back to article Solar quiet spell like the one now looming cooled climate in the past

German researchers say they have found solid evidence that a past "solar minimum" period of prolonged low solar activity – of the sort which some hefty physicists believe will commence within a few years – significantly cooled the climate. The research flies counter to theories offered by climate scientists, who contend that a …

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  1. Armando 123
    Devil

    Right, that does it!

    I'm going to shoot every hybrid and electric car owner to save the planet! And also to get the slowpokes out of the passing lane.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Finally

      will get some snow here where I live in the UK and get a chance to get my sledge out!

      Note, sledge of wooden construction bought for me when I was 10, has seen snow 5 times in the last 37 year's.

      Can't wait, bring it on.

      1. Arctic fox

        Re: "chance to get my sledge out!" Hello? Do you mind. Where I live in.........

        ..............North Norway (in a town whose local nickname is "Snow hole" which will give you the general picture) I was looking forward to global warming and here's Lewis is doing his level best to destroy my dreams of growing grapes up here. I wish people would make their minds - I don't know whether to migrate south or stay where I am!

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Time to bury a few refrigerators, squirt a few old cans of CFC unfriendly air fresheners, make the dog fart more and burn all that coal I've got stashed.

    1. h4rm0ny

      I wouldn't burn your coal yet. If we do get another global cooling period, wolrd energy consumption is going to be horrifying.

      All the more reason we should be building nuclear power stations as fast as we can and stockpiling fuel. Britain cannot *afford* the fuel costs we'd have if we saw another period like in the 17th/18th centuries if we're subsisting off oil and gas.

      1. Some Beggar
        Headmaster

        IIRC, only about 10% of global energy is used for heating/cooling. The biggest users are industry and transport and they will increase in line with economic growth regardless of the global temperature. The second biggest "user" is lost energy due to inefficient production and distribution.

        Nuclear power is almost certainly necessary, but it's not as simple as saying that we'll need more nuclear power if global temperature goes down. In some of the fastest growing areas (parts of China and Brazil for example) far more energy is spent on cooling than on heating.

  3. Darryl
    Joke

    hefty physicists

    What does their weight have to do with it?

  4. Some Beggar
    FAIL

    Oh dear.

    You realise that GFZ sucks up a fair slurp of the european climate gravy train? And that this study relies on proxies for past climate? And that it uses standard long-term computational models?

    By any one of those three measures it is "not real science" according to official climate sceptic rules.

    Or are those rules set to one side when there's an opportunity to misinterpret the results as somehow supporting your scepticism?

    1. Steve Crook

      Re: Oh dear.

      Same applies to non sceptics. You can't claim proxies are accurate, and then say that a correlation between solar activity and those proxies should not be taken seriously. It may not be causation, but it might be.

      Svensmark and others are beginning to show that there are a number of possible ways in which the Sun can significantly influence climate without the total solar irradiance needing to vary too much. Nothing is certain, but the science *is* interesting.

      I have to say that it's strange that all this climate science is being done, and that the majority of those doing it have simply ruled out significant solar effects. It seems so.... unscientific.

      1. Some Beggar

        Re: Oh dear.

        You can't claim proxies are accurate, and then say that a correlation between solar activity and those proxies should not be taken seriously.

        Nobody has done.

    2. h4rm0ny
      Mushroom

      Re: Official Climate Sceptic Rules

      "By any one of those three measures it is "not real science" according to official climate sceptic rules."

      Then I suggest you familiarize yourself with 'official climate sceptic rules' a little better, instead of clinging to the same strawman AGW-supporters endlessly drag out and dance around in these discussions. Most AGW-sceptics are sceptical about the A part of AGW. I.e. how significant a part of climate change human activity is. For pity's sake, the most reliable study showing an increase in average global temperature was funded by the Koch brothers - those oil tycoons that many AGW-supporters love to pillory (and who are often accused of being enemies of the AGW Truth). That study showed an average rise of about 1.7C since around the start of the 20th Century. Few AGW sceptics say that hasn't happened. What we say is we are unconvinced that it is primarily a result of human activity.

      And if it is not primarily due to that, then all the predictions of what will happen next based on that theory, are written on the wind.

      The wilful determination, after all these years, of pro-AGW people to repeatedly in every discussion on AGW, continue to to insist that sceptics think the climate can never change, despite endless corrections by *actual* sceptics is beyond moronic. Global temperatures have risen very slightly over the past century according to the latest study. That study was actually funded by people regularly accused of being anti-AGW. We sceptics generally think this rise is small (it's probably even a good thing, generally), that it is unlikely to enter some catastrophic feedback look and that the cause is not primarily human activity. Understand? Good. Now next time try and resist the compulsive urge of all pro-AGW people to point at sceptics and say: "they think the climate never changes, ha ha ha." Okay?

      1. Some Beggar
        Headmaster

        Re: Official Climate Sceptic Rules

        Most AGW-sceptics are sceptical about the A part of AGW. I.e. how significant a part of climate change human activity is.

        And most relevant scientists agree that the A part is significant so most AGW sceptics are most probably wrong.

        http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2010/06/04/1003187107.abstract

        http://news.sciencemag.org/scienceinsider/2010/06/scientists-convinced-of-climate.html

        1. James Micallef Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Re: Official Climate Sceptic Rules

          "And most relevant scientists agree that the A part is significant so most AGW sceptics are most probably wrong"

          Yes... but the models that these scientists use as the basis for considering the A in AGW to be significant all minimise the effect of solar output, while this new study may show a mechanism by which even a small change in solar output could have larger climate effects. So the existing models should be updated with the new data.

          Personally I think that most of the warming in the last century is human caused, but I can't look past the fact that pretty much 100% of the heat energy on Earth comes from the sun, so it's naive to believe that 100% of the change is coming from human factors and 0% from the sun, just as it is naive to believe the opposite. Updating the models will allow us to get a better handle on what the balance is. (and by the way, the article mentions dramatic temperature changes over short time periods, does not mention specifics. Is it half a degree, 1 degree, 5 degrees? Over how many years? I bet they would be in the research paper so why not put them in the article?)

          One last VERY IMPORTANT thing - CONTROL. We have no control over solar output, at best we can (very roughly) predict possible future patterns based on past cycles. We CAN control CO2 emissions. And whether the planet is accelerating it's warming or turning to cooling, planet-wide energy usage will still accelerate, and the amount of fossil fuels is still finite. SO LETS START BUILDING MORE NUCLEAR POWER STATIONS, NOW!

          1. Some Beggar

            Re: Official Climate Sceptic Rules

            it's naive to believe that 100% of the change is coming from human factors and 0% from the sun

            It would be beyond naive. That's why nobody within the scientific community believes this.

            1. James Micallef Silver badge

              Re: Official Climate Sceptic Rules

              "It would be beyond naive. That's why nobody within the scientific community believes this."

              Erm..... It's called rhetoric

              1. Some Beggar

                Re: Official Climate Sceptic Rules

                Erm..... It's called rhetoric

                Not unless they've added "preposterous straw man" to the definition of "rhetoric" while I wasn't looking.

          2. NomNomNom

            Re: Official Climate Sceptic Rules

            "Yes... but the models that these scientists use as the basis for considering the A in AGW to be significant all minimise the effect of solar output"

            No they don't. It's just a fact that the Sun's output doesn't vary much.

            Hence why in this article the scientists are having to appeal to positive feedbacks to get the Sun to provide any punch.

            "while this new study may show a mechanism by which even a small change in solar output could have larger climate effects. So the existing models should be updated with the new data."

            *may show a mechanism* is not the same thing as actually having a mechanism based on physics that can be plugged into models.

            1. James Micallef Silver badge

              Re: Official Climate Sceptic Rules

              "*may show a mechanism* is not the same thing as actually having a mechanism based on physics that can be plugged into models."

              Perfectly right, that's the beauty of models. I'm not expecting that the existing models all just be revised with the newly proposed feedback mechanisms for solar forcing, especially if this feedback mechanism isn't even properly understood.... but I WOULD expect someone to update a model with a few possible different variants of the newly described mechanism, run them all in parallel with the current model and see which of the the updated models is most accurate, and whether any of the updated models are more accurate than the current model.

            2. Tom 13
              Thumb Down

              Re: It's just a fact that the Sun's output doesn't vary much.

              You know, it's the funniest damn thing that warmists throw that out there like it's gospel fact, and then when you do a simple Google search on 'variation in solar output 1900 to current' you can quickly find the following website:

              http://www.tmgnow.com/repository/solar/lassen1.html

              where low and behold, the "not much variation in solar output" looks an awful lot like the "alarming temperature rise" since 1970, plus includes the global ice age scare they were running back then.

              1. NomNomNom

                Re: It's just a fact that the Sun's output doesn't vary much.

                The source you cite only goes up to 1980.

                Lassen '91 contained an error.

                Look up Lassen '99, which corrected the error and extended the data and reported a break down in the correlation.

                But deniers are still referencing 1991. Why? It's all they've got. "not much variation in solar output" is simply true. To get around that denier sources have to BS.

        2. h4rm0ny
          Facepalm

          Re: Official Climate Sceptic Rules

          "And most relevant scientists agree that the A part is significant so most AGW sceptics are most probably wrong."

          And in classic style, you shift ground. You've gone from blindly strawmanning that AGW-sceptics think the climate never changes to saying it doesn't matter because we're wrong about the causes anyway. Just drop the strawman part please, and at least that will be progress toward rational discussion rather than misrepresenting the views of those you disagree with which is never constructive.

          1. Some Beggar
            WTF?

            Re: Official Climate Sceptic Rules

            You've gone from blindly strawmanning that AGW-sceptics think the climate never changes

            Would you care to point to the post where I did any such thing?

            1. h4rm0ny

              Re: Official Climate Sceptic Rules

              "Would you care to point to the post where I did any such thing?"

              Certainly.This whole paragraph you wrote:

              //Begin Quote

              "You realise that GFZ sucks up a fair slurp of the european climate gravy train? And that this study relies on proxies for past climate? And that it uses standard long-term computational models?

              By any one of those three measures it is "not real science" according to official climate sceptic rules."

              //End quote.

              Basically it makes an attack on the presumption that AGW-skeptics discount evidence showing that the climate has changed. Despite some of the most significant and reliable evidence that the climate has changed recently being funded by such hate-figures as the Koch Brothers. The entire paragraph falls apart as an attack when (or in your case if) you realize that AGW-skeptics don't claim (except a lunatic fringe which all groups have) that the climate isn't changing, but that we are skeptical about the causes of it. Your entire thing above sets up this strawman that AGW-skeptics are saying the climate never changes and are being proven wrong by this evidence that it does. When in fact, we don't argue that the climate never changes, we say we're not really convinced as to the cause which the above is irrelevant to.

              1. NomNomNom

                Re: Official Climate Sceptic Rules

                "Basically it makes an attack on the presumption that AGW-skeptics discount evidence showing that the climate has changed."

                No it makes an attack on the presumption that AGW-skeptics discount evidence based on proxies, models and government funded scientists.

              2. Some Beggar
                Facepalm

                Re: Official Climate Sceptic Rules

                This whole paragraph you wrote:

                Nowhere in that paragraph do I say anything that remotely resembles what you accuse me of saying. Feel free to apologise or withdraw your comment whenever you grow some dignity.

                1. h4rm0ny

                  Re: Official Climate Sceptic Rules

                  I explained very clearly how what you wrote assumes that AGW-sceptics argue the climate does not change. I get very tired of being attacked by people pointing at evidence of the climate changing and saying 'ah ha - you are refuted' (in essence that is what your point was). One more time: AGW-sceptics are primarily sceptical about the causes of climate changes. Saying that the climate changes proves nothing to anyone.

                  1. Some Beggar

                    Re: Official Climate Sceptic Rules

                    @h4rm0ny

                    You're either illiterate or a liar. I don't care which. If you're not going to concede that you were wrong and apologise then you're not worth talking to.

              3. Omgwtfbbqtime Silver badge

                Re: Official Climate Sceptic Rules

                H4rm0ny, you missed a sub-set of the sceptics.

                Those of us who are sceptical about the reasons that all the panic over the climate change has been fostered.

                Follow the money.

                Yes I trust Heartland to tell me the truth about the same as HADCRU - not at all.

      2. NomNomNom

        Re: Official Climate Sceptic Rules

        "Then I suggest you familiarize yourself with 'official climate sceptic rules' a little better, instead of clinging to the same strawman AGW-supporters endlessly drag out and dance around in these discussions."

        Your strawman is itself a strawman. You don't actually address any of the 3 points Some Beggar

        made. As Some Beggar pointed out, if this study wasn't convenient for skeptics they would

        1) accuse the scientists of just being part of a gravy train.

        2) claim that the use of proxies for past climate was suspect.

        3) claim that the use of models means it isn't science

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Official Climate Sceptic Rules

        Never mind science. As the Climategate emails show, climate science is more pantomime than drama. But there's a foolproof test for whether AGW is "real" or "made up". Let's start with a test: Do governments lie to us?

        I think we can say a firm yes on the following few categories:

        1) Their expenses claims

        2) Reasons for going to war, WMD et al

        3) Inflation figures

        4) Unemployment figures

        5) Growth forecasts

        6) Referendums they've promised us

        7) Public spending cuts

        8) Relationships with Murdoch (or any other powerful type)

        9) Their commitment to civil liberties

        10) Comitments to control immigration

        11) Stability of the financial sector

        12) The end of boom and bust

        13) Quality, cost, suitability of defence equipment

        14) Their willingness and ability to kick undesirable aliens out of the country

        15) that HS2 won't be a huge money pit that will never pay back

        16) cash for honours, cash for questions, cash for access

        etc etc, because I think you'll have got the gist of this.

        Now, our governments of all hue for the past fifteen years have been committed believers and worshippers at the altar to AGW, and have crafted an inept energy policy in response, along with commitments on carbon emissions that will force the last remaining industry out of this country.

        So what are the chances that the inveterate liars and thieves who repeatedly get elected have been proven to be dishonest, wrong and incompetent in respect of almost everything their inept and grasping fingers touch, but suddenly, on one particular topic, they are correct, well intentioned and trustworthy?

        Almost by definition, if governent believes something, you can be sure that reality is in the opposite direction.

    3. Tom 13
      FAIL

      Re: Oh dear.

      Not in the least. I am as doubtful of the predictions about the coming solar minimum as I am of the coming meltdown, and for somewhat similar reasons - The use of proxies and that I'm not certain they have a sufficiently long data collection period vis-a-vie long cycle variations in solar sun spots.

      That being said, they are at least on solid ground for having established the frequency of the short term solar cycle at 22 years (with min/max occurring twice per cycle for a complete migration of the solar magnetic poles). They've also got a somewhat longer baseline for observations. I don't recall having seen anything about Copernicus's weather observations, but his astronomy observations are pretty well documented. So I'd give them a slight edge on whether or not their longer term cycles are right.

      I'm also a bit more comfortable in that they aren't predicting 'DOOM! DOOM! DOOM!' if we don't change our ways to comport with their political leanings.

  5. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    1. Jeebus

      Re: Any scientific reaseach is a Godsend for Crackpot Lewis

      It was funny if nothing else, like a tech oriented Richard Littlejohn, YOU CAN NOT MAKE IT UP.

      But you can obfuscate anything into an anti climate change stance, that deserves some plaudits, it isn't like he wins them with journalistic integrity.

  6. Pete 2 Silver badge

    Cause or coincidence?

    > a definite 200-year-long cool period which corresponds with the onset of the "Homeric Minimum"

    Maybe we'd better all stop writing ancient greek prose, just in case.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sponsorship and journalism

    I might be more impressed with Lewis' anti-climate change tirades if the Register site didn't have a rather obvious Statoil logo near the top of the page

    1. The Axe
      FAIL

      Re: Sponsorship and journalism

      It's called advertising and El Reg might have some say about what might appear, but generally the shots are called by the advertising agency. Probably Google. In which case you are see StatOil because Google knows your interests. So look to yourself before you look to El Reg.

    2. Oolons
      Facepalm

      Re: Sponsorship and journalism

      Have a look at pharyngula or any atheist site - they are covered in adverts for prayer lines and miracle cures. All those references to god but no context checking engine in the advert spewing machine... Or maybe you have a point and all the atheist sites are a fake by god to test our faith!

      1. Tom 13

        Re: are a fake by god to test our faith!

        No, the sites are Hellishly authentic, but God permits our testing just as he did with Job.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Sponsorship and journalism

      Your joking. (Looks up) Your not!

      That's it, all cred to Reg is gone. Sorry, it's not their fault, but I've seen countless magazines and sites cave in to the pressure of advertisers. It seems a one way street when they take over. One sided reviews, one sided opinions and articles no better than my dreams. :P

    4. Martin Budden

      Re: Sponsorship and journalism

      You see adverts? Have you not heard of Adblock Plus?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Adblock

        I only block useless, bandwidth hogging and irritating adverts. Which is still the majority. I don't want to hold back a lively hood from anyone. It's adblock for the majority, or I avoid the site all together. ;)

    5. Tom 13

      Re: Sponsorship and journalism

      You get that when you use Google Ads to select advertisers.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Facepalm

    It gets hot it gets cold, move on

    Things change, attitudes don't, move along. Nothing to see here. When they have glaciers in Australia's outback is when you should worry, until then stop running intencive computer models that heat up the planet!

    1. Martin Budden
      Boffin

      Re: It gets hot it gets cold, move on

      Some years snow remains all year round near the top of Australia's highest mainland mountain (Mount Kosciuszko). A drop in average temperatures could see that snow remaining all year round *every* year, which would cause it to gradually build up and form a small glacier. Interestingly, this patch of snow lies on the side of a glacial cirque... so we know that a glacier *can* form here.

  9. paulc
    Thumb Up

    ties in well with this study then:

    http://chimalaya.org/2011/12/30/in-china-there-are-no-hockey-sticks/

    although that one doesn't go quite far enough back, you can see that on the left of the cycles, it's coming back up from a low.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Simple way to settle the argument...

    If you have a strong opinion then go and place a bet. I reckon the odds you'd get on the Thames freezing in the next decade will be pretty long. Possibly even longer that the Thames running dry in the same period. ;-)

  11. Antony Riley
    Joke

    This would make a lot of crackpot astrologers right, I hope it doesn't go to their head.

  12. Silverburn
    Happy

    News at 11: A big hot thing warms up things close to it. How warm they get depends on hot the big thing is, and how close the small things are.

    Coming up next: Are we dumbing down science?

    1. Jeebus

      This just in. Man attacked for wielding device he calls a camera, this devil spawn sucks out the soul of all those captured and releases the inner red eyed satan.

    2. Tom 13
      Happy

      Re: Are we dumbing down science?

      Apparently not enough to get through to the Sun heats Earth denialists!

  13. The BigYin
    Joke

    Hang on...

    ...so now we need global warming to stop us turning into New Hoth? Fire up that Quattro!

    1. Charlie van Becelaere
      IT Angle

      Re: Hang on...

      And how, pray tell, will an archaic spreadsheet help us now? Were you simply seeking the IT angle?

    2. Alan Dougherty
      Go

      Re: Hang on...

      Stuff the Quattro, I'll go get me Stratos... just make sure you don't stand on the oppo-apex..

      1. jake Silver badge

        @Alan Dougherty (was: Re: Hang on... )

        Quattro didn't run on Stratus ... I did manage to properly compile and use sc, bc, dc and vi on it, though ;-)

  14. Battsman
    Go

    "In particular the idea that the planet can expect a lengthy cool period until 2100 or beyond would tend to undermine the War On Carbon, and any suggestion that solar variability is as big a factor in climate as carbon emissions leads to intense hostility from many career climate scientists and large sections of the media (as we know well here at the Reg)."

    Me thinks Mr. Page should actually read his referenced article ("Guardian super-blogger flames Reg boffinry desk"). Or to put it another way, I read the referenced article and I can't decide if Lewis is or isn't aware that he is deliberately misrepresenting what Robbins appeared to be saying? Is this tunnel vision, a poor grasp of the English language, or intentional flamery? I mean if the scientist who wrote the paper you are referencing as proof of your position says that your position misrepresents the research, how does one reasonably go back and blame the guy calling you out for it? So if that is the best example you can pull out to validate your assertation that all the evil climatologists are chagrined by the assumption that the sun impacts the climate... well I guess I'll just go with "nice try."

    "GO" because I really wish you'd go back and try again. I'd have added BEER too because you make me want to go drink, but I can only pick one.

  15. Thought About IT
    FAIL

    Blinkered vision

    "the idea that the planet can expect a lengthy cool period until 2100 or beyond would tend to undermine the War On Carbon"

    With that attitude, we should be able to carry on pumping CO2 into the atmosphere without a thought for what effect that will have when the sun picks up again.

    1. h4rm0ny

      Re: Blinkered vision

      "With that attitude, we should be able to carry on pumping CO2 into the atmosphere without a thought for what effect that will have when the sun picks up again."

      There are some very good reasons to move off fossil fuels that have nothing to do with AGW theories. Primarily, fossil fuels are finite and running out. We need more nuclear power and fast.

      1. hamcheeseandonion
        Facepalm

        Re: Blinkered vision

        "Primarily, fossil fuels are finite and running out."

        Can't argue with that, but what makes you think that this planet has an infinite supply of uranium?

        Just asking is all.

  16. Tim Parker

    Controversy

    "However the idea that variations in the Sun have any serious effect on the climate is a controversial one."

    So controversial it prompted people like skepticalscience to say

    'As supplier of almost all the energy in Earth's climate, the sun has a strong influence on climate. A comparison of sun and climate over the past 1150 years found temperatures closely match solar activity (Usoskin 2005).'

    ..pretty clear they don't believe it has much effect...or were you referring to the recent period, which they immediately discuss thus

    'However, after 1975, temperatures rose while solar activity showed little to no long-term trend. This led the study to conclude, "...during these last 30 years the solar total irradiance, solar UV irradiance and cosmic ray flux has not shown any significant secular trend, so that at least this most recent warming episode must have another source."'

    Those quotes are from the 'intermediate' level discussion, you can have a butchers at the 'advanced' for more discussion and links to the effects of flux and climate.

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

    1. Thought About IT

      Re: Controversy

      Isn't that one of Heartland Institute's tactics: teach the controversy?

      1. Tim Parker

        @Thought About IT Re: Controversy

        "Isn't that one of Heartland Institute's tactics: teach the controversy?"

        Ummmm - isn't what ?

  17. Battsman
    Holmes

    I sure am glad

    that with the decades-long trends of declining sunspot activity and other indicators predicting a Maunder minimum that we are seeing similar complimentary trends in recorded temperatures. (http://usnews.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/05/08/11600220-12-month-stretch-ending-in-april-is-warmest-on-record-noaa-says?lite) Definitely very glad there - I mean if the temperatures weren't "dropping" along with the sunspot activitiy that might imply the potential that there are other factors involved in climatology than just the Sun. Nah that would be crazy time though - the contents of the atmosphere being heated by said Sun could never impact the temperature measured.

    Sherlock because he'd definitely agree with your lucid, deductive skills Lewis.

    1. Richard Tobin
      Boffin

      Absolute nonsense

      We have not had any "decades-long trends of declining sunspot activity" as Battsman claims. On the contrary, we have had 70 years of high solar activity. See for example http://solarscience.msfc.nasa.gov/images/Zurich_Color_Small.jpg which shows the sunspot number for the last 250 years.

      I wouldn't put too much trust in predictions of a forthcoming long minimum either. Only 6 years ago many scientists were predicting that this solar cycle would be another big one, for example http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2006/21dec_cycle24/ which forecast "one of the most intense cycles since record-keeping began almost 400 years ago". On the contrary cycle 24 was delayed and could well be the weakest since the 1920s. The mechanisms of solar activity are becoming better understood, but any long-term prediction should be taken with a large pinch of salt.

      1. Denarius Silver badge
        Meh

        Re: Absolute nonsense Zurich graph

        cant help but be skeptical about graph. SpaceWeather site has figures showing last few years have had months with some days of clear sun, yet graph has no green spots in 20Century. Am I reading it right ?

        1. Richard Tobin

          Re: Absolute nonsense Zurich graph

          The coloured dots indicate missing observations - 200 years ago there wasn't always someone counting sunspots. They have nothing to do with the number of sunspots.

      2. Denarius Silver badge
        Meh

        Re: Absolute nonsense

        better understood ? Not according to spaceweather.com. The very delayed cycle 24 and the rapid and unexpected slowing of the solar subsurface "conveyor belts" are completely unexplained. Of the 16 or so AFAIRC theories, none are working or match current data. Nice to know there are still challenges.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    the big gas fire in the sky

    well if you say the sun has nearly no control over the heating of the planet .. take the sun out of the equation equals very cold ...

    so if we have the sun on gas mark 4 (highest) then turn it down to say 2 your gonna get a little chilly ...

    but as always you an't gonna know till it happens..

    but.. why is oil starting to soar... why is someone buying up all the gold(a gold ring will buy a tin of beans) and why is the usa trying to get a foothold in the nice warm middle east ..??

  19. fero

    The Maunder minimum has been closely studied and its effect is thought to be a 1C cooling over the period. As we are now looking at a minimum of 2C warming any new Maunder minimum will only slow down the effect, and when the Maunder minimum ends there will be an accelerated rise in temperature as the cooling effect disappears.

    As usual Lewis cherry-picks the papers to report upon, and then cherry-picks the findings of the report!

    1. Denarius Silver badge
      Meh

      almost right

      except that by then the oil, coal and gas will be long gone. Hopefully the religious freaks will have sustained themselves into extinction so the civilised remainder will have built decent nuclear energy plants not run by share holding PHBs. May be other energy sources that by some technological miracle will be affordable.

  20. JeffyPooh Silver badge
    Pint

    Predicting the next Maunder Minimum

    A little secret: They don't really know. Predicting the amplitude of future solar cycles (i.e. the "looming" next Maunder Minimum) is not presently a mature science. It's still just pure guesswork.

    They. Don't. Know.

    I'm not dissing the scientists involved in this work, but certain fields just simply are not yet fully matured. This is an example.

    Maybe their speculation will prove correct, or maybe the future will allow them to gather unexpected data and further mature their models.

  21. jake Silver badge

    As I've said before ...

    The Thames had frost fairs how many times between the 1400s and the early 1800s?[1] And the Romans grew wine grapes between Hadrian's and the Antonine Wall around CE 120-450.

    Climate changes. Without understanding the actual mechanism for this change, trying to "fix" it is more likely to cause trouble than anything else ... In my opinion, all the bravado & bluster, and all the money spent on "carbon" is a complete waste of time. All that cash & energy(sic) should be spent on trying to understand the root of the actual phenomena.

    But that wouldn't put money in the pockets of the likes of Al Gore, who wouldn't be able to fuel his LargeJet[tm] enough to flit about the world on a whim.

    [1] I know about the embankment, and the change in river flow. Still doesn't change the fact that it was a lot colder back then ... nor the lack of wine being produced in The Scottish Borders.

    1. John X Public
      FAIL

      Re: As I've said before ...

      Is that really the best argument anti-warming proponents have? A much repeated fake fact not backed up by any historical record? I've seen this repeated so often now that I take its appearance as a 100% guarantee of lazy thinking.

      Tacitus on Britain:

      'The soil can bear all produce, except the olive, the vine, and other natives of warmer climes....’

      See for more detail:

      http://ecologicmedia.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=778&catid=95&Itemid=186

      1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge
        Stop

        Re: As I've said before ...

        @John X Public: Quite a few vineyards are reported in the Domesday Book - the first really reliable written evidence (see e.g. http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2006/07/medieval-warmth-and-english-wine/, which has further references). It can be sensibly extrapolated that at least some of them had been there since the Romanisation of England.

        1. NomNomNom

          Re: As I've said before ...

          There are more vineyards in england today than back then.

          So if # of vineyards is supposed to tell us how warm it was....

          1. Tom 7 Silver badge

            The number of vineyards

            is inversely proportional to the quality of the beer. We have more vineyards now because of grotneys red dribble.

            Good session beer doesn't tend to keep in warm climate so they have to make do with wine.

            I've got a nectarine growing happily outside but the only thing round here that reaches the 30s its used to is on the rain gauge.

            We had vines in roman time because we had romans not because we had their weather.

        2. John X Public
          Holmes

          Re: As I've said before ...

          Have you done *any* basic investigation on this topic? I even gave you a link to an article that covered the topic really well.

          Point 1. Idiots claim 'grapes grown at Hadrian's Wall in Roman times'

          Point 2. Zero historical evidence for this claim (ref. Roman sources moaning about British weather)

          Point 3. No one ever claimed Northumbria = Britain (Yorkshiremen excepted)

          1. jake Silver badge

            @John X Public (was: Re: As I've said before ...)

            1) Ignoring the ad hominem, I've personally seen proof of Roman wine being grown on the Boarders. See this post for more.

            2) The testimonial of a single disgruntled Roman doth not reality make.

            3) Xenophobic and geographically challenged, too? I feel sorry for you.

  22. GrantB
    Boffin

    Does Lewis read comments?

    I strongly suspect Lewis repeatedly posts an inflammatory article on climate change, and then promptly heads off to the pub to ignore any feedback, (maybe with fingers stuck firmly in ears). I really doubt he ever reads these comments, that point out objectively as possible, that he makes some fundamental mistakes in reading the science.

    Two things main issues with this article (and with all/most of Lewis’s articles on climate change).

    1) This is one scientific study on one small aspect of climate change in one geographical area using one data-set.

    People who refuse to accept the science of AGW, tend to dismiss the science with conspiracy theories about scientists only working to present 'pro-AGW' research. To cherry-pick the odd study like this, accept it entirely without any of the same suspicions, then dismiss the vast majority of other studies including others from the same institute, clearly shows a prejudiced view.

    Climate research (and reporting of that research), needs to look at all studies in an overall context. This one study might suggest a small? change to models for future global climate (depending on sun-spot activity of course), but doesn't change that AGW is occurring.

    Bayesian analysis demands that rather than simply looking at each study one-by-one to decide if a complex multi-factor question like AGW is probably true, you start with the weighted consensus of the hundreds/thousands of studies that suggest it is true.

    2) Even within the study, the first couple of paragraphs of the abstract clearly says "…However, the amplitude of solar forcing is small when compared with the climatic effects and, without reliable data sets, it is unclear which feedback mechanisms could have amplified the forcing…".

    That gives an entirely different view from the article as written by Lewis which suggests it is “..sound solid evidence … significantly cooled the climate”

    I enjoy Lewis’s articles on military tech – I don’t know how correct they are, but they seem like an honest point-of-view and interesting in any case. But his climate change articles indicate a writer than simply can’t/won’t provide a balance that reflects the state of the science on the subject at hand.

    1. Thought About IT

      Re: Does Lewis read comments?

      In fact, one could be forgiven for coming to the conclusion that Lewis is working to an agenda which requires the science of AGW to be rubbished. Just like Nigel Lawson's GWPF, which acts as an echo chamber to some of the articles here.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Does Lewis read comments?

      The comments are the only thing worth reading, I never read his articles and go to the comments straight away for a far more fact filled, rational discussion. That his argument is inevitably shown to be complete rubbish is a bonus,

    3. Loyal Commenter Silver badge
      Black Helicopters

      Re: Does Lewis read comments?

      I don't know if Lewis reads the comments, but I suspect whoever pays him to promote their point of view does and systematically down-votes posts like yours.

      1. Ross 7

        @Loyal Commenter

        LP isn't paid to promote anti-AGW sentiment, he's paid to sell ads. He's expected to do that by creating page impressions. Proof that ppl have read the stories and not just accidentally clicked on them etc makes those impressions even more valuable to ad brokers. You can do that by letting ppl post in reply to the story, ergo this bit of El Reg.

        LP knows less about climate science than he does about aero mil tech, but his super has clearly cottoned on to the fact that his dribblings result in page impressions that can be backed up by forum rants, errrr posts, proving that lots of ppl read the story and see the ads. He is therefore instructed to post stories (not necessarily news ones ;) about climate science.

        It keeps the El Reg marketing dept happy, ergo LPs super is happy, LP is in a job, and we get to vent and rage on the internet as is our God given right. Job's a good 'un.

        Re: "...the War On Carbon". Surely nobody *really* believes it's about carbon? The Merkins (and by extension Blighty) can't exert enough control of the Middle East - they've tried, but it just ain't happening. They therefore need to convince ppl to move away from oil as much as is practical. Saying "ooh it's for your kids and the plants benefit" plays much better than "sorry, we tried to control the oil but we lost".

        Yes, CO2 is a greenhouse gas, too much in the atmosphere and seas can have a rather bad effect (mainly on the ppl that already live in pretty inhospitable regions, so the politicians in the USA/UK aren't too fussed about that) but when some Arabs have your balls in a vice over oil you wanna do something about it. All we can do is reduce our reliance on oil, and not looking like a pussy doing it is more attractive.

    4. Tom 13

      Re: So if you run a Bayesian analysis on Astrology predictions

      can you get reliable data out of it?

  23. John X Public
    Facepalm

    Not mutually exclusive

    I really wish this question could be debated rationally and I despair when an alleged journalist like Lewis writes such an obviously poorly reasoned and biased take on some interesting research.

    It frustrates me that Mr Lewis can claim to be championing right and rational thinking against all 'carbon-alarmist' ranting while abandoning any attempt at reason. If he just came out with a nice clear 'nyah-nyah global warming is for poopy heads, I'll never change my mind' it would at least be honest, unlike this snide piece of biased 'reporting'.

    A) The report does not say what Lewis insinuates it says.

    There is a clear correlation between recent solar minima and cooling, no assertion of causation. Now it makes sense that there is some causation but that is just my opinion, Lewis should also make it clear that it is only his opinion, not established fact.

    B) 'Past solar minimum = cooling' is not mutually exclusive with 'future solar minimum != cooling'

    I'm not a climate scientist but I can think of at least one obvious reason why a solar minimum now might not have the same effect as in the past (given there was a causation chain). Conditions now are NOT THE SAME as they were 2800 years ago. For example, CO2 in the atmosphere is about 380 ppmv now and more like 260–280 ppmv in pre-industrial times. I'd be very interested in seeing what the impact of a solar minimum was in a pre-glacial era when C02 concentrations were more like current levels. I wonder if anyone is looking at that?

    Lift your game Lewis or stop contributing sound and fury, signifying nothing.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Not mutually exclusive

      Lewis is is an in house troll. He may well become mildly famous for his "stopped clock is right once a day" arguments but he has no chance of becoming respected for a being a journalist - so what has he to lose?

  24. AndrueC Silver badge
    Joke

    Wow. It's true. The 1970s are coming back.

    Economy screwed up. Union unrest. Country nearly bankrupt. Now we have threats of a possible ice age on the way.

  25. Purlieu

    re: The 1970s are coming back

    Good, maybe we'll get some decent Prog and EM instead of all this incessant identical rap rubbish

    1. Omgwtfbbqtime Silver badge

      Re: re: The 1970s are coming back

      So basically we need Maggie back!

  26. Tom 7 Silver badge

    Talk about pissing in your chips Lewis

    if its going to get windier its obviously a good time for more windmills.

    Time to sell those nuke shares.

  27. Jeebus

    Lewis does read the comments and delete them, my reply near the top of the comments to a post that was criticising his methods was deleted by a moderator {Lewis of course] so he must read them occasionally.

    1. Jeebus

      Also ( [ { } ] )

  28. This post has been deleted by its author

  29. Loyal Commenter Silver badge
    Boffin

    Beeswax Bosons

    The idea that short-term variations in the climate can be caused by variations in solar output is fairly un-controversial, despite what Lewis what like you to think. The long-term trend of warming caused by increased atmospheric greenhouse gases is also uncontroversial amongst those who understand the science, again despite what Lewis would like you to think. The fact that one may mask the other over a timescale of years or decades is unsurprising, but does not mean that one cancels out the other. Paragraphs such as the following are pure straw-man arguments:

    However the idea that variations in the Sun have any serious effect on the climate is a controversial one. In particular the idea that the planet can expect a lengthy cool period until 2100 or beyond would tend to undermine the War On Carbon, and any suggestion that solar variability is as big a factor in climate as carbon emissions leads to intense hostility from many career climate scientists and large sections of the media (as we know well here at the Reg).

    In fact, if we were to be in a solar-minimum with a noticeable impact on global warming (which we don't seem to be, since warming is still going on), we would have no way of knowing the scale of the minimum - it could go on for another century or end tomorrow. At the point at which it were to come to an end, the brakes would come off, and we would be even more screwed, as warming which would have happened over years, or decades, would all happen at once, and tipping points which would otherwise have been reached over that timescale would all be reached at once. In this scenario, we would have no hope of engineering a solution in the timescales available and we would be royally screwed.

    If, however, we were to take it as a breathing space and use the time to reduce our emissions of greenhouse gases, or even prepare remediation measures, such as CCS or even ge-engineering*, it could come as a blessing. The one thing we can't afford is 'business as usual'.

    *It's risky, but my personal feeling is that ocean fertilisation with iron compounds may be the best option, which would also have the effect of going some way towards reducing the oceanic acidification which is a by-product of our pumping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, and could also increase oceanic biomass.

    1. Tom 13

      Re: Beeswax Bosons

      So I guess you didn't notice NomNomNom's very early post saying that there is no influence from the sun on climate back oh, about three pages ago in the comments section.

      The so called 'denialists" have a pretty consistent argument: the baselines aren't long enough, the science isn't mature, and obviously critical inputs are blindly ignored by alarmists. But when the alarmists criticize the 'denialists' they contradict each other.

      1. NomNomNom

        Re: Beeswax Bosons

        pretty sure I didn't say that

        I won't bother checking

  30. Joe Gurman

    Except that the sunspot cycle going away work has been seriously criticized

    Solar physicists, acting in the professionally skeptical way that scientists are supposed to, have found a variety of weaknesses in the "weakening sunspots" work to which you (and apparently Brauer at al.) refer. Not the least of these is the selection effect: the original authors tended to look for smaller and smaller and thus fainter and fainter spots ("pores") around the recent, extended solar minimum, and that seriously skewed their results. Like most things in solar physics, we can tell you answer --- but you'll have to wait an entire solar cycle (that's a 22-year magnetic cycle, not an 11-year activity cycle) before we can do it.

    I'm more concerned that referees for "Nature Geoscience" have a poor understanding of current research solar physics. It calls into question the validity of papers that reference work in that field.

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