Slowly more evidence emerges, and more scientists speak out about drivers of climate change

Slowly more evidence emerges about the Sun’s influence on Earth’s weather.  Slowly more scientists speak out, challenging the faux consensus about climate change.  Of course, readers of the FM site already know about this.

  1. It’s the Sun, stupid“, Lawrence Solomon, National Post, 21 May 2010 — “Solar scientists are finally overcoming their fears and going public about the Sun-climate connection”
  2. Are cold winters in Europe associated with low solar activity?“, Mike Lockwood et al, Environmental Research Letters, April-June 2010
  3. Low solar activity is blamed for winter chill over Europe“, Rasmus E Benestad, Environmental Research Letters, April-June 2010

At the end are links to other posts about solar influence on Earth’s climate, and links to articles about this in the scientific literature.

Quote of the day

“We can’t predict the climate on Earth until we understand these changes on the sun”
— Jeff Kuhn (source), the first U.S. solar scientist to win the Humboldt Award (source)


(1)  “It’s the Sun, stupid“, Lawrence Solomon, National Post, 21 May 2010 — “Solar scientists are finally overcoming their fears and going public about the Sun-climate connection”

Four years ago, when I first started profiling scientists who were global warming skeptics, I soon learned two things: Solar scientists were overwhelmingly skeptical that humans caused climate change and, overwhelmingly, they were reluctant to go public with their views. Often, they refused to be quoted at all, saying they feared for their funding, or they feared other recriminations from climate scientists in the doomsayer camp. When the skeptics agreed to be quoted at all, they often hedged their statements, to give themselves wiggle room if accused of being a global warming denier. Scant few were outspoken about their skepticism.

No longer. Scientists, and especially solar scientists, are becoming assertive.

(2)  “Are cold winters in Europe associated with low solar activity?“, Mike Lockwood et al, Environmental Research Letters, April-June 2010

Solar activity during the current sunspot minimum has fallen to levels unknown since the start of the 20th century. The Maunder minimum (about 1650–1700) was a prolonged episode of low solar activity which coincided with more severe winters in the United Kingdom and continental Europe. Motivated by recent relatively cold winters in the UK, we investigate the possible connection with solar activity.

  • We identify regionally anomalous cold winters by detrending the Central England temperature (CET) record using reconstructions of the northern hemisphere mean temperature.
  • We show that cold winter excursions from the hemispheric trend occur more commonly in the UK during low solar activity, consistent with the solar influence on the occurrence of persistent blocking events in the eastern Atlantic.
  • We stress that this is a regional and seasonal effect relating to European winters and not a global effect.

Average solar activity has declined rapidly since 1985 and cosmogenic isotopes suggest an 8% chance of a return to Maunder minimum conditions within the next 50 years (Lockwood 2010 Proc. R. Soc. A 466 303–29): the results presented here indicate that, despite hemispheric warming, the UK and Europe could experience more cold winters than during recent decades.

(3)  “Low solar activity is blamed for winter chill over Europe“, Rasmus E Benestad, Environmental Research Letters, April-June 2010 — COnclusion:

My impression is nevertheless that the explanation provided by the Lockwood et al (2010) study reflects real aspects of our climate, especially if the effect is asymmetric. They argue that solar-induced changes in the stratosphere in turn affect the occurrence of persistent wintertime blocking. But one comprehensive, definite, consistent, and convincing documentation of the entire chain causality is still not in place, due to the lack of long-term high-quality observations from remote sensing platforms. It is nevertheless well known that the temperature in northern Europe is strongly affected by atmospheric circulation. Crooks and Gray (2005) have identified a solar response in a number of atmospheric variables, and Labitske (1987), Labitske and Loon (1988) and Salby and Callagan (2000) provide convincing analyses suggesting that the zonal winds in the stratosphere are influenced by solar activity. Furthermore, Baldwin and Dunkerton (2001) provide a tentative link between the stratosphere and the troposphere.

 The results of Lockwood et al (2010) fit in with earlier work (Barriopedro et al 2008) and provide further evidence to support the current thinking on solar-terrestrial links. Thus, it is an example of incremental scientific progress rather than a breakthrough or a paradigm shift.

Other posts about the solar cycle

  1. This week’s report on the news in climate science, 7 December 2008
  2. Weekend reading recommendations about climate change, 13 December 2008
  3. An important new article about climate change, 29 December 2008
  4. My “wish list” for the climate sciences in 2009, 2 January 2009
  5. Important new climate science articles, 11 January 2009
  6. A brief look at the Sun’s influence on Earth’s climate, 4 May 2009
  7. An important puzzle from the National Weather Service’s Space Weather Prediction Center, 10 May 2009
  8. Big news from NASA about the causes of climate change!, 5 June 2009
  9. Peer reviewed science: breakthoughs about the sun’s impact on Earth’s climate, 4 September 2009

Articles about the relationship of Earth’s climate and extra-terrestrial factors

This is section 5 on the FM Reference Page Climate Wars – studies & reports.  It shows only a small fraction of this literature.

  1. Solar Influences on Global Change“, National Research Council, 1994
  2. Solar history and human affairs“, John Eddy, Human Ecology, March 1994 (free abstract; subscription only)
  3. The sun-climate question: Is there a real connection?“, George C. Reid (NOAA), Report to the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics, 1995
  4. Solar Activity Over the Last 1150 Years: Does it Correlate with Climate?“, Usoskin I.G., Schussler M., Solanki S.K., Mursula K., In Proceedings of The 13th Cambridge Workshop on Cool Stars, Stellar Systems and the Sun”, (2005).
  5. The Sun – Living With a Stormy Star“, National Geographic, July 2004 — Excellent introduction to our star.
  6. “Variation of Cosmic Ray Flux and Global Cloud Coverage – a Missing Link in Solar-Climate Relationships”, Henrik Svensmark and Eigil Friis-Christensen, Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics, 59 (11) (1997) 1225-1232.  See here
  7. “Influence of Cosmic Rays on Earth’s Climate”,  Henrik Svensmark, Physical Review Letters, 30 November 1998 – Volume 81, Issue 22, 1997, pp. 5027-5030 — See here.
  8. Variation of Cosmic Ray Flux and Global Cloud Coverage – a Missing Link in Solar-Climate Relationships“, Henrik Svensmark and Eigil Friis-Christensen, Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics, Vol. 59, pp. 1225-32, 1997
  9. “Reply to comments on ‘Variation of cosmic ray flux and global cloud coverage — a missing link in solar–climate relationships’”, Henrik Svensmark and Eigil-Friis-Christensen, Journal Of Atmospheric And Solar-terrestrial Physics Vol. 62 (1), pp. 79-80 — See here.
  10. Influence of Cosmic Rays on Earth’s Climate“, Henrik Svensmark, Physical Review Letters, Vol. 81, pp. 5027-30, 1998
  11. “Cosmic rays and Earth’s Climate”, Henrik Svensmark, Space Science Review 93: 155-166, 2000 – See here.
  12. Cosmic Rays, Clouds, and Climate“, Nigel Marsh and Henrik Svensmark, Space Science Review, Vol. 94, pp. 215-30, 2000
  13. Low Cloud Properties influenced by Cosmic Rays“, Nigel Marsh and Henrik Svensmark, Physical Review Letter, 4 December 2000, Volume 85, Issue 23, pp. 5004-5007.   See here.
  14. The Sun’s Chilly Impact on Earth“, Goddard Institute for Space Studies (NASA), 6 December 2001 — Press release for Shindell et al 2001 (see following entry)
  15. Solar forcing of regional climate change during the Maunder Minimum“, Shindell, D.T., G.A. Schmidt, M.E. Mann, D. Rind, and A. Waple, Science, 7 December 2001  (NASA summary here)
  16. Cave air temperature response to climate and solar and geomagnetic activity“, P. Stoeva and A. Stoev, Memorie della Societa Astronomica Italiana, 2005
  17. “Empirical evidence for a nonlinear effect of galactic cosmic rays on clouds”, R. Giles Harrison and David B. Stephenson, Proceedings of the Royal Society, 8 April 2006 — AbstractPDF of article.
  18. The Antarctic Climate Anomaly Explained by Galactic Cosmic Rays“, Henrik Svensmark, arXiv, 14 December 2006
  19. Experimental Evidence for the Role of Ions in Particle Nucleation under Atmospheric Conditions“, Henrik Svensmark et al, Proceedings of the Royal Society A, Vol. 463, pp. 385-96, 2007
  20. Cosmoclimatology: a new theory emerges“, Henrik Svensmark, Astronomy and Geophysics (journal of the Royal Astronomical Society, London), February 2007
  21. Ray of hope: Can the sun save us from global warming?“, The Independent, 5 December 2007 — “Could the Sun’s inactivity save us from global warming? David Whitehouse explains why solar disempower may be the key to combating climate change.”
  22. The International Workshop “Solar Variability, Earth’s Climate and the Space Environment“, sponsored by NASA, held 1 – 6 June 2008 – See the abstracts of the papers presented.
  23. Global Climate Change: Is the Sun to blame?“, Sami K. Solanki, 3 June 2008 — From the June 2008 NASA conference.
  24. “Does a Spin-Orbit Coupling Between the Sun and the Jovian Planets Govern the Solar Cycle?”, I. R. G. Wilson A , C , B. D. Carter B and I. A. Waite B, Publications of the Astronomical Society of Australia, 26 June 2008 — Abstract.
  25. Solar activity and its influence on climate” C. de Jager (Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research),  Neatherlands Journal of Geosciences, October 2008
  26. Exploratory Analysis of Similarities in Solar Cycle Magnetic Phases with Southern Oscillation Index Fluctuations in Eastern Australia“, Robert G.V. Baker, Geographical Research, December 2008, Pages 380 – 398.
  27. “Solar Influence on Recurring Global, Decadal, Climate Cycles Recorded by Glacial Fluctuations, Ice Cores, Sea Surface Temperatures, and Historic Measurements Over the Past Millennium”, Don J. Easterbrook (Professor Emeritus in the Deptment of Geology at Western Washington U), the Fall meeting of  the American Geophysical Union, December 2008 — Abstract; discussion here.
  28. Is there a link between Earth’s magnetic field and low-latitude precipitation?“, Mads Faurschou Knudsen and Peter Riisager, Geology, January 2009
  29. “Sudden stratospheric warmings seen in MINOS deep underground muon data”, S. M. Osprey et al., Geophysical Research Letterrs, in press — See the press release from the National Centre for Atmospheric Sciece for details.
  30. ACRIM-gap and TSI trend issue resolved using a surface magnetic flux TSI proxy model“, Scafetta N., R. C. Willson, Geophysial Research Letters, 3 March 2009
  31. A Lagged Warm Event–Like Response to Peaks in Solar Forcing in the Pacific Region“, Gerald A. Meehl et al, Journal of Climate, July 2009
  32. 2,000-year-long temperature and hydrology reconstructions from the Indo-Pacific warm pool“, Delia W. Oppo, Nature, 28 August 2009
  33. Amplifying the Pacific Climate System Response to a Small 11-Year Solar Cycle Forcing“,  Gerald A. Meehl et al, Science, 28 August 2009
  34. “GCR and ENSO trends in ISCCP-D2 low cloud properties”, Nigel Marsh and Henrik Svensmark, Journal of Geophysical Research , (In press) – See a preprint here.
  35. “Cosmic Rays, Clouds, and Climate “, Nigel Marsh and Henrik Svensmark, Space Science Review, (In press) — See a preprint here.


  • For more about this topic see Climate Wars – my articles
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