Wednesday, November 2, 2016

GWPF Newsletter: Solar Activity Weakest In More Than A Century








Henrik Svensmark: Cosmic Rays And Clouds Anno 2016

In this newsletter:

1) Solar Activity Weakest In More Than A Century
Vencore Weather, 31 October 2016
 
2) Coldest Winter Since 2012 On Its Way
China Daily, 31 October 2016

 
3) Climate Change Hits Coffee Yield? It’s A Load Of Froth, Say Scientists
The Times, 24 October 2016
 
4) Henrik Svensmark: Cosmic Rays And Clouds Anno 2016
Global Warming Policy Forum, 30 October 2016
 
5) Matt Ridley: Global Warming Versus Global Greening
Global Warming Policy Foundation
 
6) Christopher Booker: Britain Is Following Germany’s Path Of Green Energy Madness
The Sunday Telegraph, 31 October 2016
 
7) And Finally: Why Professors Are Writing Crap That Nobody Reads
Intellectual Takeover, 26 October 2016 

Full details:

1) Solar Activity Weakest In More Than A Century
Vencore Weather, 31 October 2016
Paul Dorian

The current solar cycle is the 24th since 1755 when extensive recording of solar sunspot activity began and is the weakest in more than a century with the fewest sunspots since cycle 14 peaked in February 1906.
 


The current solar image shows one sunspot region (circled) as the sun heads toward the next minimum phase; image courtesy NASA

The sun has been completely spotless on 21 days in 2016 and it is currently featuring just one lonely sunspot region.  In fact, on June 4th of this year, the sun went completely spotless for the first time since 2011 and that quiet spell lasted for about four days. Sunspot regions then reappeared for the next few weeks on a sporadic basis, but that was followed by several more completely spotless days on the surface of the sun.  The increasingly frequent blank sun is a sign that the next solar minimum is approaching and there will be an even greater number of spotless days over the next few years.  At first, the blankness will stretch for just a few days at a time, then it’ll continue for weeks at a time, and finally it should last for months at a time when the sunspot cycle reaches its nadir.  The next solar minimum phase is expected to take place around 2019 or 2020. The current solar cycle is the 24th since 1755 when extensive recording of solar sunspot activity began and is the weakest in more than a century with the fewest sunspots since cycle 14 peaked in February 1906.  One other note, the weak solar cycle and the expectation for continued low solar activity this upcoming winter is an important factor in this year’s colder-than-normal Winter Outlook for the Mid-Atlantic region.
 

Sunspot numbers for solar cycles 22, 23 and 24 which shows a clear weakening trend; current sunspot number indicated by arrow; plot courtesy Dr. David Hathaway, NASA/MSFC
Sunspot numbers for solar cycles 22, 23 and 24 which shows a clear weakening trend; current sunspot number indicated by arrow; plot courtesy Dr. David Hathaway, NASA/MSFC

Solar cycle 24
The sun goes through a natural solar cycle approximately every 11 years. The cycle is marked by the increase and decrease of sunspots which are visible dark regions on the sun’s surface and cooler than surroundings. The greatest number of sunspots in any given solar cycle is designated as the “solar maximum” and the lowest number is referred to as the “solar minimum” phase. We are currently more than seven years into Solar Cycle 24 and it appears the solar maximum of this cycle was reached in April 2014 during a spike in activity (current location indicated by white arrow).  Going back to 1755, there have been only a few solar cycles in the previous 23 that have had a lower number of sunspots during its maximum phase. The peak of activity in April 2014 was actually a second peak in solar cycle 24 that surpassed the level of an earlier peak which occurred in March 2012.  While many solar cycles are double-peaked, this is the first one in which the second peak in sunspot number was larger than the first peak.  The sunspot number plot (above) shows a clear weakening trend in solar cycles since solar cycle 22 peaked around 1990.

While a weak solar cycle does suggest strong solar storms will occur less often than during stronger and more active cycles, it does not rule them out entirely. In fact, the famous “superstorm” known as the Carrington Event of 1859 occurred during a weak solar cycle (number 10). In addition, there is some evidence that most large events such as strong solar flares and significant geomagnetic storms tend to occur in the declining phase of the solar cycle. In other words, there is still a chance for significant solar activity in the months and years ahead. The last solar minimum phase lasted from 2007-to-2009 and it was historically weak. In fact, it produced three of the most spotless days on the sun since the middle 1800’s (bar graph below).
 

Top "sunspotless" days since 1849; the last solar minimum phase produced three of these years
Top “sunspotless” days since 1849; the last solar minimum phase produced three of these years

Full post

2) Coldest Winter Since 2012 On Its Way
China Daily, 31 October 2016
Zheng Jinran

Get ready for the coldest winter since 2012.

Most of China-but especially the northeast and northwest-is expected to feel a big chill this winter, thanks to a climate pattern in the Pacific Ocean called La Nina, meteorologists said on Monday.

"Affected by a growing La Nina, the country's average temperature this winter is forecast to be 0.5 degree (Celsius) lower than average," said Zheng Fei, a researcher at the Institute of Atmospheric Physics of Chinese Academy of Sciences.

While that may not sound like much, it means China will be in for some very chilly days.

"The northeastern and northwestern regions will be hit harder, with the temperature dropping much more," he said.

La Nina is a periodic cooling of the surface of the equatorial Pacific Ocean, which causes abnormal weather patterns.

In August, the temperature of the central Pacific was cooler than average by 0.53 C, marking the start of La Nina, said the National Climate Center of China Meteorological Administration.

"Based on the records, it means the winter has larger possibilities to be colder," said Ding Yihui, academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering.

In January 2008, a strong La Nina hit, bringing blizzard and snowstorm to 21 provinces, and caused 107 deaths.

But the La Nina this year is not expected to be as strong as the one in 2008, Zheng said, though it will add more uncertainty to forecasts. "The precipitation in winter is hard to forecast now," Zheng said.

Full story

3) Climate Change Hits Coffee Yield? It’s A Load Of Froth, Say Scientists
The Times, 24 October 2016
Ben Webster 
 
Climate change has been wrongly blamed for devastating coffee plantations, a study has found. 

Coffee leaf rust (CLR) caused coffee production in Colombia to fall by 40 per cent between 2008 and 2011. The decline was linked to the worst epidemic for several decades. A number of other coffee-producing countries in Central America and the Caribbean were also affected and hundreds of thousands of people lost their livelihoods.

The fungus appears as powdery orange spores that cause the leaves to fall off. It also reduces bean quality and makes the bushes vulnerable to other diseases. In badly affected areas, new bushes must be planted.

Some scientists linked the spread of the fungus to climate change because it thrives in higher temperatures and the moisture caused by increased rainfall.
The International Coffee Organisation, an intergovernmental body of coffee exporting and importing countries, said in 2014: “Due to changing climatic patterns, the fungus is expanding to higher altitudes where coffee is grown.”

Scientists at the University of Exeter took a different view. Their paper, published in the Royal Society journal Philosophical Transactions B, concluded: “We find no evidence for an overall trend in disease risk in coffee-growing regions of Colombia from 1990 to 2015, therefore, while weather conditions were more conducive to disease outbreaks from 2008 to 2011, we reject the climate change hypothesis.”

Full story

See also GWPF Climate Briefing: Roasting the Coffee Apocalypse

 


4) Henrik Svensmark: Cosmic Rays And Clouds Anno 2016
Global Warming Policy Forum, 30 October 2016
Henrik Svensmark, DTU Space, National Space Institute, Technical University of Denmark

Now and then new results appear that suggest that the idea of cosmic ray influence on clouds and terrestrial climate does not work. “Sun-clouds-climate connection takes a beating from CERN” is the latest news story which is based on a new paper from the CLOUD collaboration at CERN [1].

It is important to note that the new CLOUD paper is not presenting an experimental result, with respect to the effect of cosmic ray generated ions on clouds, but a result of numerical modeling. CLOUD is using their experimental measurements to estimate the typical nucleation of various aerosols of small size (1-3 nm). However, for an aerosol to affect clouds (and climate) it must first grow to 50-100 nm, to become cloud condensation nuclei (CCN). CLOUD then uses a numerical model to estimate the effect of cosmic rays on the growth process, and finds that the response of cosmic rays on the number of CCN over a solar cycle is insignificant.

This type of numerical modeling is by no means new, and neither is the result that ions in these models apparently do not affect cloud formation. We have known this for about 7 years. For example the CLOUD results, with respect to cosmic rays and clouds, are very similar to the conclusions of Pierce and Adams from 2009 [2] where they also use a numerical model to grow small nucleated aerosols to CCN, and also find only a small change in CCN as a function of ion changes. In fact this result has been found a number of times in similar models. The argument for the lack of response to ions is the following: In the presence of ions additional small aerosols are formed, but with an increase in the number of aerosols, there is less gas to each particle, and they therefore grow slower. This means that the probability of being lost to larger particles increases, and fewer survive.

So why, in contrast to the above, do I think that the cosmic rays cloud idea is still viable? The reason is that we have tried to answer the same question (do ion-nucleated aerosols grow to CCN) without using models — and get very different results.

In 2012 we tested the growth of nucleated aerosols to CCN in our laboratory and found that when no ions were present the response to increased nucleation was severely damped, in accordance with the above mentioned models; but with ions present, all the extra nucleated particles grew to CCN sizes, in contrast to the numerical model results [3].  Now it may be that the conditions we have in the experiment are not as in the real atmosphere. There are complex processes in the real atmosphere that that we cannot include, whose effect may change the experimental result, as we have been told many times.

It is therefore fortunate that our Sun makes natural experiments with the whole Earth. On rare occasions “explosions” on the Sun called coronal mass ejections, results in a plasma cloud passing the Earth, with the effect that cosmic rays flux decreases suddenly and stays low for a week or two. Such events, with a significant reduction in the cosmic rays flux, are called Forbush decreases, and are ideal to test the link between cosmic rays and clouds. Finding the strongest Forbush decreases and using 3 independent cloud satellite data sets (ISCCP, MODIS, and SSM/I) and one dataset for aerosols (AERONET), we clearly see a response to Forbush decreases. These results suggest that the whole chain from solar activity, to cosmic rays, to aerosols (CCN), to clouds, is active in the Earths atmosphere.

From the MODIS data we even see that the cloud microphysics is changing according to expectations.

Figure 1 display the superposed signal in clouds (blue curve), based on the above three satellite datasets, in the days following the minimum in cosmic rays of the 5 strongest Forbush decreases (red curve). The delay in the minimum of the two curves is due to the time it takes aerosols to grow into CCN. A Monte Carlo simulation was used to estimate the significance of the signal, and none of 10random realizations gave a signal of similar size. Please see our latest paper from 2016 for further evidence [4].
 


Figure 1: Statistical common disturbance in clouds (1 Principal component) based on three cloud satellite data sets (ISCCP, MODIS and SSM/I) superposed for the five strongest Forbush decreases (blue) curve. Red curve is the change in (%) of cosmic rays superposed for the same five events. The thin lines are 1-3 standard deviations. Adapted from [4].

Finally, there are a large number of studies showing that past climate changes are closely correlated to variations in cosmic rays. For example, the energy that goes into the oceans over 11 years solar cycle is of the order 1-1.5 W/m2, which is 5-7 times too large to be explained by solar irradiance variations [5]. Therefore something is amplifying the solar cycle, and “cosmic rays and clouds” is a good candidate to explain the observed forcing.

In conclusion, observations and experiments go against the above mentioned numerical model result. As I see it, something is missing in the prevailing theory. A solution to this problem is still worth pursuing.

References
[1] E. M. Dunne et al., Global atmospheric particle formation from CERN CLOUD measurements, (2016), DOI: 10.1126/science.aaf2649
[2] J. R. Pierce, P. J. Adams, Can cosmic rays affect cloud condensation nuclei by altering new particle formation rates? Geophys. Res. Lett. 36, L09820 (2009).
[3] H. Svensmark, M. B. Enghoff, and J. O. P. Pedersen, Response of Cloud Con­densation Nuclei (> 50 nm) to changes in ion-nucleation, Physics Letters A, 377, 2343–2347, (2012). https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/51188502/CCN_Svensmark_PhysicsLettersA.pdf
[4] J. Svensmark,M. B. Enghoff, N. J. Shaviv, and H. Svensmark, The response of clouds and aerosols to cosmic ray decreases, J. Geophys. Res. Space Physics, 121, 8152–8181, (2016), doi:10.1002/2016JA022689. https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/51188502/Forbush_long_JGR_rev3_nored.pdf
[5] N. J. Shaviv, ‘Using the oceans as a calorimeter to quantify the solar radiative forcing’ J. Geophys.Res., 113, 2156 (2008)

5) Matt Ridley: Global Warming Versus Global Greening
Global Warming Policy Foundation

Matt Ridley delivered the 2016 Annual GWPF Lecture at the Royal Society, London 17 October 
 


For video of the lecture click here or on the image above

For the PDF of the lecture click here or on the image below
 



6) Christopher Booker: Britain Is Following Germany’s Path Of Green Energy Madness
The Sunday Telegraph, 31 October 2016

Hollow laughter greeted the warning from Ed Davey that Britain is “sleepwalking” towards electricity blackouts. In his years in charge of our energy and climate-change policy, no one did more to ensure that we are heading for blackouts than the global warming-obsessed Davey himself.
 



But all he was alarmed about, it seems, was a threat to the astronomic subsidies we pay for all those diesel generators he wanted hooked up to the grid, to provide instant back-up to keep our lights on when his beloved windmills stop turning for lack of wind.

Ever since I first wrote in 2011 under the heading “The lights may go out in Germany even sooner than in Britain”, I have been noting that, for evidence of where our efforts to “decarbonise” our economy are taking us, we should look at Germany, which is even further down the track. An expert study there has recently caused a stir by calculating that by 2025 Germany’s “green energy transition”, such as its 26,000 windmills, will have cost £470 billion, or £22,500 for the average household.

Similar calculations based on official data here, by Paul Homewood of the Notalotofpeopleknowthat blog, show that between 2014 and 2020 our rocketing bill for “green” subsidies and “carbon taxes” will have reached £90 billlon, or £3,500 per household.
 

Electricity prices in selected countries
Electricity prices in selected countries CREDIT: -/IEA, EIA, SHRINKTHATFOOTPRINT.COM

Another study by Dr John Constable of the Global Warming Policy Forum shows that in the same period, the additional annual sum we pay just for “green” electricity will almost have trebled, from less than £5 billion to nearly £14 billion, made up partly of subsidies but also in “ancillary” costs. These, calculated by a senior engineer formerly a director of National Grid, include the colossal costs of connecting new windfarms to the grid, and all the different means of providing back-up when the wind isn’t blowing.

But all these future cost-projections are only a small part of what we can expect from our own Government’s “green energy transition”. We may have smiled to read of last month’s vote by the upper house of the German parliament that by 2030 internal combustion engines in Germany should be banned, with all road vehicles powered by electricity. But by the same year, under the “Fifth Carbon Budget” nodded through by our own Parliament in July, we too are committed to 60 per cent of our vehicles being electric.

Even more astonishingly, in the name of eliminating fossil fuels, our MPs happily voted for the phasing out from around 2030 of all use of gas for cooking and heating, to be replaced by “zero-carbon” electricity supplied partly by thousands more windmills and other subsidised renewables, and partly by those talked of new subsidised nuclear power stations such as Hinkley Point (estimated life-cost £49 billion), which we shall only believe in when we see them.

The trouble is that, because all these projections still seem comfortably in the future (although 2030 is just over 13 years away), only the handful of those who have looked at the hard facts have any idea of where the mad dreams of our politicians are leading us.

Unless we come to our senses, our bills will continue to soar and our lights will go out, because all this make-believe cannot possibly work. Fortunately for Ed Davey, by the time we wake up to the disaster in store, no one will remember who he was.

6) And Finally: Why Professors Are Writing Crap That Nobody Reads
Intellectual Takeover, 26 October 2016
Daniel Lattier




Professors usually spend about 3-6 months (sometimes longer) researching and writing a 25-page article to submit an article to an academic journal. And most experience a twinge of excitement when, months later, they open a letter informing them that their article has been accepted for publication, and will therefore be read by…

… an average of ten people.

Yes, you read that correctly. The numbers reported by recent studies are pretty bleak:

- 82 percent of articles published in the humanities are not even cited once.

- Of those articles that are cited, only 20 percent have actually been read.

- Half of academic papers are never read by anyone other than their authors, peer reviewers, and journal editors.

So what’s the reason for this madness? Why does the world continue to be subjected to just under 2 million academic journal articles each year?

Well, the main reason is money and job-security. The goal of all professors is to get tenure, and right now, tenure continues to be awarded tenure based in part on how many peer-reviewed publications they have. Tenure committees treat these publications as evidence that the professor is able to conduct mature research.

Sadly, however, many academic articles today are merely exercises in what one professor I knew called “creative plagiarism”: rearrangements of previous research with a new thesis appended on to them.

Another reason is increased specialization in the modern era, which is in part due to the splitting up of universities into various disciplines and departments that each pursue their own logic.

One unfortunate effect of this specialization is that the subject matter of most articles make them inaccessible to the public, and even to the overwhelming majority of professors. (Trust me: most academics don’t even want to read their peers’ papers.) Some of the titles in the most recent issues of the Journal of the American Academy of Religion—which proclaims itself as “the top academic journal in the field of religious studies”—serve as evidence:

“Dona Benta’s Rosary: Managing Ambiguity in a Brazilian Women’s Prayer Group”

“Death and Demonization of a Bodhisattva: Guanyin’s Reformulation within Chinese Religion”

“Brides and Blemishes: Queering Women’s Disability in Rabbinic Marriage Law”

Thus, increased specialization has led to increased alienation between not only professors and the general public, but also between the professors themselves.

All of this is very unfortunate. Ideally, the great academic minds of a society should be put to work for the sake of building up that society and addressing its problems. Instead, most Western academics today are using their intellectual capital to answer questions that nobody’s asking on pages that nobody’s reading.

What a waste.

The London-based Global Warming Policy Forum is a world leading think tank on global warming policy issues. The GWPF newsletter is prepared by Director Dr Benny Peiser - for more information, please visit the website at www.thegwpf.com.


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