Our Sun on June 6, 2011. Credit: Credit: Cesar Cantu from the Chilidog Observatory in Monterrey, Mexico.

Regular Solar Cycle Could Be Going on Hiatus

14 Jun , 2011 by

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Are we headed into the 21st century version of the Maunder Minimum? Three researchers studying three different aspects of the Sun have all come up with the same conclusion: the Sun’s regular solar cycles could be shutting down or going into hibernation. A major decrease in solar activity is predicted to occur for the next solar cycle (cycle #25), and our current solar cycle (#24) could be the last typical one. “Three very different types of observations all pointing in the same direction is very compelling,” said Dr. Frank Hill from the National Solar Observatory, speaking at a press briefing today. “Cycle 24 may be the last normal one, and 25 may not even happen.”


Even though the Sun has been active recently as it heads towards solar maximum in 2013, there are three lines of evidence pointing to a solar cycle that may be going on hiatus. They are: a missing jet stream, slower activity near the poles of the sun and a weakening magnetic field, meaning fading sunspots. Hill, along with Dr. Richard Altrock from the Air Force Research Laboratory and Dr. Matt Penn from the National Solar Observatory independently studied the different aspects of the solar interior, the visible surface, and the corona and all concur that cycle 25, will be greatly reduced or may not happen at all.

Solar activity, including sunspot numbers, rises and falls on average about every 11 years – sometimes the cycles are as short as 9 years, other times it is as long as 13 years. The Sun’s magnetic poles reverse about every 22 years, so 11 years is half of that magnetic interval cycle.

"Butterfly diagram" shows the position of sunspots over 12 solar cycles. Sunspots emerge over a range of latitudes centered on migratory jet streams that follow a clear pattern, trending from higher latitudes to lower latitudes on the Sun. The active latitudes are associated with mobile zonal flows or "jet streams" that vary through the cycle. Credit: SWRI

The first line of evidence is a slowing of a plasma flow inside the Sun, an east/west flow of gases under the surface of the Sun detected via seismology with spacecraft like the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO)or SOHO and also with the Global Oscillation Network Group (GONG) observing stations, a system that measures pulsations on the solar surface to understand the internal structure of the sun. The flow of plasma normally indicates the onset of sunspot formation for the next solar cycle. While this river ebbs and flows during the cycle, the “torsional oscillations,” — which starts at mid-latitudes and migrates towards the equator — and normally begins forming for the next solar cycle has not yet been detected.

Latitude-time plots of jet streams under the Sun's surface show the surprising shutdown of the solar cycle mechanism. New jet streams typically form at about 50 degrees latitude (as in 1999 on this plot) and are associated with the following solar cycle 11 years later. New jet streams associated with a future 2018-2020 solar maximum were expected to form by 2008 but are not present even now, indicating a delayed or missing Cycle 25. Credit: SWRI

Hill said the above graphic is key for understanding the issue. “The flow for Cycle 25 should have appeared in 2008 or 2009 but it has not and we see no sign of it,” he said. “This indicates that the start of Cycle 25 may be delayed to 2021 or 2022, with a minimum great that what we just experienced, or may not happen at all.”

Plots of coronal brightness against solar latitude show a "rush to the poles" that reflects the formation of subsurface shear in the solar polar regions. The current "rush to the poles" is delayed and weak, reflecting the lack of new shear under the photosphere. Note the graph depicts both north and south hemispheres overlaid into one map of solar magnetic activity, and that the patterns correspond with the butterfly diagram above. Credit: SWRI

The second line of evidence is slowing of the “rush to the poles,” the rapid poleward march of magnetic activity observed in the Sun’s faint corona. Altrock said the activity in the solar corona follows same oscillation pattern described by Hill, and that they have been observing the pattern for about 40 years. The researchers now see a very weak and slow pattern in this movement.

“A key thing to understand is that those wonderful, delicate coronal features are actually powerful, robust magnetic structures rooted in the interior of the Sun,” Altrock said. “Changes we see in the corona reflect changes deep inside the Sun.”

In a well-known pattern, new solar activity emerges first at about 70 degrees latitude at the start of a cycle, then towards the equator as the cycle ages. At the same time, the new magnetic fields push remnants of the older cycle as far as 85 degrees poleward. “In previous solar cycles, solar maximum occurred when the rush to the poles reached an average latitude of 76 degrees,” Altrock said. “Cycle 24 started out late and slow and may not be strong enough to create a rush to the poles, indicating we’ll see a very weak solar maximum in 2013, if at all. It is not clear whether solar max as we know it.”

Altrock added that if the “rush” doesn’t occur, no one knows what will happen in the future because no one has modeled what takes place without this rush to the poles.

Average magnetic field strength in sunspot umbras has been steadily declining for over a decade. The trend includes sunspots from Cycles 22, 23, and (the current cycle) 24. Credit: SWRI

The third line of evidence is a long-term weakening trend in the strength of sunspots. Penn, along with his colleague William Livingston predict that by Cycle 25, magnetic fields erupting on the Sun will be so weak that few if any sunspots will be formed.

Using more than 13 years of sunspot data collected at the McMath-Pierce Telescope at Kitt Peak in Arizona, Penn and Livingston observed that the average field strength declined about 50 gauss per year during Cycle 23 and now in Cycle 24. They also observed that spot temperatures have risen exactly as expected for such changes in the magnetic field. If the trend continues, the field strength will drop below the 1,500 gauss threshold and spots will largely disappear as the magnetic field is no longer strong enough to overcome convective forces on the solar surface.

“Things are erupting on the sun,” Penn said, “but they don’t have the energy to create sunspots.”
But back in 1645-1715 was the period known as the Maunder Minimum, a 70-year period with virtually no sunspots. The Maunder Minimum coincided with the middle – and coldest part – of the Little Ice Age, during which Europe and North America experienced bitterly cold winters. It has not been proven whether there is a causal connection between low sunspot activity and cold winters. However lower earth temperatures have been observed during low sunspot activity. If the researchers are correct in their predictions, will we experience a similar downturn in temperatures?

Hill said that some researchers say that the Sun’s activity can also play a role in climate change, but in his opinion, the evidence is not clear-cut. Altrock commented he doesn’t want to stick his neck out about how the Sun’s declining activity could affect Earth’s climate, and Penn added that Cycle 25 may provide a good opportunity to find out if the activity on the Sun contributes to climate change on Earth.

Source: Southwest Research Institute, press teleconference

Lead image thanks to César Cantú in Monterrey, Mexico at the Chilidog Observatory. See more at his website, Astronomía Y Astrofotografía.

You can follow Universe Today senior editor Nancy Atkinson on Twitter: @Nancy_A. Follow Universe Today for the latest space and astronomy news on Twitter @universetoday and on Facebook.

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Lawrence B. Crowell
Member
Lawrence B. Crowell
June 14, 2011 11:41 PM

If this is a repeat of the Maunder minimum it might reduce the worst of climate heating. I doubt it will make the problem go away, but it might reduce the severity of global warming. This is particularly the case after we get a runaway of permafrost and ocean hydrate melt.

LC

LakeLevel The
Guest
LakeLevel The
June 15, 2011 3:03 AM

If this is a repeating oscillation of the Maunder minimum, it would swamp any puny anthropogenic global warming. I know that if global warming is made moot, a lot of people will be dissapointed.

Lawrence B. Crowell
Member
Lawrence B. Crowell
June 15, 2011 3:27 AM
Not really. The Maunder minimum lasted 70 years, so if something comparable to that is going on we may just buy a bit of time. There CO_2 warming of the atmosphere will still be considerable, where now it is 1-deg C already and it could reach 2-deg C by mid century. A stopping of the solar spot cycle might just halve that increase by 1/2 a degree. The other thing to consider is the half life of a CO_2 molecule in the atmosphere is about 700 years. So all this CO_2 will be here once the spot cycle starts back. So it would be a folly to expect this is some celestial salvation from this problem. LC
Steve Haywood
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Steve Haywood
June 15, 2011 8:34 AM

During the colder winters we will be burning a lot more fossil fuel and hence generating a lot more co2. So the problems will be more severe at the end of the period of cooling when the climate begins to warm again.

Lawrence B. Crowell
Member
Lawrence B. Crowell
June 15, 2011 12:15 PM
The climate system is complex and our behavior is an added complexity. Given the upwards push of CO_2 heating, which is expected to be as much as 5-deg C this century, might just be reduced to 3-deg C maximum. The impact on heating is hard to predict. We might expect the decline in heating needs would not be as sharp. However, the coldness of winters has been surprisingly harsh of late. The atmospheric gyrus which bottles up arctic cold has broken up, which has heated up the N. pole a whole lot and all that cold spills down on us in winters. The last few years we have had some rather strange winter storms. The one thing which… Read more »
Geology
Member
Geology
June 15, 2011 8:03 PM

Whew!!! It’s a good thing oil doesn’t come from synclines or else we’d be in trouble. It shows that your understanding of energy reserves and geology are acquired from what you are able to find on the internet. I would recommend goggling salt domes, faults, government regulation and ANTICLINES & oil reserves. We in America have plenty of Coal and oil reserves. Mountains are rebuilt after being “blasted down” (google: approximate original contour)

Furthermore, using the equations set for by the IPCC (dF=5.35ln([email protected]=0) and (dTemp=Kappa*dF) your “upward push of CO2 heating” is technically independent of solar variations.

Torbjorn Larsson OM
Member
Torbjorn Larsson OM
June 15, 2011 10:12 PM
I don’t know what is a worse offense for science fans, the EU antiscience or the non-AGW antiscience crowds. [Or the “peak oil” theory nonsense, when oil is a market commodity and “peak oil” was a, failed, hypothesis for how individual oil field behaves. Market peaks have an inherently flat behavior due to market mechanisms, “peak oil” productivity prediction didn’t.] The AGW denial is worse for society however. @ LakeLevel: “If this is a repeating oscillation of the Maunder minimum, it would swamp any puny anthropogenic global warming.” Again, there is no evidence yet that solar activity is tied to global temperatures. AGW _is_ tied to global GW of course, and CO2 stands for ~ 5 % of… Read more »
Dark Gnat
Member
Dark Gnat
June 16, 2011 2:29 AM

Dude, LC has far more credentials and scientific knowledge than you could imagine. He knows his stuff and is a very respected here.

For you to pop up and claim he aquired his knowledge from the Internet only shows your lack of tact, lack of respect, close mindedness and general arrogance. Such an approach does little to convince others of your views. Do you really expect to throw insults and have others to listen to you and take you seriously?

Anyone can mouth off a couple of equations and pretend to be an “expert” but LC and several others here are the real deal.

Sean Leslie
Guest
Sean Leslie
June 16, 2011 6:41 AM

Just as well you’re not in charge of finding our oil and gas reserves then isn’t it.

Here’s some things for you to google:
‘Synclinal Oil’
‘Differential Entrapment’
‘Songliao Basin’
‘Pennsylvanian Field’ (Specifcally Buffalo County).
The point being that there are several different mechanisms for oil accumulation to occur in a syncline or a geosyncline, and there are some well known oil fields that occur in synclinal structures.
Oh yeah – IIRC the Moroccan Oil Shales are also a synclinal structure.

Alex Black
Member
Alex Black
June 16, 2011 3:20 AM

It will only take one huge volcano explosion, and Global Warming will be a distant memory…

DrFlimmer
Member
DrFlimmer
June 16, 2011 8:39 AM

But only for a short while (assuming you do not speak of an explosion of the Yellowstone super volcano…). Big explosions triggered temperature droppings in the past, but only for a few years at most.
A super volcano might be a different story, but that would be catastrophic not only for the climate…

DrFlimmer
Member
DrFlimmer
June 16, 2011 8:39 AM

But only for a short while (assuming you do not speak of an explosion of the Yellowstone super volcano…). Big explosions triggered temperature droppings in the past, but only for a few years at most.
A super volcano might be a different story, but that would be catastrophic not only for the climate…

Corey Simmonds
Guest
Corey Simmonds
June 16, 2011 9:27 PM

The problem is that while that would toss obscene amounts of aerosols into the air and cause mass global dimming, a world with excess aerosols and Co2 is not the same as a world with neither.

You’d still have the acidification of oceans to deal with, which is almost as big a problem as global warming, and once the aerosols went away, the temperature would go through a huge re-adjustment for all the Co2, because that will stick around for far longer (having a residence time measured in centuries).

DrFlimmer
Member
DrFlimmer
June 15, 2011 8:20 AM

From my point of view, a Maunder minimum could give us some more time to prevent the worst things to happen. But for that we need to act NOW….

Lawrence B. Crowell
Member
Lawrence B. Crowell
June 15, 2011 12:18 PM

Exactly. All this might do is to buy us a bit of time and to ease the situation a bit, but a solar down turn or end of the spot cycle will not solve the problem.

LC

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous
June 15, 2011 1:59 AM

lcrowell,
Do you know anything about the Little Ice Age? European agriculture was dramatically impacted in a negative way. Populations were killed-off as productive land could not grow food as it once did. We are not talking about a few degrees of temperature change. The myth of Man Made Global Warming does not claim to increase temperatures to the degree lost during the Little Ice Age.

Humans have benefited from periods of warming and have suffered from periods of cooling. A new Little Ice Age will cause suffer throughout the developing world that the CO2 hoax does not pretend to fix.

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous
June 15, 2011 2:41 AM

Not sure this quite fits under personal theory territory. Anyone care to argue with John?

postman1
Member
postman1
June 15, 2011 2:55 AM

Hard to disagree with facts.

Corey Simmonds
Guest
Corey Simmonds
June 15, 2011 3:10 AM
Of course, but it’s very easy to agree with a bunch of radical claims with no evidence or citations, whatsoever, which is basically what John has given us. Exactly what does he call a “few” degrees, and what evidence does he have the the mean change in temperature was anything greater than that? Exactly what is he comparing them to, anyways, the Medieval Warm Period? That period was hardly representative of long-term climate anyways. and what of his assertion that anthropogenic global warming is a “myth”? Somehow, the vagueness of his post doesn’t inspire me to think that has anywhere near the degree of knowledge on this subject to even begin making a judgement like that. In fact,… Read more »
Torbjorn Larsson OM
Member
Torbjorn Larsson OM
June 15, 2011 10:20 PM
I’ll just repeat what I said above and add a reference: “Again, there is no evidence yet that solar activity is tied to global temperatures. AGW _is_ tied to global GW of course, and CO2 stands for ~ 5 % of the total forcing IIRC. Yet it has already increased the global average ~ 1 K, while eyeballing the “Little Ice Age” it is half that. Presumably even at a similar solar activity minimum, it will not prohibit increased temperatures, only decrease the rate for a while.” I see Ian Manson has data saying that the minimum was roughly as much as the AGW effect to date. Still not on the order of claimed variation. (“We are not… Read more »
postman1
Member
postman1
June 15, 2011 2:55 AM

Hard to disagree with facts.

Lawrence B. Crowell
Member
Lawrence B. Crowell
June 15, 2011 9:49 PM

I just goes to show what can happen with a comment about an interruption of the solar spot cycle as competing with AGW.

LC

Ian Manson
Guest
June 14, 2011 10:46 PM

Actually John we are talking about a few degrees temperature change. In fact, a few degrees would be far too much. Mean temperatures based on ice cores for the little ice age period are thought to have dropped by around 1 degree.
If we had a few degree drop or rise in temperature I think the results would be far more dramatic than agriculture problems and food shortages…

DrFlimmer
Member
DrFlimmer
June 15, 2011 8:19 AM

A new ice age will bring as much suffering to the developing world as the upcoming heat waves. And why only the developing world? What about the “developed” world that still can’t refuse to abuse the planet as if we had another one?

And where did you get your information from? Are you an expert in the field on which one could rely? Have you studied all the available information to come to such conclusions?

Do you really think 99% of all experts around the globe are just working for an agenda? Do you always need such conspiracies?

Ivan3man_At_Large
Member
Ivan3man_At_Large
June 15, 2011 4:52 AM

At the tenth paragraph, in the second sentence: “Penn, along with is colleague William Livingston…”

Nancy, you did not mean to drop the “h” there, I presume?

Alex Black
Member
Alex Black
June 15, 2011 6:22 AM
“…some researchers say that the Sun’s activity can also play a role in climate change, but in his opinion, the evidence is not clear cut.” This statement alone speaks volumes about ‘researchers’ and ‘global warming/climate change’; what possible connection could there be between solar output variations and Earth’s climate? Are (supposedly) intelligent people really scratching their heads over this? Let me save the American taxpayer possibly billions of dollars worth of ‘research’ and let it be known that, without the sun, there would be no climate on Earth to speak of, and carrying this logic slightly further ahead, if the sun experiences variations, it *will* change our climate as well. Whew! I hope this epiphany will cause our… Read more »
DrFlimmer
Member
DrFlimmer
June 15, 2011 8:15 AM

All right. But just assume for a moment that it may be due to the increased number of CO2 molecules in the atmosphere….

Is it really worth the risk? Do we really need to depend on oil (which will sooner or later run out anyway?) Why not change the economy and the infrastructure now, before oil runs out? What’s wrong with less CO2 and other poisonous gases?

And why do you need to disagree with 99% of experts? Do you always need a conspiracy?

Kahn
Guest
Kahn
June 15, 2011 11:49 AM
99%? Provide evidence for that number. You are aware that the only viable evidence would be a roster of all experts showing their opinions and a corresponding roster of all scientists whom you do not consider to be “experts” with justification for excluding them. The “Climategate” (stupid name) scandal demonstrates that the selection of papers for publication in peer reviewed journals is very skewed by very unscientific, personal bias. It almost looks like the requirement for being considered an “expert” is agreement with the Carbon Dioxide theory, with anyone disagreeing being considered a non-expert regardless of that scientist’s bona fides. Further, what qualifies a person as a scientist? Is it a PhD, or can those with lesser degrees… Read more »
DrFlimmer
Member
DrFlimmer
June 15, 2011 12:55 PM
[…] and they’re already failing to occur […] Ah, yes. Because the effects are even worse. An expert, for me, is someone who has studied that field, who works in that field for some time and has knowledge about the specific issues of that field. I, for one, am an astrophysicist at the beginning of my second year of PhD. I will never claim to be an expert in a field related to global warming. That is why I trust those who work in that field. Because they know what the heck they talk about. What about your credentials? Have you done more active research than reading internet pages to come to the conclusion that all is wrong?… Read more »
Kahn
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Kahn
June 15, 2011 4:59 PM
“Ah, yes. Because the effects are even worse” Not in any published source that I’ve read. Where did you hear that? “That is why I trust those who work in that field.” Like any good scientist, you hesitate to speak outside your own field of expertise. But you owe it to yourself to look into these “climate scientists,” because if they are engaged in bad science, when that comes to light over time, the general public will see only that “scientists” were deceiving them. You will be painted with that same broad brush. Unless you really want to end up with your expensive PhD qualifying you to clean restrooms, you should stop trusting those experts and start looking… Read more »
DrFlimmer
Member
DrFlimmer
June 15, 2011 6:23 PM
Allow me to make only a few notes (on such points, where I can make them): GPS is engineering, not science. GPS is the application of General Relativity. It is the application of science, a triumph for science. At least for me. In your field, virtually every day we read of new discoveries that render old theories obsolete. Translation: they were wrong. This strongly depends on the definition of “wrong”. Theories come and go, sure enough. But most theories are not wrong; they are approximations and have been replaced by better approximations. Newton’s theory is obviously not the whole truth, it’s been replaced by GR. That doesn’t make Newton wrong, it is still valid in our normal life.… Read more »
Kahn
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Kahn
June 16, 2011 1:26 PM
“Because heat does not only arrive from above but also from below. The earth is a strong emitter in IR, which is absorbed by the atmosphere. And the atmosphere absorbs more heat from below when there is more CO2. That also seems quite logical to me.” Absorption is omnidirectional. If (as is the case) the existing CO2 in the atmosphere already absorbs approximately 100% of the incoming IR in that portion of the spectrum where CO2 *can* absorb energy, then the existing concentration already absorbs approximately 100% of the outgoing IR radiation in those wavelengths where CO2 can absorb. Adding more CO2 cannot result in more absorption because there simply is no more energy available to be absorbed… Read more »
DrFlimmer
Member
DrFlimmer
June 16, 2011 9:46 PM
CO2 absorbs only 3 narrow lines? Do you have a source for that? I found that CO2 absorbs radiation between 13 and 17 microns, which is not really narrow but quite broad! This is also what you expect for a molecule. Narrow lines belong to atoms. (Maybe I didn’t get you entirely correct on this one, but at least my next point is valid.) And btw: Your tinted glass is not a good analogy. The glass is tinted all over, while the atmosphere is not covered with a complete layer of CO2. I think with all the CO2 in the atmosphere close together you would not even cover a quarter of the surface of the planet. That means… Read more »
Corey Simmonds
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Corey Simmonds
June 15, 2011 6:47 PM
Kahn, perhaps I can help you out there. Climate scientists do NOT brand people as “deniers” because they bring out competing theories. Nothing could be further from the truth. Even though -as I showed- the number of actual climate researchers who have fundamental doubt about AGW theory is basically infinitesimal, with plenty of discussion and disagreement occurring between the rest, but also a few points of basic agreement, for those who remain, what separates a genuine “skeptic”, and they are perhaps out there, from a denier, is that the latter does NOT bring up novel arguments like you say, but rather repeats easily-debunked talking points even after they’ve been debunked. This applies to a few climate researchers as… Read more »
Kahn
Guest
Kahn
June 16, 2011 1:31 PM

Quite simply, the predictions of climate scientists ahve not been consistent, nor accurate. Neither temperatures nor sea levels have risen anywhere near the extent they had predicted would happen to date. While arctic sea ice has decreased (and is now increasing) somewhat in keeping with their predictions, they cannot explain the increase in the thickness of glaciers on Greenland and most of Antartica (only the “westernmost” portion of Antartica – a small fraction of the whole – is showing any net ice loss – the rest of Antartica is experiencing net ice gain that far outweighs the losses).

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous
June 16, 2011 2:23 PM
Where are you getting your information from? Greenland is experiencing some of the fastest melting in the arctic region. Melting has been particularity pronounced over the last couple decades. Greenland is shedding about 239 cubic kilometres (57.3 cubic miles) per year: Greenland Ice Loss Doubles in Past Decade, Raising Sea Level Faster”. Jet Propulsion Laboratory News release, Thursday, 16 February 2006 Another study by Jianli Chen and Associates at the University of Texas were able to estimate mass loss by using NASA’s Grace satellite. A synopsis of their finds were reported by the BBC: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/4783199.stm Antarctica is also losing ice at a rate of about one hundred cubic kilometers (24 cubic miles) of ice each year. The papers… Read more »
Lawrence B. Crowell
Member
Lawrence B. Crowell
June 16, 2011 4:32 PM
Last year I was informed by somebody of this increased ice on Antarctica. “Oh really,” was my thought. AAAS “Science” had an article in following week on ice loss in Antarctica, which I showed this person. Of course to actually little surprise the same person repeated the same thing not long afterwards. The problem is this society has entered into some state of self-imposed confusion. There has been in the last few decades a huge upsurge in religious pseudo-science, conspiracy theories, ideas that range from UFOs to homeopathic health, and people who uphold these things can argue things into absolute minutia of insignificant detail to maintain their claims. Even if they do not fair well in an argument… Read more »
Corey Simmonds
Guest
Corey Simmonds
June 16, 2011 8:59 PM
Temperature has risen just fine according to the models. Did you really miss the entire shock of the US House of Representatives when Richard Muller’s research at Berkley confirmed this fact? Temperature has risen, consistently, by about .1C per decade, in-line with what they should have for the forcings that we’ve observed. Models have no trouble, whatsoever, producing the temperatures. Even Hansen’s 1988 model, presented to Congress, predicted temperatures quite comfortably up until 2005, when a combination of bottomed-out ENSO and the solar nadir caused a couple of years of dipping. Short-term variations don’t disprove the ability to accurately model larger, long-term forcings, however. Models don’t predict the future, they merely say what rough temperature will result from… Read more »
Corey Simmonds
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Corey Simmonds
June 15, 2011 6:47 PM
“If the lower atmosphere already absorbs essentially all of the IR energy that it is possible for CO2 to absorb, then how is it possible for any additional CO2 to cause it to absorb more?” Kahn, this argument confounded scientists for years, when it was proposed by Knut Ångström in 1901. The flaw in the argument is that you’re treating the atmosphere like a big impenetrable brick wall; it doesn’t work that way. The atmosphere is a series of layers. When IR absorption occurs in one layer, the gas doesn’t just hold onto the heat. I’m sure you understand why. When it does is it re-radiates the heat in random directions. Some of that heat gets directed back… Read more »
Kahn
Guest
Kahn
June 16, 2011 1:39 PM

I understand absorption quite well. Track down the window-tinting film example. Each layer of film acts much as the atmospheric layers.

Further, let us suppose (for agrument only) that more CO2 will be deleterious. Reducing US CO2 emissions by even 10% would have a huge impact on our economy, but represent less than 2% of total global CO2 emissions. Given that CO2 is responsible for only a fraction of the “greenhouse effect” and assuming that the current levels are not already closely approximating the asymptote (which they are), even a 50% reduction in US CO2 emissions would yield results so trivial as to be immeasurable.

Corey Simmonds
Guest
Corey Simmonds
June 16, 2011 8:50 PM
This response is a classic red herring. When it’s shown that you can’t argue that more CO2 in the higher layers of the atmosphere doesn’t cause more absorption of the LW radiation by the lower layers, you shift your argument to economics claims. Having to shift your argument off to a tangent all of a sudden is a sign of two things: 1.) A closed-minded desperation to be right 2.) a lack of any substantive argument We can discuss the options for addressing AGW once a discussion of the science of whether it’s happening is sound, and thus far, you’ve offered nary a shred of evidence to suggest that it isn’t. However, as a point of note on… Read more »
DrFlimmer
Member
DrFlimmer
June 16, 2011 9:15 PM

Do you know that there are far more efficient cars in the world that use less than 15ltr/100km? Do you know how easy it is for EVERYONE to save just a little bit of energy?

10% of less CO2 in the US is not that hard and would not put the US economy at risk. Europe uses much less energy than the US, emits much less CO2 than the US (which is still one of the first two nations wasting most energy… only rivaled by China), and the still the economy does not collapse!

This economy thing is NOT a valid argument!.

Lawrence B. Crowell
Member
Lawrence B. Crowell
June 15, 2011 9:24 PM
It is not possible for me to give a complete review of climate science papers any more than I am ready to step into an OR to do a triple bypass operation. I can only go on general reviews of what is being done, and a few papers in the AAAS “Science” that I might try to read. I am not in a position to “verify.” Climate science is way outside my domain of study and experience. I am aware of the fact the community which studies climate is in agreement on AGW. The dissenters are reduced to holding onto a few pieces of data here and there as they try futilely to make their case. By comparison… Read more »
Torbjorn Larsson OM
Member
Torbjorn Larsson OM
June 15, 2011 10:50 PM

You are a science denialist, we all get that. Whenever your theory, whatever it is, explains all the data that AGW does and more, and you get it through peer review, you can come back and continue a discussion.

The “discussion” you try to have is not a discussion. It is you blathering what we here know is anti-science nonsense; because both the ability of AGW to predict facts and the climate scientists as experts agree on this. Please take it elsewhere.

Corey Simmonds
Guest
Corey Simmonds
June 16, 2011 2:42 AM

That might be being a little harsh on Kahn.

Denialism is the active and conscious denial of evidence that one knows exists. Kahn, on the other hand, might be genuinely unaware of the fallacy of his/her arguments.

He might genuinely not be aware that every working climate scientist on Earth endorses AGW theory, or simply might not be aware of why the 800-year lag argument or absorption saturation arguments represent basic misconceptions.

Being wrong isn’t a crime, though I suppose far worse criticism is required when it becomes being wrong and dishonest (as in, climate science deniers).

Corey Simmonds
Guest
Corey Simmonds
June 16, 2011 10:03 PM

For the record, I entirely retract the above statement ^_^;

Dav_Daddy
Member
June 16, 2011 5:54 AM
Wow, you put forth my main issue with the whole AGW issue much more elegantly than I ever could bravo. I started a total believer that we were ruining the planet through our CO2 emissions. As someone stated before about credibility climate scientists apparently were right on the money not very long ago about the CFC’s, ozone hole deal so they got my blind faith at first. Years later I began to have questions if not out right doubts after: 1. After many (8+) years later there was and to my knowledge still is no consensus about exactly how much atmospheric heat CO2 does trap. 2. Serious questions were raised about the data collection methods. I have to… Read more »
Corey Simmonds
Guest
Corey Simmonds
June 16, 2011 1:38 PM
1.) There was never any scientific problem with the CFC-Ozone connection. That’s basic chemistry. It’s just that the world has largely stopped the large-scale emission of CFCs. We’ve been phasing them out for hydroflourocarbons since the 80s. What you’ve been reading is the urban myth that pops up whenever we solve an environmental problem. It’s also the catch-22 we face where we spot an environmental problem, fix it, and then the anti-environmental crowd runs around proclaiming that it was never a problem to begin with. It’s the same claim that is now being made against the DDT bans in the US. Sure, everyone within the fields of ecology or conservation biology understands why it was causing harm, but… Read more »
Alex Black
Member
Alex Black
June 17, 2011 5:50 AM

Very well put, Dav_Daddy. You have stated several more of the reasons that I won’t blindly follow the climate ‘experts’ anymore. Thank you.

DrFlimmer
Member
DrFlimmer
June 17, 2011 8:26 AM

Welcome to the world of conspiracy!

Corey Simmonds
Guest
Corey Simmonds
June 17, 2011 2:00 PM
Did you honestly not read my response to him? Everything he’s said is entirely unsubstantial. That’s certainly not to criticize him; he’s only repeating what he’s been told. You, on the other hand, have the benefit of a clear refutation, if not to all, then at least to some of the points he brings up. -There was ozone depletion from CFCs; we simply fixed it by phasing out the CFCs. -Climategate is insubstantial. Every single claim was basically found to be nonsense. -Climate scientists were not running around predicting an ice age in the 1970s. There was one who discussed the possibility if a MASSIVE increase in aerosols had occurred (literally, if we quadrupled them), and even that… Read more »
Corey Simmonds
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Corey Simmonds
June 15, 2011 3:13 PM
Kahn, it should come as no surprise to you that virtually everyone who works in the field of climate science agrees with the theory of anthropogenic global warming. What constitutes an “expert”? Well you usually define a working scientist by published research. I’ll leave it to you to decide how many papers a scientist has to publish before they’re an “expert”, but nevertheless, virtually every paper being published in the field of climate science endorses AGW theory, hence, virtually every scientist working in the field does. We know this is true because people have sampled the scientific literature. In 2004, science historian Naomi Oreskes published a study in the journal, Science, in which she examined the abstracts of… Read more »
Kahn
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Kahn
June 16, 2011 12:36 PM

Ah, the whole “publish” game, the one that “Climategate” proved was not even remotely objective. So you choose for your standard an incestuous game wherein only those who actually agree with the approved theory can get published and anyone who disagrees, no matter how good the research or convincing the argument, simply cannot get published. That’s a good standard for closed-minded bigots and totalitarians, but is the anathema to science.

Corey Simmonds
Guest
Corey Simmonds
June 16, 2011 1:15 PM
Climategate? I’m afraid you just sealed the deal on showing your ignorance by referencing that pile of hot air. First off, there was never any substantive evidence, of any sort, for the claim you’re positing. Secondly, skeptical scientists, and even well-known habitual denialists get published all the time. Here’s several dozen right here, and most of them are just those since 2000: http://agwobserver.wordpress.com/anti-agw-papers-debunked/ Ignoring the refutations offered, as they’re irrelevant in this context, that’s easily about 40 papers right there. Just because there are only handful of remaining skeptics, and so, only a few actually publishing papers, so few that a random search probably won’t even turn one up, doesn’t mean for a second that a skeptic CANNOT… Read more »
Alex Black
Member
Alex Black
June 16, 2011 2:15 AM
Sir, my point of view my seem austere from my brief triad above, but it isn’t. Others have so clearly displayed why the sheer numbers and percentages of ‘experts’ in this whole Global Warming / Climate Change foray should not lead the logic of a sentient person. Plainly, this is how I perceive things: 1) Is the Earth warming? a: It seems that it is, yes. Earth is always changing; but we humans hate change (THAT is the real problem, not the climate). 2) Will it be the End Of The World, or mankind? a: Silly person, of course not. We may kill ourselves (though unlikely), but we can’t put a dent in the Earth. She’ll be fine,… Read more »
DrFlimmer
Member
DrFlimmer
June 16, 2011 9:10 AM
1) Of course, the climate is always changing. The problem is the rapidity of the current change. Whenever there was a fast change in the climate in the history of earth, it was followed by devastating events, possibly even mass extinctions. THAT is the problem with the current change. 2) The planet will continue to circle the sun until “the end of times”. What we need to care about are the few km of biosphere on its surface. The biosphere would do a lot better without human beings. We are probably the first species on earth that is able to wipe out itself and most of the other animals and plants with it. 3) You do not even… Read more »
Alex Black
Member
Alex Black
June 17, 2011 6:12 AM
Fission reactors create electricity without the CO2 release of fossil fuels, and that is a huge plus, but I agree that there isn’t a rug large enough here on Earth to sweep the waste under, so that is a vexing issue to be sure. I understand (in a limited sense) that controlled fusion has stern hurdles to conquer, but with proper resources, vast as they may need to be, I strongly suspect that even the USA alone could probably, someday in the not-too-distant future, tame them and virtually solve the world’s energy problems. We need something similar to Apollo or the Manhattan Project to make controlled fusion a reality, I think. It is the resources that have been,… Read more »
DrFlimmer
Member
DrFlimmer
June 17, 2011 8:33 AM

Then go and tell that to your representative!

But until we might have fusion reactors up and running A LOT of time will pass by. And we need and can go away from fossil fuels. We need and can become much more efficient in our way of life (the US should take a look at Europe, and even Europe can still do a lot better!). It will neither steal your comfort nor harm the economy. It is really simple! We just need to do it!

Corey Simmonds
Guest
Corey Simmonds
June 17, 2011 1:45 PM
I’m curious; Are you and Wildnerness_voice by chance familiar with EMC2’s Polywell fusion project? It’s a fairly interesting, and potentially promising containment scheme that’s vastly simpler and smaller than Tokamak designs like ITER, and allows for vastly smaller electron losses. Information is scarce, because the project is DARPA funded for the US Navy (who want compact fusion reactors for ships), but the project continually gets money, most recently with the stimulus (which allocated $2m for continued testing), and the Navy’s information embargo remains in place, with only very small status updates going out every so often in publicly available documents. Despite the small trickles of cash (as I said, very simple reactor, so test-units are easy to build),… Read more »
DrFlimmer
Member
DrFlimmer
June 17, 2011 6:07 PM

Never heard of that one. Sorry. wink

Most of my information concerning fusion are about a year old when I was in Oxford (GB) for a summer school on that topic. There were (and most likely are) still some severe physical and technical problems to overcome. Someone even feared that ITER might not run at all (at least severely poorer than expected).
We will just have to wait and see…

Corey Simmonds
Guest
Corey Simmonds
June 17, 2011 7:13 PM
You might really find the research interesting, then. As I’m sure you know, the whole confinement scheme for tokamak reactors like the ITER are just prone to absolutely horrendous electron losses. I mean, sure, ITER will run; it’ll just suck up more power than it takes in by far. Then, if it looks promising, billions and billions and billions will be put into its successor, DEMO, which hopefully will generate net power. No, DEMO isn’t fundamentally any more advanced. They just hope that they can brute-force net power production through absurdly large scaling. That means a huge expense and who knows if it’ll work. Polywell reactors don’t have these problems, provided they work. They’re smaller, simpler devices that… Read more »
Olaf
Member
Olaf
June 15, 2011 4:56 PM
Hold on a minute. Only crackpots yell that a warming sun is all the explanation that needs and then they ignore all other leads that is unrelated to the warming of the sun but also can cause warming up of the earth. Now tell me, give me a list of other possible cause not related to the sun can cause warming? And how much percentage? Also tell me how to falsify your claim. How would be able to detect that the sun is not causing the warming? I give a few: * Heating up of planetary bodies do not follow the inverse square law. * Another one, IO, Europe, Titan, The Moon, vesta, Ceres, Phobos, Deimos, Ganymede, Callisto,… Read more »
Kahn
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Kahn
June 16, 2011 1:50 PM

Mars and Jupiter have been warming for decades. We have not been able to measure the other bodies you list – save perhaps the moon – with sufficent accuracy for long enough to detect warming, but, again, both Mars and Jupiter ARE warming.

DrFlimmer
Member
DrFlimmer
June 16, 2011 9:20 PM

Venus warms up all the time…. yeah? and?

It is still NOT the sun.

Alex Black
Member
Alex Black
June 17, 2011 6:22 AM

This makes me ask myself, ‘what do we *not* know about how the sun works, and interacts with our planet?’

There seems to be still much yet unknown, undiscovered, and unpredicted; and since the sun provides our climate, one can’t help but wonder…

Corey Simmonds
Guest
Corey Simmonds
June 17, 2011 2:04 PM

We do know. We actually know quite a bit.

We know how strong the solar forcing is (roughly 1367W/M^2 at present), and we’ve been recording the output of the sun for over 30 years.

If the sun increases or decreases in output, we know almost immediately. We also know that the sun hasn’t had a net increase in output since we started measuring in 1978.

Really, have a look:

The full page for that image is here: http://www.pmodwrc.ch/pmod.php?topic=tsi/composite/SolarConstant

Corey Simmonds
Guest
Corey Simmonds
June 16, 2011 10:25 PM
Explanations that have nothing to do with the sun are already present for the warming of Mars and Jupiter. Mars has a very low level of thermal inertia, so it’s climate is generally very pliable anyways, and warming is perfectly explainable by nothing but changes to the number of dust storms. Further, our observations only encompass a few short Martian years, and so, hardly represent any kind of data for long-term trends. With Jupiter… well I’ve never even seen any data that shows actual observed warming of Jupiter, but even if there was, it hardly necessitates a solar explanation, because most of Jupiter’s heat doesn’t come from the sun! Jupiter radiates off about twice as much heat as… Read more »
Torbjorn Larsson OM
Member
Torbjorn Larsson OM
June 15, 2011 10:43 PM
@ Wilderness_Voice: This statement alone speaks volumes about ‘researchers’ and ‘global warming/climate change’; what possible connection could there be between solar output variations and Earth’s climate? Your remaining concerns were addressed but not this. First, as the quote stands it is a cherry pick. It was _Hill_ who said that, a solar astronomer, and his opinion on Earth climate means squat. For all we know he can be an AGW denialist, despite being a scientist in his own area. Second, the article notes, correctly, “It has not been proven whether there is a causal connection between low sunspot activity and cold winters.” The scientist just reiterates that. Third, you mistakenly equivocates between solar cycle sunspot activity and solar… Read more »
Alex Black
Member
Alex Black
June 16, 2011 3:12 AM
“…It was _Hill_ who said that, a solar astronomer, and his opinion on Earth climate means squat. For all we know he can be an AGW denialist, despite being a scientist in his own area.” — His opinion means “squat” because he is only a solar astronomer? Are you significantly more educated and gifted than this solar astronomer? If not, then your opinion means even *less* than squat by your own reasoning. As mentioned by another member earlier, when anyone starts throwing around terms like “denialist” (the term you use) or “denier” in spiteful ways, then red flags are waving high and true scientific discourse has been replaced by raw emotion and, seemingly, a panic state. It seems… Read more »
DrFlimmer
Member
DrFlimmer
June 16, 2011 9:20 AM

“Yeah, BAD SCIENTISTS, BAD BAD SCIENTISTS, they called me names! Thus, they must be wrong!”

What kind of reason is that?

And yeah, a “solar astronomer” does not necessarily know all about climate issues. I wouldn’t claim that either, although I am an astrophysicist. But my field of work (radiative output of blazars) is quite far away from climate. So, I rely on those who work in this field, as should others rely on me (hopefully wink) when it comes to my field.

gherreram
Member
gherreram
June 15, 2011 12:46 PM

Solar cycles have several types of effects on all the planets of the system , not only on Earth

Deepak
Guest
Deepak
June 15, 2011 3:20 PM

DoomsDay 2012??? Mayan Prophecy of a new Cycle????

Arturo Sancho
Guest
June 15, 2011 3:35 PM

It’s seems like a spring. Slowly compressed, quickly expanded.

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous
June 15, 2011 4:28 PM

Let’s not panic!

Torbjorn Larsson OM
Member
Torbjorn Larsson OM
June 15, 2011 10:53 PM

And run in circles and get out of breath – we can see spots! … or not!

Olaf
Member
Olaf
June 15, 2011 5:05 PM

So we are heading to the worst end of the world prediction ever in 2012.
Nothing interesting astronomical, boring sun with almost no sunspots and activity and all comets already far away heading out of the solar system.

Geology
Member
Geology
June 15, 2011 7:17 PM

Just an observation: UT has a similar article released the same day titled “Solar Minimum Means More Than No Sunspots” and makes little mention of climate. It currently has 1 non-climate change related comment. This article has 2 paragraphs questioning climate change and has 29 comments most of which are related to climate change speculation and little to do with sun cycles.

Torbjorn Larsson OM
Member
Torbjorn Larsson OM
June 15, 2011 10:55 PM

Actually the article doesn’t read as questioning climate change as much as questioning a specific and putative climate change/solar cycle correlation.

Todd Reece
Guest
Todd Reece
June 15, 2011 10:33 PM

“But back in 1645-1715 was the period known as the Maunder Minimum, a 70-year period with virtually no sunspots. The Maunder Minimum coincided with the middle – and coldest part – of the Little Ice Age, during which Europe and North America experienced bitterly cold winters. ”
Say it ain’t so…..The Sun has THAT kind of influence???? Who’da thunk?

Sean Leslie
Guest
Sean Leslie
June 16, 2011 6:45 AM
I just saw the funniest thing ever, on another forum – I’m mentioning it here because it’s in response to this article (the source article, not this specific article). I have just seen someone who is of the opinion that (and I quote directly): ‘Proponents of the global warming scam (taxing carbon-dioxide etc…) have managed to reverse the actual sunspot and solar flare cycle in many recent mainstream news articles. They have capitalized on one isolated solar flare and created this hype and fervor to support “global warming”.’ And that: ‘We are not heading for a maximum in 2013. It is the minimum. Just the opposite. The 22 year sun-spot and solar flare cycle last peaked in 2002… Read more »
Anonymous
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Anonymous
June 16, 2011 1:55 PM

Who has reversed sunspot activity? Clearly we are heading for a solar minimum as stated in this article and touched on in numerous other postings. No reputable source would claim otherwise. To claim this would be counter to solar observations and historical trends.

Why would you care about what someone said about someone on a forum? Clearly this is a biased individual who is using a classic accusatory argument.

I’m more interested in observations then asinine partisan politics.

Sean Leslie
Guest
Sean Leslie
June 16, 2011 6:33 PM
“Who has reversed sunspot activity?” The Global Warming Scam artists of course. “Clearly we are heading for a solar minimum as stated in this article and touched on in numerous other postings.” Their assertion was, in essence, that Solar Cycle 24 didn’t exist, so why are we surprised about being in a minimum, noting was going to happen until 2020 at the earliest anyway. “Why would you care about what someone said about someone on a forum?” Because the claim that was being made is ascientific, contrary to observation, and completely wrong, and I happen to moderate the subforum within which the claim was made. The net result of which is that my first step is to try… Read more »
Lawrence B. Crowell
Member
Lawrence B. Crowell
June 16, 2011 12:21 PM
I think this diversion into the climate subject illustrates a social problem that has occurred in our modern world, in particular the US of A. In other discussions on the LHC and the hunt for the Higgs field there is a sizable number of people who have “reasons” to think either the Higgs field does not exist, or that the whole pursuit is worthless. Most of these contributions are low on intellectual perspective, but high on opinion. This is also found in other areas of where society weighs in on scientific issues, in particular creationism. This appears to reflect how our society is frustrated by a failure of intellectual consensus, and where those who have a “little bit… Read more »
DrFlimmer
Member
DrFlimmer
June 16, 2011 9:55 PM

It is dangerous! Someone called such thing a “gefährliches Halbwissen” (“dangerous half-knowledge”, if I translate one to one). Many think they know something, and even know better than “experts”.

It has become “cool” lately to be dumb, or to “stand up to the experts”, and such things.
This IS dangerous. And the outcome might be terrifying.

Lawrence B. Crowell
Member
Lawrence B. Crowell
June 16, 2011 12:21 PM
I think this diversion into the climate subject illustrates a social problem that has occurred in our modern world, in particular the US of A. In other discussions on the LHC and the hunt for the Higgs field there is a sizable number of people who have “reasons” to think either the Higgs field does not exist, or that the whole pursuit is worthless. Most of these contributions are low on intellectual perspective, but high on opinion. This is also found in other areas of where society weighs in on scientific issues, in particular creationism. This appears to reflect how our society is frustrated by a failure of intellectual consensus, and where those who have a “little bit… Read more »
Dark Gnat
Member
Dark Gnat
June 16, 2011 1:12 PM
Man-made CO2 output is certainly not good for local environments. Surely we all have heard of smog. Why then, would it not also negatively affect the environment on larger scales? The CO2 doesn’t simply disappear. It hangs around in the atmosphere, preventing heat from radiating back into space. It isn’t the direct cause of GW, (the Sun is the source of heat), but it is preventing the heat from escaping as it would normally. This is why it’s called a “greenhouse gas”. It is working as an insulator. Obviously, if the Sun’s output decreases, the Earth will feel direct effects. Even if the decrease in activity counteracts AGW effects, we still will have to deal with CO2 later,… Read more »
Kahn
Guest
Kahn
June 16, 2011 1:47 PM
And with that, I bow out. Because I understand math, absorption spectra, simulation modeling, statistics, numeric methods, chaos theory, and feedback, it is obvious that “climate scientists” are wrong. The earth is warming and, barring a repeat of the Maunder Minimum, will continue to do so for the next 100 years regardless of what man does. The cycle is natural, and our input is insignificant. I weighed in hoping that there would be some real scientists out there who are actually literate in simple math and such. AGW has become a matter of faith; I am a subject matter expert in simulation modeling – their primary tool. That you choose to be blindly faithful is sad. As I… Read more »
Corey Simmonds
Guest
Corey Simmonds
June 16, 2011 9:18 PM
In other words “I’m right, because I say so, because I know some stuff that supposedly in some way relates to all of this, and therefore can unilaterally dismiss 120 year of science across a dozen different fields… because I say so”. Yep, okay. Whatever you say. You haven’t weighed in with a single argument relating to the science that has shown itself to be substantial. In fact, most of your posts have pretty much consisted of regurgitating long-debunked urban myths, some of them literally over 100 years old (like the Knut Ångström argument), and shown wrong decades ago. Now that you haven’t been able to get those arguments past basic scrutiny, you’re basically doing the forum equivalent… Read more »
DrFlimmer
Member
DrFlimmer
June 17, 2011 8:46 AM

Well said, Corey!

DrFlimmer
Member
DrFlimmer
June 17, 2011 8:46 AM

Well said, Corey!

Ivan3man_At_Large
Member
Ivan3man_At_Large
June 17, 2011 11:59 AM

After poring over these comments, I’ve come to the conclusion that debating with AGW deniers, as is the case with creationists, is rather like trying to play chess with a pigeon — it knocks the pieces over, craps on the board, and then flies back to its flock to claim victory!

DrFlimmer
Member
DrFlimmer
June 17, 2011 6:09 PM

wink

It’s also quite similar to talking to our “good friends” from the ES/EU/PC crowd….

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous
June 17, 2011 10:02 PM

I had no idea this article would generate such a heated discussion on climate change.

Whatever happened to Solar cycles?

I feel stupid for allowing this to occur.

I think we may need to add some form of AGW denial-ism to the comments policy. These threads have developed into the same bilge as our ES/EU/PC/astrology/doomsday/theology threads once did.

I’m not sure how this can be done without seeming overly restrictive or authoritarian.

Ideas?

DrFlimmer
Member
DrFlimmer
June 17, 2011 10:47 PM
Well, if denialism falls under the same category as “personal theory” than you can clearly remove them. I think there are pros and cons for such a view. Btw: Such discussions are not entirely bad, although the comment section gets flooded with nonsense (which is bad). But me, for instance, I also learned a few new things (mostly thanks to Corey Simmonds, but also others). This also happened to me during discussions with the EU/ES/PC crowd (mostly because I had to look things up again…). However, the benefit of learning for me is likely not enough to allow such a flooding. That’s for sure! You/We will not destroy nonsense of denialism by deleting it, but we will also… Read more »
Corey Simmonds
Guest
Corey Simmonds
June 17, 2011 11:31 PM
I’m not exactly anyone who would presume to tell this community how to conduct itself. I found this site by chance only a couple of days ago. Still, having taking place in many discussions like this, I would like to add my $0.02 (sorry for the long-winded post). First, discussions like this can be great places for information. I appreciate the compliment tossed my way, but truth by told, I’m merely a bio major who’s learned from discussions like this. I was very undecided on the whole climate issue until I learned just how strong the consensus was (thank you, Naomi Oreskes!), and even then, seemingly bullet-proof counter-arguments came up, and I only learned enough to navigate them… Read more »
Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous
June 18, 2011 12:44 AM
I agree that challenging incorrect assertions is the best way to refute false information. Allowing all comments without moderation was how business was conducted here up until recently. However many commentators abused UT open comments policy. Regular commentators were getting frustrated that ideological commentators where pedaling crackpot theories; the same talking points would be used over-and-over. Often it was the same individuals. Some commentators even masqueraded under different names while running a conversation with themselves (same IP!). Eventually, these discussions would devolve into fights. Some of our better commentators got into trouble for taking part. We even had a couple EU spammers post the same EU article 180 times under dozens of articles. Newer readers were frustrated that… Read more »
Ivan3man_At_Large
Member
Ivan3man_At_Large
June 18, 2011 2:08 AM

Regular commentators were getting frustrated that ideological commentators where pedaling crackpot theories; the same talking points would be used over-and-over.

As in blather, blather, rinse, and repeat…

Some commentators even masqueraded under different names while running a conversation with themselves (same IP!).

Wikipedia has a name for such individuals: Sockpuppet(s).

Corey Simmonds
Guest
June 18, 2011 3:34 AM
Hmm, I think I can see the nature of your dilemma. I guess while posting bad information isn’t a crime, especially if genuine ignorance is involved (because that can be corrected), what you’re describing is basically a spam campaign to spread misinformation. and yet, almost any action taken to restrict that sort of thing loses one the intellectual high ground, doesn’t it? Verifiability, for instance, is a good policy, in that requiring that someone can produce a source helps keep down the real off-the-wall stuff, as IVAN3MAN suggests, and yet, with climate denialism, it gets real hard, because nearly any claim can be supported by what seems a reputable source (if you aren’t aware of the scientific flaws… Read more »
Ivan3man_At_Large
Member
Ivan3man_At_Large
June 18, 2011 1:13 AM

Whatever happened to Solar cycles?

Er… I think it’s somewhere 2 miles north from here. wink

I feel stupid for allowing this to occur.

Not your fault, mate. Give deniers (of all colours) an inch, they will take mile!

I’m not sure how this can be done without seeming overly restrictive or authoritarian.

I agree with DrFlimmer; if the comment is a “personal theory”, then it should be deleted — especially if it’s off-topic!

Ideas?

As one of the volunteer editors on Wikipedia (whenever I’m not nit-picking here!), I would suggest its three core policies: Neutral point of view;
No original research; and, most importantly, Verifiability. Therefore, if someone’s comment falls into one or more of those categories, delete the damn thing!

I hope that helps.

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous
June 18, 2011 5:49 AM

That’s a good reference. I think writing from a neutral point of view solves the issue. Obviously, since this is not Wikipedia, general exuberance should be excluded (i.e. “this is fantastic!” etc etc.).

Verifiability (citing resources) should be a second cornerstone.

No original research is probably not a good policy here. A small minority of commentators who do authentic research should feel welcome to share their thoughts.

Conversely, the phonies can take a hike! (no personal theories!).

Trippy
Member
Trippy
June 18, 2011 6:52 AM
I agree whole heartedly, but if I may offer an observation? While I fall into the category of people reading UT that were getting annoyed with the PC/EU crowd, I often found the responses offered by (for example) lcrowell were inciteful and educational, the net result being that I’m fairly sure I learned a few things that I might not have otherwise learned, purely and simply because I wouldn’t have known what questions to ask, and where to look to find the answers. And therein lies the observation. As disconcerting and irritating as the promulgation of ascientific ideas might be at times, and as satisfying as moderating them out of existence might be, the refutation of those ideas… Read more »
Donnie Miller
Guest
June 18, 2011 10:18 AM
I am one of those skeptical of climate change and the main reason is that while people aren’t falsifying data some data are being manipulated. This is from the University of Colorado Steve Nerem, the director of the widely relied-upon research center, told FoxNews.com that his group added the 0.3 millimeters per year to the actual sea level measurements because land masses, still rebounding from the ice age, are rising and increasing the amount of water that oceans can hold. “We have to account for the fact that the ocean basins are actually getting slightly bigger… water volume is expanding,” he said, a phenomenon they call glacial isostatic adjustment (GIA). Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2011/06/17/research-center-under-fire-for-adjusted-sea-level-data/#ixzz1PcWnpo6j To a person who has… Read more »
Corey Simmonds
Guest
Corey Simmonds
June 18, 2011 2:00 PM
I’m confused about your argument. You’re saying you’re skeptical because scientists know how to make data better? A lot of statistical data, if not most, is manipulated, in every field of science. Data is calibrated, it’s bias-adjusted, it’s filtered, but what’s important is that this is always out in the open, and published. When you carbon date a sample past a few thousand years old, you’re not comparing it to the present atmospheric C14/C12 ratio; you’re comparing it to an altered ratio, from calibration data that was obtained to find the changing ratio throughout the tens of thousands of years carbon dating works over. This is published, and the methods are known and repeatable: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0012821X09006037 You’re not skeptical… Read more »
DrFlimmer
Member
DrFlimmer
June 17, 2011 6:11 PM

If someone wants a very nice discussion of a LOT of facts of this topic, I refer him/her to Phil Plait’s

Bad Astronomy – Are we headed for a new ice age?

dragonasbreath
Member
dragonasbreath
June 22, 2011 5:10 AM
I’m almost afraid to ask what AWG is supposed to represent. On the potential solar minimum, we’d noticed that the winters are getting colder and snowier again. Guess we need to make sure we upgrade the insulation whether we are going to slide back into the Little Ice Age of (very approximately) 1,000 – 1900 AD. Or the Venus-inspired Hot House of the Dinosaurs. On Global Warming, I’m still kind of amused how the very facts that used to say we were sliding back into the Ice Age (the intermission is already the longest on record) now proves we are going into a hothouse because somebody had to come up with an explanation of the difference in temp… Read more »
Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous
June 23, 2011 7:36 AM

“American Wire Gauge” usually, although I am currently doing tests with an “Arbitrary Waveform Generator” in the lab. However, since it appears be related to the discussion of Anthropogenic Global Warming, maybe it means “Atmospheric water generator”, though that might be of more interest to the Anglian Water Group.

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

wink

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous
June 23, 2011 7:36 AM

“American Wire Gauge” usually, although I am currently doing tests with an “Arbitrary Waveform Generator” in the lab. However, since it appears be related to the discussion of Anthropogenic Global Warming, maybe it means “Atmospheric water generator”, though that might be of more interest to the Anglian Water Group.

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

wink

wpDiscuz