CLIMATE CHANGE: by Peter WestmoreNews Weekly
New research rebuts man-made global warming
, February 19, 2011
While governments and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) continue to insist that man-made CO2 emissions cause dangerous global warming, several new research studies have shown how natural forces are the most likely drivers of the Earth's climate.
|Hathaway / NASA sunspot prediction|
Dr Roy Spencer, an American climatologist, is currently US Science Team Leader for the advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer (AMSR-E) which measures the earth's temperature from NASA's Aqua satellite. This satellite captures data which allows daily calculation of the average temperature on earth. The satellite data is more reliable than terrestrial observations, because 78 per cent of the earth's surface is covered by water, and long-term land-based observations are influenced by their proximity to towns and cities, as well as by the location and number of sites.
The satellite data goes back 40 years, and the Aqua data has only been collected for the past eight years.
Dr Spencer wanted to test the climate's sensitivity to increases in cloud cover. This is an important question, as the global warming theory relies less on the direct impact of CO2 than on the effect that rising temperatures have on water vapour in the atmosphere, which influences cloud cover.
The IPCC climate models are based on the belief that there is strong positive feedback between cloud cover and global temperatures. The IPCC claims that warming of about 0.25-0.5°C every 10 years can be expected for as long as mankind continues to use fossil fuels as the primary source of energy.
But Dr Spencer's model shows that when the IPCC's figures are fed into his climate model of the oceans, the results are completely different from those observed by NASA's Aqua satellite. In order to bring his climate model into sync with the observed data required very low climate sensitivity (i.e., negative feedback) to cloud cover.
Dr Spencer said: "If this was the true feedback operating in the real climate system on the long time scales of 'global warming', it would mean that our worries over anthropogenic global warming have been, for all practical purposes, a false alarm."
Separately, a research paper published on November 30 last year in the Proceedings of the US National Academy of Science (PNAS), showed the strong sun-climate connection during the period of the Maunder Minimum (1645-1715), the long period during which there was little sunspot activity.
It has long been observed that the earth's temperature seems to rise during periods of violent solar radiation, associated with extensive sunspot activity, and, conversely, temperatures fall as sunspot activity declines.
It was originally believed that increased sunspot activity bombarded the earth with more radiation, which warmed up the earth. However, detailed measurements have shown that the rise in radiation absorbed by the earth does not account for the change in temperature.
The research supports the theory that violent sunspot activity enhances the earth's protective magnetic field, allowing fewer cosmic rays from outer space to bombard the earth. Cosmic rays have been shown to promote the formation of clouds and rain.
The PNAS paper showed that variations in cosmic radiation "seem to be causally related to the significant and widespread climate changes at least during the Maunder Minimum".
The relevance of this research is that the final decades of the 20th century were times of high solar activity and gradually rising temperatures on earth. But since the current solar cycle commenced in December 2008, solar observers have found that solar activity is far lower than expected.
In 2009, NASA's expert panel predicted that Solar Cycle 24 would "peak in May 2013 with a daily sunspot number of 90". It went on: "If the prediction proves true, Solar Cycle 24 will be the weakest cycle since number 16, which peaked at 78 daily sunspots in 1928, and ninth weakest since the 1750s, when numbered cycles began."
However, NASA's Dr David Hathaway recently updated the prediction, saying "Current prediction for the next sunspot cycle maximum gives a smoothed sunspot number maximum of about 59 in June/July of 2013. We are currently two years into Cycle 24 and the predicted size continues to fall." (January 3, 2011).
The actual observed sunspot levels are even lower than Dr Hathaway's predictions.
All this suggests that the earth is moving into one of its regular cooling phases. The glacial temperatures experienced over the past two northern winters suggest that the problem is not global warming (which the IPCC admits has not increased since 1998), but global cooling, accompanied by freezing winters and lower food production.