An important new article about climate change

The Fall meeting of  the American Geophysical Union, San Francisco (15 – 19 December 2008) had many valuable presentations about climate change.  The mainstream media will report those supporting forecasts of global warmings — esp anthropogenic warming.  But they will not tell us about the rest of the story…

Such as another fascinating paper by Don J. Easterbrook, Professor Emeritus in the Deptment of Geology at Western Washington University:  “Solar Influence on Recurring Global, Decadal, Climate Cycles Recorded by Glacial Fluctuations, Ice Cores, Sea Surface Temperatures, and Historic Measurements Over the Past Millennium” — Hat tip to Anthony Watt’s Watts Up with That.


Global, cyclic, decadal, climate patterns can be traced over the past millennium in glacier fluctuations, oxygen isotope ratios in ice cores, sea surface temperatures, and historic observations. The recurring climate cycles clearly show that natural climatic warming and cooling have occurred many times, long before increases in anthropogenic atmospheric CO2 levels. The Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age are well known examples of such climate changes, but in addition, at least 23 periods of climatic warming and cooling have occurred in the past 500 years.

Each period of warming or cooling lasted about 25-30 years (average 27 years). Two cycles of global warming and two of global cooling have occurred during the past century, and the global cooling that has occurred since 1998 is exactly in phase with the long term pattern.

  • Global cooling occurred from 1880 to ~1915; global warming occurred from ~1915 to ~1945;
  • global cooling occurred from ~1945-1977;, global warming occurred from 1977 to 1998;
  • and global cooling has occurred since 1998.

All of these global climate changes show exceptionally good correlation with solar variation since the Little Ice Age 400 years ago.

The IPCC predicted global warming of 0.6° C (1° F) by 2011 and 1.2° C (2° F) by 2038, whereas Easterbrook (2001) predicted the beginning of global cooling by 2007 (± 3-5 yrs) and cooling of about 0.3-0.5° C until ~2035. The predicted cooling seems to have already begun. Recent measurements of global temperatures suggest a gradual cooling trend since 1998 and 2007-2008 was a year of sharp global cooling. The cooling trend will likely continue as the sun enters a cycle of lower irradiance and the Pacific Ocean changed from its warm mode to its cool mode.

Comparisons of historic global climate warming and cooling, glacial fluctuations, changes in warm/cool mode of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) and the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO), and sun spot activity over the past century show strong correlations and provide a solid data base for future climate change projections.

The announcement by NASA that the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) had shifted to its cool phase is right on schedule as predicted by past climate and PDO changes (Easterbrook, 2001, 2006, 2007) and coincides with recent solar variations. The PDO typically lasts 25-30 years, virtually assuring several decades of global cooling.

The IPCC predictions of global temperatures 1° F warmer by 2011, 2° F warmer by 2038, and 10° F by 2100 stand little chance of being correct. “Global warming” (i.e., the warming since 1977) is over.

(Abstract from the SAO/NASA ADS Physics Abstract Service)


{From “Don Easterbrook’s AGU paper on potential global cooling“, Anthony Watts, posted at Watts Up with That, 29 December 2008 — See that post for the full text and the excellent graphics!}

The real question now is not trying to reduce atmospheric CO2 as a means of stopping global warming, but rather

  1. how can we best prepare to cope with the 30 years of global cooling that is coming,
  2. how cold will it get, and
  3. how can we cope with the cooling during a time of exponential population increase?

In 1998 when I first predicted a 30-year cooling trend during the first part of this century, I used a very conservative estimate for the depth of cooling, i.e., the 30-years of global cooling that we experienced from ~1945 to 1977. However, also likely are several other possibilities

  1. the much deeper cooling that occurred during the 1880 to ~1915 cool period,
  2. the still deeper cooling that took place from about 1790 to 1820 during the Dalton sunspot minimum, and
  3. the drastic cooling that occurred from 1650 to 1700 during the Maunder sunspot minimum.

Figure 2 shows an estimate of what each of these might look like on a projected global climate curve.

… The good news is that global warming (i.e., the 1977-1998 warming) is over and atmospheric CO2 is not a vital issue. The bad news is that cold conditions kill more people than warm conditions, so we are in for bigger problems than we might have experienced if global warming had continued. Mortality data from 1979-2002 death certificate records show twice as many deaths directly from extreme cold than for deaths from extreme heat, 8 times as many deaths as those from floods, and 30 times as many as from hurricanes. The number of deaths indirectly related to cold is many times worse.

Depending on how cold the present 30-year cooling period gets, in addition to the higher death rates, we will have to contend with diminished growing seasons and increasing crop failures with food shortages in third world countries, increasing energy demands, changing environments, increasing medical costs from diseases (especially flu), increasing transportation costs and interruptions, and many other ramifications associated with colder climate. The degree to which we may be prepared to cope with these problems may be significantly affected by how much money we waste chasing the CO2 fantasy.


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For more information from the FM site

To read other articles about these things, see the FM reference page on the right side menu bar.  Of esp relevance to this topic:

A few of the posts on the FM site about climate change:

10 thoughts on “An important new article about climate change”

  1. This is quite unexpected. I had assumed that you were one of us, by your uncritical acceptance of Keynesian economics. Perhaps I was wrong. Perhaps you are capable of thinking for yourself, within certain narrow and non-engrained areas of thought.
    Fabius Maximus replies: God, is that You speaking to us? If not, please hang up and leave the line open in case He wishes to call.

  2. I’m still trying to square the skeptics view with the dramatic ice loss from mountain glaciers throughout the world (see here), and summer sea-ice conditions at the poles as well. Sea ice conditions and glacier ice growth and melt naturally integrate long term trends so that “weather” doesn’t matter so much. If the world is really cooling, then the glaciers in the Andes and Himalayas should start growing again and the summer Northwest passage should close up again. I’m waiting…
    Fabius Maximus replies: Have you been watching the current data?

    (1) Mountain ice is a relatively slow-response indicator, and of course responds to other factors (e.g., rain).

    Sea ice is a more rapid indicator, and does appear to be stabilizing — per the following:

    (2) Jeff Id’s analysis of sea ice data showed no increase of ice coverage during the past 30 years. This provoked considerable discussion on the Internet, culminating in a series of corrections by the National Snow Ice Data Center (NSIDC) — to both their documentation and data.

    For more information see:
    NSIDC issues documentation corrections – WUWT guest post a catalyst“, Jeff Id, posted at Watts Up with That, 24 December 2008.
    * Total Ice-covered Area and Extent, NSIDC

    (3) Other articles suggesting stabilization of global temperatures

    * Good news about global warming!, 21 October 2008
    * More forecasts of a global cooling cycle, 15 July 2008
    * “Satellite derived sea level updated“, Anthony Watts, Watts Up With That, 5 December 2008 — Per the sea level data for 2008, it looks like sea level as measured by satellite has since been stable since 2005.

  3. Very interesting. It seems that mainstream climate model predictions are failing. If the solar activity correlations track the climate more closely than IPCC sanctioned models, the solar activity is worth examining. Ocean oscillations such as the Pacific Decadal Osc. and the Atlantic Multidecadal Osc. also appear to have far greater explanatory power over climate data than carbon dioxide atmospheric concentrations.

    The problem that “grondeau” may have is that most scientific journals and news agencies continue to report sea ice loss and glacier loss data from the 1990s and early 2000s, ignoring the more recent data which has moderated significantly. Too many editors of science news services have gone political, it seems.

  4. Here also something that, I think, that was under reported. From
    Sept. 23, 2008!

    Solar Wind Loses Power, Hits 50-year Low“, NASA, 23 September 2008 — Excerpt:

    Curiously, the speed of the million mph solar wind hasn’t decreased much—only 3%. The change in pressure comes mainly from reductions in temperature and density. The solar wind is 13% cooler and 20% less dense. … The solar wind isn’t inflating the heliosphere as much as it used to,” says McComas. “That means less shielding against cosmic rays.”

    Of course it must be our fault. Somehow.
    Fabius Maximus replies: Lots of odd things happening, solar-wise.

    * “Boundary Between Earth’s Upper Atmosphere And Space Has Moved To Extraordinarily Low Altitudes, NASA Instruments Document“, Science Daily, 16 December 2008
    * “A Giant Breach in Earth’s Magnetic Field“, NASA, 16 December 2008
    * Then, of course, there is the disturbing evolution of solar cycle 24. For more on that and other climate science developments, see the FM reference page about Science, Nature, and Geopolitics.

  5. Newer, Smarter Skeptic

    I suggest that Old Skeptic put his money where his mouth is. Go ahead, gamble big on your brave predictions. There are dozens of ways to put your certainty into profitable use. Take a chance, old skep.

    BTW, if you still take NASA GISS at face value, you have already lost the larger bet, skeppy.

  6. Newer, Smarter Skeptic. “age, experience and guile” always beats “youth and exberance”.

    You got a problem with GISS, take it up with them .. and the CSIRO, Hadley, etc. But if you are that good I’ll hire you. Yes in this doom and gloom time I’m after staff.

    Though all you have to do is PROVE GISS is wrong. Think of it as a job interview. I expect a PDF, with your alternative analysis of the data, peer reviewed of course as per standard scientific protocols, though I’m flexible about that, though I draw the line at “Chuck from Arizona” as a peer reviewer.

    Pretty easy job, download the raw data (as I did) and analyse it for yourself (I am a Skeptic after all). Only a few hundred megabytes .. easy. Know APL?

  7. “Though all you have to do is PROVE GISS is wrong.”

    o Duplicating Russian data to make up for a lack of data over a specific time period.
    o Repeating the error the next month after correcting it for the prior month.
    o Retroactively changing surface temperature records.

    I’m sure there are more but I’m not a climatologist.

  8. And here is the link to send your complaint to:

    Note that there are a quite a few non-US places that do climate analysis as well. You know our CSIRO is not so bad as well.
    Fabius Maximus replies: Your sarcasim is inapproapriate on several levels. First, the surface temperature data is probably the weakest link in the case for AGW. The data collected at proves widespread non-compliance of US weather stations with the NOAA siting guidelines, indicating the high precision of this data is not justified.

    Plus examination of GISS data has shown a severe lack of quality control. A gross lack, evident to non-specialists. See here for a long series of articles demonstrating this beyond any reasonable doubt.

    Last, the folks at NOAA and NASA have shown that their preferred response to criticism is stonewalling, followed by grudging corrections (done with a very low profile, and no attribution to the people who discovered the errors). So your cute “here’s the email” is absurd.

    Two examples:
    * “How not to measure temperature, part 79 – could you, would you, with a boat?“, Anthony Watts, Watts up with that?, 9 December 2008 — Santa Rosa, CA, a two-fer featuring not only a grossly non-compliant station but also more mysterious data adjustments by NASA-GISS.
    * “OK, What Caused the Problem?“, Steve McIntyre, CLimate Audit, 16 November 2008 — About the latest major error discovered in the latest GHCN (NASA0 – GISS (NOAA) glitch. Their response to notification of the error is as significant as the error itself.

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