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Sunspot Theory Attacked At Copenhagen

From the UK’s Independent:

Sunspots do not cause climate change, say scientists

Key claim of global warming sceptics debunked

By Steve Connor, Science Editor

Monday, 14 December 2009

Leading experts say solar cycles cannot account for current global warming

Leading scientists, including a Nobel Prize-winner, have rounded on studies used by climate sceptics to show that global warming is a natural phenomenon connected with sunspots, rather than the result of the man-made emissions of carbon dioxide.

The researchers – all experts in climate or solar science – have told The Independent that the scientific evidence continually cited by sceptics to promote the idea of sunspots being the cause of global warming is deeply flawed.

Studies published in 1991 and 1998 claimed to establish a link between global temperatures and solar activity – sunspots – and continue to be cited by climate sceptics, including those who attended an "alternative" climate conference in Copenhagen last week.

However, problems with the data used to establish the correlation have been identified by other experts and the flaws are now widely accepted by the scientific community, even though the studies continue to be used to support the idea that global warming is "natural".

The issue has gained new importance in the light of opinion polls showing that nearly one in two people now believe global warming is a natural phenomenon unconnected with CO2 emissions. Public distrust of the accepted explanation of global warming has been exacerbated by emails leaked from the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, which appeared to suggest that scientists were engaged in a conspiracy to suppress contrarian views.

Many sceptics who accept that global temperatures have risen in recent decades suggest it is part of the climate’s natural variability and could be accounted for by normal variations in the activity of the Sun. Powerful support for this idea came in 1991 when Eigil Friis-Christensen, director of the Danish National Space Centre, published a study showing a remarkable correlation between global warming and the length of sunspot cycles.

A further study published in 1998 by Mr Friis-Christensen and his colleague Henrik Svensmark suggested a possible explanation for the warming trend with a link between solar activity, cosmic rays and the formation of clouds.

However, many scientists now believe both of these studies are seriously flawed, and that when errors introduced into the analysis are removed, the correlations disappear, with no link between sunspots and global warming. Peter Laut, a former adviser to the Danish Energy Agency who first identified the flaws, said there were practically no observations to support the idea that variations in sunspots played more than a minor role in global warming.

Mr Laut’s analysis of the flaws is accepted by most scientists familiar with the research, including Paul Crutzen, an atmospheric chemist at the Max Planck Institute in Germany, who won a Nobel Prize for his work on understanding the hole in the ozone layer. "There is definitely a problem [with these studies]. Laut has really pinned it down but the [sunspot] argument keeps reappearing and its quite irritating," Professor Crutzen said.

Professor Stefan Rahsmstorf, of Potsdam University, agreed: "I’ve looked into this quite closely and I’m on Laut’s side in terms of his analysis of the data."

Some scientists believe the flaws are so serious that the papers should be retracted or at least the authors should acknowledge that their work contains problems that question the correlations they have apparently established.

"Their controversial papers must be retracted or at least that there will be an official statement by them acknowledging their mistake," said Andre Berger, honorary president of the European Geosciences Union.

Messrs Svensmark and Friis-Christensen stand by their studies and continue to believe there is evidence to support their sunspot theory of global warming, despite the doubts first raised by Laut.

"It’s not a critique of the science or the correlations, it’s a critique of person," Mr Friis-Christensen said. "It’s a character assassination. [Laut] is not interested in the science, he’s interested in promoting the idea Henrik did something unethical."

Where are the flaws in Mr. Friis-Christensen work? Why are they not mentioned in the article, or even hinted at? And why has it taken eleven years to find these supposed errors?

How complicated could it be?

There have either been sunspots or there have not been. (They are fairly large, so you would think there isn’t much room for disagreement.)

And the number of sunspots either correlate to the fluctuations in earth’s temperatures over the years or they don’t.

This theory seems to be quite easy to disprove if it is wrong. So why are we told what disproves it?

And how funny it is to hear talk like this, coming as it does after the revelation of the CRU emails.

Once again we are supposed to believe the experts because they are experts:

Leading experts say solar cycles cannot account for current global warming

In the history of science, the ‘scientific method’ really arose in response to such ‘arguments from authority.’

Up until then ‘science’ used to be: well Aristotle said, so and so. Or, according to Ptolemy the heavenly bodies move in this fashion.

But along came people like Descartes, Francis Bacon and Galileo who thought such assertions needed to be substantiated They said “prove it.” And the scientific method was born.

Ironically, all we are seeing with the global warming crowd are ‘arguments from authority.’

And every mainstream media says AGW must be true because so many ‘authorities’ have said it is so. 1,700 scientists say it’s real. Descartes, Bacon and Galileo would be appalled.

But the sad truth is that there will never be a debate at Copenhagen or any of these Warmer conventions about the basic scientific basis for their belief in man-made global warming.

It would be like the Roman Catholic church allowing a debate on the divinity of Jesus Christ.

Though, to be fair to the church, there is a lot more evidence for Christ’s divinity than there is for man-made global warming.

This article was posted by Steve on Monday, December 14th, 2009. Comments are currently closed.

3 Responses to “Sunspot Theory Attacked At Copenhagen”

  1. Liberals Demise says:

    Well …. that settles it.
    After 600 years of science forging ahead and we land a man on the moon, these asshats insist the world is flat!

  2. proreason says:

    I’m not a scientist so the observation that weather seems significantly affected by the Sun must be wrong.

    Likewise, the observation that the internal heat of the Earth, as manifested most obviously by volcanoes, seems significant must also be wrong.

    Instead, a nearly infinistemal and mostly unmeasurable amount of the gas we exhale must be the key climate driver. Yeh. That’s the ticket.

    Now, put yourself conceptually a thousand miles above the earth. Watch the air currents that arise as the Sun rises. Watch the movement of the oceans as the moon moves in the sky. Observe the action of vocanoes and the imapact they have on the weather around them. Look at the scale of hurricanes and cyclones. See the frightening awe of thunderstorms that are active at all times all over the planet.

    And then try to find some indication of mankind. Perhaps with enough effort you will be able to see something.

    And then realize what a tiny fraction of mankind’s activities generate CO2.

    And then try to imagine how trace elements of that naturally occuring gas (we depend on it to live) compete with the Sun, the Moon, Volcanoes, and the oceans to shape the climate of the earth.

    The concept is beyond preposterous. It’s a fairy tale.

  3. pdsand says:

    You’re right Steve, I thought they invented the scientific method so that we didn’t have to depend on the consensus, or the orthodox view? Since when do scientists vote on science? And since when does such a vote matter anyway? Aren’t these smarmy jerkwads always so quick to point out that at one point everybody thought the earth was the center of the universe, until a scientist came along with a different theory and proved it wrong?


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