Cheat-Seeking Missles

Saturday, March 03, 2007

The Inconvenient Truth Of Sun Flares

I spent all day yesterday in a seminar on how global warming will impact the development industry. The focus wasn't so much on temperature increases as on increases in the number of lawsuits developers can expect.

Be that as it may, nothing I heard from any of the environmental experts present brought me any closer to accepting the Gorean theory of human causality. There have been so many pre-Hummer warm cycles that I question causality, even with the claim that rapid temperature increases differentiate this warm cycle from others.

Other warm cycles are crudely measured from ice borings while today's cycle is hyper-measured with high-tech instruments humming away all around the globe. Given the difficulty in correlating the two data sources, any conclusions are cloudy at best.

Then there is the matter of solar flares, the biggest of the Inconvenient Truths that the Goreans ignore at all cost. Solar flare activity, if it correlates to the warm cycle we're going through, will the the end of their dreams of world domination.

Which is why you need to learn to pronounce Friis-Christensen and Svensmark. They're scientists at the Danish Meteorological Institute who have correlated solar flare activity to cloud cover. Here's a summary of what they found. It's a tad complex, but plow through it:

A change in cloud cover would indeed be a very effective amplifying mechanism for climate forcing because the energy necessary to condense water vapour is small compared to the resulting changes in energy of solar radiation received at the Earth’s surface. Svensmark and Friis-Christensen (1997) examined the compiled International Satellite Cloud Climatology Project (ISCCP) data. In Figure 4 from Svensmark and Friis-Christensen (1997) is shown the 12 months running mean of the total cloud cover (thick line) together with the 12 months running mean values of cosmic ray intensity measured at the Climax Neutron Monitor station, Colorado. The correlation between the cosmic ray flux and the global cloud cover is 0.93 for the 12 months running means. [In other words, there is a very, very high correlation between solar activity and cloud cover.]

The effect is larger at higher latitudes in agreement with the increased shielding effect of the Earth’s magnetic field at low latitudes. For latitudes excluding the tropics the correlation increases to even 0.97. [That's even higher!] Svensmark and Friis-Christensen (1997) emphasize that a large seasonal variation exists in the unfiltered monthly average cloud data probably due to the North-South asymmetry in ocean coverage. This effect could account for an apparent slight but not significant time lag of the cosmic ray data relative to the cloud data.

Fig.4 Variation of total cloud cover and cosmic ray flux observed at Climax. (Svensmark and Friis-Christensen, 1997).

The amount of the decrease of cloud cover is considerable. The satellite data documented a decrease of 3% in global cloud cover from the solar minimum around 1987 to the solar maximum around 1990. The effect of a decrease of cloud cover would be dependent on the type of clouds that are affected. A decrease of high clouds would result in lower temperatures while a decrease in the low-altitude clouds would mean an increase in temperature (Manabe and Wetherald, 1967).On the average a decrease in the various cloud types will mean a warming.

The effect of a 3% decrease in cloud cover is believed to represent a global warming corresponding to 1-1.5 Wm-2 (Rossow and Cairns, 1995). Compared to the 0.1% change in solar irradiance during the same interval which corresponds to 0.25 Wm-2 when taking into account the effect of the albedo of the Earth, the mechanism is therefore stronger by a factor of possibly 6. With this amount the solar forcing of long-term variations in global temperature seems plausible and a number of the reported correlations between solar activity variations and climate may then be immediately explainable.

More solar irradiance, more solar flares, less cloud cover equals more global warming. There are no SUVs on the sun. It doesn't care a patootie about its carbon footprint. It is beyond the control of the Democratic Congress and the greenie movement.

But I forget. The debate on global warming is over. Sigh.

Hat-tip: Greenie Watch

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