.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Monday, October 29, 2012

Why the AC130s were grounded: Obama didn't want voters to find out that he had armed the jihadists with SAMs

It's simple logic. In Libya there is only one possible threat to an AC130 gunship: surface to air missiles. Thus there is only way Panetta wasn't lying when he said that it was lack of information about the threat environment that kept him from sending defenders into "harm's way" in Benghazi. He must have been afraid that the jihadists were lying in wait with surface to air missiles, and he had good reason to suspect such a ploy.

A primary task of the Libyan mission was to round up the war materiel of the deposed and decomposing Moammar Ghadaffi and funnel it to chosen opponents of Assad in Syria. Which part of the Syrian opposition has Obama been choosing to supply? Al Qaeda:
“Most of the arms shipped at the behest of Saudi Arabia and Qatar to supply Syrian rebel groups fighting the government of Bashar al-Assad are going to hard-line Islamic jihadists, and not the more secular opposition groups that the West wants to bolster, according to American officials and Middle Eastern diplomats,” the Times reports.

The paper quotes one U.S. official as saying, “The opposition groups that are receiving the most of the lethal aid are exactly the ones we don’t want to have it,” adding that “officials, voicing frustration, say there is no central clearinghouse for the shipments, and no effective way of vetting the groups that ultimately receive them.”
According to Adm. James A. Lyons (retired), the Libyan arms that have been funneled to the jihadists include substantial numbers of surface to air missiles:
We now know why Ambassador Christopher Stevens had to be in Benghazi the night of 9/11 to meet a Turkish representative, even though he feared for his safety. According to various reports, one of Stevens’ main missions in Libya was to facilitate the transfer of much of Gadhafi’s military equipment, including the deadly SA-7 – portable SAMs – to Islamists and other al Qaeda-affiliated groups fighting the Assad Regime in Syria. In an excellent article, Aaron Klein states that Stevens routinely used our Benghazi consulate (mission) to coordinate the Turkish, Saudi Arabian and Qatari governments’ support for insurgencies throughout the Middle East. Further, according to Egyptian security sources, Stevens played a “central role in recruiting Islamic jihadists to fight the Assad Regime in Syria.”
So of course Panetta had to worry about the jihadists having man-portable SAMs. He had been supplying them, and a successful SAM attack on our military with these U.S. supplied weapons would be devastating for Obama's election chances. From the start of the Libyan operation critics have been complaining about U.S. aid going to the jihadists. To have that treasonous strategy backfire in such spectacular fashion would be Fast and Furious times a thousand.

So they made a calculated decision. Our people on the ground would be sacrificed to Obama's political ambition and the Obamatons would coordinate on a cover story about there not being any planned attack at all, when it actually appeared to them to be so well planned as to look like a possible trap.

If it wasn't a trap, responding with force was an obvious political winner

The same logic applies for Obama. On the surface, the attack presented Obama with a windfall opportunity to chew up and spit out what now look to have been hundreds of jihadists, all of whom would be sitting ducks for an AC130. Here was a chance for Obama to really dance on bin Laden's grave, slaughtering the jihadists on 9/11 itself, thereby cementing Obama's claim to the "gutsy call" and likely insuring his re-election. If Obama didn't fear a trap then responding with force would have been a no-brainer, especially for a political calculator like Obama.

But would the jihadists really be that stupid? Would they hand such an easy and obvious military and political victory to the hated United States of Americam or did they perhaps have a plan befitting the date? Most likely they did have SAMs lying in wait, maybe a lot of them, prepared to take out any helicopters or gunships that came anywhere near. In any case, Obama  must have thought so, or he would not have passed up such an obvious opportunity to salvage election victory.

For Panetta's part, SAMs were the only rational fear, so if it really was concern for our forces that stayed Panetta's hand that makes Obama the biggest liar of all time. He went before the nation pretending there was no evidence the attack had been planned at all when he and Panetta had actually acted on the supposition that it was a carefully laid trap, backed by the most sophisticated enemy weapons in theater.

The correct responsethe American responsewould have been to devise a plan to take out a SAM-equipped enemy. We could have swarmed in with anti-SAM equipped jet fighters and put as many fast-reaction forces on the ground as possible, but that would have revealed the nature of the threat for the world to see. Even if thoroughly successful, such a response would still have blown Obama's Faster and Furiouser cover, exposing both the policy and the consequences of arming al-Qaeda. Thus for anti-president Obama, cowardice and cover-up were the only way forward.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Children taught to hate mom and dad: "the atmosphere is frying... and we're kinda blaming you"

Guest post by Alec Rawls

Instead of children exploding or polar bears falling like victims of 9/11, this time it is spectral children hating on mom and dad from a supposedly desolate future. Such childish doggerel can only be the product of earnest adults:
We haven’t killed all the polar bears
But it’s not for lack of trying
Big Bird is sacked
The Earth is cracked
And the atmosphere is frying
Apparently it is an anti-Romney ad, listing destruction of the planet by global warming as just one item in a laundry-list of petty demagogic cliches. Was this paid for by Obama? [Update: yes, source.]

Full "lyrics" here. Nice propaganda to put in the mouths of the innocent.

A lullaby for eco-parents
Hurry up and unplug our existing coal-generation electricity infrastructure, for the children, to keep them cold at night.

"Under my plan of a cap and trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket," for the children (Obama 2008), so they won't have too much light.

Hurry up and quadruple gasoline prices, for the children:
"Somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe."

—Obama's Energy Secretary in-waiting Stephen Chu in December 2008 when U.S. gas prices were below $2/gal and European gas prices were $8/gal.
And don't forget that killing debt, for the children, the gift that keeps on taking.

Some kids will have good reason to blame mom and dad when they find the future impoverished (and cold instead of hot), like those kids in the video, who were undoubtedly put up to it by their own eco-leftist parents.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Muscheler retracts? Offers a NEW excuse for why solar activity can't be responsible for post-70's warming

(Crossposted at WUWT)

Technically Dr. Muscheler is asking me to retract the title of my post, "Raimund Muscheler says that a steady high level of forcing can’t cause warming":
I am sure that you are aware of the fact that the title is wrong. I never said that steady high levels of forcing can't cause warming.
He most certainly did. Here is the sentence of Muscheler's that I was paraphrasing (with emphasis added):
Solar activity & cosmic rays were relatively constant (high solar activity, strong shielding and low cosmic rays) in the second part of the 20th century and, therefore, it is unlikely that solar activity (whatever process) was involved in causing the warming since 1970.
This is an unconditional statement: the high solar activity of the second half of the century can't have caused warming because it was "relatively constant." If Dr. Muscheler wants a retraction he's going to have to issue it himself, and that actually seems to be what is going on here.

Raimund now rejects the claim that a steady high level of forcing can't cause warming. Good. But then on what grounds can he dismiss a solar explanation for late 20th century warming?

His email offers a new rationale. Muscheler thinks the lack of warming from the 40s to the 70s vitiates the solar-warming hypothesis:
My point is rather nicely illustrated in the attached figure [at top of post]. It shows the sunspot data and temperature anomalies over the last 160 years (annual data and 11-yr average). It shows the high solar activity I was mentioning.
According to your reasoning one would expect a steady warming since 1950. However, the temperatures were rather constant from 1940 to 1970. Furthermore, the temperature and solar trends are opposite during the last 30 years. So I think one would have to invoke a very strange climate delay effect in order to explain the recent warming with solar forcing.
I would be happy if you could correct the title and add this clarification to your post.

Best wishes,

There are a couple of points one can quibble with here:

1) Muscheler again invokes "opposite trends," as if it is the trend in solar activity, not the level, that would be driving temperature.

2) Those trends have not been "opposite for 30 years." Solar cycle 22, which ran from 1986-1996, had the same sunspot numbers as cycle 21 but was more intense by pretty much every other measure.

3) Muscheler seems to be asserting that temperature has been rising for the last 30 years when it has been roughly flat for the past 15 years (a fact that presents problems for Muscheler's preferred CO2-warming theory, but is perfectly compatible with the solar-warming theory, after cycle 23 slowed down and dropped off a cliff).

But set those quibbles aside. What is interesting here is Muscheler's new argument that if the sun had caused late 20th century warming then the planet should have warmed steadily since 1950.

My reply:

Actually, I would say that warming should have been steady since the 1920's, but that is only if we are looking at the heat content of the oceans (where almost the entire heat content of the climatosphere resides). Unfortunately, we don't have good ocean heat content data for this period, while the data we do have--global mean atmospheric surface temperature--is dominated by ocean oscillations.
You suggest that it would take some very strange lags for warming from the 40s to the 70s to not show up until later, but would this actually be strange? Doesn't it fit with what we KNOW: that the cool 40s-70's period coincided with a cool-phase of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation?

Ocean oscillations are widely acknowledged to be the dominant short term driver of global temperature

Just look at what the CO2 alarmists say as soon as their predicted warming fails to show up (April 2008):
Parts of North America and Europe may cool naturally over the next decade, as shifting ocean currents temporarily blunt the global-warming effect caused by mankind, Germany's Leibniz Institute of Marine Sciences said. ...

"Those natural climate variations could be stronger than the global-warming trend over the next 10-year period,'' Wood said in an interview. "Without knowing that, you might erroneously think there's no global warming going on.''

The Leibniz study, co-written by Noel Keenlyside, a research scientist at the institute, will be published in the May 1 issue of the journal Nature.

"If we don't experience warming over the next 10 years, it doesn't mean that greenhouse-gas warming is not with us,'' Keenlyside said in an interview. "There can be natural fluctuations that may mask climate change in the short term.''
Wood and Keenlyside aren't even talking about the PDO, just the measly AMO. For a historical example where natural fluctuations probably really did "mask climate change in the short term," the PDO is the place to look.

Here is a comparison of JISAO's PDO index (red) with the HadCRUT3 temperature record (black):

If ocean oscillations are as powerful a climate driver as the anti-CO2 alarmists claim then this graph suggests a simple story: that cold Pacific surface waters swallowed up a big gulp of warmth from 1940-1970, which the PDO then belched back up during its warm-phase in the 80s and 90s. Without the PDO there might well not have been a 40s-70s temperature dip, making warming over the 20th century much more even.

Is the PDO really this influential, or is it largely coincidence that the PDO was in a cool phase when GMAST dipped a couple of tenths between 1940 and 1970? Without good heat content data it is very hard to gauge but logically there is no upper bound on how powerful an effect ocean oscillations can have.

As Jo Nova describes meteorologist William Kininmonth's "deep cold abyss," the ocean depths form a great pool of "stored coldness" which is "periodically unleashed on the surface temperatures," a slumbering dragon that with a flick of its tail can grab away large amounts of surface warmth. Thus we certainly can't rule out that on time scales of up to decades GMAST really is dominated by ocean oscillations.

The CO2-warming theory needs to invoke ocean oscillations more than the solar theory does

Both have the same difficulty with the 40s-70s dip in temperature. For either theory to work the mid-20th century cooling pretty much has to be explained by ocean oscillations, but the CO2 theory now has to rely on the short-term dominance of ocean oscillations to explain the lack of recent warming as well.

That's the point of Trenberth's "missing heat," right? By his calculations there must be lots of CO2-driven heat accumulating in the oceans. Set aside whether the real problem is with Trenberth's measurements and calculations, the solar theory has no difficulty explaining why temperatures would be leveling off. With the sun having gone quiet this is the maximum likelihood solar projection (with cooling predicted to follow). It is the special case where GMAST actually tracks ocean heat content. Differences between GMAST and ocean heat are to be expected, but it is the CO2 theory that now needs to invoke that likely divergence from maximum liklihood.

Obviously it is not tenable to reject the ocean oscillation argument when applied to the solar theory but accept in when applied to CO2, but this is what the consensus scientists are effectively doing.

Gavin Schmidt on the asymptotic approach to equilibrium

Dr. Muscheler and I almost got to the ocean oscillations question way back in 2005, but Gavin Schmidt grabbed the hand-off. Raimund had claimed in a RealClimate post that a steady high level of forcing can't cause warming:
Regardless of any discussion about solar irradiance in past centuries, the sunspot record and neutron monitor data (which can be compared with radionuclide records) show that solar activity has not increased since the 1950s and is therefore unlikely to be able to explain the recent warming.
I objected in the comments that:
What matters is not the trend in solar activity but the level. It does not have to KEEP going up to be a possible cause of warming. It just has to be high, and it has been since the forties.

Presumably you are looking at the modest drop in temperature in the fifties and sixties as inconsistent with a simple solar warming explanation, but it doesn’t have to be simple. Earth has heat sinks that could lead to measured effects being delayed.
Gavin Schmidt's response was similar to Muscheler's today, but Schmidt was explicit about what the process of equilibration should look like:
Response: You are correct in that you would expect a lag, however, the response to an increase to a steady level of forcing is a lagged increase in temperature and then a asymptotic relaxation to the eventual equilibrium. This is not what is seen. In fact, the rate of temperature increase is rising, and that is only compatible with a continuing increase in the forcing, i.e. from greenhouse gases. - gavin
Like Muscheler, Schmidt ignores the PDO. It is ocean heat content that should undergo an "asymptotic relaxation to the eventual equilibrium," but all Schneider has to go by is GMAST, so he is implicity assuming that ocean heat content is faithfully tracked by GMAST, regardless of the fact that this relationship can be profoundly obscured by ocean oscillations.

We know that GMAST underwent a substantial mid-century gyration where 20th century warming actually reversed for a couple of decades before accelerating upwards again but we do not know that ocean heat content underwent any similar gyration. Schmidt assumes it did but the PDO record suggests that it likely did not, in which case Schmidt's argument that late-century warming must have been caused by CO2 collapses.

The problem is the hidden nature of these ocean-equilibration assumptions

If Schmidt and Muscheler want to dismiss a solar explanation for late 20th century warming by invoking the highly speculative assumption that GMAST is a good proxy for ocean heat content over with the 20th century, that fine. As long as this assumption is made explicit then others can evaluate it and toss any following conclusions in the trash. The problem is that the consensus scientists are not telling the public their real grounds for dismissing a solar explanation.

The consensus position, re-iterated over and over again, is a simple unqualified statement that because solar activity was not going up over the second half of the 20th century it cannot have caused warming over this period (or is unlikely to have caused warming over this period). I have collected a dozen such statements from scientific papers, news articles, and most recently from the First Order Draft of AR5.

Only when I have pressed these scientists on the irrationality of their claim that a steady high level of forcing can't cause warming do they start hinting towards the highly speculative arguments about ocean equilibration that are the actual basis for their dismissal of the solar hypothesis. Reliance on such hidden assumptions is not science, so job one is to get these unstated assumptions out in the open where they can properly evaluated. Not surprisingly, unscrutinized assumptions do not stand up well to scrutiny, so job two is knocking 'em down.

The rapid equilibrium assumptions of Lockwood and Solanki: knocked down. The implicit assumption by Muscheler and Schmidt that GMAST should track ocean heat content with no major divergence, now knocked down as well. It is a weak argument at best, requiring strong claims about matters of vast uncertainty, wrecking any pretension to have ruled out a solar driver for late 20th century warming.

Until these hidden assumptions are stated I suggest that we all take at face value the positions that these scientists actually assert. When they say that because a high level of forcing was relatively constant it is unlikely to have caused warming, we should say that they think you can't heat a pot of water by turning the flame to maximum and leaving it there, because that is exactly what they are saying.

Then when they come back with their "what I really meant was," we can expose their real thinking for the unexamined nonsense it is.

Update 1: Tisdale points out that the PDO index does not record a net temperature anomaly, only the phase of a temperature pattern

What I should have used to represent anomalously warm or cold ocean surface temperatures in the Pacific is ENSO (El Nino Southern Oscillation).

ENSO seems to have SOME correlation with the PDO but it's correlation with the 1940's to 70's era is much more ambiguous than the PDO's. Still, as I said to Bob:
The general point remains. Ocean equilibrium cannot be inferred just by looking at GMAST.

Update 2: Is "unconditional" the wrong adjective for Muscheler's claim that a steady high level of solar activity is "unlikely" to cause warming?

A number of WUWT commenters complained about this. For instance nuclearcannoli wrote:
With all due respect, the guy said it was “unlikely.” That is not an “unconditional” statement by any definition of which I’m aware.
I answered that while Muscheler's statement is not absolute, but it is unconditional. That is, it was not stated as relying on any assumptions about ocean equilibration or anything else. When pressed Muscheler did hint at underlying assumptions. The reference to lack of warming from 1940-1970 suggests that he sees this lack of warming as an indication that the oceans had already equilibrated to the high level of solar forcing, but this conditional was not included in his original statement.

My paraphrase did change his less than absolute statement into an absolute statement. Is that what Muscheler is complaining about? Is he complaining because my paraphrase fails to leave room for the possibility that late 20th century warming really was caused by the sun? Clearly not. His clarifications are all to bolster argument for ruling out a solar explanation. That's why I passed over that point. I was just following Muscheler on that one.

If he had said that I was understating the extent to which he intended to leave room for a solar explanation then obviously I would have been glad to issue a correction on that point. But he did not want to walk back his dismissal of the solar explanation. He wanted to re-argue it and re-affirm it.

Still, it would have been better not to call Muscheler's statement unconditional. The distinction between unconditional and absolute may be plausible but it is not particularly natural. People are right to question whether his statement is actually unconditional, so it introduces a gratuitious point of disagreement to use the term.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Raimund Muscheler says that a steady high level of forcing can't cause warming

Solar warming and ocean equilibrium, part 4
Crossposted at WUWT

I emailed Dr. Muscheler about the very strange remarks that were attributed to him in the recently released report on last year's NCAR workshop: The Effects of Solar Variability on Earth's Climate. Dr. Muscheler says that the report's version of his remarks "is obviously a mistake," but he answers my query about what he had meant to say with yet another obvious mistake, a mistake the greatest import, and one which is no less egregious for being widespread.

The report (available for free download from the National Academies Press) seems to paraphrase Dr. Muscheler as claiming that cosmic ray flux during the late 20th century was "steady and high" (p. 17):

Muscheler stated that proxy data indicate that the cosmic-ray flux actually decreased early in the 20th century, but recently the level has been steady and high. Based on the proposed link between increased GCR flux and cloudiness, one might have expected that the late 20th century would be cooler than the early 20th century—a state that was not observed.
So I asked Dr. Muscheler:

By this paraphrase, your comment that "recently the level has been steady and high" seems to be referring to "the late 20th century," but that can't be right.
The abstract that you provided for your remarks begins by describing cosmogenic radionuclides as "the most reliable proxies for reconstructing solar activity variations thousands of years back into the past" (p. 41). But late 20th century solar activity was high, so if GCR is actually a proxy (inverted), it must have been low in the late 20th century [or it isn't much of a proxy].
Usoskin 2007 estimated a grand maximum of solar activity from 1920 to 2000. Lockwood put the peak of this grand maximum in the mid 80's. Thus the statement attributed to you has to be a mis-transcription of some sort.

I'm guessing that your remark about recent GCR flux levels being "steady and high" was actually a reference to post 2003, not to "the late 20th century." But that leaves the question of on what grounds you were claiming that the late 20th century should have been cooler than the early 20th century, or did they mis-transcribe that as well?

... If you really do think that, according to the GCR data, the late 20th century should have been cooler than the early 20th century, can you please explain why?
Of course I know the highly unscientific grounds on which numerous "consensus" climate scientists make such claims, but it's important to get them on record saying it.

You can't heat a pot of water by turning the flame to maximum and leaving it there

It's not the level of the flame that causes warming, but the rate of change in the level of the flame. Everybody knows that, or so the anti-CO2 establishment would have us believe. See for instance, Rasmus Benestad, 2005:

A further comparison with the monthly sunspot number, cosmic galactic rays and 10.7 cm absolute radio flux since 1950 gives no indication of a systematic trend in the level of solar activity that can explain the most recent global warming.
It doesn't matter that solar activity was at grand maximum levels from 1920 to 2000. Only the continued turning up of a forcing can cause warming according to Dr. Benestad.

Here is a list of a dozen more top consensus climate scientists all making similar goofball statements, and as I discovered from my "expert review" of the First Order Draft of AR5, this is now the IPCC's official grounds for dismissing a solar explanation for late 20th century warming.

Would Muscheler add himself to the list? I had to give him a chance and he very graciously took it, thanking me for pointing to the obvious error in the transcription while confirming that, yes, he too looks at the wrong derivative. He should be looking at the zero derivative (the level of solar activity) but is instead looking at the first derivative (the rate of change in solar activity, or the trend).

Muscheler's response (emphasis added)

Dear Alec Rawls,

unfortunately I haven't been involved in writing this report. This statement is obviously a mistake and I don't know why it ended up in the report.

In the early 20th century solar activity increased and, therefore, the cosmic ray flux decreased. According to the cosmic ray-cloud hypothesis the (low) clouds should have decreased and it should have led to a warming.

Solar activity & cosmic rays were relatively constant (high solar activity, strong shielding and low cosmic rays) in the second part of the 20th century and, therefore, it is unlikely that solar activity (whatever process) was involved in causing the warming since 1970.

Maybe I was unclear in replying to a question or there was a misunderstanding from the person writing the report. Anyway it is obviously wrong in the report.

Thank you for making me aware of this problem. I will contact the authors and ask if it can be corrected.

Best wishes,

Raimund Muscheler

The hidden (and completely untenable) assumption of rapid ocean equilibration

Last year I emailed the dozen climate scientists from my list of those who have made these kinds of claims and suggested that they must be assuming that that by 1980 or so the oceans had already equilibrated to whatever temperature forcing effect high 20th century solar activity might be having, otherwise the continued high level of forcing would cause continued warming.

Several confirmed that they were indeed assuming rapid ocean equilibration to any change in climate forcing. One was Mike Lockwood, whose 2007 paper with Claus Fröhlich had opened with a strong assertion that it is the trend in a forcing, not the level of a forcing, that causes temperature change:
There is considerable evidence for solar influence on the Earth's pre-industrial climate and the Sun may well have been a factor in post-industrial climate change in the first half of the last century. Here we show that over the past 20 years, all the trends in the Sun that could have had an influence on the Earth's climate have been in the opposite direction to that required to explain the observed rise in global mean temperatures.
If the paper was assuming rapid ocean equilibration it really ought to have said so, but better late than never. In his response to me Lockwood offered evidence that ocean equilibration takes at most a decade, but his estimate does not stand up to scrutiny. It was derived from an energy balance model (Schwartz 2007) that represents the oceans by a single heat sink.

This is a highly unrealistic simplification (having the whole ocean change temperature at once). If a more realistic 2-heat-sink model is used, where it takes time for heat to transfer from one ocean layer to another (Kirk-Davidoff 2009), then the observed rapid temperature adjustment of the upper ocean layer tells us next to nothing about how long it takes for the ocean to equilibrate to a long term forcing. (Full discussion in Part 2 of my "solar warming and ocean equilibrium" series.)

The Lockwood and Fröhlich paper acknowledges that there was a long natural warming from the bottom of the Little Ice Age (punctuated by notable downturns when solar activity fell during the Dalton Minimum and around the beginning of the last century), and they say themselves that this long natural warming was probably caused by increasing solar activity, yet we are supposed to be confident, on the basis of a completely unrealistic one-heat-sink model, that this long warming just happened to end in 1980, when the whole idea of a long period of solar warming is fundamentally inconsistent with that model. Crazy.

Workshop participant Isaac Held: "equilibration takes centuries"

One of NCAR's workshop panelists actually addressed the time-to-equilibration issue (p. 21, emphasis added):

Issues in Climate Science Underlying Sun/Climate Research
Isaac M. Held, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory

In his presentation Isaac Held asserted that the response of the climate to radiative heating—whether it comes from greenhouse gases trapping heat, stratospheric aerosols from volcanic eruptions or aerosols of various origin reflecting sunlight back to space, or finally variable TSI heating—involves both the troposphere and the ocean. The surface and the troposphere are intimately coupled through fast radiative-convective adjustments so that they respond as a whole, with part of the heat input going into the ocean. The ocean heat uptake and later slow release back to the atmosphere are the factors responsible for the difference between the transient response of the climate to radiative forcing as compared to the equilibrium climate (some 40-70 percent of the adjustment is achieved on a timescale on the order of 4 years, whereas equilibration takes centuries). This transient behavior can be demonstrated using a simple two-box model of the mixed layer and deep ocean, and it applies to all radiative forcings, such as to the Mount Pinatubo volcanic aerosols, as well as for the response to the 11-year solar cycle. On stratosphere-troposphere coupling, there is recent observational evidence that in the Southern Hemisphere the surface westerlies (and the storm track) have shifted poleward by a few degrees due possibly to the ozone hole over the South Pole in the stratosphere.

[Stephen Wilde will want to look at what the report says about the rest of Held's presentation.]
To clarify, when there is a long term change in forcing it isn't 40-70 percent of the eventual deep ocean heat storage that is achieved within four years. Here Held is talking about the time-response of GMAST (the Global Mean Air Surface Temperature), which is largely driven by ocean surface temperature, and the ocean surface warms up quickly in response to an increase in forcing.

If elevated forcing persists for decades or centuries this warmed-up upper ocean layer will all-the-while be transferring heat to deeper ocean depths, causing the temperature differential between the upper and lower layers to shrink which in turn causes a slowing of the heat loss from the upper ocean to the deeper ocean. That slow decrease in heat loss from the upper ocean layer causes the upper ocean layer to slowly get warmer, which in turn causes a slow increase in atmospheric surface temperatures (the remaining 30-60 percent of the GMAST increase that Held is referring to). This continued warming can go on for centuries.

So I must appeal to Dr. Held: you really need to point out to your colleagues the implications of moving to a more realistic "two box model" (never mind a 3 or 4 box model) where it takes time for heat to accumulate in deeper ocean layers. If prolonged forcing can cause the oceans to warm for centuries (and GMAST to continue to rise for centuries) then no, we cannot be confident that by 1980 the oceans had equilibrated to the 20th century's grand maximum levels of solar activity.

This is regardless of whether those levels were pre or post peak. It's the level that matters, not the trend.

A helpful diagram

If anyone has trouble understanding why they should be looking at the level of a hypothesized solar-magnetic forcing, not just the trend, here is a helpful diagram from Ken Gregory:

Temperature falls only when the level of forcing falls below that needed to maintain the current temperature. With typical cyclical behavior, temperature peaks often lag considerably behind peaks in forcing. Everybody is familiar with this phenomenon from daytime temperatures, which do not peak at noon but peak in the mid-afternoon. So too with longer period forcings and deeper heat sinks.

So no, if temperature continues to rise after solar forcing has peaked it does not indicate that the continued warming is not caused by solar forcing. On the contrary, it is exactly what we would expect from a solar driver of climate.

In the case of late 20th century solar forcing there really was no discernable peak but rather a 50-year plateau, in which case temperatures should continue to rise until equilibrium is reached. There is no reason to think the oceans would have equilibrated to high 20th century forcing by 1980, and so no reason to dismiss a solar explanation for post 1980 warming.

Day vs. Season

In part 3 of my series Solanki and Scheussler offered a different rationale for assuming rapid ocean equilibration. The strong correlation between solar activity and climate that they had found was strongest with a short lag, less than ten years, so if there were longer-term solar effects, these scientists insisted that they had found no evidence for it. But that is wrong. Rapid responses to solar forcing are evidence for longer term responses, just as the rapid daytime temperature response to the rising sun implies that the hemispheres should warm when their seasons progress towards the greater insolation of summer.

This is pretty basic stuff so maybe these guys just aren't getting out enough. They don't talk to people who don't share their eagerness to grab at any rationale that supports the CO2-warming theory, no matter how patently weak it is. And its pretty clear they aren't even talking about these things amongst themselves.

Not a one of the quotes I have compiled betrays any hint of hidden assumptions about rapid ocean equilibration or anything else. They are unconditioned statements: the solar flame was not rising so it could not have caused warming. Only when pressed by WUWT do they scramble to support their unstated premises.

For each of these scientists it seems that plan-A was that nobody would notice that they were looking at the wrong derivative.

Leif Gets It right (right Leif?)

On the other side we have everyone who has ever heated a pot of water, including our own Dr. Leif Svalgaard, who was provoked last month to admit:
When I start the pot in the morning on maximum in order to get hot water for my tea and to boil my eggs, it works great for me. I get hot tea and boiled eggs in minimum time. If I turn down the heat, it takes longer…
Good thing Leif has tenure already. His mundane observation rebuts the very heart of the anti-CO2 industry's dismissal of solar-driven warming.

Another question for Muscheler

When 50 years of steady high solar activity coincide with rising average temperatures, that would seem to be evidence for a solar driver of climate. What is Raimund Muscheler's grounds for taking it as evidence against? His response to my first query does not say, so I sent him a second. I am contacting Isaac Held as well, whose 2 cents would be much appreciated.

Maybe Raimund really does think that it is the rate of change of a forcing rather than the level of a forcing that causes warming but I doubt it. More likely he has accepted the rapid-ocean-equilibrium assumption of Lockwood, Solanki and others without thinking it through. (Note that the paraphrase of Muscheler's comments in NAP's NCAR report has him making the same assertion as Lockwood: that if the sun were driving global temperature then late 20th century temperatures should have been falling, not rising. That seems to indicate a Lockwood-like rapid equilibrium assumption)

Muscheler's 2007 paper on paleo and recent GCR deposition suggests that 20th century solar activity was merely "high instead of exceptional," but for time-to-equilibration this distinction makes no qualitative difference. It is true that the smaller the change in forcing the faster equilibrium should be reached (like starting partway in on the equilibration response to a larger change in forcing), so maybe Muscheler sees himself as having strengthened the grounds for the rapid-equilibrium assumption, but that assumption is fundamentally flawed. It can't be saved by a marginal adjustment of the forcing in question.

Remember the hypothesis Muscheler is trying to dismiss: that solar activity does have a substantial forcing effect, strong enough to be responsible for late 20th century warming. But if the forcing effect of solar activity is substantial then there is no reason to think that the oceans must have equilibrated to a sustained high level of such forcing by any particular 20th century date, hence no reason to say that late 20th century warming couldn't have been caused by the continuing high level of solar activity.

Perhaps Dr. Muscheler has some other argument for why a steady high level of forcing can't cause warming but if he has been carelessly making the same unstated rapid-equilibrium assumption as Lockwood et al., here is an opportunity to reconsider. We all make unconscious assumptions. Progress in understanding often comes from uncovering and scrutinizing those hidden assumptions, allowing any errors they contain to be corrected. There is no shame in such a re-evaluation. It is how we move forward.

If Dr. Muscheler would like to give a response that is not framed by my commentary I am sure that Anthony would be glad to offer him a guest post. Raimund been game so far, and hopefully will continue to be forthcoming.

My own summary conclusion

There is no possible way to sustain the claim that a steady high level of forcing can't cause continued warming, or to sustain with any confidence the hidden claim that the oceans must have equilibrated to high 20th century solar activity by 1980. Without these claims AR5 goes straight to the trash bin and solar activity is still very much in play as an explanation for late 20th century warming.

If solar activity is responsible for any substantial chunk of that warming then CO2 becomes utterly benign. The IPCC's high estimates of climate sensitivity, needed in order to attribute all recent warming to CO2, are off the table, meaning no possibility of any kind of run-away warming, and if solar activity is the primary explanation for late 20th century warming then the danger going forward is global cooling (now that the sun has turned quiet), making expensive efforts to reduce CO2 emissions the sheerest lunacy.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?