Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Where Do People Conjure This Stuff Up? (4)
In three previous blogs we examined a would–be theorist who fancied himself the equal of Einstein, and presented a pseudo-theory of space-time that I skewered relentlessly including his monumental physics errors (e.g. equating mass and velocity) as well as his incredible math errors (imputing a stationary velocity to one inertial observer of zero, relative to the other). My question then as now, is where do these bozos come from? Is there some hidden enclave where half-educated twits churn out crank conjectures then try to justify them as bona fide theories? (And it seems there are as many of these cranks involved in climate "theories" as in relativity!)
Now, in this blog I take on a sometime religious blogger who – though he’s never taken a single solitary physics course in his life, far less a solar physics course (or done any research on it) - believes that it’s the SUN causing global warming! (See the image from his blog). He seems to believe that his graph showing the lengths of solar cycles vs. average increases in temperatures over the years confirms this- but he’s an idiot to believe so because they show no such thing!
First, the solar cycle length has nothing to do with terrestrial warming and is not a warming indicator! No paper has ever been published in any peer-reviewed, professional astrophysics journal showing that the shorter the length of a solar cycle the greater the warming on Earth! The reason is that it isn’t the cycle length but the sunspot activity level (and derivative spot irradiance) which is the key indicator. (This is often counter intuitive, since spots are actually cooler regions in relation to the Sun's surrounding photosphere, which is roughly 1500 K hotter.) However, as numerous solar researchers have shown, it is the redirection of warmer convective flows around the periphery of sunspots which leads to higher irradiance levels, see e.g. the lower diagram illustrating this effect. (N.B.: 'Irradiance' is just the solar radiance - in watts per square meter per steradian - integrated over the full solar disk.)
Space-based observations over the end of cycle 23 showed a variation in solar irradiance of at least 0.15% over the standard 11-year solar cycle. (E.g. Parker, E.N., Nature, Vol. 399, p. 416). However, even with this higher percentage ascribed to solar changes, the heating effect is nowhere near comparable to that induced from man-made global warming. (See, e.g. Martin I. Hoffert et al, in Nature, Vol. 401, p. 764).
As the latter authors point out, the heating component arising from greenhouse gas emissions from 1861-1990 amounted to anywhere from 2.0 to 2.8 watts per square meter. The solar variability component detected over the same period amounted to 0.1 to 0.5 watts per square meter. Thus, even the MAXIMUM solar variability amounted to only a fraction (25%) of the MINIMUM power input from human-induced greenhouse warming!
For example, in the 70-year period of the Maunder Minimum there were few or no sunspots and it was known as “the little ice age”. This period included varied intervals of the solar cycles just no spots to speak of in any of them! Thus, showing a graph that claims to show a relationship between solar cycle length and average mean temperature increase is merely a ruse or distraction (which he probably copied from a denier website – financed by the fossil fuel lobby ) that proves absolutely nothing as far as any causal connection. What it DOES prove is that this character needs to take a real physics course and better yet, familiarize himself with solar cycles and the physics behind them!
Second, we know from extensive data extracted from ice cores that there is a direct link between the mean global air temperature increase and increases in the concentration of atmospheric CO2! Prof. Gunther Weller at the University of Alaska- Fairbanks first presented this in his detailed ice core measurements over 1985-86 and showed that the Arctic temperatures (then) were some 7F warmer than rest of the world. The ice cores available at his Atmospheric Physics lab (part of the Geophysical Institute in Fairbanks) were extracted from Arctic ice at depths corresponding with geological time frames dating back over 80,000 years. His results showed that the greatest ambient temperatures corresponded to the highest CO2 concentrations in the ice cores. Also the largest increases in ambient temperatures have occurred over the past 50-60 years, during which the CO2 increases have been largest. Since then this relationship has only been further corroborated.
Prof. Gale Christianson notes for example (in 'Greenhouse', Penguin, 1999, pp. 171):
"Never has the Earth remained cool when the CO2 concentration was high. Conversely there is no record of an ice age except when CO2 levels dropped below some 200 ppm."
This clearly discloses that CO2 concentration is the key catalyst for global warming!
Interestingly, our would-be global warming expert's pseudo-graph terminates near the year 2000 or when cycle 24 was to have begun. Recall here, that cycle 24’s rise phase featured few or no spots (it was actually later found to be a complicated interphase with cycle 23) and the global warming deniers insisted this meant we were entering a prolonged COOLING phase! Many, indeed, insisted that 1998 was the LAST year of warming, period. So what happened?
Well, the bone-headed deniers who seized the paper in Nature – written by Dr. Noel Keenlyside et al, trumpeted it as final evidence there was no more warming to be expected. The problem is that the idiots read the graphs incorrectly! They could have studied the paper's key figure, the one that looks at past and (forecast) future global temperatures, "Hindcast/forecast decadal variations in global mean temperature, as compared with observations and standard climate model projections" and noted that each point represented a ten-year centered mean. That is, each point represented the average temperature of the decade starting 5 years before that point and ending 5 years after that point. Thus, the statistics for potential “cooling” could not possibly have been justifiably extrapolated beyond 1998 + 5 = 2003. Yet denier imbeciles all over the place have insisted it is ongoing. (And some still do!)
Next, the skeptic blowhards -if sharp enough - would have spotted the red line in the Nature publication and – if bright enough – beheld that it was the the actual global temperature data from the U.K.'s Hadley Center for Climate Prediction and Research. They ought to have asked: Why does the red line stop in 1998 and not 2007? Again, it’s a running 10-year mean, and the authors use data from a Hadley paper that ends around 2003, In effect, they can't do a ten-year centered mean after 1998. Lazy deniers, however, parlayed this simple statistical peculiarity of the data into believing that global warming factually STOPPED in 1998!
Lastly, one would've expected at least one genius denier to have spotted the black line in the same Figure, which was actually one of the IPCC scenario projections, labelled 'A1B.' It denoted a relatively high-CO2-growth model -- but actual carbon emissions since 2000 have wildly outpaced it. A further check by skeptics of the solid green line - the "hindcast" of the authors – e.g. how well their model compared to actual data (and the A1B scenario) could also have been done. Had they expended more intellectual energy for analysis rather than lies! These lazy morons would have seen that, if extended (in dashes) through 2010 and finally to 2025, it JOINED up with A1B!
In other words, the last indicator showed that the warming was bound to re-vamp and re-ignite by 2010! Which is exactly what we've seen! (2010 was the warmest year on record since 2005 and the Sun had NOTHING to do with it because cycle 24 was still below activity expectations and the sunspot irradiances too LOW!)
Let's now get back to the matter of how solar irradiance (heating) plays such a prominent role, as opposed to length of cycle per se. At root it is understood that the origin and evolution of sunspots arises from Leighton and Babcock's shallow 'dynamo' theory which proposes that the solar differential rotation (most pronounced at mid-heliographic latitudes) twists flux ropes (e.g. with ambient magnetic fields) and pieces of these 'ropes' then emerge from the solar surface as sunspots. The larger the spot, the more intense the magnetic field. (Technically, we call the initial emergent regions 'EFRs' or emergent flux regions but most of these will develop into spots.)
The implicit assumption in this model is that a super-adiabatic temperature gradient is largest near the surface and its associated latent energy supports the reaction:
H + (energy) -> H+ + e(-) [ionization of hydrogen]
As is known from the standard (sunspot) theory of Parker, the "inverse ion hurricane" represented by a large sunspot enables the basis for the latent energy to translate into a convective collapse process so the luminosity can flow out and around the periphery of spots. (See e.g. the diagram appended) The larger the spot the greater the luminosity and heat discharged. This is why when there are few or no spots, as occurred in the Maunder Minimum, there is much less solar irradiance and the Earth is cooler.
This is also why the more spots there are in a cycle, the higher the solar irradiance, and the higher the mean global temperature of Earth. (One can get variations up to 0.21 K or more).
In his lecture at the 40th Meeting of the Solar Physics Division of the American Astronomical Society ('Solar Irradiance: Recent Results and Future Research Plans') Thomas N. Woods of the University of Colorado dealt with the matter as it pertains to the current cycle, and in particular some recent measurements.
Woods began by noting the assorted recent periods wherein irradiance measurably varied, including: the Medieval maximum, the Sporer minimum (1400s), the Maunder minimum (1600s), the Dalton minimum (1800s). He noted with emphasis that there is no single uniform value to characterize a time interval or period, since the radiance itself can vary hugely on small or local scales. For example, solar flares can propel radiance increases 50 times over normal and thereby affect the irradiance.
On average though, with such violent inputs smoothed out, the Earth's temperature changes by about 0.07 K (kelvin) over a solar cycle. Compare this to the 0.6 K change (increase) in global temperatures over the past 100 years arising from human-caused greenhouse effect. Thus, the human component is over 8.5 times greater.
Even if the solar forcing on climate were enhanced by positive feedbacks the amplification is usually no more than a factor 2. So that 0.07 K increases become 0.14 K increases. The human component is still more important by a factor 4.2, a point made by Woods when he emphasized that the recent results support the hypothesis that anthropogenic greenhouse gases are the primary contributor. This despite all the politicos, think tanks and yahoos (as well as this clueless blogger) who keep blabbering that climate change arises from "natural cycles" - meaning the Sun is responsible.
The moral of this story is abundantly clear: those who’ve never taken even basic physics courses need to find other diversions with which to occupy their time. When they cavalierly venture into physics area- knowing absolutely nothing about them - they merely embarrass themselves and those whose absurd claptrap they're desperately trying to defend! Rather than making others look "stupid", as evidenced in their crank cartoon graphs(which seek to distract the unwary by superposing a NASA image of a set of coronal loops, so the lazy person may think it's a NASA graph)they only confer that label unwittingly on themselves!