back to article Scientists to IPCC: YES, solar quiet spells like the one now looming CAN mean ICE AGES

There's been criticism for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) over its latest AR5 report from many quarters for many reasons. But today there's new research focusing on one particular aspect of that criticism. The particular part of the IPCC's science in question is its accounting for the effects of changes in …

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The best word to describe IPCC AR5 is 'strange'.

With regard to the Sun, one chapter says it has no effect on global climate at all, while another says that it is responsible for the recent lack of warming.

Of particular interest is the apparent failure of the model projections to match reality, since they show continually increasing temperatures MUST happen if CO2 rises. Oddly, the last draft of AR5 shows this issue illustrated in graphical form with the model predictions running way higher than observations - the just released Final Draft shows a graph with the same data, but this time the model projections DO fit reality.

Statisticians are currently wondering how this apparent miracle was achieved - it looks as if some undocumented changes have been made at the last minute to the papers which were accepted by the IPCC. But not by the original authors....??

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Boffin

Energy

A lot of climate discussion obscures the more important issue which is energy. If we have enough energy to work with, it does not matter if the global temperature warms, cools or stays the same, we have the tools to handle it... as long as we have the energy to power those tools.

The real problem with coal, oil etc as power sources isn't so much that they emit CO2, as that they pollute* , they are finite/non-renewable, and a not-insignificant chunk of it comes from to countries that I would rather not be beholden to.

Message to the moderate and right-thinking greenies - I'd love a future world powered by fusion / solar / hydro / geo at 100% renewable BUT at the moment and for the foreseeable future there is one choice to make for baseload power - either nuclear or carbon. It can't be neither. You cannot have your cake and eat it. We can build up renewable alternatives gradually, but we need one of those 2 big ones NOW. And if you don't want carbon, we need to start building nuclear NOW so it's ready in 10-20 years' time.

Message to the ultra-greenies (the hardcore nutters) - NO we are not going back to the medieval age, which is what would happen with no nukes and no carbon.**

*as in particulate pollution with very bad health consequences, see Beijing smog etc

**or rather, the ultra-rich would be sitting pretty in their rooftop palaces powered by solar panels while the proles would be subsistence farming like it's fifteen-ninety-nine

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Energy

"If we have enough energy to work with, it does not matter if the global temperature warms, cools or stays the same, we have the tools to handle it... as long as we have the energy to power those tools."

Actually the upcoming major problem for humanity is the global food supply.

If the climate goes horribly Pete Tong (*), whether due to human carbon emissions or some other cause, we will have an awful lot of trouble feeding 7 billion people if the viability of agriculture reduces due to too hot / too dry / too cold / too wet / too windy (think hurricanes/tornados) climatic conditions(**). There is only so much you can produce out of climate-controlled green houses of hydroponic farms. I'd hazard to suggest that GMO technology is unlikely to help to any significant degree.

(* translation = 'wrong' for anyone not familiar with London Cockney double-speak)

(** all of which occur when the energy in the atmosphere increases/decreases)

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Re: Energy

hand in hand with food supply is over-population....no one seems to mention this elephant.

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Re: Energy

USA throws away 40% of food.

North America takes 75% of resources for 25% of population.

Rats eat a lot of the food in Asia. Maybe 25% or more.

We are very far off overpopulation. The problem is Greed and Corruption. Communism isn't the answer to those Capitalist ills though.

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Dodgy, the best way to describe you is "a raving nutcase".

Which chapter of AR5 says "[the sun] as no effect on global climate at all"?

Which chapter says "[trhe sun] is responsible for the recent lack of warming"?

Which graph are you referring to?

Or are you just making all this shit up?

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"With regard to the Sun, one chapter says it has no effect on global climate at all, while another says that it is responsible for the recent lack of warming."

Why do you make stuff up? Both those statements you have made are false. The IPCC report does not say the sun has no effect on global climate. Nor does it say it is responsible for the recent lack of warming.

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"Oddly, the last draft of AR5 shows this issue illustrated in graphical form with the model predictions running way higher than observations - the just released Final Draft shows a graph with the same data, but this time the model projections DO fit reality."

The draft contained an error. It's a wonder all the skeptics who cited it did not spot it. I guess spotting errors in the IPCC report that run against their agenda is not a priority for skeptics.

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@Dodgy Geezer

"With regard to the Sun, one chapter says it has no effect on global climate at all, while another says that it is responsible for the recent lack of warming."

That is entirely self-consistent. No effect = lack of warming. Where's your difficulty?

Unless of course you have come to believe that the Earth MUST be steadily heating up, as a matter of religious faith (or something).

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Energy

"hand in hand with food supply is over-population....no one seems to mention this elephant."

Very true - only it's not so much hand-in-hand as underneath, giving a free ride. Resource exhaustion, pollution, potential overheating, malnutrition, overcrowding, and endemic war are all inevitable consequences of overpopulation.

The reason it is so rarely mentioned, of course, is that nobody - least of all politicians - can think of a practical way to deal with it. We have decided that the best form of government is one that respects the wishes of the broad masses, and the broad masses want to go on having families larger than 2.0 on average. Anyone of average intelligence, who has troubled to find out a few facts, understands that much. But actually stopping runaway overpopulation: that is too hard. So people simply ignore it.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Energy

"We are very far off overpopulation. The problem is Greed and Corruption."

Not so, Mage. Greed and corruption may make matters somewhat worse, but it's the sheer numbers of people that are the real trouble.

Before the Green Revolution, it was thought difficult to feed 4-5 billion people. Now we have over 7 billion, with no sign of growth in sight. What if the Green revolution turns out to be unsustainable? What if those bounteous fields of grain sooner or later turn dry and dusty and blow away? What if insects evolve resistance to the powerful poisons chemical companies use to keep them away from the crops? (Remember how anitbiotics were going to put an end to infectious disease?)

You say "we are very far off overpopulation". How many people, in your educated opinion, can the Earth sustain indefinitely? 10 billion? 15 billion? 50 billion? "Very many"?

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Re: Energy - Food

Quite correct, food and water become increasingly important if climate change screws things up. But with enough energy we can make fresh water from sea water (and 75% of global population lives very close to sea), and use the obtained fresh water for irrigation. Rising sea levels can be countered by building barriers (and we're talking a few cm rise even in worst cases). And raw materials for construction can be obtained / refined / processed / transported as necessary if the energy to do so is available.

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Re: Energy

Nobody wants to keep their zippers done up!

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Re: Energy: Population

Population is a separate issue to Climate Change. Unless you are going to wipe out 2/3rds of the existing population. Assuming there is a Climate Change problem. Even if it's 100% true that we really do have global warming, and it's man made, some places will produce more food and some less. If there isn't global warming, man made or otherwise, then according to David Attenbourgh we have a Population problem anyway. But experts can't agree on the future growth nor sustainable level.

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Re: Energy

If you give people electricity, clean water and contraception.....guess what their populations go DOWN.

Yes good news! Lets work to give the developing world these advantages and population will decline.

Ask a German if you don't believe me.

All those hand wringing Malthusians should work to better the living conditions of their fellow humans instead of winging about the environment. If somebody needs to cook and they don't have coal, gas or electricity they cut down trees. This leads to environmental degradation on a massive scale.

Give 'em coal I say, even the trees will benefit!

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Holmes

When you throw a hundred billion at a make-believe problem, you need to expect a bit of scientific fraud here and there. Hockey Stick effect, anybody?

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Pint

Make me another model this one does not fit!!!!

Climate scientists agree that they will be sipping cocktails in St Tropez, but can't agree if they need to bring the ice or it will already be there, never mind another round of funding to get the next IPCC report should keep them going for a while. I wonder which one will do the King Canute impression this year always a hoot in the climate scientist annual lets ague about it but there' s sod all we can do about it conference.

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Baked? Frozen? It's the weather.

Back in the 1970's, the scientists were screaming that we'd be under a sheet of ice by now. The scientists are currently screaming that we'll be baked off the surface of the earth. (OK, so in a couple billion years they'll be right.) If *all* of the earth's industrial output went to zero today (along with an associated die-off of humans), the warming (or cooling!) would roll along completely unimpeded.

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Boffin

@Brian Miller - Re: Baked? Frozen? It's the weather.

"Back in the 1970's, the scientists were screaming that we'd be under a sheet of ice by now"

No, they weren't. See http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2005/01/the-global-cooling-myth/ for facts.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @Brian Miller - Baked? Frozen? It's the weather.

Yes they were. Life Magazine 30 Jan 1970, " Others disagree, but scientists have solid experimental and theoretical evidence to support each of the following predictions:

Increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will affect the earth’s temperature, leading to mass flooding or a new ice age."

Note the words 'scientists', 'have' and 'evidence'.

http://blog.modernmechanix.com/ecology-a-cause-becomes-a-mass-movement/

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@jpf - Re: @Brian Miller - Baked? Frozen? It's the weather.

No, they weren't. Note the words "scientific press" rather that "popular press":

"I should clarify that I’m talking about predictions in the scientific press. There were some regrettable things published in the popular press (e.g. Newsweek; though National Geographic did better). But we’re only responsible for the scientific press. If you want to look at an analysis of various papers that mention the subject, then try http://www.wmconnolley.org.uk/sci/iceage/."

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Re: @Brian Miller - Baked? Frozen? It's the weather.

Good try there, trying to rewrite history, Graham. Orwell would be pleased.

Luckily, some folk have compiled a bit of a db of the news:

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/03/01/global-cooling-compilation/

http://stevengoddard.wordpress.com/2013/05/21/the-1970s-ice-age-scare/

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Re: @Brian Miller - Baked? Frozen? It's the weather.

"Luckily, some folk have compiled a bit of a db of the news:"

Did you not read the comment you were replying to?

Note the words "scientific press" rather that "popular press"

A db of the news is not a db of the *science*.

Today there is a scientific consensus that man is warming the planet. Back in the 70s there was not a scientific consensus that an ice age was coming. All you have is a few news articles.

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Go

Re: @Brian Miller - Baked? Frozen? It's the weather.

The fact you have a consensus just means you're popular. It doesn't mean your right.

So many of the climate models (theories) predict 0.1 degree of warming per decade. That's because they were tuned to do that, because 0.1 degree of warming was considered to be the "right" answer. Now that even the IPCC has been convinced that the real warming is only 0.05 degrees, just watch the models being retuned to pump out 0.05 degree predictions.

BTW, can somebody add an icon for "Scientific Fraud", or "Your Tax Dollar at Work" ?

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Re: @Brian Miller - Baked? Frozen? It's the weather.

Yes because realclimate.org is so impartial....

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Happy

Re: Bootnote

Rik's first contribution on the subject was in June 2009. Richard's was in November 2011. Your skeptical voice went unchallenged for two years and you have been rather more prolific.

I'm not saying skepticism is wrong, it's what drives advancement. It's just good to have some balance.

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Re: Bootnote

@ Red Bren

"I'm not saying skepticism is wrong, it's what drives advancement. It's just good to have some balance."

Funny how this idea pops up every time page posts an article. However the same rules dont seem to apply elsewhere. I found that the more the 'official line' was pushed the more page posted even to some of the less significant research. The more reaching and fantastical the pro-media pushed the more lewis seemed to push back.

I like reading lewis's articles which I know will be leaning away from the mainstream view. I like it because I can hear/read the mainstream views through the news and activist claims of doom. But to balance them out are few.

Science is science and not consensus. This is the problem with the pro-lobby, they have a consensus just like any other religion. There is also a smaller cult who are anti warmists to the religious extreme. But there are few people pro or anti looking at the science. Yet they are the only ones worth any time.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Bootnote

No, science is consensus, that's the whole point.

If you break your leg, you go to casualty, the doctor will use the best consensus science to treat you. He won't rub some herbs on it because psychic-Dave says that he reckons that will fix it. This is the whole point of peer review.

One lone voice tipping over the consensus (which results in revised consensus, you'll note) has been the case so few times that we can all count the names on one hand. They are Einstein, Newton, Galileo and that's about it.

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Re: Bootnote

You AC dont know your Science History. Its far more accurate to describe it as an newly emerging consensus driven by hundreds scientists challenging the status quo

Add to those mentioned Hooke, Leibniz, Curie, Boyle, Millikan, Rutherford, Feynmann, and dozens if not hundreds of others. All of whom chipped away at the edifice of consensus to estabilish something new.

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Re: Bootnote

@Gordon 10 - You prove my point - the people you name developed on top of existing scientific consensus, they didn't prove everything that was known up until that point didn't work in one way or another.

Incidentally, you could have added the discovery of Plate Techtonics...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Bootnote

No, science isn't about consensus. Consensus is used in politics. In science we use hypothesis and experimental refutation.

It's easy to see the difference. The current "consensus" says that global climate modeling has predictive power and predicts that the world will warm. So what happens if that warming graph carries on not going up? What if it turns down?

At some point (depending on how you assess the statistics), it will* experimentally refute the hypothesis. Where's your consensus then? It's wrong. Broken. Useless. Reliable experimental results *always* trump consensus.

*I'm not claiming this will be the outcome, but just suppose it is.

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Re: Bootnote

"You prove my point - the people you name developed on top of existing scientific consensus"

OK Galileo then.

The doctor you mentioned treated you with the best proven science. That is not always the same thing as the scientific consensus (as demonstrated by the Galileo "earth is not the centre of the universe example).

As Einstein reportedly said `It doesn't take 100 scientists to prove me wrong, it takes a single fact'.

Model forecasts by definition are not facts.

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Re: Bootnote

Consensus is achieved when people have matching opinions.

Science is about facts, not opinions.

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Joke

Re: Bootnote

"Science is about facts, not opinions."
And that's your opinion. Sorry couldn't resist. Couldn't help myself. Also sorry to Sheldon's mun for stealing her line.

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Go

Once again I cannot understand why the IPCC claims their confidence has *risen*

As this research suggests they should be rather more cautious about their beliefs science.

And may I suggest Dr (?) Haigh's comments be preferred for posterity?

Note that it would appear that the Little Ice Age took both the solar minimum and multiple (and I think) large volcanic eruptions to trigger it.

While not quite a "thumbs up" event (it's computer simulation, not actual field work) but congratulations to the Berne team for pinning down other options.

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Re: Once again I cannot understand why the IPCC claims their confidence has *risen*

Confidence has risen that most of the warming since 1950 is human caused. I think even most skeptics accept that is very likely.

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Re: Once again I cannot understand why the IPCC claims their confidence has *risen*

mmmm nope, I believe they grew grapes in the South of England and a human population moved to greenland during the 1600 medieval warming period, something we have yet to do in this warming period (which now seems to be over for almost 2 decades now)....

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Re: Once again I cannot understand why the IPCC claims their confidence has *risen*

'I believe they grew grapes in the South of England'

+

'something we have yet to do in this warming period'

Hate to say this but I have grape vines growing in my old greenhouse that has been left unattended for the last 5 years. Oh, and it's not got much glass left, either thanks to the various vines and weeds over the years, so it's pretty much open to the climate.

It just happens to be a rather hardy grape vine and the grapes are rather small. But they are definitely grapes.

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Re: Once again I cannot understand why the IPCC claims their confidence has *risen*

They had _Vineyards_ as far north as Leeds.

Not an odd straggly single vine with protection from the elements.

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Devil

Re: Once again I cannot understand why the IPCC claims their confidence has *risen*

JS19, I'm still laughing from "Children Just won't Know What Snow Is" and "The Artic will be Ice Free by 2013" and "28 Climate Change Experts Have Met with the BBC And agreed That The Science Is SOOOOO Settled that Skeptical Views Need Not be Aired"!!

Luckily these days, we have the Wayback Machine to help us remember.

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Devil

Re: Once again I cannot understand why the IPCC claims their confidence has *risen*

Err, no.

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Re: Once again I cannot understand why the IPCC claims their confidence has *risen*

Not that it's relevant one way or the other but Yorkshire has commercial vinyards today: Ryedale Vineyards for example. And North West Scotland has palm trees in places. It doesn't say a huge amount about average temperature through a region though.

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Re: Once again I cannot understand why the IPCC claims their confidence has *risen*

"They had _Vineyards_ as far north as Leeds."

We have vineyards further north today. There are more vineyards in this country now than at any time in it's history.

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Re: Once again I cannot understand why the IPCC claims their confidence has *risen*

"And now they're in the Yorkshire wolds.

http://www.ryedalevineyards.co.uk/

by the way, they're at 54N, i.e north of Leeds."

So we're _starting_ to get back to the sort of climate they had in the middle ages, although I wonder how much of advantage modern vine strains give them?

Good luck to them, I hope they prosper. I'm sure they're hoping for another degree or two of warming!

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Stop

Re: Once again I cannot understand why the IPCC claims their confidence has *risen*

And yet the major plank of their theory has just been publicly disproved. Only 0.05 degree of warming - and then only with the right "smoothing".

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Anonymous Coward

I was listening to Radio 4's "Tle Life Scientific" recently Professor Joanna Haigh (27/Aug) who specialises in this area was very clear - The sun's output does affect the Earth's temperature, but she would never suggest that the sun's output was anything like as important to global warming as CO2.

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"I was listening to Radio 4's ....climate change propaganda"

There, fixed it for you. The BBC have always been great enthusiasts for planet wrecking climate change, and actively censored any of their staff who wouldn't toe the party line.

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I was listening to Radio 4's "Tle Life Scientific" recently Professor Joanna Haigh (27/Aug) who specialises in this area was very clear - The sun's output does affect the Earth's temperature, but she would never suggest that the sun's output was anything like as important to global warming as CO2.

In that case just do a thought experiment (no computers / simulations required). Imagine the sun turned itself off for a week or two. Would the CO2 (or anything else in our atmosphere for that matter) keep us warm for any length of time?

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Anonymous Coward

@Mark - What a ridiculous comment, of course the Earth would probably die if the sun switched off for a couple of weeks, but it's not going to, is it? The sun's output varies slightly over time. the output interacts with the greenhouse effect to make our planet habitable. Whacking millions of tonnes of greenhouse gasses into the environment is going to change the way the atmosphere holds energy. So, what one of the world's leading experts on the subject was saying was that the sun has some effect, but not as much as CO2.

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