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17 June 2011
Climate change

At www.bishop-hill.net/blog/2011/6/16/ideological-money-laundering.html … this story is based on some muddling around and genuine research by Steve McIntyre over at www.climateaudit.org and a reaction to it by Mark Lynas, the author of several pro-AGW books and a climate change blogger still insisting the science is right. Obviously, he reads the McIntyre blog – and also Bishop Hill as he made a comment. Lots of people who are not sceptic must read the blogs just to see where the other side is at – and Steve McIntyre hit the needle on its head. Lynas was aghast, it would seem, at the role of Greenpeace in a pro-renewables article embedded in the latest WGIII report by IPCC – written, reviewed and recommended by a Greenpeace author (and basically a piece of propaganda). It was also supported by the renewables industry itself via a government lobby group – brought on board by the IPCC. Lynas compared the Greenpeace action with what would have happened if Big Oil or King Coal were beefing up an IPCC supposedly science orientated piece of advocacy by saying that fossil fuels were the path governments should choose. The NGOs would have hyper ventilated and the journalists at mainstream media outlets would have been writing furiously about corruption and so forth. However, hardly a peep from the media – they don't seem to read Steve McIntyre – but what really caused Lynas to blow a fuse? It seems he is a big supporter of nuclear energy as the way forward. It is C02 neutral and he sees renewables such as wind and solar as unable to deliver – but Greenpeace, of course, are vociferously opposed to nuclear power stations – no matter how advanced they might be. They always have been opposed to nuclear – and this is what rankles with Lynas.

Meanwhile, over at http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/06/17/easterbrook-on-the-potential-demis… is a report on Don Easterbrook's reaction to the latest doomsaying over the next solar cycle – that has yet to take place as we are only halfway through the present one. He is a professor of geology in the US and his views on diminishing sun spots it to be applauded – but it does not seem to please some of the commenters (for a variety of reasons). As a geologist, Easterbrook knows that the Maunder Minimum (1645-1700AD) was just one event within the Little Ice Age and a simple reduction in sun spots might not necessarily lead to very cold weather. It was actually very cold in the decades leading up to 1645 – and cold weather may have been behind rebellions in Ireland and Scotland and the civil war in England, and similar activity on the mainland. Clube and Napier, of course, had a different take on why such events broke out, closely bound up with a resurgence in apocalyptic religion and political movements that appeared to think the world, as they knew it, was about to come to an end. Easterbrook points out that the Little Ice Age is reckoned to have begun long before the Maunder Minimum – as early as 1300AD. Yes, it was especially cold in the second half of the 17th century but it was equally unagreeable between 1290-1320AD, which is thought also to have been a solar minima (if not a blank sheet). Other Minimums and Minima occurred 1410-1540 and 1880-1915 and even 1945-1977 is regarded as a Minima. Each of these periods, he says, is characterised by changes in the production rate of C14 and Beryllium 10 in the upper atmosphere – and therefore it may be an assumption that some of the earlier events were Minima (if we accept that other things might cause changes in C14 and Be 10). Easterbrook admits it is unclear if variations in solar radiance causes lower temperatures to the degree that is known to have happened. Svensmark et al have a theory that involves clouds reflecting sunlight and cooling the earth – and I've seen papers in the past that blame it all on high volcanic activity. Easterbrook says we know that cosmic radiation is effected by the Sun's magnetic field and it seems that in times of weak solar magnetic fields more cosmic radiation actually reaches the earth. Hence, it may be that it is the variations in the intensity of the solar magnetic field that plays the important role in climate change. In a series of papers from 2000 to 2011 Easterbrook claims he has repeatedly stuck to his prediction (made in 1999) there was going to be an upcoming period of global cooling. He apparently has a web site (I shall try to find it on another day) and he says the evidence he has used comes from isotope analysis of ice cores, the history of the PDO ocean circulation pattern, alpine glacial fluctuations and aabrupt Pacific SST flips from cool to warm in 1977 and warm to cool in 1999 (but a bit late in arriving it would seem). In his graph temperature goes down into mid 21st century whereas in the IPCC projection it continues to climb. Naturally, Easterbrook was marginalised for saying the opposite to the consensus – and this I suppose is part of the redressing. At the end of the article is a list of papers, some 14 of them by Easterbrook and another 6 by the likes of Svensmark, Hoyt, Schatten, Usoskin etc. Bob Tisdale, a regular poster at Anthony Watts blog, (see also http://bobtisdale.wordpress.com/2011/06/17/comments-on-easterbrook-on-th… ) is not happy with Easterbrook's mechanisms for climate change and claims the PDO has been misrepresented. Easterbrook will no doubt respond to this criticism in his own time and the extensive comments at the bottom of the post are interesting in themselves. The first one comes straight out in support of Easterbrook, claiming it is a more sensible way of looking at it than the ideas of Svensmark. He refers readers to www.irishweatheronline.com/feature-2/wilde-weather/the-sun-could-control… but other readers have other ideas – and none of them mention the Clube and Napier scenario of the earth passing through a region of space thick with cometary dust that loaded the upper atmosphere, periodically washing itself and renewing with dust as the orbit of the earth negotiated the trail of debris. This too has its problems – but the debate is now open and in progress. Listen in to all the ideas being floated around – and C02 is nowhere in sight. 

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