacher, friends or neighbours should they be caught speaking out against the holy scriptures of man-made Global Warming. No industry or business wishes to be singled out as evil anti-Gaia AGW deniers! The potential for reprisals from angry customers are all too real. So nobody sticks their neck out and everyone tows the line and pretends it is all true and expresses remorse for how terribly we humans are treating the planet.

    The truth is that the whole CAGW theory is a pile of cow manure based on the single fact that CO2 absorbs infra-red and NOTHING ELSE. No science or any meaningful empirical observational evidence to support or determine if this single fact is the least bit relevant in a complex atmosphere dominated by another much more significant greenhouse gas, H2O, and possibly influenced by Sun, the Earth's orbit, cosmic rays, volcanoes and possibly a whole host of other things!

  • Comment number 59.

    56. Potty Harry wrote:

    "What Paul has done, rather bravely, is to posit an alternative hypothesis."

    No he hasn't. In fact what he said was:

    "...the impact of the sun's changing UV output acts to redistribute heat...", it has "...little impact on overall global temperatures".

    A 'redistribution' of heat does nothing to explain an increase in overall heat energy content in the climate. You can open a bag of fruit gums and divide them into their respective colours/flavours: it won't increase the number of fruit gums that were initially in the bag.

    This is no explanation for what has caused the overall observed increase in heat.

    (Paul Hudson is wrong in my view to suggest that solar variation was not previously considered in climate science: see Paul Briscoe's post @ 39.)

  • Comment number 60.

    Henrik Svensmark and Jasper Kirby are examples of scientists who have suffered setbacks after making "inappropriate suggestions" that the sun may in fact play a bigger role in our climate and in ways that we do not yet fully understand.

    Now when these eminent scientists speak, they speak cryptically and carefully chose their words - just as Paul Hudson has done above. Reading between the lines Paul is clearly saying that other things than CO2 might influence global climate and that it might even get cooler globally due to a natural cause. Paul also alludes to the fact that the power and CENSORSHIP of IPCC, NGO's, UN and other taxpayer funded institutions has meant that the discussion of other possible influences on our global climate had indeed become TABOO! Paul is extremely brave for alluding to this collusion and censorship within the our scientific community. We all know how much this extends to politics and media too - hardly a day goes by without teh root cause behind some disaster being laid at the alter of man-made Global Warming.

  • Comment number 61.

    57. At 23:08 13th Oct 2011, QuaesoVeritas wrote:

    "The linear trend for HadCRUT3 is slightly higher than for HadSST2, indicating that the land/sea is warming slightly faster than the sea alone. "

    My initial digging seems to confirm your view.

    I understand that HadCRUT3 is CRUTEM3 + HadSST2 in a land to sea ratio of 29 to 71 and my provisional calcs appear to comply. Hence my reason for relating sea and land directly, the ratios cloud the issue.

    My interest, and I think similar to yours, is how is the increase in HadCRUT3 distributed? NH against SH, land against sea, NH land against NH sea etc...

    The bits I have done so far, and they need a lot more work and checking, appear to show that the greatest contribution to the warming shown by HadCRUT3 during the last 30 years of the 20th century came form CRUTEM3 NH Land.

    Apart from UHI I am struggling to find a mechanism by which this can be the case.

  • Comment number 62.

    58. Responding to Sheffield_city @ 47 who wrote:

    "I understand that David Bellamy's career was sidelined, after he denied Global warming by man."

    Shadorne wrote:

    "David Bellamy could not possibly have more effectively ended his career than if he had jumped in front of a bus."

    Unfortunately these allegations are not borne out by the facts. Dr Bellamy's TV career with the BBC ended 10 years before he made his controversial comments. This was revealed during a very unpleasant and public dispute between Dr Bellamy's position and the journalist George Monbiot. Monbiot called Bellamy up on several points.

    As someone who grew up regarding Dr Bellamy as an inspiration for learning about the natural world, his recent behaviour has been a little disappointing for me. It appears that, by his own admission, that he launched his attacks on AGW theory based on information he had gleaned off web sites rather than via peer reviewed papers: https://www.monbiot.com/2008/12/09/a-beardful-of-bunkum/

    Here is some footage of a particularly awkward and... 'sad'... (in my view) moment in the dispute between Bellamy and Monbiot:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZPeqQ1eYiQU

  • Comment number 63.


    "Since HadSST2 is calculated more automatically, it is usually available about 2 weeks before HadCRUT3, although that wasn't always the case."

    I forgot to mention that I also noticed this change and that the numbers are now always released on the Met site before CRU and also on pages without announcements? Funny sort of change for these new enlightened days.

  • Comment number 64.

    40. newdwr54

    If the ozone layer blocks 98-99% of UV and you can confirm that UV provides the most heat into the oceans then you would expect to see a relationship between the 5 times more variable UV having a vast increase in effect of areas of ocean that the ozone ‘hole’ covers. Which you should be able to translate into a relationship with ice melt studies, the size of the ozone hole and the Sun. Or does the linearly increasing level of CO2 overcome this variability?
    There are also the effects on the Phytoplankton within these areas of ocean and the variability with their uptake of CO2 and the amount of cloud seeding compounds that are released into the atmosphere bringing in the CERN experiment.

    The data at least behind this paper should be extremely interesting to you.

  • Comment number 65.

  • Comment number 66.

    64. ukpahonta:

    The Antarctic receives no UV in winter. In summer most UV is reflected into space until towards the end of the melt season. The persistence of the Antarctic sea ice may be the result of cooler water due to ice sheet melt (fresh water being more buoyant than salt).

    It is an area of uncertainty. And it is a fair point to raise.

  • Comment number 67.

    The research in Nature is nothing to do with climate change. It's research into weather patterns and natures part of the climate and has NOTHING to do with any of man made part.

    Paul's piece does nothing to to change any perceived bias by the BBC, in fact (shock horror) Richard Black had a piece on the front page before this blog! Biased BBC publishes 2 'sun has influence on weather' articles. Neither makes any claims that dent, scrape, graze or even mildly rub CO2 influenced climate change.

  • Comment number 68.

    At 23:55 13th Oct 2011, newdwr54 wrote:

    Yes indeed and in this post-revisionist world where medieval warming periods are erased from history we now have Guardian journalists speaking for David Bellamy.
    Of course, this is the usual way to attack the deniers - go for teh person and thier integrity - go for the ad homs rather than the science.

    I am sorry but if David Bellamy felt he has been given the cold shoulder by the BBC since he voiced his skepticism about man-made Global Warming (no matter how strongly he supported it until temperatures stopped rising) then I am much more inclined to believe Bellamy than an unapologetic shrill for CAGW - and that is exactly what Moonbat is, there is no denying that.

  • Comment number 69.

    It's a matter of accuracy.

    Climate skeptics regularly overplay the role of the Sun in climate change.

    Scientists on the otherhand have been conveying the matter accurately - noting that direct forcing is small (compared to CO2) and that indirect forcing effects are at a conjecture stage.

    Saying "It's the Sun!" is "taboo" in the sense that it's scientifically indefensible claim - an inaccurate claim.

    Here are some quotes from the IPCC AR4 report summary on solar forcing showing that these kind of UV indirect solar forcings were not taboo (if they were taboo they wouldn't have been mentioned in the IPCC report right?):

    "However, empirical results since the TAR have strengthened the evidence for solar forcing of climate change by identifying detectable tropospheric changes associated with solar variability, including during the solar cycle (Section 9.2; van Loon and Shea, 2000; Douglass and Clader, 2002; Gleisner and Thejll, 2003; Haigh, 2003; Stott et al., 2003; White et al., 2003; Coughlin and Tung, 2004; Labitzke, 2004; Crooks and Gray, 2005). The most likely mechanism is considered to be some combination of direct forcing by changes in total solar irradiance, and indirect effects of ultraviolet (UV) radiation on the stratosphere. Least certain, and under ongoing debate as discussed in the TAR, are indirect effects induced by galactic cosmic rays (e.g., Marsh and Svensmark, 2000a,b; Kristjánsson et al., 2002; Sun and Bradley, 2002)."

    "Since the TAR, new studies have confirmed and advanced the plausibility of indirect effects involving the modification of the stratosphere by solar UV irradiance variations (and possibly by solar-induced variations in the overlying mesosphere and lower thermosphere), with subsequent dynamical and radiative coupling to the troposphere (Section 9.2). Whether solar wind fluctuations (Boberg and Lundstedt, 2002) or solar-induced heliospheric modulation of galactic cosmic rays (Marsh and Svensmark, 2000b) also contribute indirect forcings remains ambiguous."

    "It is now well established from both empirical and model studies that solar cycle changes in UV radiation alter middle atmospheric ozone concentrations (Fioletov et al., 2002; Geller and Smyshlyaev, 2002; Hood, 2003), temperatures and winds (Ramaswamy et al., 2001; Labitzke et al., 2002; Haigh, 2003; Labitzke, 2004; Crooks and Gray, 2005), including the Quasi-Biennial Oscillation (McCormack, 2003; Salby and Callaghan, 2004)."

  • Comment number 70.

    re 68: "Yes indeed and in this post-revisionist world where medieval warming periods are erased from history"

    The medieval warm period was never erased from history. What has been questioned is whether the period was more regional than global.

  • Comment number 71.

    Re 68:

    But Belemy's claims don't add up. Monboit cites sources.

    Belemy claimed in 2008: "It was in 1996 that I criticised wind farms while appearing on Blue Peter and I also had an article published in which I described global warming as poppycccc."

    But if he decide that in 1996, what's this:

    "DAVID BELLAMY is backing an international plan to sue so called climate-change "criminals", including governments and industries, that block moves to halt global warming." - Evening Standard, 2000.

  • Comment number 72.

    66. newdwr54

    So what about spring time, the start of the melt season, when the ozone layer is at its lowest and the UV effect is more influential?

    Perhaps the headline report from this paper about regional weather is interesting locally, especially for forecasters, but surely the underlying science that has found a far greater variability in UV than previously thought should prick the ears of all climate scientists in their areas of study and allow them to cite this paper in their future work, if it affects their work, including the scientists at CERN.

    To dismiss the results of this paper as minor at this stage falls into the same category of stating that it is proof that modern warming is due solely to the Sun. It is neither, it’s a jigsaw piece in the puzzle to define the big picture, how big a piece may not be realised for some time but it has potential to be a useful piece of the puzzle for many, which is why it is news worthy and why I would think, that Paul and others are excited about it.

  • Comment number 73.

    @ Paul (B) #43
    Regardless of the record (and glossing over the issues with using fossil records as proxies, which are many and a subject all to itself), the relationship is the other way around. Now you raise an interesting point which I hadn’t considered; the rate of the rise.

    The levels of CO2 were indeed considerably higher than that which we are experiencing now, Are you (and others) positing that the rate of increase is significant (longer term). This wouldn’t be my understanding of most ‘buffered’ systems, regardless of the speed of the input, the end point will be the same.
    Now if you’re arguing shorter term variability with the same end point, then I can buy that.
    I’m still not sure that the explanation you give makes sense though, dynamic systems just don’t tend to work that way. Incidentally, I’m sure that the scientists pushing this theory have thought it through extensively. Doesn’t mean they’re right though; you REALLY do have a thing for authority don’t you?
    Additionally, I never suggested that co2 protected the earth from cooling as you suggest- a simple 2 minute look at the vostock data makes that abundantly apparent.

    Finally, I really think you need to look into temperature control systems- once you understand how they operate you may see where I’m coming from- they are surprisingly (and reproducibly) analogous to real-world systems.

  • Comment number 74.

    @ 70

    "The medieval warm period was never erased from history. What has been questioned is whether the period was more regional than global"

    They DID attempt to 'remove' it as an, shally we say, outlier.

    Incidentally, wasn't there recent evidences suggesting it could indded have been a worldwide event?? I'm sure i saw something on that recently- i'll have a looksie in my in-tray see if i can dig it up.

  • Comment number 75.

    Paul . . . "Sorry, I wasn't really trying to get at you! It was just that I felt you'd not reflected the Skeptical Science article as accurately as you could have."
    Fair point. There's a fine line between being skeptical and being a dyed in the wool skeptic. Easy to cross at times. You said "mechanism for getting heat below 700m - deep ocean currents are surely more than capable of that."
    This is one of those issues that confuse me. I understood that the most active mixing layer was very close to sea surface - say down to 60m or so. On top of this there are certain 'hot spots' of activity, like where the north atlantic waters meets the arctic. But no end of times have I read about the stratification of ocean layers. How can the oceans be both highly stratified and well mixed - that doesn't make sense to me.

    John Cogger . . ."The research in Nature is nothing to do with climate change. It's research into weather patterns and natures part of the climate and has NOTHING to do with any of man made part."
    On the face of it, yes that's true. But the idea that weather patterns can be altered by hitherto unknown mechanisms due to changes in solar forcing does have implications for AGW. If climate can be regarded as the long term weather average then obviously any external forcing on weather (and feedbacks thereof) must be taken into account. Clearly Lockwood doesn't find a long term climate effect from his research - but that doesn't mean there can't be.
    The funny thing is that just as variations in TSI (as almost irrelevant) was rearing its head due to the recent Spencer/Dessler papers, along comes evidence of physical effects from solar wavelength variability. The point is, there are those who have been ridiculed or shunned (example - Corbyn) for daring to suggest that external forcings play a bigger part in climate change than AGW theory admits. If you re-read Mr Corbyn's comment (above 13), you'll see that variations in magnetic fields offer yet more possibilities for climate related research.

    Quake . . . "Scientists on the other hand have been conveying the matter accurately - noting that direct forcing is small (compared to CO2) and that indirect forcing effects are at a conjecture stage."
    I think this is the point I was trying to make earlier. Why on earth should indirect solar forcing still be at a conjecture stage? Perhaps it's because the research funding was/is disproportionately available for AGW theory.

  • Comment number 76.

    "Perhaps it's because the research funding was/is disproportionately available for AGW theory"

    there's no perhaps about it, the ratio is staggeringly biased.

  • Comment number 77.

    Anyone who references Skeptical Science as a climate science source is completely bonkers.

    It is a propaganda site that employs revisionism to smear scientists and people who express doubts about AGW.

  • Comment number 78.

    Re #75:
    "I think this is the point I was trying to make earlier. Why on earth should indirect solar forcing still be at a conjecture stage? Perhaps it's because the research funding was/is disproportionately available for AGW theory."

    It's because indirect solar mechanisms are complicated. It's harder to substantiate them and quantify their effects, so it takes science longer to do so.

    Figuring out the forcing from direct solar and from CO2 is very easy in comparison, that's why both were achieved decades ago. You just look at changes in the Sun's total output and that directly represents an input, forcing, to climate. For CO2 you just look at how much energy into space would be reduced if CO2 rises a certain amount, and again that's directly a forcing. Both are easily quantified and the mechanism is right there.

    Complicated indirect solar mechanisms like UV levels affecting ozone which cools the stratosphere, etc are not based on direct changes in input solar energy, but in complexity a bit like a rube goldberg machine. Many such ideas can be imagined, but it's quite a lot more difficult to actually substantiate as true let alone quantify the effect.

  • Comment number 79.

    Regardless of the claims here, climate science has generally disregarded the role of the sun. I have an email response from a question I asked a senior person at GISS (think just under mr H) and he stated to me the sun had "almost no" influence on climate variation.

    The reality is the runaway feedbacks are not in evidence after 30 years, Arctic sea ice is still within the boundso of the trends rather than declining past 2007 and the "global" temp anomaly (a disputed metric) is on the decline. We are not fitting into any of Mr H/IPCC's "scenarios'" other than the one that contains mostly natural variability (think its scenario B?).

    Paul - do you speak to Richard Black or does he just glare at you from the coffee machine......?

  • Comment number 80.

    "Solar forcing of climate is a subject that gets far more attention than any new observations or improved understanding would warrant."

    Gavin Schmidt/Micheal Mann 2006.

  • Comment number 81.

    "The point is, there are those who have been ridiculed or shunned (example - Corbyn) for daring to suggest that external forcings play a bigger part in climate change than AGW theory admits. If you re-read Mr Corbyn's comment (above 13), you'll see that variations in magnetic fields offer yet more possibilities for climate related research."

    Corbyn is just wrong. His dismissal of the CO2 forcing is baseless. He makes elementary mistakes. Eg he says "observations show weather and climate DRIVE CO2 not the other way around." which is incorrect. It's actually a logical error.

    He is predicting the world is heading for a little ice age by 2035, but what science is that based on?

    Well he claims: "Official data shows the world passed its peak temperatures 10 years ago". No it doesn't.

    He claims:
    "It is well known that world temperatures primarily follow the sun's magnetic cycle of 22 years"

    That's not known, let alone well known. After attacking scientists for supposedly ignoring this "well known" fact he continues:

    "The latest advances in Sun-Earth relations show not only the primacy of magnetic-particle links between the sun and the earth but that these are modulated by lunar effects to give the observed 60 year cycle in both world and USA temperatures."

    But where are the references to these "latest advances". Corbyn provides no references to studies of any kind to substantiate these claims of this "well known" effect.

    Corbyn also writes:

    "The BBC and NERC boycotted the International Climate Change Conference New York 8-10 March"

    The heartland institute "climate conference". It's an event organized by a right wing thinktank to look like a scientific conference. I don't think the BBC covered creation science conferences either. Trying to paint a fringe event which the BBC are unlikely to cover anyway as a "boycott" speaks volumes.

  • Comment number 82.

    Re 79:

    "Solar forcing of climate is a subject that gets far more attention than any new observations or improved understanding would warrant." -Gavin Schmidt/Micheal Mann 2006.

    That's 100% correct. All indications are that solar forcing on climate cannot compete with CO2s effect (in the longterm). Yet still too much attention gets given to solar forcing by certain groups when the science is dead against it.

    The CO2 forcing is growing substantially with time in one direction. The solar forcing isn't. It fluctuates by a tiny amount. Every now and again it returns to where it began. CO2 wins just on that.

    From cycle max to min the Sun's output only changes by about 0.1%. Yet the forcing from a doubling of CO2 is equivalent to a 2% increase in solar output.

    This study found a kind of rube goldberg machine where the UV portion interacted with ozone to cool the stratosphere and affect weather in the troposphere. But that was a heat redistribution, not an addition of energy into the system and so it doesn't affect longterm climate (in any significant way).

    There is no evidence for any solar driven rube goldberg machine in climate powerful enough to compete with ever rising CO2. There just isn't. And given how powerful it would have to be to compete with CO2 it's really scraping the barrel to entertain the idea there is such a machine in climate.

    So as schmidt and mann point out, solar forcing gets far too much attention when evidence is stacked against it vs CO2.

  • Comment number 83.

    Quake, sorry to burst your bubble, but ALL of your above assumes a (large) net positive feedback.

  • Comment number 84.

    No it doesn't, the CO2 forcing dwarfs the solar forcing by a considerable amount.

    The forcing for a doubling of CO2 is about 3.7wm-2 and the forcing for a solar cycle is about 0.3wm-2. For no feedback case that's about 1C warming for CO2 and 0.1C warming for solar minimum to maximum. For large positive feedback it's about 3C warming and 0.3C warming respectively. In either case the CO2 effect dwarfs the solar effect.

  • Comment number 85.

    Man made global warming is bunkum, now we know, "It's The Sun Wot Dun It"

  • Comment number 86.

    @ 84, unless the feedbacks are negative....

  • Comment number 87.

    well Quake, I can see that you're having none of it, and good for you!

    Has it never crossed your mind that the lack of observed warming compared to models has necessitated a plethora of papers which when combined, describe the climate driven by CO2 as a Rube Goldberg machine in reverse? Oh yes, it's all very straightforward once you take into account the myriad attenuating factors such as aerosols, volcanoes, ENSO, invisible OHC rises and dare I say it, a quiet sun.

    If the easy peasy lemon squeezey forcings for are so obvious, why do we need so many different models? Does it not bother you at all that we now have to 'wait at least 17yrs' to see a signal of CO2 warming. Are you not concerned that we know diddly squat about clouds, little more about the oceans and are still learning new things about the upper atmosphere?

    "TSI fluctuates by a tiny amount" According to Spencer (and common sense), it doesn't have to. A relatively small reduction in cloud cover in the tropical zones can have the same forcing effect as an increase in TSI. As I understand it, Dessler sees clouds as an internal feedback only, incapable of temperature independent changes within a closed system. Spencer is not alone in thinking that this is an unsupportable assumption since variability in cloud reflection at different latitudes can directly affect the total amount of energy reaching the earths surface. (At least, that's what I think he's on about!)

    Further, one cannot simply assume that the re-distribution of heat in the Earth system has no long term effect on global temperatures. Regional variations matter a great deal when it comes to energy balances, and one only has to look at arctic ice/albedo to see how this can work.

  • Comment number 88.

    Take a look at the solar radiation spectrum from UV to IR: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Solar_Spectrum.png

    It's units are in W/m²/nm. See that the peak wavelengths are around 2W/m²/nm. UV is the flat bit on the left of the chart. It's measured in mW/m²/nm.

    If the sceptics think that such small changes, which are cyclical anyway, are responsible for the recent temperature increase, then they are postulating an outrageously high climate sensitivity.

  • Comment number 89.

    @ 88.

    Well no, but unlike cAGW proponents the sceptics (sensible ones anyway) don't ascribe the control of the whole climate to one factor.....

    UV and IR are but two of many factors that drive climate.

  • Comment number 90.

    Towards the end of last year the following page at NASA started to get some exposure around the blogosphere until it was removed about 9 months ago and now brings up "Page not Found". The URL is: -


    Worth another read in these enlightened days?

    “What are the primary forcings of the Earth climate system?"

    "The Sun is the primary forcing of Earth's climate system. Sunlight warms our world. Sunlight drives atmospheric and oceanic circulation patterns. Sunlight powers the process of photosynthesis that plants need to grow. Sunlight causes convection which carries warmth and water vapor up into the sky where clouds form and bring rain. In short, the Sun drives almost every aspect of our world's climate system and makes possible life as we know it.

    Earth's orbit around and orientation toward the Sun change over spans of many thousands of years. In turn, these changing "orbital mechanics" force climate to change because they change where and how much sunlight reaches Earth. (Please see for more details.) Thus, changing Earth's exposure to sunlight forces climate to change. According to scientists' models of Earth's orbit and orientation toward the Sun indicate that our world should be just beginning to enter a new period of cooling -- perhaps the next ice age.

    However, a new force for change has arisen: humans. After the industrial revolution, humans introduced increasing amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, and changed the surface of the landscape to an extent great enough to influence climate on local and global scales. By driving up carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere (by about 30 percent), humans have increased its capacity to trap warmth near the surface.

    Other important forcings of Earth's climate system include such "variables" as clouds, airborne particulate matter, and surface brightness. Each of these varying features of Earth's environment has the capacity to exceed the warming influence of greenhouse gases and cause our world to cool. For example, increased cloudiness would give more shade to the surface while reflecting more sunlight back to space. Increased airborne particles (or "aerosols") would scatter and reflect more sunlight back to space, thereby cooling the surface. Major volcanic eruptions (such as that of Mt. Pinatubo in 1992) can inject so much aerosol into the atmosphere that, as it spreads around the globe, it reduces sunlight and cause Earth to cool. Likewise, increasing the surface area of highly reflective surface types, such as ice sheets, reflects greater amounts of sunlight back to space and causes Earth to cool.

    Scientists are using NASA satellites to monitor all of the aforementioned forcings of Earth's climate system to better understand how they are changing over time, and how any changes in them affect climate."

  • Comment number 91.

    Paul, and you were doing so well until the "most scientists" sentence.
    Not this one, I can assure you.

  • Comment number 92.

    Let's see what Google Scholar has to say about solar activity and climate.

    Oops - maybe Paul Hudson needs to read some scientific journals now and again.

    BTW - that's an interesting paper in it's own right. There was no need to make up stuff about natural forcings being overlooked in order to make his point.

  • Comment number 93.

    LabMunkey @ #86

    "@ 84, unless the feedbacks are negative...."

    The overwhelming majority of research indicates that net feedbacks are likely to be significantly positive. I'll touch on some of the evidence for this in a future post. However, in the case quake was discussing above, even if feedbacks were negative, climate would still respond more to the larger forcing from CO2 - feedbacks respond to the increased energy in the system, not the thing that causes it.

    Then at post #89 you state:

    "Well no, but unlike cAGW proponents the sceptics (sensible ones anyway) don't ascribe the control of the whole climate to one factor....."

    I presume that this is supposed to imply that the scientific consensus thinks only CO2 controls climate. If that is indeed what you're implying, you only need to look a couple of posts up to greensand @ #90 to see that this is demonstrably false. So do my post at #39 and quake's at #69.


  • Comment number 94.

    LabMunkey (various)

    First, I think we need to establish what we're actually discussing. My post at #10 was regarding evidence from the fossil record, described in the Prof Alley lecture video. Your response at post #17 certainly appeared to relate to the ice core record and recent ice ages. I responded to this at post #43.

    At post #73, I'm not at all clear what you're discussing, as you first "gloss over" the fossil record (which DOES have some very significant evidence to bring to the table). Next, you start talking about the rate of increase in CO2 (which I pointed out is very important when considering intergalcial/glacial transitions), but then you comment:

    "The levels of CO2 were indeed considerably higher than that which we are experiencing now".

    This was certainly true pretty well throughout prehistoric times, but certainly not during the much more recent interglacial periods. So before we can really discuss this further, we need to establish what we're talking about!

    I will, however, comment on this statement:

    "Doesn’t mean they’re right though; you REALLY do have a thing for authority don’t you?"

    LabMunkey, ALL branches of science, including your own, are ultimately founded on peer-reviewed scientific literature. This particular branch is founded on over 150 years of such research and both sides of the debate accept it. I was also under the impression that you did not disagree with basic radiative physics and the enhanced greenhouse effect.

    The post I made at #43 describes an empirical application of that science. The fact that it is a dynamic system will certainly have some effect on the final temperature and the fluctuations around it, but it doesn't change the fundamental principles or mean that a very gradual increase in CO2 can overcome a stronger negative forcing.


  • Comment number 95.

    This blog has now attracted some comments from less friendly circles:

    Incidentally, can anyone explain to me what a "fake skeptic" is?

  • Comment number 96.

    spartacusisfree (and his cohort):

    Since Earth sits in a vacuum, it only gains and loses energy via radiative transfer, the physics of which are well known. Sun's output: 1365 W/m². Spread that over the spherical surface, including the nightside: 1365/4=341.25 W/m². Account for albedo (30%): 341.25 * .7 = 254.765 W/m² total absorbed radiation.

    Since Earth is absorbing this much energy from the Sun, we must also be radiating the same amount to stay in equilibrium.

    Using the Stefan-Boltzmann law, we compute the temperature at which a body must be, in order to radiate 254.765 W/m²: (254.765/5.67e-8)^(1/4) = 254.76 K.

    Since Earth's average surface temperature is around 288 K, I get 288-255=33 K of greenhouse effect. If you expect to pass peer review, you had better have a very good explanation for this.

  • Comment number 97.

    Sorry, misread my own notes: absorbed radiation should be 238.875 W/m², leading to 254.76 K radiation source. But the point remains, the difference with surface temperature demands an explanation, and absent the greenhouse effect, none appears. Which, if it remains uncorrected, violates conservation of energy.

  • Comment number 98.

    The derision you've met with at the suggestion that solar activity could influence climate patterns comes when you go a bit to far and say that the solar variation explains all of the variation in climate.

    The variations in solar brightness do indeed affect climate patterns, but the 0.8C global rise since the 1880s hasn't been matched with a proportional rise in solar brightness. And short-term variations in solar brightness don't fully explain th

    How long have we been taking high-precision UV data?

    And heck, for the sun to vary significantly in UV without corresponding variations in "brightness", it would mean that the chemistry at the surface of the sun is changing.

    https://www3.imperial.ac.uk/newsandeventspggrp/imperialcollege/newssummary/news_10-10-2011-10-51-13 is a much better writeup of this work and actually names names and points to the article: https://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/ngeo1282.html

    From the abstract: "If the updated measurements of solar ultraviolet irradiance are correct, low solar activity, as observed during recent years, drives cold winters in northern Europe and the United States, and mild winters over southern Europe and Canada, with little direct change in globally averaged temperature."

  • Comment number 99.

    I can't help wondering if Mr. Hudson actually read the paper he's writing about. The first line of Hudson's review is "For as long as I have been a meteorologist, the mere suggestion that solar activity could influence climate patterns has been greeted with near derision." Yet the very first line of the paper he cites states the exact opposite:
    "An influence of solar irradiance variations on Earth’s surface climate has been repeatedly suggested, based on correlations between solar variability and meteorological variables"

  • Comment number 100.

    If an area of land cools and another area warms such that the average temperature remains the same then more heat will be lost due to radiation.
    The difference is small if both areas start at the same temperature but can be large e.g. it would take around a 2C rise in Arctic temperature to cancel a 1C fall at the tropics.

    Conversely global average temperature can vary without any change in radiation balance.


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