back to article Earth may be headed into a mini Ice Age within a decade

What may be the science story of the century is breaking this evening, as heavyweight US solar physicists announce that the Sun appears to be headed into a lengthy spell of low activity, which could mean that the Earth – far from facing a global warming problem – is actually headed into a mini Ice Age. Average magnetic field …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Pint

    This should be fun.

    I've got my popcorn and beer. Let the comments commence....

    1. Darryl
      Happy

      Yep

      Should be a 'heated' discussion

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Boffin

        Re: Yep

        "Should be a 'heated' discussion"

        It doesn't get off to a bright start, though:

        "This could overturn decades of received wisdom on such things as CO2 emissions, and lead to radical shifts in government policy worldwide."

        How solar activity somehow overturns the documented effects of carbon dioxide (and people don't need to start whining about whole-climate-level effects and the jury being out and all that, but just concentrate on the laboratory stuff, if that doesn't rock their little boat as well) remains yet another Lewis Page mystery of science.

        Or maybe the reference to overturning "received wisdom" concerns Orlowski, Lawson and pals who may suddenly develop a zeal for bioengineering.

        1. Constitution First

          The Sun drives both the weather and life.

          You ideological dog's tail is wagging your ideological dog.

          The Sun is the driver of weather and life, CO2 is a trace gas contributing to, but not the chief component of, heat retention.

          If you can't understand the Sun is the driver of weather and the giver of life, than it is rather pointless to discuss this issue with you.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            FAIL

            Re: The Sun drives both the weather and life.

            "You ideological dog's tail is wagging your ideological dog."

            So you claim (and the idiotic up/downvoters), but there is no, erm, "ideological dog"...

            "The Sun is the driver of weather and life, CO2 is a trace gas contributing to, but not the chief component of, heat retention."

            And? I merely noted that carbon dioxide's inherent physical properties are independent of how much radiation our local star happens to be emitting in our direction.

            "If you can't understand the Sun is the driver of weather and the giver of life, than it is rather pointless to discuss this issue with you."

            If you (and the moronic "uh, I must vote this critic of Lewis Page's prose down 'cause I don't go along with this climate change stuff" voting tribe) can't read, let alone understand what other people have written, I don't want to discuss this or any other issue with you.

            And since Lewis posted this - or maybe even before he posted it, given his tendency to sensationalise everything - articles have appeared noting that a new "ice age" or whatever isn't very likely. So I suggest you run along and nay-say all the people who are pointing this out given that it probably upsets your own rather obvious dogma.

  2. Gary Heard

    Interesting

    Just wait until people start screaming "Denier" at you, AGW is a religion with it's own zealots.

    Me? I think you could be right. It was Arthur C Clarke who predicted that we would be burning as much carbon as we caould by the end of the 21st century, to combat the cold

    1. Aaron Em

      "Wait until people start"?

      Have you not read one of Mr. Page's articles before?

    2. Chris 3
      Coffee/keyboard

      Let that strawman burn.

      Ummm, I think human-mediated global warming is a real and serious threat. Why on earth would I scream "denier" at the author? This looks like a serious article, based on some serious announcements and data. Fascinating stuff.

      It looks like you may be suffering from a touch of religious fervour yourself, however.

      1. Will's

        Assuming that CC is real...

        Who wants to take bets on this 10 year reprieve meaning that governments can get their energy policys into a state where we don't all drown when the spots come back?

        Anyone? anyone? Buler?

        Personally I think the good money is on "pump as much CO2 into the atmosphere until we run out of resources, then hope that the ensueing wars reduce the world population enough that there is still enough land to farm and live on between those remaining"

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Coat

      Denier?

      What has this article got to do with “a unit of weight by which the fineness of silk, rayon, or nylon yarn is measured, equal to the weight in grams of 9000 meters of the yarn and often used to describe the thickness of hosiery” … ?

      1. Powderfinger
        Childcatcher

        Denier?

        Woman's hosiery? And here I was thinking ancient french coinage. Mine's the one with the numismatist manual in the pocket!

        1. Bullseyed
          Boffin

          Re

          With the graph on the first page this article has more empirical, scientific evidence than the entire global warming argument.

    4. Graham Wilson
      Devil

      @Gary Heard -- Now, now...

      Careful,

      You've too many fuming religious down-voters, it might be dangerous.

    5. Jolyon

      @Gary Heard

      There's nothing particularly 'denier'-ish about this article.

      The only real link to AGW (and anyone that far into the jargon might want to consider how zealous they themselves appear) is that if this prediction is correct then it might be a good thing if man made global warming was real.

  3. Jim O'Reilly

    Wool futures, anyone?

    This might account for the cold winter. It seems very real, since sunspot activity reports showed a large reduction even a few years ago, with a late cycle start.

    This is good, unemotional science and it looks very plausible. No hype, no billions in carbon offsets, no scientific empires anywhere in sight. We need to look on a broader scale to see if there is corroboration, though reports of falling trends in temperature in recent years suggest we don't need to look far. The problem with a Maunder Minimum is the fast onset. Crops fail, growing seasons get shorter and, historically, people starve. The one difference is that the world has many more people, and is balance on the edge of food shortage already.

    I suspect that IPCC and the Global Warming Sect will have a rebuttal, since their rice bowl is being broken, but they had anyways perpetrated a myth of global warming by selective data presentation and careful choice of the graph starting-point, so I'm not very sympathetic.

    I wonder if the Nobel committee will also reward a more accurate portrayal of our climate. Perhaps NASA will do a 'March of the Penguins' filmed on the Thames in 2025 to get the prize! I suspect by then, Norway and Sweden will be trying to stay warm enough and won't be in the mood.

    Realistically, though, we can't keep relying on oil and gas much longer. Those are limited resources, and we need them for plastics and such. It's time to get into clean, thorium-cycle nuclear power. There's enough thorium around for 10,000 years, and the technology is quite well along. The risk of a accidental release is very low, and the radioactive waste decays quickly, so it sounds like it could be a sensible alternative. The Chinese certainly think so!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @Jim O'Reilly

      >and is balance on the edge of food shortage already

      There isn't a food shortage just uneven distribution.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Childcatcher

        not right

        "There isn't a food shortage just uneven distribution."

        I was reading about this a while ago. There are countries where people are starving that are growing plenty of food, but because of global markets , the workers that grew the crops cant afford to buy them.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Yes, bad timing for much of...

      Europe to be decommisioning their nuclear power plants. Hydro-carbons will certainly be at a premium.

      1. Is it me?

        Hang on

        Fossil Fuels are running out, yes Ok there's lots of coal, but it's not very good for your health, ask anyone who lived in London in the 40s & 50s, or bits of China today.

        We still need to drastically reduce our reliance on Carbon, global warming or not.

        So yep bad timing to get rid of Nuclear. Still the Med. will be OK, they don't need it, lucky for our Italian chums then.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Thumb Up

          Construction

          And of course, Windfarms are of great benefit to the Mafia because they mean building lots of big concrete towers with a bit of relatively low tech at the top. Whereas they would probably find it a bit difficult to build and then control a nuclear industry...

    3. stratofish
      FAIL

      @Jim O'Reilly

      "I suspect that IPCC and the Global Warming Sect will have a rebuttal, since their rice bowl is being broken, but they had anyways perpetrated a myth of global warming by selective data presentation and careful choice of the graph starting-point, so I'm not very sympathetic."

      Why would they issue a rebuttal on proven and widely accepted facts? Facts that are not effected by anything that might happen due to this event other than the immediate manifestation in temperature.

      Climate change deniers have been claiming point blank that the sun is getting into a hotter cycle causing the recent global warming. They are the ones that may have just been proven as barking up the wrong tree completely.

      1. Jellied Eel Silver badge
        Flame

        Maxima to Minima

        "Climate change deniers have been claiming point blank that the sun is getting into a hotter cycle causing the recent global warming."

        I don't know any who have. We've gone from a period of unusually high solar activity as solar activity ramped up following the Dalton Minimum. As activity increased, it seems to have gotten warmer. Funny that. The Modern Maximum peaked around 1950, then again in 1990. So did warming. Funny that. Now we've been in minima mode for a few years and the rate of global warming has decreased, despite record amounts of CO2. Funny that.

        The IPCC didn't think much of solar variability when it cobbled together AR4 and only devoted a couple of pages to it. The assumption was it didn't vary much, so the great space heater in the sky couldn't possibly be responsible for variations in climate. Subsequent data from instruments like SORCE or the observatories show it varies more than originally expected. Solar scientists haven't been the biggest beneficiaries of AGW handouts but still doing research like the stuff reported here. They've now had more opportunity to study solar variability during a maxima, and now into a minima.

        Less funny is if Svensmark's GCR theory is correct. Declining Earth magnetic field plus declining solar activity should mean more GCR's, and if they cause negative feedback and more cooling making any Minima worse. Then again, it may all be a bit '70s and a repeat of ice age fears might be exagerated. If it does get cold, it'll also mean datacentres have an easier time cooling.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Headmaster

          Everyone off the gravy train!

          "The IPCC didn't think much of solar variability when it cobbled together AR4 and only devoted a couple of pages to it."

          A true statement - but the itchy warmists have already downvoted it. I detect panic setting in already as the Earth stubbornly refuses to conform to their theory and computer models, which are dependent on unproven feedbacks.

          I'll happily accept that man can change the climate, and a doubling of CO2 should raise temperatures by 1C. But runaway warming now looks as likely as Santa's flying sledge.

        2. Bullseyed

          Re: Jellied Eel

          Right on brother, good to see some intelligence around.

          The IPCC position is that solar activity and the amount of radiation emitted from the sun has no effect on the temperature of the planet. They completely ignore that all of temperature variation is caused by solar activity.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Facepalm

        @stratofish

        Re: Climate change deniers have been claiming point blank that the sun is getting into a hotter cycle causing the recent global warming.

        And there was me thinking that it was the opposite and that those claiming warming had to change it to climate change because the warming stopped happening over the last few years.

        Now that would tend to support this theory wouldn't it.

        Reference: See the comments about having to explain something they couldn't understand in the famous email releases.

      3. Feralmonkey
        FAIL

        Feralmonkey

        Um no we have been saying that climate changes and mankind can do piss all to stop it or push it around co2 is the only greenhouse gas that mankind puts into the atmosphere in any real quantities so that was the only thing the warmista's could hang their religion on with the sun going quiet their religion will go just as quiet.

      4. indulis

        The AGW denier "logic" is in effect

        Thanks for pointing this out- the AGW deniers can now simultaneously claim that the sun is causing the observed warming, and at the same time that because it is cooling we are in for a new ice age.

        All in line with the "sow doubt" strategy which worked so well for tobacco, acid rain, ozone, etc and well documented (with actual references) in the book "Merchants of Doubt".

        The aim is not to clarify, and help settle the science, it is to keep everything in chaos and doubt.

        I'd love to hear a denier explain how the Sun can be both hotter and colder at the same time!

        1. James Boag

          Easy

          Day and Night !

        2. Bullseyed
          Boffin

          Re

          "Thanks for pointing this out- the AGW deniers can now simultaneously claim that the sun is causing the observed warming, and at the same time that because it is cooling we are in for a new ice age.

          All in line with the "sow doubt" strategy which worked so well for tobacco, acid rain, ozone, etc and well documented (with actual references) in the book "Merchants of Doubt".

          The aim is not to clarify, and help settle the science, it is to keep everything in chaos and doubt.

          I'd love to hear a denier explain how the Sun can be both hotter and colder at the same time!"

          It's quite obvious that thinking isn't your strong suit so I'll type slowly and refrain from using big words.

          The sun was once very active (read very hot) this was in the 1950s. The weather was good, things happened.

          The sun stopped being so active (read cooled down) and the media panicked about a new ice age (see 1970s).

          The sun started being active again (read got warmer) and the media panicked about burning to death (see late 1990s, early 2000s)

          The sun is now becoming less active, for the last 10 years or so. This is a warning that we are heading back into 1970s weather. The cycle has adjusted a bit, but not much. 1950 - 1970 - 1990 - 2010 would be the pattern, but the last "warming" was closer to 2000, meaning the cooling should be around 2020.

          We may ramp into that cold cycle MUCH more quickly since it is delayed 10 years or so. In mathematical terms this is close to the concept of regressing to the mean. The average stays about the same, so quick ramp ups are countered by quick ramp downs when you factor in the complete dataset.

        3. Radio Wales
          Coat

          Explanation.

          I'm guessing it has to be the 'wrong sort' of chill emitting from the sun which inversely affects the magnetic polarity of the heat and so triggers a cyclic thermal whirl that drives the temperature upwards and simultaneously triggers the generation of an excess of CO2 at a distance of about 90 to 100 million miles away from it, where - by coincidence - there happens to be a planet, the inhabitants of which (having gained a galactic reputation of jumping recklessly to conclusions) have become terminally confused by this seeming paradox.

          We're doomed I tell you! Doomed!

      5. Anonymous Coward
        Headmaster

        @stratofish

        "Why would they issue a rebuttal on proven and widely accepted facts?"

        Because the IPCC is offering a hypothesis that the facts don't support. It's based on the premise that, "Gee, well, we can't think what ELSE it must be other than anthropogenic CO2 emissions, so our money is on anthropogenic CO2 emissions".

        You don't appear to know the difference - back to school.

      6. Bullseyed

        Re

        "Why would they issue a rebuttal on proven and widely accepted facts? Facts that are not effected by anything that might happen due to this."

        Because the IPCC is a political organization, not a scientific one. No matter how much the media lies.

    4. Charles Manning

      More food than ever before

      We now have more food per capita than ever before. We're nowhere near starvation.

      WHO reports there are now more obese people than hungry people.

      We (Westerners) eat about 4 times as much meat as we did 50 years ago and people in Asia have increased their intake of animal protein even more. Meat production is incredibly inefficient with something like 15 food units of input per food unit of meat output. To support this, grain etc output has increased immensely. Meat production is largely a way to keep grain consumption high.

      1. nyelvmark
        WTF?

        Meat production is largely a way to keep grain consumption high.

        What kind of twisted reasoning is that? Meat farmers buy grain and sell meat, because they make a profit. Grain farmers grow grain and sell it to meat farmers because they make a profit. Consumers buy meat rather than grain because they like it better and can afford to pay for it.

        As others have pointed out, there is no world food shortage. We could easily produce much more food than we do now, if there was a market for it. Millions of poor people are starving? Sure, but that's because they don't have the money to buy food, not because the food doesn't exist, or couldn't be easily produced. Western governments have been known to pay farmers NOT to produce food.

        You might equally well argue that there must be a world Ferrari shortage, because most people haven't got one and can't afford one.

        1. Tom 13

          Even more relevant that not having the money

          to pay for food, is that if you look at most of the places where there are starving people, they have dictatorial governments that stop charitable organizations from going in and 1) distributing food, and 2) teaching them how to grow their own food.

      2. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge
        Trollface

        @Charles Manning...

        I don't think you really get it.

        Look where your farmland is located.

        Here in the Midwest of the US... you're going to continue to see more rain and flooding which will have a negative impact on the crops. Its not just the cold temp but the overall weather patterns and timing.

        You will see droughts continue where it was once lush farmlands.

        You could potentially see blight on crops or cross contamination of bacteria causing food to be destroyed en mass. (See Germany).

        I agree this is nothing to panic about, but I don't agree that we will continue to sustain good growing conditions globally.

        Its not just a shift in the sun's solar flare rate, but also a shift in the earth's magnetic poles that can have a greater impact that human's CO2 output. But don't tell the doomsday climate 'experts' that.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Meat vs grain

        The issue is that the grain cant be easily eaten by us hence why we have cows etc to eat it and covert it to easy food for us.

      4. g e
        Holmes

        That's because

        The starving people die and the landwhales just place a burden on the health sector that sustains their lumpen lives.

    5. Giacomo Bruzzo

      Bravo

      I wholeheartedly agree with most parts of your argument, in particular the need for a long term research/energy policy based on Thorium reactors

  4. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Irony

    If it turns out we needs a bit of global warming, in order to counter a maunder minimum it would be somewhat ironic, no? All these green manaics spending trillions (or pushing for trillions to be spent) to save humanity may have actually caused us a massive problem

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @AC

      >>"All these green manaics spending trillions (or pushing for trillions to be spent) to save humanity may have actually caused us a massive problem."

      I wasn't aware they'd actually caused any great changes in CO2 output yet.

      >>"If it turns out we needs a bit of global warming, in order to counter a maunder minimum it would be somewhat ironic, no?"

      No, more problematic than ironic, unless you have some convenient way of causing the right amount of warming, but with a simple off-switch for when the sunspots come back.

      Or unless you don't actually care about the longer term.

      That's certainly a position that's possible to try to defend (*do* we actually owe anything to future people?), though it does seem that most people who really don't care what happens after they die prefer to hide behind synthetic skepticism rather than just manning up and admitting selfishness.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        FAIL

        Re: @AC

        >No, more problematic than ironic, unless you have some convenient way of causing the right amount of warming, but with a simple off-switch for when the sunspots come back.

        The ramifications for catastrophic anthropogenic global warming (CAGW) alarmists of a cooling world are major.

        Their pet CAGW theory relies on solar influence being minor and +ve feedbacks being major. Or in other words their theory (and the IPCCs) is that a maunder minimum type event would only decrease the amount of warming, not stop it.

        Should a maunder minimum type event result in temperatures decreasing then it means that the impact of solar changes is greater than the impact of CO2 changes and this would overturn pretty much all of the alarmists theories. It would also mean the +ve feedbacks from CO2 are small (or even -ve) and any possible increase in temperature from a doubling of CO2 would not cause a catastrophe.

        Instantly invalidated by a cooling world as a result of lower solar activity would be:

        1. All computer models that assume minor solar influence (all of the ones the IPCC rely on)

        2. All computer models that assume large +ve feedbacks (nearly all the IPCC models)

        3. From 1 and 2 all scenarios with accelerating sea level rises.

        Without 1,2 and 3 CAGW is dead and buried.

        So in answer to your comment, there is no need for an off switch when solar activity ramps back up because, under the scenario presented, there would be nothing to switch off.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @AC

          >>"Their pet CAGW theory relies on solar influence being minor "

          Does it really?

          Surely, what they basically rely on is the fact that CO2 is a greenhouse gas, and the apparent fact that CO2 levels are being significantly raised by human activity.

          It's fairly widely accepted that CO2 is a relatively minor factor in overall temperature, but that the other factors are relatively static, and it is argued that in normal solar conditions, CO2 above a certain level is likely to lead to results that we might not like.

          Surely, in the limit that's pretty much accepted by everyone (few people would argue that a 100-fold rise in CO2 would be harmless), the question being what level of CO2 brings what kind of risk.

          Unfortunately, there does seem to be a popular strand of unscientific argument that if CO2 effects are smaller than some other contributor, that means that it's safe to pretend that they don't exist at all - the desire among some people is not to understand the climate but to find an excuse to ignore the whole issue, just as some extreme environmentalists don't want to understand climate either but just want an excuse to argue that everyone should go 'back to nature'.

          Even if the current solar situation had been predictable a decade or two ago, *and* we knew how long it was going to be before normal activity was resumed, it'd still make sense to ask what effect current human activity might have on a whole range of timescales.

          Maybe it *would* be good for climate stability for the next few decades if we did burn shitloads more fossil fuels than we're currently doing, but even if that was the case, it'd be pretty stupid to ignore what longer-term effects there might be unless we were realistically confident we could engineer the problem away with ease when the time came.

          >>"Should a maunder minimum type event result in temperatures decreasing then it means that the impact of solar changes is greater than the impact of CO2 changes and this would overturn pretty much all of the alarmists theories. It would also mean the +ve feedbacks from CO2 are small (or even -ve) and any possible increase in temperature from a doubling of CO2 would not cause a catastrophe."

          That seems a bit of a shaky argument.

          It seems to be like saying that if there was a room with some combination of thermal losses and heat sources, and that turning down a particular heater more than counteracted a certain claimed upgrade in the insulation, that would prove that even if the heater was turned back to normal, the room could never get too hot even if it was thought that the insulation would improve in efficiency over time.

          The extent to which the room cools when the heater is turned down is interesting, but doesn't prove that the insulation doesn't exist as claimed unless the claim actually was that the insulation was so thick that it could cope with the reduction in input.

          Who *has* actually claimed that current CO2 levels would prevent cooling with a significant decline in solar output?

          When it comes to positive feedback mechanisms, aren't many of them postulated to occur at larger CO2 concentrations/higher temperatures than current ones, which means that looking at what happens in the near future doesn't do much to prove that such mechanisms wouldn't work?

          If someone was saying that if the arctic gets to X degrees there'd be a huge methane release, that isn't proved wrong by nothing happening if/when temperatures decrease - it's only proved wrong if things warm up and still nothing happens.

          >>"So in answer to your comment, there is no need for an off switch when solar activity ramps back up because, under the scenario presented, there would be nothing to switch off."

          Only for people who believe bogus arguments such as "If solar output drops and current CO2 levels aren't enough to prevent significant cooling, that *proves* that even future higher CO2 levels can't cause undesirable warming when solar output is more normal."

          Such arguments simply aren't science, they're sophistry.

  5. J 3
    Coat

    "This could overturn decades of received wisdom on such things as CO2 emissions"

    What a ridiculous statement. Nothing changes of the physics of greenhouse gases just because the Sun is weaker.

    But if we indeed get into a "mini Ice Age" again and ideas like this flourish (they will, people being stupid), it will be interesting to see the consequences when the Sun's activity goes back up and all that nice extra carbon is in the atmosphere. Fortunately, if it's as long as the previous 70 year one I won't be alive by then, so who cares, right?

    I might need a thicker coat.

    1. Liam Johnson

      re: Nothing changes of the physics of greenhouse gases

      Well, it does give us 70 years to work out what the Physics of greenhouse gases actually are.

      1. Mme.Mynkoff
        Holmes

        "Well, it does give us 70 years to work out what the Physics of greenhouse gases actually are."

        Yep. Panic over.

        Time for some real science rather than press releases from people with degrees in Sustainability from the Polytechnic of Lunn.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The physics isn't in dispute

      The majority of the people who get called a denier don't dispute that:

      1. CO2 is a greenhouse gas

      2. All things being equal, adding CO2 will increase temperature.

      The dispute lies in the "All things being equal" and the amount of temperature change.

      Those who believe in a catastrophic warming think that there are strong positive feedbacks that will amplify any temperature change to anywhere from 1.5C to 5C (or even more) for every doubling of CO2.

      There are others who believe that doubling CO2 will result in a temperature change of 0.7C which is what the physics indicates would happen without any feedbacks.

      There are still other who believe that earths climate is inherently stable and negative feedbacks will counteract the CO2 and reduce any warming.

      And then there are those who either don’t believe CO2 has any effect or believe that any effect will be completely overwhelmed by natural variations in climate.

      Unfortunately, it is the catastrophic global warming crowd who get the press and who accuse anybody in the other three groups of being a "denier" and/or being "funded by Big Oil". This is despite the fact that there is no evidence, other than the output of computer models, to support the assertion of strong positive feedbacks.

      It is also a sad fact of life that screaming "catastrophe" is more likely to get you funding and published than saying "no problem here, move along". This is not just a problem in climate research, but in all research. Just think back over how many times you have heard of one imminent catastrophe or another only for it never to materialise.

      1. Graham Wilson
        Devil

        Absolutely correct. Scientists aren't really helping any cause other than their own.

        "It is also a sad fact of life that screaming "catastrophe" is more likely to get you funding and published than saying "no problem here, move along". This is not just a problem in climate research, but in all research. Just think back over how many times you have heard of one imminent catastrophe or another only for it never to materialise."

        Absolutely correct.

        Take the Big-C for example. If say we'd seen an actual 0.1% 'improvement' prognosis for every one of those new or proposed cancer treatment, or cures, or proposed cures etc. that I've actually heard of in the media or read about in science journals such as 'Science', 'Nature' etc. since I first became aware of the dreaded disease in the 1950s, then Cancer would have been eliminated years ago.

        Fact one is that most of these claims are bunkum, and fact two the population at large has awoken to them--if you can't believe claims about fusion, or cold fusion, or cancer, or any other number of similar bullshit claims then why should one believe claims about climate change--even if they're true?

        More often than not, the fact is that someone who is on the 'funding circuit' makes outrageous claims about a cure then absolutely nothing comes of it. And scientists don't seem the slightest bit worried about getting funding by crying 'Fire' or 'Wolf' as clearly it often works. The trouble is that with an increasingly interconnected population, increasing numbers of people are becoming aware of this deception.

        Thus, it's little wonder that climate scientists, Jones et al, have been targeted as liars and so on. For not only have they been crying "Wolf" for far too long but also their extraordinary claims--whether correct or otherwise--require extraordinary proofs but they've none except a few trends and possibly inaccurate models. Exemplary proof they've none.

        The best they can do is some inconclusive modelling and rough measurements which may well be correct but it's not enough to help very much, as science has had a spectacular fall from grace from about 1960 because of the disingenuous behaviour of many scientists.

        Even if science could deliver, it's credibility is shot. Trouble is, none of these scientists has sufficient altruism for him to enter politics or such where he could make a difference. Right, scientist have locked themselves away from realpolitik and there's stuff-all indication that a sufficient number of them will enter the real world to make any real difference anytime soon.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Facepalm

          >"why should one believe claims [ ... ] even if they're true?"

          Because they're true. Duh.

        2. Some Beggar
          FAIL

          @Graham Wilson

          "Take the Big-C for example."

          Statistics on the incidence, treatment and fatality rates for the most common cancers are available in easily downloadable form from cancer.org

          Take half an hour to browse them and then come back and apologise for your ignorance.

          Did a nerd bully you at school? Or were you just rubbish at science? There is surely some simple reason for your raving paranoia about science and scientists.

          1. James Micallef Silver badge

            Cancer fatality rates

            Off topic I know, but...

            "cancer survival rates" are in fact measured as 5-year survival rates. Which means if someone gets cancer, is stuck on chemo for 5 years and then dies the day after, they are counted in the statistics a a survivor. I wonder what the numbers would be like if they use real survival rates ie the cancer is gone and never comes back.

            Of the countless billions spent on Cancer research since the 70s, most have gone on drugs and surgical procedures that treat the symptoms not the cause. Very little research goes into prevention of cancer in the first place, in spite of the fact that Cancer is a lifestyle disease related to poor nutrition, pollution, stress, lack of physical activity. Some cultures eg central Sardinia are almost completely cancer-free due to their diet and exercise habits and lack of stress

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Cancer 'cure' already available as demonstrated in nature....

              Just to back your point up, and without wanting to sound too stupid, and/or over simplifiying the problem, nature already provides us a living example of how to cure (or I should say prevent) cancer. Once cancer has metastasized, it becomes very difficult to treat (by virtue of the fact it has usually spread to organs in the body etc). The key is to *prevent* cancer cells taking hold in the first place. The way to do this is primarily dealt with by the immune system (cancer cell killers). In nature, we have crocodiles which live in the most horrid physical conditions (swamps etc), and yet survive and avoid disease very effectively including cancer. The reason is simply down to their super immune system function. Likewise in humans, as we get older and our immune system function becomes impaired, we become more susceptible to cancer. The same is true for patients who are taking immunosupressives following organ transplants etc (or anyone with a supressed immune function)...anyhow, the key thing here is we should be pouring our research funds into prevention primarily, which ironically will most likely cure a whole host of other issues.Might not be too lucreative for the drug companies though? Humans with 'super' up immune systems is the way forward. Only my opinion of course. Expect to be shot down in flames. A lot of work of course needs to be done in terms of research effort...a few articles to read:

              http://health.indiatimes.com/articleshow/msid-1207261,curpg-2.cms

              http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/could-a-crocodile-save-your-life-716974.html

              http://www.newscientist.com/blog/lastword/2007/09/wound-licking.html (a reference in blogs)

        3. strum Silver badge
          FAIL

          Oh dear

          >The best they can do is some inconclusive modelling and rough measurements which may well be correct but it's not enough to help very much, as science has had a spectacular fall from grace from about 1960 because of the disingenuous behaviour of many scientists.

          Get this into your head. Science is a model. Always has been. Modelling is at the heart of science, now and always. If science has 'fallen from grace', it is because of idiots who don't understand it (but fail to offer any alternative but unsupported certainty).

          The best models we have (the best models anyone has), point towards AGW, with the serious risk (not certainty, but serious risk) of accelerating feedback factors.

          Until you can come up with better science, STFU.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Facepalm

            @strum (and other unscientific campaigners)

            "The best models we have (the best models anyone has), point towards AGW"

            Models point towards anything you want them to point to. Just fine tune the parameters to get the result you want. The current GC models have overestimated positive cloud feedback significantly.

            http://clivebest.com/blog/?p=2208

            They're worthless, except as scenarios for Hollywood scriptwriters.

          2. Bob. Hitchen
            Thumb Down

            Science is a model

            Er Really? Experiment is at the heart of science not models. Make a proposal test its validity - simples!.

            1. Liam Johnson

              re: Experiment is at the heart of science

              Are you suggesting we simply double the CO2 in the atmosphere to see what happens?

              Probably not, we only have one atmosphere and we don't want to break it.

              >>Make a proposal test its validity - simples

              Or make a proposal, make a mathematical model as an expression of your proposal, make some predictions with the model and do experiments to see if the predictions were correct.

        4. Anonymous Coward
          Mushroom

          Re: Absolutely correct. Scientists aren't really helping any cause other than their own.

          "Even if science could deliver, it's credibility is shot."

          Like your spelling?

          Your credibility isn't exactly soaring after making blanket claims about cancer (hint: there is more than one "disease" that gets called cancer, and many kinds of cancer are treatable and survivable, even though other kinds sadly are not, currently), fusion (hint: there are different, successful approaches for achieving controlled nuclear fusion, but to do so continuously with net output requires hard work, obviously), cold fusion (which despite the press releases is actually an ongoing topic of niche research), or really anything at all.

          I don't deny that science funding has a corrupting or damaging influence on the way work has to be planned and pitched, but your little rant reveals how in the developed world where science has done a lot to improve the quality and standard of living, the narrow-minded show little gratitude for the hard work being done to keep everything running, preferring instead to shout down anyone who isn't offering free goodies on a silver tray and to pretend that had those meddlesome scientists not been given laboratories and instruments and things, we'd be living in a "purer" society where all the men have manners and top hats and all the women have low-cut dresses and speak in some kind of west country accent, Merchant Ivory-style.

          Science has bought you the privilege to indulge your bitterness, just as it has bought the gamer their online gaming escapism where they can pretend that they're really in another galaxy meeting aliens and other things (rather than actually looking at what the universe is all about), and just as it has bought the modern day creationist their "once upon a time" delusions while still getting the benefit of decent healthcare and steadily advancing medicine based on stuff they don't believe in.

      2. nyelvmark
        Unhappy

        Re: The physics isn't in dispute

        I think you missed out a significant group (possibly even the majority) who simply don't believe ANYTHING they read in the media, believing that it's all propaganda from someone or other. I notice this particularly because I live in a post-communist country. Even 22 years after the 1989 evolution to democracy in Hungary, hardly anybody believes anything that politicians or the newspapers say. Belief in conspiracy theories is rife - even the most ludicrous ones. The principle seems to be that anything is possible, except what the newspapers say, so if all the newspapers agree that global warming is happening, then it certainly isn't.

        I'm beginning to think they might be right.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        'screaming "catastrophe" is more likely to get you funding'

        ... submitted a lot of funding applications, eh? Do let us know your hit/miss rate, correlated with title.

        1. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge
          IT Angle

          Screaming Catastrophe...

          @AC

          "...... submitted a lot of funding applications, eh? Do let us know your hit/miss rate, correlated with title..."

          On a completely separate board some years ago, I read a story from an editor who ran a local magazine in New Zealand. One week, as an experiment, he decided to run nothing but good news for the coming month. Sales plummeted, and he rapidly revised that decision.

          Unfortunately, it's the way humans are made...

      4. indulis

        The scientists are not looking to do further research

        For an overwhelming majority of climate scientists, the science is settled. The only people calling for more research (and more money spent) to prove that CO2 is causing the warming are the deniers.

        So how does this tie in with the claim that "those money grubbing scientists are just wanting things to not be settled so they can line their pockets"? Yeah, lots of scientists can be seen on weekends at the country club parking their Ferraris. Right.

        There are no scientists screaming "catastrophe" (in fact wasn't it a denier review of scientific papers that said that there were no papers which reported "imminent catastophes"?).

        Yet again ,the illogic of the denier camp is exposed. The deniers are the ones calling for more research, then say it is the scientists who want more research to get rich. The deniers say it is scientists who are claiming catastrophe, contradicting their own claims that no scientific papers are claiming a catastrophe.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "The scientists are not looking to do further research"

          I suspect they probably are - otherwise they wouldn't be scientists.

          As for what Catastrophe! predicting titles get funded, go here

          http://gow.epsrc.ac.uk/Search.aspx

          and enter "climate" as a search term. Be scared out of your pretty yellow socks by proposals such as "The Use of Probabilistic Climate Scenarios in Decision Making for Adaptation of Building and Property Drainage" and "The Development of a Local Urban Climate Model and its Application to the Intelligent Development of Cities (LUCID)"

      5. Liam Johnson

        re: The physics isn't in dispute

        If the physics is not disputed, how come you just posted 4 different points of view on how the physics should be viewed?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Stop

          Re: Liam Johnson

          >If the physics is not disputed, how come you just posted 4 different points of view on how the physics should be viewed?

          I'll try to explain the OP in simple terms.

          1. Doubling CO2 will result in a temperature increase of approximately 1.2F

          2. Increasing temperature by 1.2F will result in more evaporation (and hence more water vapour entering atmosphere).

          The above 2 things are dictated by the physics. Everything else is speculation because the physics does not say what impact more evaporation will have.

          Water vapour in the atmosphere can cause both a positive feedback and a negative feedback depending upon what state it is in and where in the world it is. Some clouds (of the same type), for example, can cause a positive feedback if located in the Arctic and negative feedback if located in the tropics (or is the other way round?).

          Water vapour leaving the atmosphere can cause both a positive feedback and a negative feedback depending upon what state it is in when it leaves and where it leaves.

          On top of the water vapour problem there are also other indirect impacts, on feedbacks, of increasing CO2. For example, increasing CO2 results in faster and more plant growth. This in turn can change the albedo of the area of growth. This would have a very very minor impact and is intended simply as a demonstration of the complexity of the problem.

          Different values for all of these feedbacks results in different values for the temperature change resulting from a doubling of CO2.

          1. Liam Johnson

            @Anonymous Coward

            >>I'll try to explain the OP in simple terms.

            Maybe you should try and make it a bit more complicated since your simple explanation makes no sense.

            >>The above 2 things are dictated by the physics.

            Yes, we know the world can be modelled with physics, that is what it is there for. This is not that same as acutally knowing what that physics is.

            >>Different values for all of these feedbacks results in different values for the temperature change resulting from a doubling of CO2.

            So your conclusion is that in some abstract sense, doubling CO2 increases temperature (your point 1). But since the system is more complicated than that, increasing temperature will result in more evaporation (your point 2). But your final point is "Different values for all of these feedbacks results in different values for the temperature"

            In other words, you have just proved that your (point 1) is invalid, since you do not know what temperature increase will come from a doubling of CO2 since it is complicated by other feedbacks.

            As I said, you don't yet know the physics.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Thumb Down

              Re: Liam Johnson

              I'll try and explain it again in even simpler terms.

              There are primary effects and secondary effects of adding CO2 to the atmosphere.

              Double CO2 and a primary effect is that temperature will increase by approximately 1.2F. This is well known and is very basic physics. If this temperature increase did not have an effect then that would be the end of the story.

              Increase the temperature by 1.2F and more water will evaporate. This is basic physics and is one of the secondary effects of doubling CO2 in the atmosphere.

              If more water evaporates then this could impact humidity, cloud formation, precipitation, snowfall and many other things. This is a tertiary effect of doubling CO2 in the atmosphere. Guess what, all of these have an impact on temperature, some positive, some negative. This is where the basic physics breaks down. These (and many more) are what are known as feedbacks that act to both amplify and dampen the initial impact of doubling CO2. It is here that the dispute lies.

              The fact that secondary and tertiary effects come into play does not change the fact that the physics of the primary effect is well understood and that the physics of one of the secondary effects is well understood.

              Now you might not like the fact that in many systems there are primary, secondary and many more levels of feedback on the initial change. And you might not like the fact that physics will say "the effect of doing this is THAT" even though after all secondary and tertiary feedbacks of "THAT" have occurred something completely different happens but that is how it is. The end result of all this is that you can sit there and watch you TV and listen to your iPod(tm) and not care about all of the multiple levels of feedback involved in simply bringing you the picture and sound, all described, according to your logic, incorrectly by physics.

              1. This post has been deleted by its author

              2. Liam Johnson
                FAIL

                @ Anonymous Coward

                While pondering your stupidity, a little example occurred to me.

                Let us consider a heavy ball. Throw it a 45 degrees and a simple model with just gravity will be fully sufficient to get you at least 90% accuracy in calculating it's trajectory. You know the physics, brilliant.

                Now replace the ball with golf ball and add some spin. Oops, your assertion that knowing the physics of gravity means you know all the physics of all trajectories simply falls flat on it's face. So we need to add in a bit more physics, let's try some Bernoulli equations.

                Now lets add some fins to that ball whack it up the speed.

                Gravity and Bernoulli no longer hack it, maybe we need to try Navier–Stokes.

                So basically the assertion that knowing the physics of a single phenomenon very well means anything about knowing the physics of a complex system is fundamentally lacking. As you proved in every single post by saying CO2 make the temperature go up 1.2F and then listing a number of factors which make this NOT the case and then compounding the situation by clearly stating that you don't even know what the physics behind these other mechanisms actually is.

              3. Liam Johnson
                WTF?

                @Anonymous Coward

                Sorry, but you seem to be missing a rather huge point. You can't sit there and claim that just because you know the affect of one variable in isolation, in some lab experiment, that the rest is easy just because it is just a load of feedbacks on top.

                You keep saying "Double CO2 and a primary effect is that temperature will increase by approximately 1.2F". But that is a totally pointless statement, since you can't do that in the atmosphere without all the other feedback mechanisms coming into play. You might be able to double the CO2 in your dry atmosphere test experiment and see a 1.2F increase, but that doesn't apply to the atmosphere because it is not dry. You could then attempt to show that all the other feedback mechanisms are small secondary affects but until you have done that exhaustively for all possibilities, and then proved your model actually works, then you don't know the physics. You even admit "physics of the primary effect is well understood and that the physics of one of the secondary effects is well understood". But understanding the physics of the primary effect is not the same as understanding the physics of the whole. It is just one step on the way, which is why 70 years more research might be useful in completing our understanding.

                >>listen to your iPod(tm) and not care about all of the multiple levels of feedback involved

                What a completely stupid analogy. The physics of each little piece of the hardware and the logic of each bit of software in that setup is completely understood. I have no problem with the complexity at all. You can break it down bit by bit and it all makes sense at every level.

                >>and not care about all of the multiple levels of feedback involved

                Sorry but WTF. It is you who is claiming you can ignore all the feedbacks and just go with the physics of one primary affect. I am quite happy with complex systems, which is why it irritates the hell out of me that you claim to be able to model the atmosphere with 1 variable (and some secondary affects which we can ignore)

                Your logic is completely flawed and I assume you failed maths and physics quite badly.

                I hope to god you don't model the atmosphere professionally.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Liam Johnson

                  Are you deliberately being obtuse or just plain stupid?

                  > You can't sit there and claim that just because you know the affect of one variable in isolation, in some lab experiment, that the rest is easy just because it is just a load of feedbacks on top.

                  At no point have I ever said this. I have said the exact opposite!!!

                  I have consistency stated that the impacts, on temperature, of the secondary and tertiary effects are unknown.

                  > "Double CO2 and a primary effect is that temperature will increase by approximately 1.2F". But that is a totally pointless statement, since you can't do that in the atmosphere without all the other feedback mechanisms coming into play.

                  Once again you have a complete lack of comprehension. I state, and you even quote it, that this 1.2F increase is a primary effect. I do not say it occurs without the secondary effects. I do not suggest that feedbacks will not come into play. In fact I do say that feedback will come into play, here is the quote "These (and many more) are what are known as feedbacks that act to both amplify and dampen the initial impact of doubling CO2.". See its there.

                  > But understanding the physics of the primary effect is not the same as understanding the physics of the whole.

                  Try reading the comment. Where do I say that the physics of the whole is understood?

                  > which is why it irritates the hell out of me that you claim to be able to model the atmosphere with 1 variable (and some secondary affects which we can ignore)

                  Where do I make this claim or any claim like it? In fact here are some quotes from my posts that imply the exact opposite.

                  "It is here that the dispute lies." - Referring to the secondary, tertiary effects

                  "The above 2 things are dictated by the physics. Everything else is speculation because the physics does not say what impact more evaporation will have."

                  Now that really sounds like I'm claiming to able to model the atmosphere.

                  > Your logic is completely flawed and I assume you failed maths and physics quite badly

                  Your comprehension skills are flawed so I assume English is not your first language and I will forgive you for your assumptions.

                  1. Liam Johnson

                    @Anonymous Coward

                    >>Are you deliberately being obtuse or just plain stupid?

                    I could ask you exactly the same.

                    >>At no point have I ever said this.

                    Only in every single post - you start every post with "Double CO2 = 1.2F" as a statement of fact.

                    >>I have said the exact opposite!!!

                    Yes, the second half of each post lists a number of reasons for the previous increase not being correct.

                    >>Where do I say that the physics of the whole is understood?

                    Your post of 14th June 2011 21:30 GMT. "The physics is not in dispute". What is the point in saying that if you agree that the physics is incomplete? Why do you keep restating your arguments? My whole point has always been that the secondary and tertiary affects complicate the physics such that "Double CO2 = 1.2F" is an oversimplification of little value.

                    My post to which you first replied said "Well, it does give us 70 years to work out what the Physics of greenhouse gases actually are"

                    You then stated "The physics is not in dispute" mentioned your "Double CO2 = 1.2F" and then listed a number of caveats. I agree with the body of you text, but disagreed with you title which led me to question it. All the secondary and tertiary effects are just as much part of the physics of greenhouse gases as "Double CO2 = 1.2F" is. There would be no greenhouse effect if all the secondary and tertiary consistently effects cancelled it out.

                    I think I might be getting to the source of your misunderstanding:-

                    You seem to be under the impression that doubling the CO2 will cause the temperature to rise, THEN at some later point evaporation occurs and the secondary and tertiary effects kick in causing the situation to become more complex.

                    This is not the case. All these things happen at the same time. As the temperature rises even 0.01F (or centigrade or whatever), then these secondary and tertiary effects will also have some comparably small impact, which means that the temperature rise will (probably) not be 1.2F for a doubling in CO2.

                    1. Anonymous Coward
                      Anonymous Coward

                      Re: Liam Johnson

                      Final attempt.

                      From the OP.

                      "ALL THINGS BEING EQUAL, adding CO2 will increase temperature."

                      The physics of this is well known. It is understood. It can be calculated. It is not controversial.

                      Note the "ALL THINGS BEING EQUAL". It is important because ALL THINGS ARE NOT EQUAL. There are secondary and tertiary effects that mean ALL THINGS ARE NOT EQUAL.

                      The impacts of ALL THINGS ARE NOT EQUAL are not well understood. This does not change the fact that "ALL THINGS BEING EQUAL, adding CO2 will increase temperature.", the physics of this is well understood, can be calculated and has been calculated to be approximately 1.2F.

                      Now because ALL THINGS ARE NOT EQUAL the temperature change from doubling CO2 will be different from that when ALL THINGS ARE EQUAL. Note. I do not claim it will be more. I do not claim it will be less. I do not claim it will be exactly the same. The reason I don’t make these claims is because the secondary and tertiary effects are not well understood. Understand?

                      > I think I might be getting to the source of your misunderstanding:-

                      I don't have any misunderstanding about this. Anybody who thought the climate would wait around and decide "Oh the temperatures gone up by 1.2F time to evaporate more water" instead of it being a continuous process of feedbacks would have to be a complete imbecile.

                      1. Liam Johnson

                        @Anonymous Coward

                        >>ALL THINGS BEING EQUAL ... The physics of this is well known. It is not controversial

                        Agreed

                        >>ALL THINGS ARE NOT EQUAL

                        Agree also. That is exactly my point from the start.

                        >>has been calculated to be approximately 1.2F

                        OK let me have another go. The fact that CO2 (and water) absorb and emit IR and can cause a greenhouse effect is known. You can take these facts, throw out all the difficult unknown stuff (all the NOT EQUAL bits) and arrive at a temperature increase of 1.2F. This is fine, but it is just a restatement of point 1) because we had the thrown out all the NOT EQUAL bits to perform the calculation. This in itself would not be a bad thing _if_ we know that all the NOT EQUAL parts are insignificant. We could say "hey, first order approximation" and leave it at that.

                        You seem to be saying that knowledge of the “ALL THINGS BEING EQUAL” constitutes understanding of the basic physics. I am simply rejecting this by saying your admittance that there is a “NOT EQUAL” part and, more significantly, that it is also non trivial means you cannot realistically claim understanding. You may have gained some insight into the basic physics, but you have not yet understood it in a meaningful fashion since the model makes no useful predictions until you add in the non trivial stuff. You can break down a complex problem into manageable parts only if you know that those parts are relatively independent, and in this case, they are not.

                        1. Swarthy Silver badge
                          Thumb Up

                          Violent agreement

                          I just had to post... AC and Liam are saying the exact same thing, but they are using different words. To sum up "The science is settled"= bunk.

                          To use Liam's analogy: Our current understanding is much like Bernoulli's. We understand the ball being thrown (primary effect, 2xCO2=1.7F). We can wrap our collective heads around the golf ball with spin (secondary effect, warmer air causes more evaporation) but we don' have the math/observations to know how the fins and increased speed will change things (tertiary effects, cloud formation, increased plant growth, etc.)

                          I do have to say, that is one of the most entertaining violent agreements I have watched in a while.

                          1. Liam Johnson

                            @Swarthy

                            uh, thanks?

                2. Some Beggar
                  FAIL

                  That's it, Liam, reach for the ad hominem, bluster and deliberate misquote.

                  If the argument has infuriated you and you have run out of constructive points then that is generally a good indication that you have lost the argument. The dignified and humble thing to do at this point is to concede that the person you are talking to might actually have a point.

                  Try it. You might like it.

                  1. Liam Johnson
                    FAIL

                    @Some Beggar

                    >>ad hominem, bluster

                    True enough, but I wasn't the one who started with the slur about being some iPod and TV watching moron who can't comprehend complexity. Addmitedly the Moron was implied and not explicitly mentioned.

                    >>deliberate misquote

                    There was no deliberate missquote. But if you would like to tell me which one you are talking about I could perhaps explain in more detail.

                    >>If the argument has infuriated you and you have run out of constructive points

                    Enfuriated yes, by being told I am an iPod and TV watching moron who can't comprehend complexity. That doesn't not mean I have no constructive points to make. In fact I keep making new points trying to move the argument onward and actually achieve some meaningful communication. It is AC who keeps banging with the same points, which I have repeateldy pointed out are two conflicting statements.

                    >>The dignified and humble thing to do at this point is to concede that the person you are talking to might actually have a point.

                    Sorry, which point does he have? He keeps saying the physics is completely understood and then saying it is not. That is not a point, it is just a mess. Either the physics is understood or it is not, it can't be both.

                    >>Try it. You might like it.

                    Why? Where would that get us? If you think you have understood both arguments, then perhaps you could apply your superior intellect to pointing to a solution.

                    1. Some Beggar
                      FAIL

                      @Liam Johnson

                      "Addmitedly the Moron was implied and not explicitly mentioned."

                      No. The "moron" part was entirely in your imagination. In fact, it is most likely just a lame attempt to backtrack and suggest that the ad hominem argument started with the other person. It clearly didn't.

                      "Why? Where would that get us?"

                      Away from your current position of "lalalala I'm not listening".

                      The snivelling AC has explained his point multiple times in increasingly simple terms because you have refused to acknowledge it. There's literally nothing controversial about what is being said. The fact that you finally resorted to insult reveals that you _know_ that there is nothing controversial about it but are too proud to admit that you were wrong. On the internet.

                      There's really not a lot of dignity in that.

                      1. Liam Johnson

                        @Some Beggar

                        >>The "moron" part was entirely in your imagination

                        Perhaps, but it is not the way it came across at the time.

                        >>"lalalala I'm not listening".

                        My current position is not "I'm not listening". I have tried repeated times to reformulate my position. It is quite simple really - the physics of greenhouse gases is not fully understood.

                        >>AC has explained his point multiple times in increasingly simple terms

                        No. From my position he has simply repeated his position with no attempt to vary the argument it at all. His argument from the beginning has been that a doubling of CO2 produces a 1.2F rise. He then goes on top point out how that is an insufficient statement due to various feedbacks. I don’t see how that conflicts with the physics not being completely understood.

                        >>There's literally nothing controversial about what is being said.

                        I can find nothing controversial in individual elements of what he keeps repeating.

                        My position from the start has been that the physics of greenhouse gases is not completely understood. I have never said there was NO understanding. Go back and read the posts.

                        You will find AC replied with a post saying "The physics isn't in dispute" while going on to list a number of unknowns in the physics. Later he says that he never said the physics was completely understood. My problem is not with the content of his posts, but the title "The physics isn't in dispute" in the context of my statement that that we could use the next 70 years to figure the physics out.

                        Perhaps you didn’t bother to read from the beginning?

                        >>too proud to admit that you were wrong

                        Why should I admit I am wrong? AC agreed with me when he said "where do I say that the physics of the whole is understood?" My point from the beginning was that the physics is not complete. I never once said there was NO physics.

                        >>There's really not a lot of dignity in that.

                        I see you didn't actually try to post anything constructive. Why am I not amazed.

                        1. Some Beggar
                          FAIL

                          @Liam Johnson

                          You're playing a lazy game of Concern Troll sowing seemingly reasonable seeds of doubt. You've played it on here before and I have a vague recollection that I've seen a similar name playing it on other venues. I have absolutely zero interest in getting involved. It's even duller than the shrill end of denialism.

                          I threw my oar in simply to allow you a chance to exit gracefully when you had clearly become irate and irrational. If you don't want to take it then that's obviously up to you. But now that you've thrown in the ad hom argument, you can only look increasingly foolish.

                          1. Liam Johnson
                            WTF?

                            @Some Beggar

                            >>sowing seemingly reasonable seeds of doubt.

                            Seeds of doubt about what exactly?

                            >> I have a vague recollection

                            ooh, ooh, making shit up.

                            >>I threw my oar in simply to allow you a chance to exit gracefully

                            Oh, I see, it is all for my own good to end the discussion. Who was it playing the Concern Troll card? Nope not me, but I do so wonder why you brought it up.

                            And what was that about ad Hominem before? You still haven't said what exactly it is you disagree with apart from the fact that I said anything at all.

      6. Bullseyed
        Boffin

        Re

        "The majority of the people who get called a denier don't dispute that:

        1. CO2 is a greenhouse gas

        2. All things being equal, adding CO2 will increase temperature.

        The dispute lies in the "All things being equal" and the amount of temperature change."

        This.

        Adding a single grain of sand raises the elevation of the beach. The problem is the IPCC is ignoring the HUGE FING WAVE that moves the sand around.

      7. Constitution First

        Excellent post, but with these additions...

        The only missing component is, motivation.

        Ask yourself, why are this environMENTALLY religious fanatics making such outrageous accusations and even more insane "solutions"?

        Money, Power, Control.

        And by control, I mean Societal Control; control of what people eat, what they drive, where they live, what they do for labor, how and how much energy they are allowed to use.

        The stakes are much, much higher than you're being allowed to read in the Malfeasant Media. When you control the peoples energy, and you control the world and all it's wealth my friend.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A, Start

    good, cos I'm frikken sweltering

    1. cymbalhead

      Konami Code

      You just put my Palm Pre into developer mode...

  7. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle

    "What may be the science story of the century is breaking this evening"

    Or Lewis has got the wrong end of the stick.

    One of the two.

  8. Nick Gisburne
    Linux

    Good news for...

    Good news for polar bears and penguins. Perhaps we should pray to the Norse gods, who in their wrath have brought this ice age upon us. Only Thor can help us now.

    1. Marketing Hack Silver badge
      Paris Hilton

      Fortunately, Thor has an investment in our survival!!

      Hey, if I got to first base with Natalie Portman, I'd look out for Earth's survival too!

      Paris, since she could turn a Norse god's head, and we don't have a Natalie icon!!

  9. fLaMePrOoF
    Meh

    Title...

    Meh.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Is El Reg recycling old news ?

    "What may be the science story of the century is breaking this evening,"

    ahem, cough .... a Google for "sun cycle 25 Maunder Minimum" brings up at least one blog post from 2009 discussing Maunder Minimums. Similarly there's a forum post from 2010 entitled "Are we heading into a new Ice Age?"

  11. Anonymous John

    and lead to radical shifts in government policy worldwide

    I wonder. Politicians are usually very reluctant to admit mistakes. We're still building wind farms despite all the evidence that they aren't a useful source of renewable energy. Now they are going to accept they aren't needed.

    And MMGW has been more of a religious belief than science for some time.

  12. Sam Farrell
    FAIL

    Really?

    Reduced solar activity = evidence on effect of CO2 is nonsense?

    1. Anonymous John

      Missed question mark.

      Now they are going to accept they aren't needed?

      That's better.

    2. Chris 3
      Facepalm

      Huh?

      Again, in what way is there a "mistake" that needs to be "admitted"? An unexpected and unusual dip in solar output in no way invalidates the information about MMWW. It may certainly change the impact and lead to new policies, but that's due to a new phenomenon occurring, not due to another phenomenon *not* occurring.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Title

        Well one, "mistake," would be that, "OMFG WE'RE ALL GOING TO DIE UNLESS EVERYONE DOES WHAT WE SAY," may turn out, as many of us have suggested, to be politically-motivated bullshit masquerading under the veil of science. "Inventing the internet wasn't good enough for you? How about I SAVE THE PLANET!"

        Another, "STFU, your models that say we're wrong are crap, you can't predict this shit with models. Except our models which are the real dealio and say we're right." Again, seems not so much...

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      your point?

      People have been gathering data for some time and evidence is being mulled over. Unlike climate scientists, space scientists like to be somewhat sure of their hypothesis before they run to the politicians and charities. Even once they are sure they tend to frame it in unsure terms.

      At the end of the day though, hotter or colder, it's nothing that you can't cure with enough power and invention.

    4. david wilson

      @Sam

      >>"Reduced solar activity = evidence on effect of CO2 is nonsense?"

      Seems to make as much logical sense as "Someone makes exaggerated statement on possible effects of AGW = There's no such thing as AGW" and various other bogus logic that gets fairly regularly trotted out .

    5. Anonymous Coward
      FAIL

      title

      If you search hard enough you can probably find a blog post on anything.

      This isn't a story about a blog post, its a story about an announcement by the AAS (American Astronomical Society) regarding solar activity. The announcement this talks about was released at 18:00 BST today and this article is timed at 18:00 BST today. So not only is this new news it was as up to date as it could possibly get.

  13. Pete 2

    Need to apply the usual solutions

    Just install a few wind turbines on the sun's surface - isn't that the standard fix for all climate-related problems?

  14. JeffyPooh Silver badge
    Facepalm

    I need some sunspots...

    Oh-noes...

    My 10m band (28MHz) ham radio has been sitting unused for many years. I was kinda-sorta hoping that I could press it into service again within the next year or so. Just last evening I was rummaging around for my 4-foot whip antenna. Now this - no sunspots, no propagation. Sniff...

    1. Aaron Em

      Not on the sun's surface

      On Mercury instead, so they'll spin in the solar wind.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down

      +1

      I wasn't alive to remember what propagation was like in the 70's and such, when amateur radio (and CB) was in its hey day. The crappy propagation we have now is all I've known.

      I for one, would like a DX bicycle-mobile contact a little further away than New Zealand[1], although I was stunned to even make it that far. That said, we at least have reliable 80m/40m for local contacts, and of course 2m/70cm.

      1. http://stuartl.longlandclan.yi.org/blog/2010/08/22/vk4msl-bm-contact-zl3sv/ (And yes, I know this wasn't really "DX"... although I could sorta hear a US station that night.)

    3. Fr Barry
      Happy

      10 m has been open

      There has been some very good propagation on 28MHz recently, Driving home the other day working the 10m repeater in Sweden for example. Dust off the cobwebs and have a listen, you may be surprised

      73

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Facepalm

    "What may be the science story of the century is breaking this evening"

    Not on BBC or CNN it's not.

    1. John 78
      Black Helicopters

      Against their anti-CO2 religion.

      Thats because they don't want you to think the sun has anything to do with climate change, it might interfere with their anti C02 religion.

      It's on here :-

      http://www.space.com/11960-fading-sunspots-slower-solar-activity-solar-cycle.html

      1. Graham Wilson
        Thumb Up

        @John 78 -- Absolutely!

        "Thats because they don't want you to think the sun has anything to do with climate change, it might interfere with their anti C02 religion"

        Religion has much more to do with the politics of global worming than does any science. Tragically!

        1. nyelvmark

          global worming

          I agree, this is inhumane and should be stopped forthwith.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Not on BBC or CNN it's not."

      I don't know about CNN but listening to Radio 4 you soon learn how utterly biased the BBC is towards MMGW.

      They bring it up at every possible opportunity and I've heard interviewers badger more than one guest into saying x or y could possibly be affected by it even when it was obvious they didn't want to. So it isn’t the slightest bit surprising they’re dragging their feet on this one.

  16. AndrueC Silver badge
    Boffin

    Could be a bit of a bugger

    ..when we come out of the minimum. 'Several decades' of getting away with anthropogenic global warming then the Sun comes back on full stream. I really hope there is no such thing as AGW :-/

  17. Steve Evans
    Coat

    Woohoo!

    I'll wax up my snowboard, Scotland finally has a purpose!

    Mines the breathable one with a snow skirt and flame retardant coating.

  18. Crazy Goat Man Al
    Happy

    Yeah snow!

    Can't wait love snow. Will dust down the sledge :)

  19. tardigrade

    Meh.

    "Stop sweating me about the weather. Go shave a sheep and knit yourself a sweater."

    Funky Donkey, Hot Sauce Committee Part Two, The Beastie Boys.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It would be a lucky breather

    But wouldn't affect the fact that we have to get the CO2 levels in the atmosphere down. The fact is the world is far, far gone to save if global warming is happening, mankind is doing basically nothing to stop it. So this may give us a time to develop carbon neutral alternatives

    Which is nice.

    1. Flybert
      Thumb Down

      wrongo

      "The fact is the world is far, far gone to save if global warming is happening"

      the whole world .. plants, animals and humans all do better in a warmer climate .. if we had not come out of the last Ice Age 12,000 years ago to the warmth we've had for about the last 8000 years, I doubt very much we'd have any civilization at all

      More C02 = more plant growth = more food for animals .. 1990 - 2000 study by UN showed 7% more biomass on the planet, mostly due to the rise in C02 and slightly increasing temperatures

      We've had more rain and snow falling the last 3-4 years as well .. this is what may lead to a new Ice Age .. it's not about temperature, it's about precipitation increasing because of more evaporation and humidity, which in the long term cools the planet, in the longer term cools the oceans, which can then absorb more C02

      there is NO historical proof that increasing C02 leads to an ever increasing temperature, yet plenty of evidence in the historical record that for the last 2 million years or so, we go from Ice Age to a warm period like now every 120,000 years or so .. with some of those warm peaks have been warmer than now .. even been warmer in the last 8000 years with no evidence that the C02 levels were higher ( though indeed they may have been .. ice cores have at best a 300 year resolution and a weighted resolution over the 4000-6000 years they take to form )

      again .. warm = good for life .. cold = bad for life

      1. foo_bar_baz

        @flybert

        What about the assertion that warming leading to ice caps melting and higher sea levels?

        Regarding historical proof of CO2: Has there ever been a release of CO2 that compares in scale with what humans have done over the last decades? If there hasn't, it's pretty obvious why we don't have historical proof...

        1. Flybert

          @ foo_bar_baz

          sure .. if it keeps warming the oceans could conceivably rise a few feet over 100 years .. or 500 years .. or 1000 years

          the oceans have already risen 100s of feet in the last 15,000 years, though they have been pretty stable in the last 3000 years despite periods what it has been warmer ( Medieval Warming period )

          There are ancient cities under 100s of feet of water in the Mediterranean .. Coral Islands build up with the sea level and mankind will adjust IF the sea levels rise a few centimeters a decade.

          C02 is ( per the warming alarmists ) 9% to 23% percent of the greenhouse effect ( and that seems quite imprecise to call good science ) yet water vapor ( again per warming alarmists ) it 35% to 70% of the greenhouse effect .. average humidity has gone up with C02 ..

          yet why are we not trying to reduce water vapor ? .. why are we not trading water vapor credits ?

          also .. it's the natural warming cycle that causes the C02 and water vapor to rise .. not the other way around .. that's a fact of historical evidence.. not computer modeled hypothesis

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Flame

      In reality and over the long term

      The planet/world/universe wont give a f***.

      Mankind and other life may become extinct but others will rise. The extinction of mankind in the greater order of things is of no consequence.

      Not sure I want to take that view,being human, but stop talking about the end of the world, climate change of any description will never make that happen.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    on the plus side

    the authors of the work seem to use PGplot for their graphs.

    But without more detail, I'm a going to remain a bit suspicious of that linear extrapolation of theirs.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      FAIL

      Using a straight line to extrapolate an 11-year *cycle*...

      ... based on only a single cycle's-worth of data is an utterly sham exercise, completely fraudulent; it assumes the conclusion it is trying to prove.

      Come on, show us how well that line matches the data BEFORE 2000? Y'know, where it keeps on shooting right off to infinity and the sun is just showing all these 11-year cyclical changes?

      Yeah, right. I didn't think so.

      Signed, A Real Scientist.

      1. T.a.f.T.
        Thumb Up

        Agreed

        I would like to see all the reliable modern data on one graph and if possible the data from the time of the 1600 one until the modern day on another in case this 75 year thing is involved.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Headmaster

          We don't have that much data but who needs it?

          It seems we've only had the technique to measure the magnetic fields from sunspots since the late '90s, which is why there's only data from the tail-end of one cycle, the whole of the next and the current beginning of this slow cycle. But we don't need data way back into the past to know that straight line is bogus. Look, it says the field is 2000 (gauss, I think) in 2011, that it was 2500 in 2001. If we believe this line has any physical reality into the future, then it must also have into the past; was the field really 3000 in 1991? 3500 in 1981? 8500 in 1881? 48500 in 1081? If it was that strong, how come back in the Iron Age people wearing armor weren't sucked up straight off the face of the planet?

          I don't think the hypothesis is remotely plausible, and therefore I think the straight-fit line is demonstrably bogus from the word go, QED.

  22. Disco-Legend-Zeke
    Pint

    If The Sun Is Sentient...

    ...he is laughing at us now.

    1. Graham Wilson
      Devil

      @Disco-Legend-Zeke -- Be careful, we don't want the sun to choke and go out.

      Be careful, we don't want the sun to choke and go out.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    light them fires, Jethro

    It's time to burn me some hippies

    yeeeharr

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Mushroom

    Nelson muntz Icon please...

    if we do head into a mini Ice age then I propose that we use the IPCC and the Global Warming Sect for heat....

    Well you know how they are all full of hot air anyway !!! they can just blow it out there arse !!

  25. Paul Durrant
    Alert

    Press Release Source

    The source data seems to be available here:

    http://www.boulder.swri.edu/~deforest/SPD-sunspot-release/

    1. T.a.f.T.

      Correlation

      Is it me or to the graphs here: http://www.boulder.swri.edu/~deforest/SPD-sunspot-release/2_hill_butterflyDiagram.sm.jpg

      Seem to correlate to the graph here:

      http://www.boulder.swri.edu/~deforest/SPD-sunspot-release/9_penn_decline.pdf

      To show that magnetics roughly follow activity! So we could expect everything to head up again as it looks from the butterfly diagram like we are starting the up cycle of 24. Of course my claim is quite a loose one without the magnetic data from periods before the current (24) but it is as good as the one claiming it will decrease.

      It does look like we might be peaking on the longer term cycle the butterfly diagram shows too but as we are talking about 0.1 - 1% of the suns output I am guessing that does not make a massive change to the heat we get from the sun?

  26. nyelvmark
    Go

    We're missing the obvious correlation

    ...rising CO2 in Earth's atmosphere -> reduced solar activity.

    Cause and effect, innit?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      No

      Why do people even suggest such nonsensical "theories"?

      The earth is miniscule in relation to the Sun, it will have no effect on Sun spot activity. It's only effect is gravitational and that doesn't change much, and certainly doesn't change based on atmospheric CO2 levels.

    2. 57nomad

      nyelvmark

      You're kidding, right?

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Devil

      Cause and effect, innit?

      Love the sarcasm!!

  27. 57nomad

    Sweet!!!!

    I gotta buy a new car. Everyone else on my street, upscale ecojerks, are driving around all smug in their Priuses (I don't know how to spell the plural of Prius, help me out here) and Ford hybrids. But the car I want is a 2011 Corvette ZR1: 638 hp and 604 ft/lb of torque at a lazy 3800 rpm, uh huh, that's right 638 hp baby, oh yeah. Clocks in with a fancy 11 miles per gallon driven the way I like.

    However, Mrs 57nomad has overruled me but I do think, because she thinks that 4 door sedans are more 'age appropriate' (where do women get these ideas???) that I can slip in a Cadillac CTS-V, 556 hp 551 ft/lb of torque, if I can just keep the salesman to keep his mouth shut about that when my wife is in earshot.

    Here's the beauty part. I fully intend to copy and print about a hundred copies of this article and have them handy as I drive down the street with my windows down and air conditioning on blaring "I can't drive 55" by Sammy Hagar out of the oh so cool 10 speaker Bose sound system all the while giving disapproving looks at my Al Gore wanna be dufus neighbors and lecturing them from time to time on their criminal ecological behavior, depriving not just the innocent plants that never hurt anybody of their life-sustaining CO2, but also robbing the atmosphere of the greenhouse gasses necessary to keep us all from turning back into mastodon hunters.

    Science will save us all.

    1. Pypes
      Pint

      Me too!

      My poor old diesel van has had enough trouble starting these last 2 winters, if they get any worse I'm going to have to leave the engine running September through March.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Joke

      re: sweet !!!!

      "However, Mrs 57nomad has overruled me"

      Your wife overrules you *and* you need an uber powerful knob substitute ?

      Are you that desperate to have your masculinity called into question ?

      I suspect you are in fact a syrian girle ;)

      1. 57nomad

        reply to the dork

        I suspect you have suffered a catastrophic humorectomy. My condolences.

      2. 57nomad

        anonymous coward

        Your handle is perfect because you would never say something like that to my face. Consequently, you have called your own questionable masculinity into question. Way to go, Betty Lou.

    3. Josco
      Headmaster

      Spelling error

      Sorry 57Nomad, it's not Prius, it's pious, as in "Of or pertaining to piety, exhibiting piety, devout, god fearing"

      1. 57nomad

        really?

        Do you mean that my neighbors are driving around in Toyota Piouses? First of all, I had no idea that Toyota even built a Pious. Maybe they aren't for sale in California yet. Thanks for the heads-up though. What kind of gas mileage do the get?

    4. James Micallef Silver badge
      Coat

      Plural of Prius

      Got to be a sanctimonious-sounding irregular plural, so definitely not Priuses. More likely something like Prii (with no doubt major arguments about teh correct pronunciation and number of "i"s at the end)

    5. Slabfondler
      Trollface

      @57Nomad

      There's a Denis Leary song perfect for you - no I am not implying you are one yourself just that a lot of the things you espouse reminded me of it. I love this song and this video...I hope you do too!

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UrgpZ0fUixs&feature=related

      1. 57nomad

        Leary

        Slabs,

        Thanks for the link. I'm a huge Leary fan and I've seen this before and it cracks me up every time. It's hilarious an excellent response from someone who has a differing opinion and no offense taken.

        Nothing, however, is more entertaining than some self-righteous eco-freak sticking his nose into other peoples business while worshiping the ground that Al Gore walks on, somehow forgiving him for using more resourses and releasing more CO2 into the atmosphere in one day from his numerous mammoth mansions that the Caddy or Corvette would do in a life time. Did you know that Al Gore flunked out of Divinity School? How in the hell can a person flunk out of Divinity School? Forget the Lord's Prayer, get caught conducting a Black Mass in the school auditorium?? That's the guy I'm taking science lessons from? I don't think so.

        As far as the other irony deprived yo-yo's opinions go, this is what I suggest. They can jerk their hand out of a bucket of water, wait ten seconds and then look down and see how big of a hole their hand left. That's how much I care about what they think. Although I'm flattered by their interest.

  28. Gareth Gouldstone

    I know ...

    lets burn all the remaining oil, coal and trees to keep warm for the next 70 years.

    70 years later as the earth warms up ...

    No fuel for air-conditioning(or anything else, for that matter)

    1. Graham Wilson
      Flame

      @Gareth Gouldstone -- There's absolutely no way we could burn all the coal in 70 years.

      There's absolutely no way we could burn all the coal in 70 years, it'd be impossible. Even 700 years wouldn't touch it (if you want a debate over this it's dead easy for me to win, as facts are facts).

      Unlike global warming, there's no doubt about that discussion.

      1. T.a.f.T.
        Mushroom

        Just not trying

        Underground nuclear explosions should take care of letting in air and setting fire to it all.

        There is probably no way to burn all of the commercially accessible coal in a a useful way is probably true. We can run out of oil and gas super fast if we try hard though :-P Well there are oil sands but I am sure my injectors will clog up if I put sand into the fuel tank.

  29. Some Beggar
    Facepalm

    FACEPALM

    REALLY MASSIVE SHOULDER HEAVING TRAGIC SIGHING HEAD SHAKING WTFing FACEPALM

  30. Nate Atkinson
    Mushroom

    Gonna get toasty! :)

    Just last October there was an article suggesting that a decline in sunspots actually leads to an increase in global temperature: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/10/07/solar_as_big_as_people/

    So, if there is a solar minimum coupled with greenhouse gases, perhaps we will get very toasty indeed.

    People who think climate change is a bad idea might suggest that we redouble efforts to stop it in light of this new information. Personally, I think northern Europe is a lovely place with shite weather. I'm counting on global warming to make it habitable.

  31. chrisale

    Article missing facts, sources

    How many holes could this article possibly have?

    #1: The Maunder Minimum has been found to have produced a global cooling effect of about -0.3C to -0.4C. (Shindell et al 2001) and regional, northern hemispheric cooling of up to -2C

    Meanwhile, anthropogenic climate change has warmed the planet already by as much as 0.8C (IPCC AR4 2007) and the high-latitude northern regions by as much as 4C. And we're on a steady track for warming as high as 2C-4C globally... so I guess that would now be what, 1.6C to 3.7C thanks to another Maunder Minimum?

    And these scientists think this is going to create an ice age?

    #2: Mr. Page seems to have missed the final sentence in the paragraph in that NASA article that was linked... which is:

    "The connection between solar activity and terrestrial climate is an area of on-going research."

    Now that puts a different spin on it doesn't it?

    #3: And finally... this is a really great article. But hello? Where's the link to the source, or even a reference to where this was published (peered reviewed or not). The only link is to a NASA page which, as I said, puts a very different spin on things.

    Are we perhaps writing about things which agree with our own viewpoints rather than actually disseminating complete and accurate information?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      FAIL

      About your "facts"

      "Meanwhile, anthropogenic climate change has warmed the planet already by as much as 0.8C (IPCC AR4 2007) and the high-latitude northern regions by as much as 4C. "

      That's a statement of belief, not a scientifically supportable assertion. We don't know how much influence the added CO2 has contributed to temperature change, we merely have laboratory science showing the addition of between 0.7 and 1C. It is POSSIBLE CO2 has played a part i nthat - even skeptic scientists say around 25% (Christy) of the increase is manmade. But the overall increase is small and entirely within the bounds of natural variability.

      I would describe you as lay-clergy - forever banging on about your beliefs. Where I come from, we call that superstition.

    2. Jellied Eel Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Empirical science vs Sim-science

      "Meanwhile, anthropogenic climate change has warmed the planet already by as much as 0.8C (IPCC AR4 2007) and the high-latitude northern regions by as much as 4C. And we're on a steady track for warming as high as 2C-4C globally... so I guess that would now be what, 1.6C to 3.7C thanks to another Maunder Minimum?"

      Only if you assume CO2 is the dominant force and you misinterpret what the IPCC says, and what nature & history tells you. The IPCC does not assume all the 0.7-8C prior warming was anthropogenic. Some of it has been natural. Some of it has been man-made due to land use changes or aerosol production, but those often get less attention because they're less useful to carbon traders. We must decarbonise our economy by clearing forests to grow more biofuels. That last bit is sarcasm btw.

      We're also not on track to get warming as high as 2-4C because rates of warming have been slowing and have been running at less than half the IPCC's decadal predictions for the last two decades, despite steadily rising CO2 levels. There seems little or no evidence to support strong postive feedbacks for CO2 and more evidence that Arrhenius's revised predictions for CO2 as a GHG are correct.

      But climate science is a very complex multivariate analysis problem. Much of it developed (in some dubious ways) during a time when solar activity was unusually high, and the IPCC assumed Total Solar Irradiance (TSI) didn't vary much. Subsequently we've learned it does and the spectral composition is more variable than originally thought. So scientists can now compare empirical data gathered during a period of relatively high solar activity during the Modern Maxima, and low activity. Crunch those data and we may have a better understanding of what's more significant, CO2 or Solar. Personally I suspect solar because past periods of low solar actvity have often co-incided with colder climate, but beware of epicycles and spurious correlation.

      The greater challenge for AGW dogma is still to find the 'missing heat' mentioned in the Climategate emails. That's still missing, and doesn't appear to be in the oceans as hoped by Trenberth and Hansen. Reasonable place to look given they cover 2/3rds of the surface and should be picking up the extra energy bounced back by CO2. Yet it doesn't appear to be there-

      http://pielkeclimatesci.wordpress.com/2011/06/14/2011-update-of-the-comparison-of-upper-ocean-heat-content-changes-with-the-giss-model-predictions/

      "Joules resulting from a positive radiative imbalance must continue to be accumulated in order for global warming to occur. In the last 7 1/2 years there has been an absence of this heating. "

      and as he points out, to get to predicted rates of global warming in the timescales predicted by sim-scientists, we'd need a lot more postive feedback that is explainable by current science. Especially if the Sun's moved to a go-slow phase.

  32. jubtastic1

    Frozen Thames

    If the price of pointing and laughing at GW advocates is that my twilight years are so cold the bloody Thames freezes over then it's not worth it.

    1. Graham Wilson
      Thumb Up

      @ubtastic1 -- But you won't be able to alter it anyway...

      ...So you may as well laugh now.

      >:-)

  33. brainwrong
    Childcatcher

    11 year cycle

    "The Sun normally follows an 11-year cycle of activity"

    How do we know that? What we (OK, I) do know is that it has done that very recently (on solar system timescales), and that it has done other things in the past.

    I would imagine that the interior on the Sun, as a dynamic system, is in general chaotic. It may flip chaotically between several different behaviors in much the same way as the lorenz attractor flips between tracing out 2 different unstable cycles.

    In short, anything may happen, but is very unlikely to lead to the destruction of any significant proportion of the solar system. I hope you find these words soothing.

    1. AndrueC Silver badge
      Boffin

      This comment brought to you by the word

      *Metastable*.

  34. Michael Mokrysz
    Black Helicopters

    Troll?

    Not to say that I have no trust in the Reg, but I do find it a bit dubious that something so supposedly thought through seems to have nothing online except months/years old speculation. I can't help but wondering if this is really just a well-written (and actually possibly true) experiment.

    Mine's the coat with 'sceptic' stamped on it...

  35. ChilliKwok
    Meh

    People of the world - Do not fear....

    Our great leaders have consulted the all-wise IPCC activist-scientists. They have decreed that the great yellow fusion reactor in the sky has absolutely no effect on climate. No. None at all.

    They have decreed that the climate is entirely controlled by the bubbles from your fizzy drink.

    Do not fear. Our solar panels and windmills will keep us warm while our great leaders agree a new tax on the Sun to limit temperature drop to 2oC.

  36. Bruce 2
    Coat

    Better get my coat then....

    ...woolly one, of course!

  37. Robert E A Harvey
    Thumb Up

    Hoo Fucking Ray

    I can't abide hot weather.

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    title

    I'm confused...are we listening to what the scientists say now?

    1. nyelvmark
      FAIL

      Re: I'm confused...

      You're confused because you think that "scientist" is a title awarded to people by some indisputable authority. That's not the case. The word means whatever you want it to mean. There is no indisputable authority. Somebody who began studying physics yesterday is a scientist by one definition.

      'Appeal to authority' is well-understood to be a rational fallacy. I know, because Einstein said so.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        FAIL

        title

        Since you seem to have missed it, I was parodying the denialist commentards that usually turn up in these articles.

        Now before we all start getting hysterical about whether or not we are actually heading into a Maunder Minimum (which the original press release did not confirm), or whether this "could have major implications for the Earth's climate" (more liberal editorialising from Mr Page), here's a little update from the original source:

        "We are NOT predicting a mini-ice age. We are predicting the behavior of the solar cycle. In my opinion, it is a huge leap from that to an abrupt global cooling, since the connections between solar activity and climate are still very poorly understood. My understanding is that current calculations suggest only a 0.3 degree C decrease from a Maunder-like minimum, too small for an ice age. It is unfortunate that the global warming/cooling studies have become so politically polarizing."

        http://www.nso.edu/press/SolarActivityDrop.html

  39. Busted
    Trollface

    I'm not worried about this

    As I fully believe that the CO2 we release will save us as clearly mankinds affects on earth is far greater than that small yellow dot in the sky.....

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Stop

      Ah yes, just what I was saying about false dilemmas.

      >"as clearly mankinds affects on earth is far greater than that small yellow dot in the sky"

      See, that's nonsense. It doesn't have to be larger, it just has to be a) enough to tip the balance and b) under our control. You appear to have swallowed someone's biased description of what the debate is actually about, but it's a lot more subtle than anything that can be disproven by your simple-minded either-or logic.

  40. Grommet
    WTF?

    Balanced Views?

    I know this is a red top and usually amusing but really?

    For a slightly more balanced view... http://cosmiclog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2011/06/14/6857473-solar-forecast-hints-at-a-big-chill

    Personally I can accept that the climate is changing (it always has). I "guess" mankind must be having some effect on that.

    But I basically think it is a bad idea to piss in the stream you are drinking from. so all reasonable efforts to stop any kind of pollution are welcome if only we could leave out the political nonsense.

    Are we going to get warmer? Are we going to get colder? I don't really care to be honest. What does bug me is articles such as this jumping on bandwagons and taking a single fact and running with it to come to an overall conclusion.

  41. Bluenose
    Alien

    New stories of the day

    I am waiting to hear that Friends of the Earth are claiming victory in their long standing battle with the Sun to stop using nuclear power as it is enviromentally unfriendly and means that we will have to live with the Sun sitting around for hundreds of thousands of year while we wait for the radiation to dissipated.

    and headline number 2

    Greenpeace blames human activity for the slow down in sun spot activity due to all the crap we keep launching into space which invariably finds its way in to the Sun due to space tides that take the bits of plastic from six packs of NASA oxygen cylinders and lets them wander across the solar system trapping and killing thousands of aliens which is why they never get to Earth.

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    0.1% cooling

    The difference of energy coming from the sun between the peak and trough of a solar cycle is about 0.1%

    How can such a small change cause an ice age?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Solar-cycle-data.png

    Also - all previous ice ages took 10's of thousands of years to cool down. What if the CO2 warming is strong enough to offset this cooling?

    1. Goat Jam
      WTF?

      0.1% cooling

      "How can such a small change cause an ice age?"

      Even were I to believe your 0.1% assertion, if Sun activity is not the driver for Ice Ages, what do you think is? A precipitous drop in fairy farts?

      "all previous ice ages took 10's of thousands of years to cool down"

      Did you know that the Vikings once settled in Greenland growing crops and cattle? Until a cooler period came along and wiped them out? No, it didn't take 10's of thousands of years for them to disappear, it happened in 10's of years or less.

      Climate does change. This is not disputed.

      The idea that mankind can have a significant effect on that, either positively or negatively, is what's in dispute.

      1. Some Beggar
        Facepalm

        @Goat Jam

        The settling and later abandonment of Greenland had nothing to do with climate change. The name "green" was given by Erik the Red to encourage settlement - it was as inhospitable then as it is today. They sailed out, built some farms and churches, struggled for a while, then the trade routes fizzled out and they all went home again. It was a failed frontier enterprise and nothing more.

        Read a history book.

        1. Mike Richards

          Greenland

          It was five centuries of settlement from the time of Eirīkr Þōrvaldsson through to the final disappearance of the colonies. Even now it is not certain what happened, only that the colonies were abandoned some time in the late 15th Century. it is still uncertain whether they starved to death, were killed in conflicts with the Inuit or whether they returned to Iceland (although the Icelandic records do not mention the return of the Greenlanders).

          Greenland in the Norse period was very slightly more appealing than it is now (i.e. not very) and supported a borderline pasture economy which the Vikings brought from Scandinavia. You grew grass, raised animals, produced milk and ate the animals. But it was very, very marginal. Even in the good years the climate was never good enough to grow arable crops, so all grains had to be imported from their other colonies.

          As the climate deteriorated, the Norse stuck to their pasture farming which become ever more unsustainable. They never adapted their lifestyle to one better suited to Greenland, so the colonies gradually dwindled until they failed entirely.

          Much the same happened in Iceland, but there, conditions were just good enough that pasture farming could be maintained throughout the Middle Ages, but it was a wretchedly poor place right up until the middle of the 20th Century.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Are you saying that 30 billion tonnes of CO2 per year is not a significant amount

        I find it mind boggling that people believe that such a massive amount of anything can simply disappear and then go onto demand proof that its a problem.

        1. Liam Johnson

          re:30 billion tonnes of CO2 per year is not a significant amount

          It is also only about 0.5% of the of the cycle CO2 absorbed and produced naturally.

    2. Feralmonkey
      Childcatcher

      Feralmonkey

      sorry but according to recent science the ice ages started in as little as 20 years not 10's of thousands.

    3. Gary Heard
      Holmes

      @0.1% cooling

      TSI (Total Solar Irradiance) may only vary by that amount, but extreme Ultraviolet varies by almost 20% trough to peak, the Solar wind also varies by about 15%, as evidenced by the increase in galactic cosmic rays during the trough, increased cosmic rays are thought to increase the planets albedo, stopping the heat even reaching the surface and leading to a cooling due to Black Body radiation

      So TSI in the visible spectrum is not the only output to consider

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Title

      > The difference of energy coming from the sun between the peak and trough of a solar cycle is about 0.1%

      Doubling CO2 only change the composition of the atmosphere by 0.03% yet it has an impact.

      Re: Some Begger

      Retreating glaciers in Greenland are uncovering biomass that is carbon dated to dates ranging from 400 to 1200 AD.

      The Eric the Red story is a fallacy. It is an impossibility for the Vikings to have set up successful and long term settlements and keep them supplied via sea routes. Therefore the settlements must have been able to sustain themselves with home grown crops and herding animals (abundant evidence for this exists). This is something they could not do today therefore Greenland was more hospitable when the Vikings were there.

      Read a more modern history book.

      Re: Are you saying that 30 billion tonnes of CO2 per year is not a significant amount

      It all depends upon scale. 30 billion tonnes amounts to about 0.2 parts per million of the atmosphere which isn't a great deal. Or to put it another way. If you have a million dollars then it amounts to adding an extra 20cents.

      1. Some Beggar
        Headmaster

        @ac 12.29pm

        http://www.archaeology.org/online/features/greenland/

        No wonder you're posting as a "snivelling miserable coward"

      2. Mike Richards

        Bzzzt!

        @Anonymous Coward

        'The Eric the Red story is a fallacy. It is an impossibility for the Vikings to have set up successful and long term settlements and keep them supplied via sea routes. Therefore the settlements must have been able to sustain themselves with home grown crops and herding animals (abundant evidence for this exists). This is something they could not do today therefore Greenland was more hospitable when the Vikings were there.'

        The Norse economy was pasture based. Animals grazed in the wild in the summer whilst hay was grown and fed to them indoors in the winter. You see the same in Iceland - and Greenland today.

        All other staples (with the exception of fish) were imported. The Greenland records show this was increasingly infrequent as time went by with many of the Greenland Norse not knowing what simple things like bread were.

  43. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    The 1970's called...

    They'd like their common knowledge back.

    Can somone PLEASE slap the gubberment into building more nuclear power stations before we get to the rolling brown out stage?

    I'm in Scotland - it's cold enough already without power cuts.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The Global Cooling Myth

      The 19070s would like to make it plain that many more papers were published about global warming than cooling in the 19070s. But you keep working that myth.

  44. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    D'OH!

    Ass has been laughed off. Damn the global whackening!

  45. solaries
    Windows

    The Day After Tomorrow Anyone

    Even Al Gore mention this in his documentary A Inconvenient Truth and Art Bell and Whitney Streibler in their book whose title I have forgotten mention this possibility towards the end of the last ice age there came a return of severe weather called the Younger Drayas so a increase in carbon dioxide may bring on a new ice age isn't something to laugh at the movie The Day After Tomorrow might be closer to the truth than the movie maker thought so only the future will tell which story is true.

    1. hplasm Silver badge
      Flame

      That's all alright then!

      We can keep alive with just the world's smallest fire! Burn the books!

    2. Adrian Challinor
      Childcatcher

      Oh great

      Having had the IPCC make up the science as they go along, now we have policy based on a Holywood movie. We deserve to be doomed.

      For the record: as a scientist and a Fellow of the Royal Astronimical Society, I don't accept the MMGW arguement. I do think that the great nuclear reactor in the skies is responsible for a lot more than is currently thought (though that does seem to be changing).

      What I do believe is that pushing CO2 in bulk (or any gas of any sort) in to the atmospher is Not a Good Thing (c). If its Not a Good Thing, then we should take steps to stop it. These steps do not include panic by a munch of muppets who stand to make a lot of money selling bulbs that don't light and putting a wind farm on every hill.

  46. h4rm0ny

    Would this really make a difference?

    I've been attacked for being a "denier" before now. But would this make a difference if AGW were correct? If it led to an 11-year cold period, we'd still have wanted to take measures for the long-term climactic issues of CO2 et al. when we come out of that (relatively short) period.

    In either case though, whether you believe in significant AGW or not, the answer is nuclear power. It would be just what we need to get us through mini ice-ages and it's also what we'd need to reduce CO2 and reduce AGW. Unfortunately our short-sighted government and some last-generation environmentalists seem to want us to ignore nuclear power and spend our money on wind-farms.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Coat

      You're probably right

      ..but can we build it next to your house?

      1. h4rm0ny

        Re: ..but can we build it next to your house?

        Well I rent, but if other people are daft enough to fear the plant, I'll take advantage of the nice low house prices and move near to it. Does that count?

        And if it's a choice between living next to a nice modern reactor or a coal -powered powerstation, I know which I would choose!

      2. Ian Stephenson Silver badge
        Flame

        ..but can we build it next to your house?

        Yes, I've said so before.

        Can they plumb my radiators into the cooling circuit too please?

  47. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    False dilemma is false.

    It's not an either/or; it's perfectly possible that both a) human activity is warming the Earth and b) solar activity is about to start leading to cooling of the Earth, both at the same time.

    This is one of the most egregious fallacies perpetrated by the AGW-deniers: the supposition that if anything else affects Earth's climate apart from human beings, that somehow proves that we don't.

    As has been pointed out elsethread, if *both* are true, then we would be making a terrible mistake in assuming that the problem wouldn't come back after a few decades' respite.

    1. h4rm0ny

      Re: False dilemma is false

      Whilst I agree with the logic in your final paragraph (if X then Y) and made the same point myself above, I find it ironic that you should accuse "deniers" (more properly called skeptics, thank you), of using the argument that if anything else affects Earth's climate other than man, then man doesn't matter. The inverse argument seems to be more commonly used by AGW proponents, of saying that the other factors don't matter, man made factors are the significant ones. Skeptics are the ones pointing out the often very significant degree to which other factors affect the climate whilst some AGW arguments seem to depend on attempting to normalize these away as much as possible.

      I honestly don't think we can draw any definite conclusions as to AGW at present and the certainty of some AGW proponents, which reaches moral certitude at times, is kind of disturbing to me.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Devil

        Title

        The man made factors are the ones we can potentially do something about. At the very least we could be much more effecient with our energy, which has the benefit of eeking out the finite resources of the planet so that we can continue to bicker, fight, exploit, steal, rape and murder for longer.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Re: False dilemma is false

        >"I find it ironic that you should accuse "deniers" (more properly called skeptics, thank you), of using the argument that if anything else affects Earth's climate other than man, then man doesn't matter"

        I was using the term "deniers" specifically to denote those whose opposition is based on irrational factors like political preference or wishful or illogical thinking, specifically in order not to lump them together with genuine skeptics. Skeptics have an open mind; Deniers, on the other hand, have already reached a conclusion.

        (As indeed have pro-warming zealots, but I've never heard them propose the argument that since humans affect the Earth, the Sun cannot possibly do so to any significant extent; whereas I have heard the reverse argument propsed by anti-warming zealots many times. You claim to have done so, but I can't help but wonder if you have misunderstood the argument that has been made by some who think warming is happening: that the human contribution is most significant because other contributions are basically cyclical and balance out, but the human contribution is only increasing in one direction, unlike those other factors)

        I'm skeptical myself, but lean toward the opinion that there is currently a preponderance of evidence suggesting strongly that human activity could make significant differences to atmospheric system, but that a lot remains to be determined before conclusions can be reached. My apologies in advance if zealots of any kind find that too reasonable for them!

  48. lglethal Silver badge
    Boffin

    Ok just to be pedantic...

    Solar Minimum is actually the most dangerous time for astronauts to be outside of the Earths protective magnetic field. Not because of Solar Flares, which youre right are most dangerous at Solar Maximum, but because of Galactic Cosmic Rays. At Solar Minimum the Suns protective magentic field stops less GCR's from entering the Solar System and so there is an increase in the background radiation of these highly energetic particles.

    Whilst a direct hit from a Solar Flare could potentially kill an astronaut in space, the chances of this are incredibly low (and can be designed for by having a small enclosed space which is highly protected and which the astronauts can hide in for the couple of hours or days that the Solar Flare takes place.

    However, an increase in background CGR radiation is extremely harmful because it is almost impossible to design to stop CGR's effectively (being of such huge amounts of energy), and over the course of a long space journey their radiation effect will be far more noticable and hugely increase the risk of cancers and other long term radiation exposure diseases...

    So Solar Minimum is bad for space travel... Very bad...

  49. Monty Cantsin
    Angel

    Mini Ice Age

    Will there be Mini Mammoths?

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Facepalm

    Not related

    IANAS (I am not a scientist) but....

    I don't know about the Bell & Streibler book, but the sudden freeze that Al Gore & the Day after Tomorrow were proposing was caused by the melting of the ice caps (due to higher temperatures) reducing the salinity of the sea water at the poles.

    A large reduction in salinity could theoretically effect the North Atlantic Gyre which is what prevents the UK from having a similar climate to that of Siberia.

    If this potential Solar Minimum has enough of an effect to counter greenhouse gas driven global warming the NAG should not be threatened & will to some extent counter the lower temperatures for NW Europe .

    Please try to understand Solar Activity has no relation to greenhouse gasses although both can have an effect on global temperatures.

    The graph shows that solar activity has been declining since around 2000, yet global temperatures have continued to rise.

    Global Warming is a long term effect (unless some of the proposed feedback mechanisms do actually kick in) . Hopefully this unexpected Solar Minimum will be something that only lasts a short period. Let's accept the 70 years they suggest for now. That gives us 70 years during which will mitigate to some degree the effects of global warming.

    We might also expect the cooling effects of this minimum to be much less than that of the Maunder Minimum due to the increased levels of greenhouse gas in our atmosphere compared to then.

    This doesn't suggest we can forget about greenhouse gas controls for 70 years because even if this minimum does stall global temperature rise, the effect when the sun does get its mojo back will be a much faster and harder to adapt to rise in temperature.

    There's not much we can do about the sun I'm afraid but Global Warming and a lot of other problems are really just a product of the elephant in the room that no-one wants to discuss.

    Population.

    Global population has doubled since I was born 44 years ago, and whilst there is some evidence to suggest that birth rates taper off and even reduce once a local population reaches a certain level of developed comfort there are still billions of people well below this threshold.

    Consider the current strain on fish stocks, viable arable land, mineral, energy, carbon and fresh water resources and then double or triple it in the next 40 years.

    I think we're going to be well in the shit long before we have to worry about the end of a 70 year solar minimum or the worst effects of global warming.

    These just apply extra pressure to the real problem of unchecked, cancerous human population growth.

    I'll get my coat, or maybe my shorts er... or maybe buy all the tinned goods and weapons I can fit in my house and build a bunker.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      FAIL

      Humans are "cancer"? Wow...

      Malthus was wrong, and every Malthusian ever since has been wrong too - demographics didn't play ball, and our productivity increased. Even the UN predicts population will begin to fall fairly soon, by 2030.

      And energy from renewables, nuclear, etc is already providing people with far more resources, and more efficient use of resources

      You want to believe the world is ending because you're basically a miserable sod who has always wanted to hole up in a bunker. Here's a tip: it really won't help you get a girlfriend.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        FAIL

        Begin to fall really?

        The UN does not predict population will fall by 2030 (unless we do it to ourselves of course). They do predict the RATE OF GROWTH will fall as I alluded to in my post.

        "And energy from renewables, nuclear, etc is already providing people with far more resources, and more efficient use of resources"

        As far as I know energy from renewables (or nuclear) doesn't provide any new resources (such as uranium, lithium, fossil fuels, fresh water etc... They don't replenish fish stocks or increase arable land. Maybe you are confusing 'resources' with iPads and flat screen TVs?

        Perhaps you can explain how they create new resources without resorting to baseless personal attacks?

  51. Alan Wray
    Facepalm

    Ice age, basic science, title fail

    We're still in an ice age. That'll be why there's big sheets of ice at the north and south poles.

    But then of course why let a little science fact get in the way!

  52. John Savard Silver badge

    Good News

    This is good news. It will save us from disaster while we get our act together.

    Global warming is a real problem, but there's a saner solution than relying on solar power and wind farms. It's called nuclear power. As long as that's off the table, though, it's not surprising that the economic costs of addressing global warming are so daunting that people would prefer to deny the problem.

    Both of the other choices are very bad choices.

  53. davcefai

    Fallen Angels

    Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle seem to have seen this coming a few years ago.

    Earth is in an ice age (real, not mini) but burning fossil fuels is not permitted. A good (fictional) read for those who haven't read it.

  54. Dave 142

    No

    "the authors of the work seem to use PGplot for their graphs."

    No, it's IDL.

  55. Adam Nealis
    Alert

    Maunder Minima and LIAs

    A definition of The Little Ice Age (TLIA).

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2004/11/little-ice-age-lia/

    Be careful. The sun spot stuff as covered is fine. Mr Page brought in the implications of a possible Ice Age, not the solar scientists. As an Orlowski acolyte, perhaps he couldn't help himself. But don't let that detract from the solar sunspot part which is interesting in its own right.

    The link between a Maunder Minimum and TLIA only works if you select a narrow enough definition of TLIA.

  56. Nick Gisburne
    Childcatcher

    This may be a good thing

    70 years of ice age may buy us the time we need. In the 70 or so years it takes the planet to go in and out of a mini ice age, fossil fuels will be severely depleted (not least by us having to use far more energy to keep warm), and in addition to that perhaps China's thorium reactor projects will have taught us all that this is the way forward - when we do come out at the other end we won't then be so reliant on CO2-making solutions. Meanwhile I'll be holding off on investing in solar panels for a while.

  57. Cheese
    Facepalm

    Thames freezing

    I wish people would stop using the 'Thames freezing' red herring.

    This has more to do with tidal reach than solar changes. The old London Bridge acted more like a leaky dam (than the bridge it was supposed to be), meaning that on its non-seaward side the Thames was effectively non-tidal (so prone to some stable freezing).

    Once the bridge was demolished in the early 1800s, the frost fairs came to an end (the last freeze being in 1813/14). Indeed, many such freezing events were recorded during the Medieval Warm Period (that preceded the Maunder Minimum).

    A more recent example of the tidal/non-tidal divide could be seen during the harsh winter of 1963/64. The Thames froze as far as Teddington; the limit of tidal influence.

    You weaken your main argument by using factually incorrect supporting statements. That's a shame, because solar variability is an interesting topic (in the context of climate variability).

    I realise that you like to trumpet the "it's an IPCC conspiracy to steal taxpayers money" viewpoint, but the mainstream science community does actually look into such things. If you toned down the red-rage a few notches, then you might even find a few papers to add weight to your thesis. e.g., from that supposed IPCC lackey Science:

    Solar Forcing of Regional Climate Change During the Maunder Minimum, Drew T. Shindell, et al. Science 294, 2149 (2001)

    Small changes in solar irradiance lead to small changes in global temperatures BUT larger regional cooling (i.e. 1-2C cooling over the NH). It uses climate models, which I realise will start the rage off again...but there is some straight observed temp/solar proxy regression analysis too.

  58. Eddy Ito Silver badge

    Crap

    This just means that the gubbermint will insist on even greater agricultural subsidies so agri-business can still grow their crop of choice in their heated green houses with nutrient depleted soil. At least irrigation will be easier given they can use the ice that melts from the roof. It will be the only way to keep those third worlders in the third world... errr, I mean save the jobs of the children on both of the remaining family farms... 'cause we're gonna do it for the children, right?

    1. Some Beggar
      Angel

      @Cheese

      Don't you stride in here with your facts and your reasonableness. This is the hyperbole and conspiracy theory room, you terrible spoilsport.

    2. ChilliKwok
      Meh

      Frost Fairs

      There's been a concerted attempt by climate profiteers to air-brush evidence of past climate extremes like the frost fairs out of the history books - with claims that they weren't really that extrem, just due to tides, or just regional events of no significance. This allows them to claim modern extremes are unprecedented and all man's fault.

      However you can still find some accurate historic accounts of frost fairs eg. here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/River_Thames_frost_fairs which haven't yet been doctored by the warmists. And you'll notice they are clustered around the Maunder minimum from 1600-1750.

      How about we wait 10 years to see what happens before ruining the economy with and massive energy taxes, energy rations and more failed socialism?

  59. crosspatch

    Better get that Arctic oil

    while we still can.

    There won't be much of anything living up there in 20 years if this holds true.

  60. Dangermouse

    But, but, but...

    ...Gordon Brown insisted, INSISTED dammit, the science was settled.

    He wasn't telling fibs, was he?

  61. Andy Goss
    Alien

    If so ...

    this will give us time to work out some less primitive method of energy generation than burning stuff. We need to do that if we are ever to get off the planet and into space, which is where the future really lies.

  62. Timbo 1
    Joke

    Not having much scientific understanding......

    ....but if there's global cooling that needs more carbon dioxide to be expelled to heat things up again, and we breath out carbon dioxide, isn't this great news for politicians since they will be able to talk more drivel and for even longer, and justify it by saying their words are for the good of the planet?

    1. Some Beggar
      Headmaster

      @Dangermouse

      I have no idea why you think Gordon Brown is relevant, but precisely nothing in this paper questions any aspect of the settled science on global warming or the role of man-made CO2.

  63. ken jay
    Coat

    hang on a sec

    we know nothing of the way the universe works we do not have enough data or understanding yet.

    We have only just started gathering data on the sun and 400 yrs ago the earth was flat, the periodic table was almost empty in 1970 now look at it of you did any type of science in the 1970`s

    so until someone has gathered data for at least 10000 years we will never understand or be able to proove or disproove the earths cycles against sunspot activity because we really need data to overlap.

    just my 10p`s worth

    1. Pete 2

      Wish it had been

      > the periodic table was almost empty in 1970

      Boggle!

      Where do you get this information from?

      Actually, if it had been it would have made my chemistry O level a lot easier. Though Tom Leher would have 1 less song to his repertoire.

      Oh yes, nobody thought the world was flat 400 years ago. It's been known since the ancient greeks that it was round. Eratosthenes even calculated its circumference.

    2. Some Beggar
      FAIL

      @ken jay

      Let's take this step by step.

      "we know nothing of the way the universe works"

      In a typical academic library, the journals on astronomy and cosmology will fill an entire floor and number into the tens of thousands of volumes and millions of articles.

      "400 yrs ago the earth was flat"

      Science has understood that the earth is approximately spherical for millenia:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myth_of_the_Flat_Earth

      "the periodic table was almost empty in 1970"

      Only a handful of new elements have been added to the periodic table since 1970:

      http://www.chemicalelements.com/show/dateofdiscovery.html

      You are falling into the age-old trap of assuming that just because _you_ are ignorant about a subject, everybody else must be ignorant about it too. Take your 10p and use it to buy a Ladybird book from Oxfam as the first step on the road to enlightenment.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Mushroom

      10p`s worth? I don't think so.

      I want my money back.

  64. dshan
    Thumb Down

    Can't Have It Both Ways

    The idea that the sun has been getting brighter over the last hundred years or so and thus warming the earth has been often quoted by global warming doubters. The evidence has clearly mounted against this idea, but they keep pushing it anyway. Repeated studies failed to show any measurable increase in average solar output, just the normal variations as the solar cycles progress. This new research seems to indicate precisely the opposite is in fact happening - the sun *may* actually be reducing it's output, getting cooler not hotter. What we do know without a shadow of a doubt is that the average global temperatures have been rising at an accelerating rate for the last century or so.

    Do I really have to point out the contradiction here? On the one hand the hotter sun is supposedly the real cause of global warming according to some, but now evidence indicates that the sun may actually be cooling (temporarily). So, the earth has been warming while the sun's energy output was steady, or possibly falling; therefore the sun can't possibly have been responsible for the warming that has occurred already.

    1. FoolD
      Alert

      Contradiction?

      There is no contradiction - although global temperatures were rising prior to 2000 (at the height of 'global warming' alarmism) the temperature hasn't risen much if at all, (in fact, observational evidence suggests a drop) since about 2000 onwards - much the the shagrin of climate scientists - and is the reason for much sceptism in man-made global warming (especially as CO2 levels have still been rising, not falling).

      This graph clearly shows peak solar activity around 2000 - which actually correlates quite nicely with the sun being the main driving factor behind global temperature fluctuations, not man.

      Having said that, taking a very small sample graph from a known maxima to known minima and extrapolatiing that to still lower activity is not a sensible thing to do though either; it's just as scaremongering and disingenuous as anything the IPCC ever came up with!

      I would love to see a proper plot with at least 10 cycle's data to see just how out of the ordinary the current trend really is.

      1. Some Beggar
        Headmaster

        @FoolD

        "the temperature hasn't risen much if at all, (in fact, observational evidence suggests a drop) since about 2000 onwards"

        False.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Instrumental_temperature_record

  65. Neil Hoskins
    Boffin

    Who the hell drew a straight line through those data points!?

    Whoever it was should be taken outside and kicked to death by respectable physicists.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Don't say that!

      you'll get 8+ down votes before you can blink!

      Unless, perhaps, it was my PGplot comment? Apparently it might-be (or si) actually IDL, but it sure looks a lot like PGplot to me. I had no idea misidentifying plotting software was so unpopular.

  66. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Thames will never freeze again

    The Thames is unlikely to ever freeze again in central London for two reasons that have nothing whatsoever to do with global warming of any kind. Firstly the old London bridge was replaced and secondly the embankments where built. These two factors have prevented the Thames freezing ever since.

    The proof of this is that winters like 1963 which was the coldest since 1740 in England yet the Thames did not freeze, despite being colder than 1776, 1788, 1795 and 1814 when frost fairs where held on the Thames. Based on temperature alone the Thames should have frozen twice in 2010 but did not...

  67. Zog The Undeniable
    Trollface

    I don't believe it!

    We are actually due massive solar storms that are going to send lobotomised $ky satellites careering into our greenhouses and EM radiation killing all our iPods.

    Oh no, that was last year's scare story, wasn't it? There should be a ban on scientists having press releases.

  68. PeterM42
    Mushroom

    Did you ever believe all those "green" nutters, anyway?

    Especially those making money out of us poor taxpayers.

    Global warming or cooling - when you are a mere 93million miles from a huge nuclear furnace, what do you expect? If it turns the heat up, we get warm, it it turns the heat down, then we skate on the Thames - As Alexsander would say "Simples!"

  69. This post has been deleted by its author

  70. Dave Bell

    Science and politicians--what a mess it'll be.

    We're likely headed for a shortage of fossil-fuel sources. And they'll be more important as feedstock for the chemical industry.

    Things such as better insulation to reduce the energy demand will make sense, whatever happens.

    I don't expect the politicians to see that.

  71. James Micallef Silver badge
    Meh

    maybe nitpicking, but...

    "This could overturn decades of received wisdom on such things as CO2 emissions, "

    No it wouldn't. It would still be the case that CO2 globally is rising, that it is affecting climate, and that humans are partly responsible. The difference is that instead of wanting less CO2 to prevent the earth warming, we might be wanting more CO2 to keep it warmer.

    That, by the way, is not be the best idea since long-term we anyway need to find viable energy sources that are not fossil fuel. A global 'YAY to CO2' movement would destroying R&D in renewables that might be needed for the future. Besides that, with the expected booms in energy consumption in China, India etc, even keeping current gov policies would still result in considerable CO2 increases which will keep us nice and warm if/when the sun goes to low-power mode

  72. Kirstian K
    Thumb Up

    So:

    are we saying this is a good time to get shares in ski's / all snow/cold related products???

  73. anarchic-teapot

    Extra reading - climate disruption

    I'm pretty certain Lewis is fully aware that climate is a bit more complicated than just solar activity. The "Little Ice Age" was pre-Industrial Revolution, before CO² emissions really took off.

    Sunspots and global warming: http://www.skepticalscience.com/solar-activity-sunspots-global-warming.htm

    And because this is absolutely brilliant (and sNSFW): http://youtu.be/xFTddFk6zb8

    Enjoy

  74. umacf24

    If I was the Reg moderator

    I would take out a contract on Lewis Page.

    1. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: If I was the Reg moderator

      Nah, just a few commentards. I know a guy, he does mates' rates.

    2. Some Beggar

      Lewis generates page hits.

      The sillier his posts become, the more hits he gets and the more advertising revenue he generates. He's a revenue troll. They'd be mad to try to curtail his ramblings.

  75. Pat 4
    Mushroom

    Why is everyone missing the real point.

    Beyond the stupid AGW vs No-AGW argumentation that almost everyone seems to be so hung up about. The REAL problem is that despite what AGW people claim about warming being the end of the world as we know it, in reality a slight amount of warming isn't actually a bad thing... but a slight amount of cooling can have immediate catastrophic consequences.

    Diminished crops, surplus energy demands, entire seasons ruined by early or late frosts etc etc... The food supply being what it is, even a few degrees of cooling can spell world hunger, raising food prices and heating crisis all over the world... THAT is a real problem.

    MUCH worse that a few degrees of warming.

  76. Anonymous Coward
    Meh

    Thorium smorium

    Will all those of you who keep insisting on Thorium based reactors being the proverbial answer to a maiden's prayer please stop a moment and consider that they will still generate waste to be disposed of but, more importantly, use a fuel source and technology over which we have NO CONTROL!

    UK does not extract Thorium from mines in UK and as soon as it starts to become necessary worldwide we will not, being a pissy little country in the edge of Europe, be top of the list to be supplied. We gave up reactor design and now import American or French designs/builds and associated control and management systems.

    We are surrounded by Seas and have an estuary or two. We have vast caverns in the North Sea into which CO2 or H2 can be pumped using well established technologies. What possible reason would any sane government or scientist advance for proceeding with imported fuels and technologies for Nuclear reactors. Cost is not a medium or long term factor.

    1. NomNomNom

      tittle

      " in reality a slight amount of warming isn't actually a bad thing"

      What about a rapid change to an amount of warming unprecedented for millions of years? That's where we are heading

      1. Anonymous Coward
        FAIL

        Getting hotter?

        @tittle

        "What about a rapid change to an amount of warming unprecedented for millions of years? That's where we are heading.."

        We're going to have trouble reaching that hot future you hope for. The last 10 years show a continual DOWNWARD temperature trend.

        http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/wti/from:2001/to:2010/trend

    2. umacf24
      Boffin

      Thorium Yum Yum

      The reprocessing implicit in a pure thorium fuel cycle means that the waste is "just" fission products. About 2 tonnes per gW-year; maybe about 300 kg to go to 300-year storage if you were willing to reprocess. Natural uranium reactors produce transuranics like americium, curium (and plutonium, of course) in much greater quantities and that's why traditional nuclear waste is a 10,000-year worry with much greater volumes. Fission products tend to be wildly unstable, which by shortening their half lives makes them actually easier to manage than the transuranics, and that's a huge advantage for breeder/reprocessing.

      Compare that 300 kg with the megatonnes of CO2 -- every year -- from an equivalent coal burner with carbon sequestration, and remember that THAT waste has to be kept out of circulation for ever.

      The same thing means that this example 1gW plant is using one or two tonnes of thorium a year compared to 200 tonnes of natural uranium. It's not an uncommon metal, it's found all over the world including the UK, and security of supply is much less of an issue than uranium. It really is worth a look, but it needs the right reactor technology to make the reprocessing work.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      FAIL

      UK does not extract Thorium from mines in UK

      No but we could if we wanted to it is present in many UK locations.

      We could also extract heat from deep geothermal plants which need not screw the rest of nature by disrupting tidal flows and wave energy all of which, contrary to popular belief, have negative environmental aspects. For example, have you seen how quickly things silt up when you restrict the flow in an estuary.

  77. dannymot

    Lewis Page, what a complete retard.

    Interesting article apart from the authors own retarded comments and flawed ridiculous logic.

  78. Sandtreader
    Boffin

    Watch this graph...

    You can watch it happen (or not happen) here:

    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/pmod

    (PMOD = measurement of total solar insolation)

    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/sidc-ssn/from:1975

    (Sunspot number)

    I think both indicate something slightly different is happening...

  79. Liam Carton

    Thames Frozen over

    Hi,

    The Thames used to freez over in part due to flow of water, and this effect is no longer possible due to changes in the banks of the river, and bridges built across it.

    See, e.g. http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/A970733

    "1814 was to prove to be last [frost] fair. A new London Bridge was built in 1823 slightly upstream from the old bridge which was eventually demolished in 1831. The structure of the new bridge was less bulky then its predecessor, which had acted as a dam. The demolition of the latter and the narrowing of the river through the creation of the embankments on either side permanently changed the flow of the river. The Thames is now too fast-flowing to freeze over"

    As a UK site I am quite worried that you were not aware that the Thames could no longer freeze!

    Cheers

    Liam Carton

  80. johnwerneken

    Mr john werneken

    hmmm. Disparate facts and theories create no change in the blind unscientific enthusiasts on BOTH sides of the "climategate", so why would new facts and theories make any difference in public policy? The concept that what we do in the real world should accord with our deepest "beliefs", this is the ultimate evil.Once people imagine that others should do right and not wrong (as defined by them) we are off and running..its such a bad trip the alleged destination does not matter.

  81. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Now I'm puzzled ...

    http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/Major_Drop_In_Solar_Activity_Predicted_999.html

    claims these result were presented at

    http://astronomy.nmsu.edu/SPD2011/

    But looking at the abstract book

    http://astronomy.nmsu.edu/SPD2011/PROGRAM/spdabstracts/SPD_ebook.pdf

    But I can't find a presentation listed (Citing either F Hill or the NSO) which matches up.

    The NSO itself has no press release on the topic that I can find.

    Where did you pick the story up from? I can't find it. Where's the original?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      ah, I missed that

      spacedaily has three conference abstract reference at the bottom;

      None of the three cite abstracts has text which supports the views proposed in the news article.

      But P17.21 does have an abstract which ends "We do not understand the physical mechanism behind these changes or the effect, if any, it will have on the Earth environment"

      That's all pretty clear then.

  82. Mike Richards

    And the important phrase Mr. Page should have learned at school is..

    'Correlation does not imply causation'

  83. drake
    WTF?

    Earth temperature ...

    The Sun is the primary factor in relation to the temperature of the planet, significant volcanic activity is a secondary factor in relation to the temperature of the planet, thirdy man's activities can potentially affect things (like burning fossil fuels, cutting down trees & forests, fecking the oceans, polluting in general etc)

    Points 1 & 2 are significant (and naturally occurring), point 3 is unfortunate and avoidable, but we (humans) are rather stupid generally, so what do we expect...?

    1. Some Beggar
      Trollface

      School?

      Surely shome mishtake.

    2. James Micallef Silver badge
      Megaphone

      Quite correct, correlation is not causation...

      ...and without the capability to manually dial up or down either global temperature or the sun's sunspot activity we can never prove 100% whether these activities are just randomly occurring together, or whether (1) a causes b, (2) b causes a, or (3) some other c causes them both.

      On the other hand, we can make pretty educated guesses from our existing (albeit limited) physical knowledge. Which of these seem more likely:

      1) increase in Earth's temperature causes an increase in sunspot activity through a mechanism that is completely unknown and not even currently hypothesised

      2) Increase in sunspot activity causes increase in earth temperature through some mechanism ( increased radiation ? ) that at least makes some sort of sense

      3) Increase in the sun's energy output causes both increase sunspots and increased Earth temperature, through extremely well known, documented, studied and proven laws of thermodynamics

      I mean, seriously, how is it even in question that the sun has some sort of effect on Earth's temperature, and that variations in one will cause variations in the other?

  84. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Meh

    IIRC Weather forcasters spent decades saying sun spot activity had *no* influence on the weather.

    Well it looks like that was one of those little details they had not got round to putting into their models.

    On humans affecting the weather. 1st CFC production 1933. Detectable effects on ozone by 1974.

    Effect of the sun being removed. Well according to

    http://encyclopedia.airliquide.com/Encyclopedia.asp

    the volume change from liquid Nitrogen to Nitrogen gas at 15c is x691 and for Oxygen its 854.

    If you assumed an atmosphere out to c21Km / 70 000 ft it would contract to about a a layer of 30m of LN2.

    Something to keep in mind.

    1. anarchic-teapot

      Repeat after the entire Met Office:

      Climate <> weather

      Weather is the next few days. Climate is the long-term view.

  85. Sam Therapy
    Happy

    Here's a wild idea...

    Let's just wait and see.

    1. Some Beggar
      Angel

      I tried that method last time I was approaching a level crossing.

      I was horribly killed. It's murder posting this from a harp.

  86. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    Good. I am sick to the back teeth of the current Winter-Rain-Swelter-Rain-WinterAgain cycle of weather in New York. It's either freezing, soaking or boiling-me-in-my-own-juices. It'll be nice to have a spring and fall again.

  87. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    "This could overturn decades of received wisdom on such things as CO2 emissions, and lead to radical shifts in government policy worldwide"

    How? No-one is actively doing anything to limit carbon dioxide emissions. Or did you mean that it's going to get so cold that the CO2 will freeze out of the air in a delightful display of physics?

  88. nsld
    Mushroom

    To be on the safe side

    I roasted a zebra over a pyre or tyres and fridges and then torched a Prius just to help keep the CO2 levels up in case it does get a bit chilly.

    You cant be too caredful with an ice age given we cant cope with 2 inches of snow in the UK!

  89. Old Painless
    Pirate

    Right, I'm off

    I've just whistled for a fast pick up from the mothership, so i'll be off this stinking rock before you monkeys start eating each other when all your cabbages are under 6 feet of ice for 8 months of the year.So long losers!

    PS I've given you a 1 out of 5 star planet rating - what with the religious wars, impending cannibalism and everything ever transmitted by Fox news, the whole place is just a bit too "council"

  90. Rentaguru

    amazing

    if the comments on here are a true reflection of the intelligence of a self-selected top slice of humanity then the sooner we wipe ourselves out to make space for a species that can grasp that somethings aren't simple.

  91. Anonymous Coward
    WTF?

    Can we solve this?

    Can anyone just answer this:

    1) Previous eras in the Earth's history has been warmer? How come 'everyone' are so worried about a small increase now?

    2) Every human (or animal) breathes oxygene and expells CO2. Doesn't the mere existance of mammals disturb our climate? If we abandoned fossil fuels and trippled or quadrupled the number of humans, what effect would this have on the CO2 level?

    I enjoy a good doomsday prophecy as the next guy, but before we move all of our industry to third world countries, let us at least sit down and have a good think about it.

    FWIW: I'm from Norway and our government taxes CO2 quite heavily. Yet they continue producing oil AND search for new areas to drill for oil. Does anyone else here see the beauty of that scheme?

  92. adnim Silver badge

    couldn't be bothered

    reading through 230 comments. If this link has been posted sorry for the repeat.

    http://www.newscientist.com/blogs/shortsharpscience/2011/06/new-ice-age-dont-count-on-it.html

  93. Spotthelemon

    Houston we got a problem

    The idea that we're heading into a maunder minimum has been around for a few years, what's happened now is that some more researchers have published on the topic & they may well be right.

    According to GWPF that means "The Earth - far from facing a global warming problem - is actually headed into a mini ice age"

    However

    In 2010 researchers calculated what would happen to global temperatures if a grand minimum started now and continued until 2100. They found that it would lower temperatures by a maximum of 0.3 °C

    greenhouse gas emissions are predicted to increase temperature by anything from 2 °C (Sceptiks) to 4.5 °C (Alarmists) by 2100

    So in the Best Case scenario a rise of 2 °C would be reduced to 1.7 °C

    Now Solar Minimums are pretty unpredictable things, the figures could be wrong but I wouldn't bet on them being that far out & even if they were, a grand minimum will only delay the problem a bit not fix it permanently. We are actually overdue a proper ice age though, it will come, sometime in the next half a million years or so, holding your breath for that one might be a better bet than a flutter on a mini ice age.

  94. Esteban
    Stop

    RTFA

    From TFA:

    In response to news inquiries and stories, Dr. Frank Hill issued a follow-up statement:

    "We are NOT predicting a mini-ice age. We are predicting the behavior of the solar cycle. In my opinion, it is a huge leap from that to an abrupt global cooling, since the connections between solar activity and climate are still very poorly understood. My understanding is that current calculations suggest only a 0.3 degree C decrease from a Maunder-like minimum, too small for an ice age. It is unfortunate that the global warming/cooling studies have become so politically polarizing."

    Jeez. Talk about knee-jerk reactions, hundreds of comments later.

  95. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Some Beggar
      Devil

      @Erik Borgo - Don't be ridiculous.

      It's all part of the multi-trillion dollar global socialist corruption conspiracy hysteria socialism corruption unscientific omg omg socialists omg honest tax payers' money climategate corruption wind farm conspiracy omg hockey stick schmockey stick socialism "scandal" scandal. I heard the editors of New Scientist all fly around in private jets bought by Al Gore using money that he stole from YOUR bank account. Sheeple.

  96. Dirk Vandenheuvel
    Facepalm

    Greenhouse

    This make come as a shock to many of you... but greenhouse gasses don't go away if the sun "cools" down.

  97. Filippo

    it could be said...

    Winter is coming!

  98. R J Tysoe

    required

    I didn't realise it was a Lewis article until I got to the last sentence. Why spoil a good, science based article with a complete bullshit conclusion?

    1. Some Beggar

      @R J Tysoe

      Because bullshit is his job.

  99. takuhii
    Megaphone

    Technically...

    You do realise that we still are technically in an Ice Age... An Ice Age is when the poles of a planet are snow covered/frozen, as with our planet, our North and South poles are snow covered, therefore we are still in an Ice Age...

    So basically our Ice Age is going to get worse...

  100. Dave 142

    No ice age

    Frank Hill didn't say we'd be heading into an ice age, in fact he said:

    "We have not predicted a 'little ice age', We have predicted something going on with the sun."

  101. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    I have a good idea

    why don't the climate change advocates and the climate change deniers get together, shut the fuck up and crawl back under the rock they came from. Not one of you dozy c**ts has the slightest clue about the climate and what its going to do so fuck off wasting everyone's time. Oh and by the way, I include those so called 'professional' meteorologists in this - you seem to think that looking out of the window and publishing the fact that its raining/sunny is a weather forecast - guess what dullards, its not.

  102. Anonymous Coward
    Alien

    Hang the Climate Hippies

    first of all "Hang them all" and then hack their corpses and feed them to the dogs...

    But besides of the euphoria I just found out that there seems to be a little bit of 'bad science'here, check this out:

    http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Carbon-14_with_activity_labels.png

    and this

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/28/Sunspot_Numbers.png

    Well, it seems that we are going to an expected minimum and that the max will take some time ANYWAY. But well, it's just graphics, we all know how the all the graphics are crated by the climate hippies and the Illuminati Alien Government of Atlantis... But this will not stop us from having a good time!!!!

  103. Anonymous Coward
    Mushroom

    Bad Astronomy vs. Lewis: "Are we headed for a new ice age?"

    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2011/06/17/are-we-headed-for-a-new-ice-age/

    >"The answer — spoiler alert! — is almost certainly "no". I want to make sure that’s clear, because I will bet essentially any amount of money that some climate change denial sites will run with this story and claim that we don’t need to worry about global warming. That’s baloney, and what follows is why."

    Hey Lewis. Why don't you take a read how a real scientist interprets self-publicising press releases. Note in particular the use of skepticism to interpret data, rather than wish-fulfilment to confirm pre-existing dogmatic beliefs.

    [Fukushima icon]

  104. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Boffin

    A simple challenge to *all* climate models

    Can they *backcast*.

    Given your model with the *known* data for the last say 50 years (1960-2010) can they deliver the gross climate over that period?

    How many times do they have to be run? What proportion of those runs come *close* to what happened?

    In fact I'd like to see it run as an international contest.

    If you can show you can do the *last* 50 years you should have a shot at the next 50 years.

    And that's a timescale *most* people will be concerned about as (except for some areas of Glasgow in the UK) they have a pretty fair chance of being *alive* for it.

  105. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Batman to the rescue(in adam wests voice)

    Quickly! Everyone stop recycling....we may still be able to prevent this frozen fiasco, after all!

  106. Anteaus
    Flame

    Common ground..

    There is one thing that both Warmists and Deniers agree on, and that is that hydrocarbon fuel reserves are limited. We need to conserve coal, oil etc until a replacement is found.

    Yet, carbon capture technology threatens to significantly reduce the efficiency of hydrocarbon-based power generation. This might or might not prevent 'global warming' but it will have one certain result, namely that we run out of fuel sooner than otherwise.

    So, if we squander our fuel reserves on 'carbon capture' and THEN suffer a mini ice-age, oh boy will we look daft. Not only will we have made temperatures even lower, but we won't have any heating either.

  107. John Englander

    Grossly misleading to make conclusion of mini ice age

    If the lead paragraph had stopped after "...lengthy spell of low solar activity" it would have been accurate.

    Jumping to the conclusion and indicating that solar physicists accept the rest, about heading to a mini ice age in a few decades, is rubbish, for a few reasons.

    First, his graph of the last few years just shows the downward leg of the typical 11 year up-down solar cycle. It would have been much more honest to show the full cycle. While the recent few years of cooling are an anomaly and interesting, they need to be seen in context.

    More important is to understand the scale of impact he is implying. The full range of solar cycles for many centuries adjusts the solar energy we receive by about 0.3 watts per square meter of the Earth's surface. That is about one tenth of one percent of the 342 watts received globally, enough to have some effect.

    The problem is that greenhouse gases, largely carbon dioxide, now have a warming effect measured at 2.4 watts per sq m, according to NASA scientist Dr. James Hansen. That means the greenhouse warming effect is about 80 times stronger than the solar cooling effect. With our current emissions, it is hard to see how there could ever be another ice age.

    The recent cold winters and snow in much of Europe and North America, are largely due to a change in the lattitude of the jet stream. While many of us have been colder, the Arctic has been MUCH warmer than normal--accelerating the melting. Overall Earth had the warmest year on record in 2010, and it was a decade of record warmth.

    For anyone interested, all of the above are explained and illustrated on my own blog, johnenglander.net as well as many other good science sites, like skepticalscience.com

  108. Alex Walsh

    To quote The Stark House motto

    From Game of Thrones, which has just finished it's first series on HBO (and has a new book coming out next month):

    "Winter is coming".

    Time to re watch the training manual that is The Day After Tomorrow then.

  109. Alan Brown Silver badge
    Devil

    Sun cooling.... possibly, but....

    The whole issue of warming/cooling is "complex"

    I work with climate physicists. They _hate_ the media "chicken little" syndrome.

    The sun has warmed and cooled for millions of years and the amount of change is known to a pretty good accuracy. The recent issue is that increases in solar output (up to this dropoff) did not fully account for increases in global temperature (and FWIW the sun is 50% brighter than it was a couple of hundred million years ago)

    Yes, a Maunder Minimum will result in a slightly cooler earth, BUT the indications are that antropgenic-generated greenhouse warming effects (ie, us burning fuels) will outweigh this cooling effect. When Solar output rises, temperatures will too.

    Long-term trends (millions of years) have this as a tiny blip. Over those kinds of timescales everything adapts. The issue is rapid (century-scale) warming events and how the planet's biological systems can adjust to cope. Indications are that the changes are happening too fast for adaption.

    As for sea level rises - the last 9000 years have seen a remarkably stable period of sea level - unusually stable. We have been living through a period of almost unnatural "calm" which appears to be ending for various reasons. The only reason it's an issue is because many cities are low lying and people aren't thinking of the multi decade timescales available to move - there will be natural retreats from rising seas just as there have always been (Lots of english villages have been "lost to the sea" in history, it's not unusual, just happening at a time when we think of our cities as "permanent" - they're not.).

  110. Alan Brown Silver badge

    @john smith 19

    FWIW climate physicists spend an inordinate amount of time "backcasting" to try and see if the calculations match reality (for what levels of reality can be determined from fossil records and tree rings, etc etc)

    The single biggest problem with predicting anything is that the earth's levels of atmospheric CO2 and other pollutants never seem to have changed so much in such a short period (perhaps if they did in the fossil records it'd be proof of ancient advanced civilisations).

    "We" (there is no we) quite simply don't know what's going to happen next. Everything is educated guesswork until it happens.

    The fighting is because using calculations which have worked in the past give wildly varying answers for extrapolations into the future. Some trends are clear but the question is "will we warm a lot, or a little - and over what time period?"

    Additionally - and something most physicists don't take into account - is what happens if deep ocean methane hydrates get warm enough to bubble out? This happened about 10,000 years ago off the coast of Norway (at the end of the last ice age) and was accompanied by sharp rises in both sea level and temperature - where "sharp" is "a period of a few hundred years".

    Whatever happens, there won't be a Waterworld and civilisation is unlikely to collapse, but predicting what's going to happen is as important for predicting migration trends as anything else (what happens if the Sahara desert doubles its area for instance?)

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