Tag Archives: environmentalism

Sunspot update: The deep minimum continues

Last week NOAA updated its graph for tracking the monthly activity of sunspots on the Sun’s visible hemisphere. Below is that updated graph, annotated by me to show the past and new solar cycle predictions.

April 2020 sunspot activity

The graph above has been modified to show the predictions of the solar science community for both the previous and upcoming solar maximums. The green curves show the community’s two original predictions from April 2007 for the previous maximum, with half the scientists predicting a very strong maximum and half predicting a weak one. The blue curve is their revised May 2009 prediction. The red curve is the new prediction, first posted by NOAA in April 2020.

Because of the design of this graph, revamped by NOAA in April, it is difficult at this scale — which for context shows both the past cycle and the predicted future cycle — to see the addition of the April sunspot total, when compared to last month’s graph. Trust me, it is there. In April sunspot activity went up, but trivially so, with only four sunspots during the month, three of which had a magnetic polarity assigning them to the next solar maximum.

The solar minimum remains very deep, deeper than the very deep previous minimum, and possibly the least active in two hundred years. The presence however of more sunspots for the new cycle strengthens the expectation that we will not be entering a grand minimum, with no sunspots for decades. It just appears that, as predicted, the next solar maximum will be a very weak one.

How this weak activity will effect the climate remains an unknown. In the past, such as the weak maximum that just ended as well as during past weak maximums at the beginning of the 1800s and the 1900s, the Earth’s climate cooled. It also cooled during the Little Ice Age in the 1600s, during the last grand minimum.

Whether the same will happen in the next decade remains unknown. Global warming activists will claim impossible, we are all going to die from overheating. The data for the past decade proves them wrong, though in the coming years they might be vindicated.

All we can do is wait, pay attention to the data, and make our conclusions from that.

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The epidemic model that panicked the world was junk

A software engineer has done a careful fact-based analysis of the code that runs the computer model of now disgraced and fired Neil Ferguson of Imperial College in London — the computer model that had predicted millions would die in mere weeks from COVID-19 and thus triggered the worldwide panic over it — and found that it is buggy, unreliable, produces different results with the same data, and often does so for completely irrelevant factors (such as simply running it on different computers).

Hat tip Rand Simberg at Transterrestrial Musings.

The conclusion from this software engineer:

All papers based on this code should be retracted immediately. Imperial’s modelling efforts should be reset with a new team that isn’t under Professor Ferguson, and which has a commitment to replicable results with published code from day one.

On a personal level, I’d go further and suggest that all academic epidemiology be defunded. This sort of work is best done by the insurance sector. Insurers employ modellers and data scientists, but also employ managers whose job is to decide whether a model is accurate enough for real world usage and professional software engineers to ensure model software is properly tested, understandable and so on. Academic efforts don’t have these people, and the results speak for themselves.

The second paragraph applies equally to all computer modeling in the climate field, which has been repeatedly found to have similar problems.

Science should be based on data, from the field, not models predicting that data. Models have a minor use as a guide, but it is beyond dangerous to depend on them in any manner at all. Had our politicians relied on the available data when COVID-19 first started to spread, instead of these fake models, they would not have panicked, and would have instead done what they should have, focused on protecting the elderly and the sick, the only part of the population under serious threat.

Similarly, had the public and the press ignored these bad models and focused on that same data, they too would not have been frozen in fear, and would have demanded a more rational approach to the epidemic.

I know I have been repeating myself on this subject, but it must be driven home. The modelers are unreliable. The modelers are often driven by political agendas, not the facts. The modelers must not be relied upon for any long term policy.

Repeat this mantra to yourself, over and over again. It should sound a warning in your brain every time you read another article predicting doomsday from something, from global warming, from sea level rise, from the ozone hole, from some disease, from any crises these frauds want to latch onto.

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Arctic ozone hole closes

The uncertainty of science: The largest ozone hole ever detected over the north pole has now closed.

After looming above the Arctic for nearly a month, the single largest ozone hole ever detected over the North Pole has finally closed, researchers from the European Union’s Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS) reported. “The unprecedented 2020 Northern Hemisphere ozone hole has come to an end,” CAMS researchers tweeted on April 23.

The hole in the ozone layer — a portion of Earth’s atmosphere that shields the planet from ultraviolet radiation — first opened over the Arctic in late March when unusual wind conditions trapped frigid air over the North Pole for several weeks in a row. Those winds, known as a polar vortex, created a circular cage of cold air that led to the formation of high-altitude clouds in the region. The clouds mixed with man-made pollutants like chlorine and bromine, eating away at the surrounding ozone gas until a massive hole roughly three times the size of Greenland opened in the atmosphere, according to a statement from the European Space Agency (ESA). [emphasis mine]

Note that the north pole hole occurred because of unusually frigid and cold conditions, something I thought we were never going to see again because of global warming.

The last paragraph of the article at the link reveals a lot of ignorance by its writer, Brandon Specktor, where he discusses the south pole ozone hole. First, he says it “has existed for roughly four decades.” Wrong. The south pole ozone hole was first detected in the 1950s, and has likely existed every winter for eons.

Next, he wonders if it is “starting to close.” Wrong. That ozone hole opens every winter and closes every summer, like clockwork. When winter arrives and the south pole is in darkness, oxygen molecules are no longer being ionized by sunlight and thus there is a drop in the production of ozone, producing the hole. When sunlight begins hitting the upper atmosphere in the spring it starts ionizing oxygen molecules again to produce ozone, and the hole goes away.

Then he notes that scientists hope the hole will “heal” and forever disappear by 2050. Wrong. The data says instead that the south pole ozone hole is a natural phenomenon that occurs every winter. It is not a wound against the earth.

Finally, he claims that the south pole ozone hole exists almost entirely because of us evil humans, first because of global warming and second because until 1987 we put ozone-depleting pollutants into the atmosphere. Wrong. As I said, the ozone hole is almost entirely a natural phenomenon, caused each winter because sunlight is no longer hitting the upper atmosphere above Antarctica and thus oxygen molecules are no longer being ionized into ozone. Those pollutants might have made it slightly larger in the late 20th century, but then, that theory has a problem, as most of those pollutants were released in the northern hemisphere, where they would have little or no interaction with the atmosphere of the southern hemisphere. (The atmospheres of the two hemispheres are largely independent.) Yet it was only in the south that we have generally seen an ozone hole

I predict, very confidently, that come 2050 climate scientists will discover, “unexpectedly”, that the south pole ozone hole has not “closed” or “healed”, but continues to reappear, each winter. And they will have by then discovered that depending on circumstances, a north pole ozone hole also appears during some colder winters, which despite their repeatedly failed predictions of global warming will likely continue to happen.

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Global warming crowd demands censorship of documentary by Michael Moore

They’re coming for you next: The global warming activist crowd is now demanding that a documentary about the green movement by leftist Michael Moore be censored, removed from any venue so that no one can see it.

The film, Planet of the Humans, was released on the eve of Earth Day last week by its producer, Michael Moore, the baseball cap-wearing documentarian known for Fahrenheit 9/11 and Bowling for Columbine. Describing itself as a “full-frontal assault on our sacred cows”, the film argues that electric cars and solar energy are unreliable and rely upon fossil fuels to function. It also attacks figures including Al Gore for bolstering corporations that push flawed technologies over real solutions to the climate crisis.

Planet of the Humans has provoked a furious reaction from scientists and campaigners, however, who have called for it be taken down. One distributor, Films for Action, temporarily took down the film after describing it as “full of misinformation”, though they later reinstated it, saying they did not want accusations of censorship to give the film “more power and mystique than it deserves.”

I have zero sympathy for Moore himself, as he has called for similar censorship of conservatives and scientists whose opinions or conclusions he doesn’t like. However, this effort to censor him, a star in the leftist firmament, illustrates well the totalitarian nature of the left and the global warming crowd. It is the same approach revealed in the climategate emails, where Michael Mann and other global warming scientists teamed up to try to get people fired and careers ruined because those individuals expressed skepticism about human-caused global warming.

The goal of the global-warming crowd has never been to save the planet. Their goal has always been power, and this story proves it once again.

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Large ozone hole forms over northern hemisphere for first time

The uncertainty of science: For the first time since the 1980s, when scientists were first able to track the ozone layer and discovered the appearance of a winter ozone zone hole above Antarctica, scientists have detected the formation of a large winter ozone hole over the northern hemisphere.

The Arctic, which has more variable temperatures, doesn’t usually see the same ozone-depleting conditions, the researchers said. But this year, powerful winds trapped cold air in a “polar vortex” above the Arctic. That led to colder temperatures and more high-altitude clouds than normal. Hence, North Pole ozone-depletion began.

Fortunately, with the sun slowly getting higher over the Arctic, atmospheric temperatures are already beginning to increase, which means the conditions causing the ozone hole should soon change, the researchers said. However, if the hole continues to expand south, Arctic residents — like those living in southern Greenland — may need to apply sunscreen to prevent UV damage.

The article, as is usual for this topic, is filled with some ignorant assumptions about the south pole ozone hole that mirror similar ignorant assumptions related to global warming.

First, it assumes that one of the prime causes of the south pole ozone hole was the use of certain chemicals in spray cans, banned in 1987. This theory however was never proven, and had some very serious holes of its own. For example, the atmospheres of the northern and southern atmospheres are largely independent of each other. Almost all spray can use was in the northern hemisphere. Yet there no ozone hole occurred. No one has ever explained how northern hemisphere pollution only caused an ozone hole in the southern hemisphere.

Second, we have no data on the long term history of that south pole ozone hole prior to the 1980s. To assume human activity had caused it to suddenly appear in the 1980s was so large an assumption as to be ridiculous. More likely it was a normal winter event, on-going for eons, caused because the lack or reduction of sunlight hitting that layer prevented the ionization of oxygen molecules that turns them into ozone. Thus, no sunlight, no ozone, and you get a hole.

Third, though that south pole ozone hole has shown a 1% to 3% shrinkage, per decade, since the 1987 ban, that does not fit with what had been predicted in the 1980s when environmentalists pushed for the ban. Then, the hole was supposedly caused entirely by the spray cans, and once banned the hole would quickly dissipate. This very slow shrinkage seems instead nothing more than a long term variation of a normal yearly event.

Fourth, if banning the spray can chemicals would eliminate the ozone hole, why do we suddenly see a new hole in the northern hemisphere, decades after the chemicals were banned?

All in all, the data suggests that the ban was largely irrelevant to the comings and goings of the ozone layer. It might have been a good thing, but no one really knows.

But don’t worry. I guarantee some climate modeler will come along soon and tell us that this new hole was obviously caused by some new evil human activity, and demand that we ban it. It seems that is what our modern “science” modelers do.

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Sunspot update: tiny uptick in March activity

UPDATE: In doing some analysis and prep work for future updates, I have discovered that the graph below is in error in its placement of the prediction for the next solar maximum in 2025. I have revised the graph below to note the error. On April 6, 2020 I posted an updated graph.

My original post:
—————————
This week NOAA unveiled a major revamping of the graph it has used for the past decade-plus to show the monthly progression of the sunspot cycle, and that I have been using since the start of this website to do my monthly sunspot updates.

Overall they did a very nice job. The new graph not only shows the present state of the cycle, but it allows you to zoom in or out on this cycle as well as all sunspot cycles going back to 1750, about the time the sunspot cycle was first recognized and the sunspot count became reliable.

The new graph also includes a new more precise prediction for the upcoming solar cycle, forecasting the peak in 2025, higher than the weak solar maximum that has just passed. I have taken the old graph (see my last update on March 12, 2020) and revised it to place this new prediction in context with the previous cycle. I have also added the March sunspot numbers to it.
» Read more

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Sunspot update: The flatline resumes

NOAA this week released its February update of its monthly graph showing the long term sunspot activity of the Sun. Below is my monthly version, annotated as I have done every month since 2011.

After a tiny uptick in sunspot activity in January, the Sun resumed the unprecedented flatlining of sunspot activity that began last June. Since then, the Sun has produced practically no sunspots, a drought that as far as I can tell has never happened since the 11-year sunspot cycle resumed in the 1700s (after the grand minimum in the 1600s) and astronomers began counting sunspots.

February 2020 sunspot activity
The graph above has been modified to show the predictions of the solar science community for the previous solar maximum. The green curves show the community’s two original predictions from April 2007, with half the scientists predicting a very strong maximum and half predicting a weak one. The red curve is their revised May 2009 prediction, extended in November 2018 four years into the future.

February saw only one sunspot, and it belonged to the old solar cycle. It also occurred at the beginning of the month, and was followed by 33-day streak of blankness, into the middle of March, when a sunspot from the new cycle appeared and quickly faded.

The continuing overall lack of sunspots, from either the old or new cycle, does not mean that we are entering a new grand minimum, with no sunspots for decades (though some scientists believe we are). It does suggest however that the next solar maximum will be weak, and very likely weaker than the very weak maximum that just ended.

Why the Sun does this remains a mystery. Scientists really have no fundamental understanding of the magnetic processes that produce the Sun’s sunspot cycles. And since that cycle appears to have some effect on the Earth’s climate, it also means scientists do not yet have a fundamental understanding of the climate either.

Not that this lack of knowledge matters anymore. We are in an age of panic and certainty, based on emotion and feelings. All that matters is that many people feel they understand the climate and how the Sun works, just as everyone is sure that COVID-19 will destroy the world if we don’t shut down all human activity.

They are certain, and any additional data that illustrates that certainty is unwarranted is irrelevant and must be ignored.

Certainty however is a very dangerous thing. The universe is always more complicated than we know, and to assume we now understand all without doubt leaves us very vulnerable to some bad surprises, as well as the chance we will take actions that are foolish, inappropriate, and even downright evil.

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The modern blacklist in climate science

Link here. This story, which outlines the effort by global warming scientists to blacklist any scientist who expresses skepticism about human-caused global warming, is really not news. This odious effort was documented more than a decade ago in the climategate emails, where people like Michael Mann and others revealed their attempts to block publication of any papers by such skeptics.

The horrible part of the story however is how the blacklist effort has grown in fury and effectiveness since those climategate emails were released. Instead of being outraged that these scientists were warping peer review, the climate field rallied around them in support. Now, not only do global warmists try to block publication by any skeptics, they now work to deny them funding and to get them fired from their jobs.

And they have been increasingly successful. Do not expect any really honest science to come from the climate field for years to come. It has created for itself a very secure bubble. Nothing can challenge its work, even when that work involves data tampering and falsification.

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Building an artificial pond

An evening pause: This engineering not only illustrates the human ability to develop complex technology, it also illustrates how difficult it can be to accomplish what nature does naturally. Think about this the next time you hear someone talking about terraforming Mars.

Hat tip Cotour.

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Jeff Bezos to spend $10 billion on “climate change”

Jeff Bezos yesterday announced that he plans to spend $10 billion of his own money on “climate change,” awarding grants to “scientists, activists and nonprofits.”

“I want to work alongside others both to amplify known ways and to explore new ways of fighting the devastating impact of climate change,” Bezos said in the post.

I wonder if has any idea what he means by “climate change.” From this and other quotes, I would guess he does not. Instead, it appears his knowledge of the climate field is similar to most leftist politicians and activists, superficial and based on slogans and soundbite claims.

Meanwhile, this story suggests that a good portion of the $4.6 billion he has gotten by cashing out his Amazon stock in the past few years will go to this initiative, rather than his space company Blue Origin.

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Scientists admit worst case global warming prediction won’t happen

The uncertainty of science: In a commentary published in the science journal Nature last week, a scientist admitted that the worse case global warming prediction, cited more the 2,500 times in the literature and a favorite of politicians and global warming activists, is not likely to happen and should no longer be referenced.

What is surprising here is not the discovery that this climate computer model doesn’t work, but that Nature was willing to publish the admission, and that this scientist, who still fears human-caused global warming, was willing to write it. The major science journals have in recent years taken sides in this scientific field, advocating the theory that increased carbon dioxide will cause the climate to warm, something no journal should ever do.

The article however has this quote that clearly illustrates the uncertainties of all climate predictions:

Scientists are still uncertain as to how sensitive global temperatures are to a doubling of CO2 in the atmosphere. The value, known as the Charney Sensitivity still isn’t known for certain, over 40 years after it was first introduced in 1979 by the United States National Academy of Sciences and chaired by Jule Charney. He estimated climate sensitivity to be 3 °C (5.4 °F), give or take 1.5 °C (2.7 °F).

Without knowing the true climate warming response to increased CO2, essentially all climate models become a crap-shoot. It is a glaring illustration of just how imprecise climate science actually is.

Note that this area of ignorance is only one of many. We don’t know the influence of pollution on the climate. We don’t know the influence of the Sun on the climate. And we don’t know the influence of clouds on the climate. And I could go on.

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The terrible consequences of NOAA’s data tampering

Link here.

In 2017 Tony Heller broke the story of how NOAA and NASA have been routinely adjusting their historic global temperature records to cool the past and warm the present in order to create the illusion that the climate is warming, far more than it is.

The post by Heller at the link above focuses in on how that tampering, which erased from the temperature data the record-hot year of 1934, is then used by both NOAA and NASA to claim each year for the past decade was the hottest ever.

The raw data however tells a far different story. The raw data from 1934, as reported amply at the time, recorded big heat waves and murderous droughts and extensive dust storms, all far more extreme than anything we have experienced in the past decade. Moreover, that raw data matches well with public news stories, and also matches well with all the published science prior to the 2000s.

Since then, however, intellectual honesty and the real scientific method has been replaced by an agenda-driven political manipulations. Having 1934 be the hottest year ever cannot stand, especially if present temperatures do not exceed that year’s records. Global warming demands a correction!

The nicest interpretation we can give to these adjustments is that the scientists are innocently engaged in confirmation bias. They believe the Earth is warming due to increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, and thus they must find evidence of that warming, even if it requires data adjustments to past record-hot years like 1934, adjustments that they then rationalize as necessary and scientifically justified.

More likely, they have decided that their political agenda to prove human-caused global warming requires them to be intellectually dishonest and the falsify the global temperature record. If so, this is a tragedy beyond words, as it signals that the revolution in human thought that began with the Renaissance and Galileo and was reinforced and cemented by the Enlightenment and Francis Bacon, has now ended.

That revolution made possible a burst of human creativity and civilization that lasted more than five hundred years. The consequences for future generations should that revolution be rejected now cannot be good.

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Sunspot update: A tiny burst of activity that might mean something

On February 3, 2020, NOAA posted its January of its monthly graph showing the long term sunspot activity of the Sun. As I have done now every month since this webpage began in 2011, it is posted below, with annotations:

After seven months of practically no sunspot activity, the longest such stretch in probably a century, January had a tiny burst of activity, breaking that string. Of the month’s four sunspots, two had a polarity from the old solar cycle, two from the new.

January 2020 sunspot activity
The graph above has been modified to show the predictions of the solar science community for the previous solar maximum. The green curves show the community’s two original predictions from April 2007, with half the scientists predicting a very strong maximum and half predicting a weak one. The red curve is their revised May 2009 prediction, extended in November 2018 four years into the future.

Despite their low number and general weakness, the continuing appearance of sunspots with polarities aligned with the new cycle strongly indicates that we will have a solar maximum in the next five years, not a grand minimum lasting decades that some scientists are predicting. While the year is young and it is certainly too soon to trust any trends, the fact that January saw an increase in activity over the past seven months suggests that we might have passed the low point of the minimum. We shall find out this year.

It must be remembered that the uncertainties in this field of science remain gigantic. No one really understands why the Sun’s magnetic dynamo goes through these cycles and flips in polarity. No one really understands why it produces sunspots as it does. And no one for sure yet knows exactly how the Sun’s cyclical behavior directly effects the climate. We only have circumstantial evidence, some of which can be legitimately questioned.

What is certain is that we don’t know very much, and are always in error when we forget this fact. Remember this always when some politician or scientist claims the science is settled or certain, and they know without doubt what is going to happen. They are either lying, fooling themselves, or are simply fools. In any case, such certainty in science should never be trusted.

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Residents recycle, Baltimore throws it out

The fantasy world of environmentalism: For the last seven years Baltimore County in Maryland has been throwing out its recycled glass, even though it still demands its residents separate it and put it in their recycling bins.

Over the weekend, news broke that the county—which does not include the City of Baltimore—has not been recycling the glass it’s been collecting as part of its recycling program. For the past seven years, the jars and bottles that residents dutifully placed in their blue bins have been being junked instead. “There are numerous issues with glass recycling, including increased presence of shredded paper in recycling streams which contaminates materials and is difficult to separate from broken glass fragments, in addition to other limitations on providing quality material,” county spokesperson Sean Naron told The Baltimore Sun.

Glass recycling reportedly stopped in 2013, the same year the county opened a $23 million single-stream recycling facility, according to the Sun article.

Meanwhile, the rest of the recycled garbage is almost certainly being trashed as well, as China no longer takes recycled paper, plastic and other scrap materials. With no one else interested in recycling this material, municipalities across the U.S. just throw it out — after making their citizens separate it.

Sadly this is very typical. Too often environmental regulations are structured to satisfy shallow emotions to make its participants feel good, while failing to accomplish what they claim they are doing.

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No trend in hurricanes since 1970

The uncertainty of science: A new study has found no trend, up or down, in hurricanes that made landfall since the 1970s, despite many global warming predictions that said the numbers of catastrophic hurricanes would increase.

Key quote:

There are a lot of ups and downs in the data, but no obvious trends.

The scientists note that though they see no obvious trends, it is difficult to pin anything down because the variability from year to year is so great.

That large variability in occurrence means – as a simple matter of mathematics – that our ability to detect changes in tropical cyclones one or two magnitudes smaller (or more) on similar time scales is obviously made difficult, if not impossible.

So, when next you hear a global warming expert, either a teenager not attending school or a Democratic politician who doesn’t remember anything from school, claiming we are all going to die from giant hurricanes caused by human-caused global warming, remember this study. It demonstrates that those “experts” have no idea what they are talking about.

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Money finally allocated to replace signs at Glacier that say glaciers to vanish by 2020

Having gotten the budget to do so, the National Park Service is finally proceeding with removing the absurd signs at Glacier National Park that claim the glaciers would be gone by either 2020 or 2030.

They had announced the decision to fix these silly signs back in June, but didn’t yet have the budget until now.

When I visited the park with Diane in 2017, I reported on these ridiculous signs, which provided a great illustration of the routinely bad predictions of the global warming advocacy crowd. Not only were the predictions absurd and certain to be wrong, the park couldn’t make up its mind, posting signs that either predicted 2020 or 2030 as the moment when all the glaciers would be gone.

The new signs are still pretty bad, stating “When they [the glaciers] will completely disappear depends on how and when we act. One thing is consistent: the glaciers in the park are shrinking.”

This is poppy-cock. How we act is almost certainly not a factor in whether the glaciers shrink or grow, and to say this proves once again how the park service is pushing human-caused global warming, a hypothesis that remains unproven and has in fact failed in every prediction it has made.

Moreover, it is not certain that “the glaciers in the park are shrinking.” Research from 2010 to 2014 indicated that the shrinkage had ceased. I have not seen an update since, but the fact that no measurable shrinkage occurred so recently suggests that nothing is “consistent” or certain here.

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Arsonists the cause of most of Australia’s bushfires

It ain’t climate change: Police in Australia have arrested almost two hundred arsonists, suspected of the causing the bulk of the bushfires that have been sweeping the country.

Thus the cause is not global warming, an absurd claim that has been made repeatedly over the past few months by various climate scientists who in their spare time make their livings as either actors or activists. As noted in the article at the link:

Melbourne University Professor Janet Stanley, quoted in the Australian, said that the arsonists were typically young males aged 12 to 24 or older men in their 60s – generally from an unsettled background. She said, “They are often kids not succeeding in school, or they have left school early and are unemployed. The boundaries between accidentally and purposefully are unclear because many arsonists don’t plan on causing the catastrophe that occurs. Often there is not an intention to cause chaos and the penalties for accidentally lighting a fire are far less than purposefully lighting a fire.”

What is especially sad is that these actors and celebrities expect us to take them seriously, when it is very clear they haven’t faintest idea what they are talking about. Worse, news outlets seem to think their ignorant opinions are worth reporting, as if they carry real weight in the discussion.

Think about it. Why should any adult give any credence to the opinions of a teen-age girl about the science of climate when she is intentionally not attending school and therefore is intentionally not getting educated? No adult should. That so many do, including many politicians (who also known nothing about the subject), speaks volumes about the decay and childishness of our culture today.

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Sunspot update: The record flatline continues

In the month of December 2019 the Sun continued its longest stretch of overall sunspot inactivity ever recorded, reaching seven months in length. At no point since the last grand minimum in the 1600s have scientists ever seen so few sunspots over so long a time period.

Below is NOAA’s December update of its graph showing the long term sunspot activity of the Sun. As I have done now every month since this webpage began in 2011, it is posted below, with annotations:
» Read more

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Sunspot update Nov 2019: The longest flatline in centuries

The Sun is now in what appears to be the longest stretch ever recorded, since the 11-year solar sunspot cycle reactivated in the 1700s after the last grand minimum, of sunspot inactivity. This record-setting dearth of practically no sunspots has now stretched to six months in a row.

On December 8 NOAA released its November update of its graph showing the long term sunspot activity of the Sun. As I have done now every month since this webpage began in 2011, I have posted it below, with annotations:

November 2019 sunspot activity
The graph above has been modified to show the predictions of the solar science community for the previous solar maximum. The green curves show the community’s two original predictions from April 2007, with half the scientists predicting a very strong maximum and half predicting a weak one. The red curve is their revised May 2009 prediction, extended in November 2018 four years into the future.

In November the Sun saw two official sunspots (here and here) and one active area that never received an official sunspot number, with two of these three weak events having a polarity linking them to the next solar maximum.
» Read more

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Supreme Court allows Mann defamation case to proceed

The Supreme Court today ruled that the defamation suit of global warming activist Michael Mann against the National Review and the Competitive Enterprise Institute can go forward.

On Monday, the Supreme Court denied a petition by the Competitive Enterprise Institute and National Review magazine to rehear and dismiss the defamation lawsuit brought by well-known climate scientist Michael Mann. The Competitive Enterprise Institute and National Review have been fighting for years to dismiss the case before it goes to trial, but the Supreme Court’s denial means the case will move forward in D.C. district court.

The Supreme Court rejected the petition without comment. But Justice Samuel Alito, a conservative, dissented, arguing that the case addresses critical freedom of speech and freedom of the press issues.

The court has basically ruled that Mann should be allowed his day in court. Since the case stems from criticism of Mann’s shoddy climate science work, I suspect he will find himself having problems once that day arrives, as he did in Canada.

The bad part of this is that it allows Mann to achieve part of his strategy, which is to chill any criticisms of his shoddy work, out of fear he will sue and thus cost the critic a lot of money mounting a defense. No one should be allowed to use the law as a weapon to prevent criticism, especially if that criticism successfully proves the nature of that person’s very shoddy and incompetent climate research, including faking data and hiding pertinent real data.

UPDATE: I have crossed out the words above because they misconstrued my intended meaning. Mann’s effort to use the law to try to squelch opposing points of view is wrong, but in a free society we must allow him this bad behavior. If the law functions properly, his misbehavior (and shoddy science work) will become very evident with time.

By the way, did I mention that Mann’s scientific work is generally very shoddy, and not very trustworthy?

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We are not going to die from climate change

Tony Heller today published this quite thorough review of the failed climate predictions by global warming scientists/activists, while also providing a great summary of the real state of our climate.

You can disagree or question him on one point or another, but the overall data once again illustrates the uncertainty that surrounds climate science. We really do not know what is going on, and any predictions that claim we do are hogwash.

Above all, take a look at the section on the benefits of increased CO2 in the atmosphere. This data is widespread and robust, and has been confirmed by agriculturists for decades. The planet is getting greener and as a result more fertile as there has been an increase in atmospheric CO2.

Meanwhile, the fear-mongers insist the world will end in just over eleven years, based not on any real data but on their emotional desire for catastrophe.

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U.S. formally begins exit from Paris climate agreement

On Monday the Trump administration fulfilled one of Trump’s campaign promises and formally began the year-long process to exit the Paris climate agreement.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the move in a statement. “President Trump made the decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement because of the unfair economic burden imposed on American workers, businesses, and taxpayers by U.S. pledges made under the Agreement,” Pompeo said. “The United States has reduced all types of emissions, even as we grow our economy and ensure our citizens’ access to affordable energy….The U.S. approach incorporates the reality of the global energy mix,” he added, arguing “innovation and open markets” will drive emissions reductions.

There is ample data that indicates the U.S. is beating the targets of the Paris accord, even though Trump made it clear very shortly after taking office that the government would no longer require its implementation.

The article is amusing in its biased effort to provide a soapbox for every special interest (from environmentalists to Democrats) to express their horror at Trump’s decision. Like most
mainstream outlets, it devotes practically no effort to give the whole story.

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Sunspot update October 2019: Sunspot activity continues to flatline

For the fifth month in a row the Sun has produced practically no sunspots, possibly the longest such stretch since astronomers began recording the sunspot cycle in the 1700s.

This flatlining is very obvious in NOAA’s October update of its graph showing the long term sunspot activity of the Sun, released yesterday, and posted below, with annotations:

October 2019 sunspot activity
The graph above has been modified to show the predictions of the solar science community for the previous solar maximum. The green curves show the community’s two original predictions from April 2007, with half the scientists predicting a very strong maximum and half predicting a weak one. The red curve is their revised May 2009 prediction, extended in November 2018 four years into the future.

SILSO October graph

As it has done in previous four months, in October the Sun produced practically no sunspots. The graph on the right, produced by Sunspot Index and Long-term Solar Observations (SILSO), shows only one weak sunspot at the beginning of October.

Even though the previous 2008-2009 solar minimum was one of the deepest and longest ever recorded, the lack of sunspots in the past five months has significantly beaten it for inactivity, as shown on the first graph above. That previous minimum never had a period of even two months with so few sunspots. Furthermore, the Sun has now been blank 74% of the time in 2019, a record of blankness that beats the yearly record of either 2008 or 2009. If the Sun continues to be as blank as it has been for the next two months, 2019 will easily set the record for the year with the fewest sunspots ever recorded.

The big question remains: Are we heading for a grand minimum with no sunspots for decades? We still do not know. Even these unprecedented trends prove nothing, as we really do not yet have a clear understanding of why the Sun undergoes these various cycles of sunspot activity/inactivity. The Sun could still come back to life in the coming years. We can only wait and see. As I noted however in last month’s sunspot update, the arrival of a new grand minumum, the first since the 1600s, could have important consequences:

During past grand minimums there is evidence that the Earth also cooled, though the link between the two phenomenon remains circumstantial and unproven. If we see another grand minimum, and the Earth once again cools, then we might be able to finally tie these two phenomenon together.

It is essential that climate scientists pursue this question. Answering it might very well defuse the fears presently expressed by leftist politicians and the leftist press of an oncoming period of global warming.

At the same time, it might also present us with the possibility of an oncoming period of significant global cooling, during which it will be so cold that we might face crop failures (as happened in the previous grand minimum in the 1600s).

We need to know what is going on with the Sun, and its consequences for Earth, as soon as possible. Whether we can find out this solar cycle is unlikely, but a cold hard look at the data would do much to answer the question.

I wonder however if there any climate scientists around willing to do so. Questioning human-caused global warming carries great career risks. In fact, taking any position counter to the prevailing wisdom on any scientific issue appears to carry risks, as demonstrated by the experience recently when a journal decided to publish a paper that questioned modern gender politics:
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PG&E to cut power to almost a million people in California again

Welcome to Venezuela: PG&E will impose its second planned blackout today for almost a million customers in northern California, all in a vain attempt to prevent wildfires.

Leftist politicians like to blame climate change for these fires, but there is no scientific evidence for such a claim. Instead, the evidence points to the policies of those very leftist politicians, who have been micromanaging PG&E for almost a decade, preventing it from doing proper maintenance, while also forbidding the clearing of brush from state lands.

If you live in California be warned. This is only a taste of what your dismal future is going to be, especially as I see no sign that the voters have any intention of firing these politicians. If anything, election trends have been to give them more power.

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Polar bear researcher fired for being a global warming skeptic

They’re coming for you next: The academic whose ground-breaking research on the surging population of polar bears disproved the hysterical claims of global warming activists has been fired by her university.

After 15 years as an adjunct assistant professor, Ms. Crockford said the University of Victoria rejected without explanation in May her renewal application, despite her high profile as a speaker and author stemming from her widely cited research on polar bears and dog domestication.

Ms. Crockford accused officials at the Canadian university of bowing to “outside pressure,” the result of her research showing that polar bear populations are stable and even thriving, not plummeting as a result of shrinking Arctic sea ice, defying claims of the climate change movement.

Her dismissal, which she announced Wednesday in a post on her Polar Bear Science blog, has spurred alarm over the implications for academic freedom and the rise of the “cancel culture” for professors and scientists who challenge climate catastrophe predictions. “When push came to shove, UVic threw me under the bus rather than stand up for my academic freedom,” said Ms. Crockford, who earned a Ph.D. in interdisciplinary studies, specifically biology and anthropology, in 2004.

I have cited her work a number of times previously, as have many others. This article by her on her own website is most pertinent: Baffin Bay and Kane Basin polar bears not ‘declining’ concludes new report.

The 2016 Scientific Working Group report on Baffin Bay and Kane Basin polar bears was released online without fanfare last week, confirming what local Inuit have been saying for years: contrary to the assertions of Polar Bear Specialist Group scientists, Baffin Bay and Kane Basin subpopulations have not been declining but are stable.

It seems the university got a complaint that her work had “a lack of balance” and was therefore not spouting the proper political agenda. She was also attacked by a group of global warming scientists, including Michael Mann, for her work, an attack that former Georgia Tech climate scientist Judith Curry called “absolutely the stupidest paper I have ever seen published.”

Crockford is not the first scientist pushed out of our modern fascist academia for refusing to toe the line. Nor will she be the last. Today’s universities are anything but an intellectual community, and anyone there who tries to express a dissenting view from today’s leftist orthodoxy is almost guaranteed to have his or her head cut off.

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500 climate scientists challenge the UN on global warming

On September 23, 2019 letter, five hundred established scientists from across the globe told the United Nations that there is no climate emergency and that it as yet far from certain that human activity is warming the climate.

I should have reported this when it happened, but missed it until today. The letter made six main points:

  • Nature as well as anthropogenic factors cause warming
  • Warming is far slower than predicted
  • Climate policy relies on inadequate models
  • Carbon dioxide is “plant food, the basis of all life on Earth”
  • Global warming has not increased natural disasters
  • Climate policy must respect scientific and economic realities

None of these points is radical or unreasonable. Regular readers of this website will recognize all six, as I have been repeating them all incessantly for almost a decade. They fit into standard scientific practice, which requires solid, reliable, and confirmed data before any theory can be accepted wholesale. None of the models, based on the theory that the rise in carbon dioxide is causing the climate to warm, have worked. As far as we know now, CO2 might have nothing or little to do with climate change. We. just. don’t. know.

Not surprisingly, the letter was immediately attacked by global warming activist Michael Mann (who still tries to pose as a climate scientist though very few buy it). Rather than rationally question these points with data, he simply made an ad hominem attack, calling the letter “craven and stupid” while implying that anyone who signed it was beyond evil.

Worse, the UN itself decided to ignore the letter, instead pushing forward with its global warming agenda designed to destroy capitalism and make us all as poor as the citizens of Venezuela, all in the name of a scientific theory that no one has been able to prove, in any way at all.

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California’s first cubesat to be named after Jerry Brown

O boy! This week California’s Democratic governor Gavin Newsom announced that not only will he go forward with building a climate cubesat but he want to name it after the previous Democratic governor, Jerry Brown.

Newsom said Tuesday that he intended to honor his predecessor by attaching his name to a satellite that would gather information on climate change, one of Brown’s overriding interests during his second stint as governor from 2011-19.

While Newsom didn’t set a date for the launch, he said it is just a start for the state’s venture into outer space. “This is one of many we’ll launch,” Newsom said during a speech Tuesday at a San Francisco conference on technology and climate change, sponsored by Planet, a local company that provides satellite imaging. “We’ll collect real-time data” on things like fires, land use, carbon concentrations and other information connected to environmental health, the governor said.

I’m so glad California has the money for this, rather than schools or roads or brush-clearing to prevent wildfires or any number of silly things that are the fundamental responsibility of state governments. It shows their priorities are focused, that they know that only thing that matters is climate change (and honoring Democratic politicians), rather than providing basic services to their citizens.

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Sunspot update Sept 2019:
The blankest Sun in decades

With the release yesterday by NOAA of its September update of its graph showing the long term sunspot activity of the Sun, we find ourselves in what might be the longest stretch of sunspot inactivity in decades, part of what might become the most inactive solar minimum in centuries.

In the last four months the Sun has produced practically no sunspots. There were two in June, two in July, and one in August. The September graph, posted below with additional annotations by me to give it context, shows that the past month was as weak as August, with only one sunspot again.

September 2019 sunspot activity

The graph above has been modified to show the predictions of the solar science community for the previous solar maximum. The green curves show the community’s two original predictions from April 2007, with half the scientists predicting a very strong maximum and half predicting a weak one. The red curve is their revised May 2009 prediction, extended in November 2018 four years into the future.

The 2008-2009 solar minimum was one of the deepest and longest ever recorded. Yet, it never produced a stretch of four months with so few sunspots, as shown in the graph above. Moreover, during that minimum the Sun was blank 71% of the time in 2008 and 73% of the time in 2009 (a record). Right now, with almost three months to go in 2019, the Sun has already been blank 73% of time, with every indication that it will top that number before the year is out.

Furthermore, the trend continues to suggest we are heading for a period of very few sunspots. Though one of the six sunspots seen since June 1 had a polarity that belonged to the next solar cycle, we have seen no further such next-cycle sunspots since July. There was one active region on October 6 with a next solar cycle polarity, but it was never able to gather enough magnetic energy to mature into a sunspot.

As I noted in my July 8 sunspot update,
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September 20, 2019 Zimmerman/Batchelor podcast

Embedded below the fold in two parts. The second segment especially is worth listening to because I give an excellent summary of the failed predictions of climate disaster for the past half century. “They have a perfect track record, these predictions: They have all been wrong. Every. single. one.”
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