There is a good article at Climate Progress about the role of solar cycles in climate warming. The intensity of the sun has been relatively low, which mutes the effects of greenhouse gases on global warming.  There was speculation earlier last year that we could be heading toward an even lower phase, but more recent evidence and models suggest otherwise.  As Joe Romm says on this new post: “2009 ends with a “sunspot surge” as solar cycle 24 revs up”.

From ClimateProgress: The 2000s were  the hottest decade in recorded history by far — even though we’re at “the deepest solar minimum in nearly a century.”  The 2000s were a full 0.2°C warmer than the 1990s, which of course had been the hottest decade on record, 0.14°C warmer than 1980s (according to the dataset that best tracks planetary warming).  Hmm.  It’s almost like the warming is accelerating.

NASA reported in September were becoming less frequent:

The sun is in the pits of the deepest solar minimum in nearly a century. Weeks and sometimes whole months go by without even a single tiny sunspot. The quiet has dragged out for more than two years, prompting some observers to wonder, are sunspots disappearing

If sunspots do go away, it wouldn’t be the first time. In the 17th century, the sun plunged into a 70-year period of spotlessness known as the Maunder Minimum that still baffles scientists. The sunspot drought began in 1645 and lasted until 1715; during that time, some of the best astronomers in history (e.g., Cassini) monitored the sun and failed to count more than a few dozen sunspots per year, compared to the usual thousands.

“Whether [the current downturn] is an omen of long-term sunspot decline, analogous to the Maunder Minimum, remains to be seen,” Livingston and Penn caution in a recent issue of EOS. “Other indications of solar activity suggest that sunspots must return in earnest within the next year.”

From Climate Progress: When we last looked at the sun [please, don't try that at home], NASA was reporting that the sunspot cycle was about to come out of its depression, if a newly discovered mechanism for predicting solar cycles — a migrating jet stream deep inside the sun — proved accurate (see National Solar Observatory, NASA say no “Maunder Minimum”). It now appears TSI is well on its way to recovering, as NASA and others had predicted

Even as Solar Cycle 24 picks up, it won’t affect global temperatures quickly.  Again, as  NASA explained in January:

Because of the large thermal inertia of the ocean, the surface temperature response to the 10-12 year solar cycle lags the irradiance variation by 1-2 years. Thus, relative to the mean, i.e, the hypothetical case in which the sun had a constant average irradiance, actual solar irradiance will continue to provide a negative anomaly for the next 2-3 years.

 

9 Responses to Solar cycles and global warming: why the next decade is likely to be the warmest yet

  1. Ron Henzel says:

    The track record of global warming kool aid pushers isn’t exactly a sterling one. The decade which is now closing was supposed to be the hottest on record, and we all know how that went. Geologist Dr. David Gee, chair of the science committee of the 2008 International Geological Congress and author of 130 plus peer reviewed papers said, “For how many years must the planet cool before we begin to understand that the planet is not warming? For how many years must cooling go on?” (Dr. Gee is currently at Uppsala University in Sweden.) But if you insist that all that’s about to change, please, by all means, save me a front-row seat.

    To claim that such people as Dr. Gee are “anti-science” is both moronic and duplicitous. These words from Gee and many, many other scientists engaged in the climate debate can be read in the “U. S. Senate Minority Report: More Than 700 International Scientists Dissent Over Man-Made Global Warming Claims Scientists Continue to Debunk ‘Consensus’ in 2008 & 2009” (http://hatch.senate.gov/public/_files/USSenateEPWMinorityReport.pdf). Only a deliberately dishonest person would call global warming skepticism “anti-science.”

    Even the most committed global warming kool aid pushers are now reduced to urging cap-and-trade policies as a form of “risk management” because the science has become so unsettled and questionable (http://midwestoutreach.org/blogs/from-the-feckless-to-the-reckless).

  2. John Bruno says:

    Hi Ron,

    Thanks for stopping by. I understand you come at this from a christian/spiritual perspective but I really don’t understand how an educator and frequent writer can be so misinformed. The science clearly shows this past decade was the warmest on record and that the earth and seas continued to warm despite a solar minimum and a strong La Nina in 2008.

    I certainly didn’t claim Dr. Gee was “anti-science”. I have never heard of him. But what someone said or what a senate report says isn’t considered evidence in the rational / scientific world.

    Why don’t we lay down our cards. Ill show you the evidence that indicates continued warming and you show me the evidence of recent cooling.

    No name calling, no quotes from authorities, no disrespect, etc. Just a respectful exchange of evidence. Like they do it in a courtroom.

    Sincerely,

    John

    John F. Bruno, Ph.D.
    Associate Professor
    Department of Marine Science
    The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
    Chapel Hill, NC 27599-330
    jbruno@unc.edu
    http://www.brunolab.net

  3. J.Roff says:

    The track record of global warming kool aid pushers isn’t exactly a sterling one. The decade which is now closing was supposed to be the hottest on record, and we all know how that went.

    Sure – I know this because I read John’s post back in the beginning of December – both the World Meterological Organisation and NOAA report that the last decade (2000-2009) is the hottest on record.

    “For how many years must the planet cool before we begin to understand that the planet is not warming? For how many years must cooling go on?

    Wait, how many years must the planet cool? Read this post for a better explanation of the decadal temperature records – an overall increasing trend in temperature doesn’t indicate that the planet isn’t cooling.

    But if you insist that all that’s about to change, please, by all means, save me a front-row seat.

    See above.

    To claim that such people as Dr. Gee are “anti-science” is both moronic and duplicitous.

    I wouldn’t say “anti-science”, because he’s attempting to distort the science to fit an agenda. So, where is the science that shows that the planet is cooling?

    These words from Gee and many, many other scientists engaged in the climate debate can be read in the “U. S. Senate Minority Report: More Than 700 International Scientists Dissent Over Man-Made Global Warming Claims Scientists Continue to Debunk ‘Consensus’ in 2008 & 2009” (http://hatch.senate.gov/public/_files/USSenateEPWMinorityReport.pdf).

    Only a deliberately dishonest person would call global warming skepticism “anti-science.”

    I don’t call it “anti-science”, I call it willful ignorance. Here’s a great article from Skeptical Science about scientific consensus indicating that 97% of climate scientists actively publishing climate papers endorse the consensus position..

    Even the most committed global warming kool aid pushers are now reduced to urging cap-and-trade policies as a form of “risk management” because the science has become so unsettled and questionable (http://midwestoutreach.org/blogs/from-the-feckless-to-the-reckless).

    The science isn’t unsettled or questionable – you are going to have to do a lot better than using the “Midwest Christian Outreach blog” to support such a claim!

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  6. John,

    No name calling, no quotes from authorities, no disrespect, etc. Just a respectful exchange of evidence. Like they do it in a courtroom.

    That’s pretty rich coming from an author who uses “denier” in just about every post.

    I suggest you stop first, then you might get some respect.

    Steve

  7. John Bruno says:

    Fair enough Steve, what is your preferred label for those unwilling to look at and evaluate the evidence for AGW?

    A skeptic is defined as “a person inclined to question or doubt all accepted opinions.” I am a skeptic. But when a skeptic is faced with information that falsifies their views, yet they refuse to concede, they leave the world of rationale debate and are typically labelled denier.

    You should read the skeptical manifesto from skeptic.com, especially the sections on The Rational Skeptic and Science & Skepticism. Skepticism as used in the AGW blogosphere is really religion.

    “It is easy, even fun to challenge others’ beliefs, when we are smug in the certainty of our own. But when ours are challenged, it takes great patience and ego strength to listen with an unjaundiced ear. But there is a deeper flaw in pure skepticism. Taken to an extreme the position by itself cannot stand. The OED gives us this 1674 literary example (Tucker Lt. Nat. II):

    There is an air of positiveness in all skepticism, an unreserved confidence in the strength of those arguments that are alleged to overthrow all the knowledge of mankind.

    Skepticism is itself a positive assertion about knowledge, and thus turned on itself cannot be held. If you are skeptical about everything, you would have to be skeptical of your own skepticism. Like the decaying sub-atomic particle, pure skepticism uncoils and spins off the viewing screen of our intellectual cloud chamber.”

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