Saturday, August 29, 2009

Putting Sunshades on the Earth--Catastrophic Idea

The Wallstreet Journal had the following

Other more speculative approaches deserve consideration. In groundbreaking research, J. Eric Bickel, an economist and engineer at the University of Texas, and Lee Lane, a researcher at the American Enterprise Institute, study the costs and benefits of climate engineering. One proposal would have boats spray seawater droplets into clouds above the sea to make them reflect more sunlight back into space—augmenting the natural process where evaporating ocean sea salt helps to provide tiny particles for clouds to form around.

Remarkably, Mr. Bickel finds that about $9 billion spent developing this so-called marine cloud whitening technology might be able to cancel out this century's global warming. The benefits—from preventing the temperature increase—would add up to about $20 trillion
Bjorn Lomborg, " Technology Can Fight Global Warming" Wall Street Journal, Aug 28, 2009, Opinion page.

This is a catastrophic idea. Here is why.

Today the present stretch of consecutive days without a sunspot became 49 days. The importance of that is that this stretch is now the 4th longest observed period of time where the sun has no spots. In 5 days, should it continue, it becomes the third longest.

The importance of this is that the sun outputs less energy when there are no sunspots. When the sun has few sunspots, it outputs about 2-3 watts per meter squared less energy than when it is at the peak of the solar cycle. The IPCC says this about that forcing

"The TAR states that the changes in solar irradiance are not
the major cause of the temperature changes in the second half
of the 20th century unless those changes can induce unknown
large feedbacks in the climate system."
Chapter 1 p. 108

They have consistently so far denied any feedbacks. Well,... in a moment.

Now, we are about 3 years late for the start of the next solar cycle. Watch the failed predictions

This from NASA:

Actually, solar minimum, the lowest point of the sun's 11-year activity cycle, isn't due until 2006, but forecasters expected 2005, the eve of solar minimum, to be a quiet year on the sun.

In March 2006 Nasa said:

For almost the entire month of February 2006 the sun was utterly blank. If Galileo had looked at the sun on his 442nd birthday, he would have been disappointed—no sunspots, no spin, no discovery.

From another Nasa site. The models say!

March 10, 2006: It's official: Solar minimum has arrived. Sunspots have all but vanished. Solar flares are nonexistent. The sun is utterly quiet.

Like the quiet before a storm.

This week researchers announced that a storm is coming--the most intense solar maximum in fifty years. The prediction comes from a team led by Mausumi Dikpati of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). "The next sunspot cycle will be 30% to 50% stronger than the previous one," she says. If correct, the years ahead could produce a burst of solar activity second only to the historic Solar Max of 1958
Solar Storm Warning


Of course they were all wrong.

But even in Dec 2006 they didn't know they were wrong

Dec. 21, 2006: Evidence is mounting: the next solar cycle is going to be a big one.

Solar cycle 24, due to peak in 2010 or 2011 "looks like its going to be one of the most intense cycles since record-keeping began almost 400 years ago," says solar physicist David Hathaway of the Marshall Space Flight Center. He and colleague Robert Wilson presented this conclusion last week at the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco.
. . .
"It all hangs together," says Hathaway. Stay tuned for solar activity


Yes, it all hung together and was so wrong. The sun, like the climate, is so nonlinear.

In March 2007 NOAA's solar cycle prediction committee said.

The next 11-year cycle of solar storms will most likely start next March and peak in late 2011 or mid-2012 – up to a year later than expected – according to a forecast issued today by NOAA’s Space Environment Center in coordination with an international panel of solar experts.

In Dec 2007 Nasa wrote:
The big question now is, when will the next solar cycle begin?

It could be starting now.

"New solar cycles always begin with a high-latitude, reversed polarity sunspot," explains Hathaway. "Reversed polarity " means a sunspot with opposite magnetic polarity compared to sunspots from the previous solar cycle. "High-latitude" refers to the sun's grid of latitude and longitude. Old cycle spots congregate near the sun's equator. New cycle spots appear higher, around 25 or 30 degrees latitude

The region that appeared on Dec. 11th fits both these criteria. It is high latitude (24 degrees N) and magnetically reversed. Just one problem: There is no sunspot. So far the region is just a bright knot of magnetic fields. If, however, these fields coalesce into a dark sunspot, scientists are ready to announce that Solar Cycle 24 has officially begun.
NASA - Is a New Solar Cycle Beginning?

With bated breath we watched as nothing happened.

IN May 2008 a powerpoint presentation at a conference related the prediction of the solar cycle 24 . Slide 14 of says

Solar Minimum will be in March, 2008
Re-affirmed by panel in March, 2008
Cycle 24 will be small
Ri = 90
August, 2012
Cycle 24 will be large
Ri = 140
October, 2011
The panel is still split

slide 14

Then in May 2009, NOAA's prediction panel wrote:

May 8, 2009 -- Solar Cycle 24 Prediction Update The Solar Cycle 24 Prediction Panel has reached a consensus decision on the prediction of the next solar cycle (Cycle 24). First, the panel has agreed that solar minimum occurred in December, 2008. This still qualifies as a prediction since the smoothed sunspot number is only valid through September, 2008. The panel has decided that the next solar cycle will be below average in intensity, with a maximum sunspot number of 90. Given the predicted date of solar minimum and the predicted maximum intensity, solar maximum is now expected to occur in May, 2013. Note, this is a consensus opinion, not a unanimous decision. A supermajority of the panel did agree to this prediction.

But, in March and April, we had a 44 day stretch without sunspots according to Marshall Space Flight center, and now in August we have had a stretch of 40 days--so far. Solar minimum may not have been Dec 2008. since we have fewer sunspots this year so far than we had in 2008 it is hard not to call this year the minimum--so far. 80% of the days this year have been spotless.

Such failed predictions should alert us that our models are not as good as we think they are. We should have lots of sunspots by now but we don't. As of today the current spotless streak reached 49 days in a row without a sunspot.

And today comes a Science article which basically says IPCC is wrong. There are feedbacks which amplify the small temperature differences and can warm the earth far beyond what one would expect merely on energy grounds.

See. Amplifying the Pacific Climate System Response to a Small 11-Year Solar Cycle Forcing Gerald A. Meehl, Julie M. Arblaster, Katja Matthes, Fabrizio Sassi, and Harry van Loon Science 28 August 2009: 1114-1118.

and at ACRIM, a NASA satellite mission we see that since 2003 the energy output of the sun continues to decline.

Now, this lack of sunspots and lack of energy output has caused July this
year to be one of the coolest in history.

From Pennsylvania
July 2009 coldest in 33 years, weather service says
by STEVEN FARLEY, Of The Patriot-News
Tuesday August 04, 2009, 4:39 PM
If you thought July was cool, you were right: It was the coldest July since 1976 and the ninth coolest on record since 1888, according to the National Weather Service in State College.

Many states had their coldest July's ever--EVER.

"For the contiguous United States the average July temperature of 73.5°F was 0.8°F below the 20th century average and ranked as the 27th coolest July on record, based on preliminary data.
An abnormally strong and persistent upper-level pattern during the month helped produce a large number of record low temperatures east of the
Rockies, while warmth was focused west of the Rockies.
Four of the seven states that make up the Central U.S. (Ohio, Illinois,
Indiana, and West Virginia) experienced their coolest ever July in 115 years of records. The region's three remaining states of Kentucky, Missouri, and Tennessee recorded either their second or third coolest July in history. Pennsylvania also experienced a record cool July, while Wisconsin and Michigan each had its second coolest on record.

On another forum, where I was once soundly ridiculed for my beliefs but now am tolerated, a guy from New Zealand described his very very cold winter down there in June:

In support of what Glenn has said, it was been the one of the coldest June's in New Zealand this year, and it has been one of the coldest July's as well .

Newspaper articles in support for the above:
Thought June was chilly? You'd be right |
The big chill (+pics) - news - waikato-times |

And as I commute to work on my Mountain Bike, I must admit that riding at -5°C plus the windchill factor (which pushes it to below -10) is not very fun

It has warmed in August but one must know that not every month will be cold.

Now, some hysteriacs are suggesting that we go block sunlight in massive geo-engineering projects. If we go put shades on the earth and reflect MORE heat, we may find that we cause another year without a summer. We almost had that this year.

It is frosty in New England this year.

And the last time that happened was 1816.

"The infamous eruption in 1815 of Tambora, on the Indonesian island of Sumbawa, seven hundred miles east of Krakatoa, ejected twice the volume of material into the atmosphere (eleven cubic miles of rock, ash, and dust, compared with Krakatoa’s six). The devastation it caused locally was profound—supposedly fifty thousand dead, an entire language (Tambora) extinguished, an entire island rendered uninhabitable for years. But its climatic effects were astounding too. For it lowered the world’s temperature by almost one Celsius degree, on average: for every day when the normal temperature might be thirty-three, just above freezing, the temperature in the year after Tambora would be thirty-one degrees Fahrenheit, and ice would have formed on every pond and, more fatally, on every newborn crop, flower and hatching egg."
"So in New England the farmers claimed that 1816 was ‘the year without summer.’ There were frosts as far south as New Jersey in late May, in upper New England in June and July, and the growing season was slashed from the usual 160 days to seventy. Soup kitchens opened in Manhattan. Livestock had to be fed on fish carried over from the Atlantic seaports—1816 is also still remembered as ‘the mackerel year.’ There were crop failures-"the last great subsistence crisis of the Western world’—and, as a result, there was emigration to the Western states. No small number of today’s Californians can rightly lay responsibility for their being Californians squarely at the door of the proximate cause of that year’s ruinous cold—Tambora, a volcano unknown to most of them, and ten thousand miles away. (Although there was migration into California from Europe, in Newfoundland quite the reverse took place: Migrants were sent back east across the ocean, because there was not enough for them to eat.)
"And yet back in Europe it was just as bad. The weather for 1816 is the worst recorded, with low temperatures stretching as far south as Tunisia. French grapes could not be harvested until November. The German wheat crop failed entirely, and prices for flour had doubled in a year. In some places there were reports of famine, and in others there were riots and mass migrations. The diaries and newspapers of the day present a litany of miseries. It is said that Byron composed his most miserable poem, "Darkness"—Morn came and went—and came, and brought no day—under the influence of that dismal year; and Mary Shelley may have written Frankenstein while gripped by a similarly unseasonable melancholy." Simon Winchester, Krakatoa, (New York: HarperCollins, 2003), p. 292-293

Now, even before the Tambora eruption, the lack of sunspots had already lowered the temperatures of the few stations in operation at that time.

From 1780 until 1815 the dearth of sunspots had caused the Europe to cool between 1 and 1.5 degrees. see picture below. Then came a big volcano which further caused the cooling. Some farmers called it Eighteen hundred and starve to death. It froze every month of the year in New England, the result of few sunspots and a big volcano.

The fact that we are 3 years late for sunspots and that this inter-cycle period has had 700 total spotless days (since 2004) combined with the fact that the average is about 485 should get everyone' attention. But it doesn't. Ideology prevents people from looking at the data every bit as much as my former YEC ideology prevented me from looking at the data.

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