back to article 'Sunspots drive climate change' theory is result of ancient error

A bunch of boffins has completed the first-ever revision of the world's most important sunspot data repository, along the way challenging the theory that climate change is substantially attributable to the prevalence of sunspots. It turns out, in fact, that the pro-sunspots argument relies on a statistical artefact introduced …

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a golden rule

If you rely on something to prove your point, check the data is solid

And its corollary

If you want to challenge something, check their data

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Re: a golden rule

If you want to challenge something, check their data

Yes, lovely, only the CRU hack showed widespread gaming of the system by climate 'scientists' who had destroyed the data upon which their central hyposthesis was based, precisely to prevent its being challenged.

Too many careers, too much money, and too many ideological beliefs are now on the line for there ever to be credible, impartial, and persuasive science done around the issue now. With all the crying wolf, until the sheep are eaten, nobody is going to believe the little boy doing the shouting.

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Re: a golden rule

get yourself a double walled tin foil hat and wear it permanently..

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Anonymous Coward

Deniers = red herring

It's the inability of the greatly eco-concerned masses to plan their way out of a wet paper bag that is by far the larger impediment to efficient and effective progress.

Has anyone even bothered to move past anguish and prepare a darn priority list? Ordered by effect, cost efficiency and speed of implementation. With coal and bunker fuels near the top of the list, perhaps methane leaks too. Big fat targets, some relatively cost effective.

Blaming the deniers is in itself a dangerous distraction.

It's past time to stop blaming the deniers, they that are likely living a lifestyle not significantly different than the wailing masses that haven't done much either.

If somebody is managing the whole campaign of inaction, fire them.

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FAIL

Deniers?

Mr. Chirgwin, your use of the derogatory term "denier" self-identifies you as a non-credible hack. Please go away.

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Holmes

Re: Deniers?

Thinking the same

...climate deniers use to “prove” ...

I wonder when the next service at the cult of Warmism will be... so I can give it a miss.

What's wrong with you Reg? I'm not sure how much more of this warmist/denier twattery I can take.

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Re: Deniers?

Would you prefer the term "faithful"? Maybe "believers"...?

Because at this point in time, I cannot fathom what else can make any sane person deny anthropogenic global climate change.

What are deniers waiting for? Bangladesh under water...? Because we're headed there.

But I am sure the faithful will hand-wave that away as well: that is, after all, how faith works. Will probably claim the feared space goat pissed the sea level higher when no one was looking or something.

Interesting times up ahead. And not in a good way.

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Re: Deniers?

18 yrs 7 months no warming .. nuff said ??

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Re: Deniers?

The problem that many of us "skeptics" (not deniers) have is not that the climate is changing but the reason WHY it is changing and the gospel of what must be done. To say it's CO2 and not embrace nuke power is folly. To say that big star in the sky has no effect is questionable... It's output does change and that is always discounted.

Yes, the seas are rising. The overall temperature is rising. But why? There's as many answers as there are factions in the "warmist" camp and each sub-group likes to believe it/s answer is the only one.

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@RIBrsiq

Nice straw man - now point out who's denying "anthropogenic global climate change"? Very few ElReg readers, I'll bet. What some people may 'deny' is that catastrophic global warming is inevitable unless we change our ways, often in ways that would themselves be catastrophic for civilisation.

Over the last century or two we've dumped perhaps 1,000 GtC into the atmosphere. As it's a greenhouse gas it would be surprising if this did not result in some elevation of temperatures. So there are two retrospective scientific questions that follow: (a) how much have global temperatures actually risen; and (b) how much of any rise is properly attributable to anthropic activity (this latter is what the article is about).

There are also prospective scientific questions, such as "if we continue carbon emissions, how might that change future temperatures?" and "what would be the effect of such a change?" (note that this requires some estimate of future emissions over many decades, which is itself not really a matter for science alone). And it's clear we really don't have that good a handle on the correct answers. And if we establish the science, that leaves the biggie: "what should we do about it?", which is a political question, though no doubt scientific input would be a good thing.

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Re: Deniers?

Oh perleeese.

The word denier dates from the 15th century and simply means 'one who denies'.

Its shorthand for "people who persist in denying that global warming is happening, and primarily driven by human-emitted greenhouse gases, and is likely to be very disruptive, all in the face of an overwhelming consensus of expert scientific opinion, which in turn is based on a mountain of convergent evidence."

That's sort of a mouthful, so "denier" will just have to do.

The dictionary definition is equaly damning of deniers:

"...Denialism is the employment of rhetorical tactics to give the appearance of argument or legitimate debate, when in actuality there is none. These false arguments are used when one has few or no facts to support one's viewpoint against a scientific consensus or against overwhelming evidence to the contrary. They are effective in distracting from actual useful debate using emotionally appealing, but ultimately empty and illogical assertions...."

That definition fits climate change deniers to an absolute 'T'.

There is simply no other word in the English language that is more apt.

The attempt by deniers to falsely equate the term with the Neo-nazi holocaust deniers is disgusting. It is as cowardly as it is disingenuous.

Though since the deniers have brought it up I have to point out that the evidence for man-made global warming is as final as the evidence of Auschwitz

If the cap fits wear it and spare us your faux outrage.

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Re: Deniers?

"Because at this point in time, I cannot fathom what else can make any sane person deny anthropogenic global climate change."

Is there any solid, proven evidence for anthropogenic global climate change? Serious question.

And yes the "denier" tag is disgraceful as it attempts to link skeptics with holocaust deniers (don't even think about "denying" that!).

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Re: Deniers?

A skeptic is a person who when presented with a claim demands evidence for said claim. But when staisfactory evidence is presented, a proper skeptic accepts it and proceeds accordingly.

A denier or believer, on the other hand, will continue denying and believing regardless of any amount or type of evidence presented.

Look at the state of the climate change deniers' camp. Can you see why they are described as deniers...?

Of course not!! Because you believe and evidence will not sway you...!

LOL!

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Re: Deniers?

"Is there any solid, proven evidence for anthropogenic global climate change? Serious question".

Serious answer:

http://theconsensusproject.com/

Or just read anything accepted by the bulk of scientists and experts who study climate.

As for the use of the term denier: first time I noticed any link with Holocaust deniers, personally. Which's funny, because I tend to fight extended battles against *those* deniers as well, being from the Middle-East.

I just use the word to describe people who continue to deny something regardless of any evidence presented. Nothing more is intended.

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Re: Deniers?

Agreed entirely, you cannot be a credible journalist, if writing in a moronic manner.

By using the term 'denier' I guess this makes you a 'believer'.

This is nutter territory, more applicable to religious leaflets.

What about writing an interesting article on the review of sunspot records, and how this might impact on our ability to predict the effects on our climate.

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Re: @RIBrsiq

@ Chris Miller:

No need to go far. Just read some of the other comments right here. You'll find that deniers come in all shapes and sizes and don't agree on what, exactly, they are denying. Just that they deny in general.

The generic argument seems to go like this:

"Climate is not changing! But if it is, it's actually cooling, not warming! Even if it is warming, it's not our fault. However, if it is our fault, we cannot do anything about it because it would destroy our way of life. And if it is proven that climate change will destroy things even more, then it is too late to do anything now...". Etc. Etc. Ad nauseam.

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Re: Deniers?

What dictionary did you use?

Dictionary's do not write definitions in that manner.

Try these definitions:

Denialism: is the refusal to accept well-established theory, law, fact or evidence. "Denialist" is pejorative.

Believer: to have confidence in the truth, the existence, or the reliability of something, although without absolute proof that one is right in doing so.

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Re: @RIBrsiq

Can you point to any actual comments here that fit your far-fetched description? Or is it just the voices in your head?

If I wanted to adopt your approach of erecting straw men, it would be easy to produce a description of alarmism:

"An ice age is coming - WE'RE ALL GOING TO DIE! No, it isn't, but the Earth is warming - WE'RE ALL GOING TO DIE! I have a model that predicts a global temperature rise of 2 degrees over the next 20 years. (20 years later) temperatures haven't changed significantly, but that's not because my science is wrong, the heat is going somewhere we can't see it." etc etc.

If a denier is your term of choice for someone who refuses to believe a fact in the face of irrefutable evidence (and not intended in any way to form a mental link to holocaust denier, that's just a coincidence), what's the equivalent term for someone who refuses to relinquish a belief after it's been contradicted by the evidence?

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Thumb Down

Re: Deniers?

Normally Trolls infest the comments, not write the article itself.

That said, I'll check out the source data because I'm interested in the subject.

But "climate deniers" - really?

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Re: Deniers?

Or just read anything accepted by the bulk of scientists and experts who study climate.

At one time the bulk of scientists and, for that matter, the World's population actually believed the Earth to be flat. So what?

The reason I am sceptical is because we are told it is all mankind's fault and yet nuclear power is not embraced but instead utterly pointless needs-to-be-backed-by-gas-turbine windmills are touted and get just as large a state subsidy. Ugly bastard things that, shock horror, don't live up to expectations in generating power. Solar is also a joke for most of the planet where power is needed.

Sustainable is not covering the planet in windmills. It is also not trying to force people back into the stone age by penalising the poor with your shitty green energy subsidies. Cheap energy is the prime source of growth, without it your economy is fucked.

If you want to get most people on board I'm afraid you are going to have to come up with some concrete proposals that don't fuck the poor, the economy, and the environment instead of all the subsidy grabbing "thou shalt not" evangelical bullshit.

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Re: Deniers?

“If someone doesn't value evidence, what evidence are you going to provide to prove that they should value it? If someone doesn’t value logic, what logical argument could you provide to show the importance of logic?”

― Sam Harris

I think this covers the description of the deniers

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Re: Deniers?

The land area of Bangladesh is increasing. It is part of a massive river delta system. Rising sea levels *might* in the long term leave 'Bangladesh under water', but we are not seeing it yet.

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Re: Deniers?

"At one time the bulk of scientists and, for that matter, the World's population actually believed the Earth to be flat. So what?" - no, that was the ignorance of the world at the time not the scientists but the evidence from the scientists came to the rescue to disple that myth

"The reason I am sceptical is because we are told it is all mankind's fault " - no, its being accelerated by mankind.

"Solar is also a joke for most of the planet where power is needed." how little you know"

"concrete proposals that don't fuck the poor, the economy, and the environment instead of all the subsidy grabbing "thou shalt not" evangelical bullshit." and just how much does the CO2 producing industry get in subsidies? it plunges the green subsidies into insignificance.

you need to read factual literature more and not base your ideas on troll posters

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Re: Deniers?

Just to be pedantic, there was never a time in the last 2,000 years when the bulk of scientists believed the earth was flat. The approximately spherical shape of the earth was established by the ancient Greeks and accepted by all informed scholars from then on, including medieval philosophers like Aquinas and the Venerable Bede..

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g e

@Chris Miller | Re: @RIBrsiq

"Cultist" or "Fanatic", probably

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Re: Deniers?

"...Denialism is the employment of rhetorical tactics to give the appearance of argument or legitimate debate, when in actuality there is none. These false arguments are used when one has few or no facts to support one's viewpoint against a scientific consensus or against overwhelming evidence to the contrary. They are effective in distracting from actual useful debate using emotionally appealing, but ultimately empty and illogical assertions...."

That definition fits climate change deniers to an absolute 'T'.

It also, of course, perfectly fits the global warming catastrophists.

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Re: Deniers?

@Mark 65

"At one time the bulk of scientists and, for that matter, the World's population actually believed the Earth to be flat. " - Mark 65

Oh, geez. Never in the history of man has anyone that could remotely be called a scientist every considered the Earth to be flat.

"Eratosthenes of Cyrene c. 276 BC[1] – c. 195/194 BC[2]) was a Greek mathematician, geographer, poet, astronomer, and music theorist. He was a man of learning, becoming the chief librarian at the Library of Alexandria. He invented the discipline of geography, including the terminology used today.

He is best known for being the first person to calculate the circumference of the Earth, "

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eratosthenes

There are deniers... then there are complete morons.

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Re: Deniers?

[

The problem that many of us "skeptics" (not deniers) have is not that the climate is changing but the reason WHY it is changing and the gospel of what must be done.

]

What you are maintaining is the equivalent of saying "that if a building is on fire because of an electrical fire, then adding a bit of petrol to the flames will do no harm". Seems to me that regardless of the root cause (the science most likely has it right, but no matter) adding to the problem isn't a particularly smart way of proceeding.

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Devil

Re: Deniers?

I hereby declare climate change article comment up and down votes to adhere to the following algorithm:

If UpVoteSelected Then

UpVote = UpVote + 1

DownVote = DownVote + 1

ElseIf DownVoteSelected Then

DownVote = DownVote + 1

UpVote = UpVote + 1

EndIf

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Re: Deniers?

"your use of the derogatory term "denier" self-identifies you as a non-credible hack"

Speaking only for myself, but you would probably consider me to be a denier. Thing is, I'm not really.

The climate IS changing. Any fool can see that weather is "most X since records began" a little too often for comfort.

What I do deny is our (humanity's) involvement. By reducing some emissions and taxing more we can make the problem go away? Yeah, pull the other one, it has bells on it.

By all means strive to be more efficient, but take steps for the inevitable as well.

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Re: Deniers?

Yeah, that's it, nobody thought to check the temperature anomaly against TSI. Doh!

Oh, wait, it has been. So have aerosols, methane, volcanic ash, ocean heat exchange, land use like deforestation, and every other factor that might even remotely affect the global mean temperature. And guess what...... GHGs are the only factors that have affected the century long trend of global mean temperatures. Not only that, but ocean heat exchange is the second strongest factor that has the greatest affect on global mean air and sea surface temperatures.

And even more enlightening, total solar irradiance is negatively correlated with global mean temperature anomaly. While the Sun does provide the energy that heats the Earth, while TSI was decreasing, CO2 and other GHGs were increasing and trapping more and more the energy that the Sun provides.

The problem is that in order to understand this requires either having an education in science and mathematics or simply accepting the analysis of credible professional scientists. Of course, this can be quite a conundrum because it requires some rudimentary level of science education to be able to read the material published by credible scientists. And lacking in even a rudimentary level of knowledge of science makes reading science literature an impossibility. So what is a person to do? Well, there is always the published positions scientific organizations that represent the larger body of scientists,like the American Institute of Physicists.

The problem still remains, having learned to read. Even then, you can get past that by having a friend read it to you or taking adult night courses.

So, all in all, there is no reason why you should not know the facts. Stupidity isn't an excuse.

Ergo, the term "denier".

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Re: Deniers?

@RIBrsiq

"http://theconsensusproject.com/"

That whole website has zero evidence for anything. Just a bunch of links to articles saying "we're right and that's that!". It peddles the discredited 97% of scientists statistic as if it's not completely and utterly bogus. If I remember they counted any paper that even mentioned climate as though they agreed with the "consensus". They also counted those who believed mankind has an effect on the environment but did not think it would be very significant.

That website is more like a bunch of kids stamping their feet shouting "IT IS IT IS IT IS!!!".

So I repeat my question: Is there any solid, proven evidence of *anthropogenic* global climate change? I'll add significant climate change to that question, as me farting adds to climate change, though only the missus notices that much.

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Re: Deniers? @heyrick

What I do deny is our (humanity's) involvement. By reducing some emissions and taxing more we can make the problem go away? Yeah, pull the other one, it has bells on it.

So we should just do nothing then?

I don't think anyone is seriously suggesting we can reverse the changes already seen - at least not overnight. But reducing CO2 and/or CH4 emissions might at least slow down the rate of change enough to essentially buy us some time to develop proper solutions - or at least figure out how to relocate several billion people within the next 30 years.

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IT Angle

Re: Deniers?

Here I was...

Thinking that sunspots were being used to study the relationship between their presence and the amount of sun's activity through the decades.

Also I was thinking that all literature that I have read about the subject I have never found a single reference where anybody says: "climate change made by sunspots".

However I have managed to find "The sun drives most of the climate" and more sunspots mean more solar activity, hence the more sunspots the more of the sun's energy that reach us hence climatological impact changes.

Just saying.

I think the "believers" have been trying to rule out the influence of the sun in the climate since almost the beginning because their equations (Which simplify reality and only work if you massage the data) do not give that much importance to the sun.

The whole sunspots (and most of the man-made climate change stuff) thing reminds me of: "If...she...weighs the same as a duck......she's made of wood. a witch!!!!"

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Re: Deniers?

@RIBrsiq, If you believe that then I have a little used bridge you might like to buy. The so called consensus is another piece of fudged data that has been debunked by real scientists.

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Re: Deniers?

> Yes, the seas are rising. The overall temperature is rising. But why? There's as many answers as there are factions in the "warmist" camp and each sub-group likes to believe it/s answer is the only one.

The point about carbon dioxide is that is that whil emany factors - solar activity for example, fluctuate the effect of carbon dioxide is one sided. It is also very long lasting: the CO2 we have the atmosphere now will warm us for another hundred years or so. ANd we have a choice about the CO2 we emit - we can change the amount we emit while - if we are smart - retaining our standard of living.

I am not a 'warmist' - I am 'factist' and I hate to come over all 'factinista' on you - but to the best that it can be calculated - what is happening corresponds more or less to what we would expect from a CO2 warmed world.

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Re: @RIBrsiq

We can do nothing about history - but the rate of CO2 emission has risen exponentially and currently is at around 35 billion tonnnes of CO2 per year. We can choose what to do about that.

Regarding your questions

(a) how much have global temperatures actually risen;

Look at http://www.surfacetemperatures.org/ or http://berkeleyearth.org/

Our best estimates all agree

(b) how much of any rise is properly attributable to anthropic activity (this latter is what the article is about).

Pretty much all of it is attributable to carbon dioxide emissions

The future is always uncertain - but th ebest estimates are that the temperatures will keep rising roughly as they have been.

It seems to me that a precautionary approach should be the minimum response to this.

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FAIL

@Michael 31

You were doing so well ... and then you invoked the precautionary principle.

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Re: Deniers? @heyrick

or at least figure out how to relocate several billion people within the next 30 years.

Only, we won't. And I rather suspect that deep down you already know that.

50 years ago the same "cult of less" people demanded we had only 50 years of oil and by now we'd be riding horses to work again. Only, that didn't actually happen.

30 years ago, the alarmists demanded that if people kept driving, the UK would by now have the climate of Portugal.... Only, it doesn't.

10 years ago we were "at tipping point" where if things didn't change immediately it would be too late. Only, emissions increased over the period and there was once again no warming.

So this year you say we'll have to relocate billions people within 30 years... well, I'm sorry, but I just don't believe you.

At every turn your ilk have demanded that "science" backed their view, chiefly by dismissing all contradictory science as wrong, only for reality to prove time and again that it is you who is wrong. The fundamental problem is that you always start with the conclusion that people must make do with less, which is the failed political dogma of communism rather than an objective hypothesis. Watermelons then, given every single "solution" to AGW is the mantra of less; communism, rather than capitalism.

The world isn't going back to communist policies (even if Labour is), it isn't going to accept less, and it isn't going to heed your message. Collectively we've wasted a lifetime listening to you forever change your minds on why reality hasn't fit with your beliefs; for the sake of our children its time to accept that you're wrong.

AGW does not exist because there is no proof of it despite spent billions looking for it over the last 50 years. If you want to be a communist, then be a communist and stop being ashamed of it; but don't try to frighten the rest of the world into communism 2.0 via the back door by pretending the sky is falling. It just isn't.

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Re: Deniers?

Ah, well:

Deniers gonna deny, one might say.

Thanks to all for so effectively illustrating the situation. And even more thanks to those few voices of reason: you make me think there might still be hope... But then I read the next comment.

For what it's worth, I personally wish the deniers were right. Because their being wrong means great social upheaval and suffering for millions, if not billions, of fellow humans the vast majority of whom did nothing to cause the problem.

But I am afraid the evidence does not bode well for either my wishes or their denial. The laws of physics are poorly affected by wishful thinking.

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Re: @RIBrsiq

(b) how much of any rise is properly attributable to anthropic activity (this latter is what the article is about).

Pretty much all of it is attributable to carbon dioxide emissions

While that point is debateable, what is not debateable is that "pretty much all" CO2 emissions are not attributable to humans. You've conflated two seperate issues as though one provides evidence of the other. If every human dies tomorrow, we're talking about maybe 6% reduction in emissions.

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Re: Deniers?

To say that big star in the sky has no effect is questionable... It's output does change and that is always discounted.
Nonsense. Solar output is always considered when looking for causes of warming. The simple fact is that there is no trend in any solar parameter that correlates with the observed warming.

(Every time someone says something like "scientists haven't considered..." they are wrong. Thats what scientists spend all their time doing).

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Re: Deniers?

Is there any solid, proven evidence for anthropogenic global climate change? Serious question.
Yes.

Atmospheric CO2 has been increasing.[1]

The extra CO2 is anthropogenic.[2]

Without some mysterious unknown effect an increase in CO2 will produce an increase in temperature.[3]

To avoid quibbles:

[1] The first person to point out that Mauna Loa is a volcano please go and stand in the corner.

[2] We know how much CO2 we're putting into the atmosphere using this complicated mathematical technique known as double entry book keeping. It turns out to be about twice the amount of the increase in atmospheric CO2.

[3] Fourier, 1820. Arrhenius, 1879.

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Re: Deniers?

The reason I am sceptical is because we are told it is all mankind's fault and yet nuclear power is not embraced
A total non-sequitir.

"I don't believe in global warming because if I believed in global warming I'd be for nuclear power and the greenies aren't for nuclear power so I don't believe in global warming".

Which aside for being illogical is wrong. James Hansen is for nuclear power, George Monbiot is for nuclear power, I'm for nuclear power.

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Re: @RIBrsiq

While that point is debateable, what is not debateable is that "pretty much all" CO2 emissions are not attributable to humans.

What we know is that human CO2 emissions are about 200% of observed the rise in CO2.

I.E. about half what we emit is going into carbon sinks (plants, ocean acidification) and the rest into the atmosphere and all the atmospheric increase is us.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: What dictionary did you use?

Downvoted for not managing to correctly pluralize "dictionary"

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Deniers? @heyrick

> So we should just do nothing then?

It is an option that we should seriously consider.

Consider the options:

1) Changing the climate of the planet

2) Changing our circumstances to suit.

I'm not sure which is harder but they are both undeniably hard.

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Re: "credible" scientists

The problem, of course, is that climate science is an immature field, and it turns out that a significant number of climate scientists are not credible. Credible scientists don't respond as Dr. Phil Jones did: "Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it?" Credible scientists don't publish articles based on novel statistical calculations without having any expertise in statistics nor a collaborator with such to prevent basic mathematical errors.

Scientists in other fields look upon climate science as a train wreck -- you can't look away, but feel sad for all the people hurt by the sheer incompetence so often on display.

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Re: How much temps will rise due to CO2?

@John Hughes

You're right as far as you go -- CO2's increase to currently around 400ppm is due to human causes, and it has/will raise the temperature.

HOWEVER, the calculations you quote predict only a small rise in temps. Even modern, observational-data-based estimates of how much temperatures will rise for a doubling of atmospheric CO2 concentration (the "climate sensitivity") give a value of around 1.5C per doubling. We expect the doubling from pre-industrial CO2 values to be achieved around the end of the 21st century; since we've already warmed about 0.85C from pre-industrial times (with no adverse noticeable consequences!), we can expect another 0.65C of warming by the end of the 21st century. No big deal.

It's all in the IPCC AR5 "official science" report, so don't go calling them "deniers"!

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Re: Deniers?

To be fair to both sides I repost once again nothing beats El Reg the amateur climate science blog that does IT on the side.

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