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The ClimArc Archives

Now moved to Brindabella Archives at this site



Not long ago, like many others, I thought it was likely that the carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted by burning fossil fuels was building up in the Earth's atmosphere and causing the increased global temperatures experienced over the last century. Being a scientist, trained to base my views on data rather than the opinions of others, I started to look deeper. The more I looked, the less certain I became.

The only relevant data we have is the small rise in temperatures the Earth has experienced over the last two centuries – about 1 to 2 Cº – and rising CO2 levels. I eventually came to the conclusion that the temperature increase was just the ending of The Little Ice Age – an historical fact – and we were in what the historians have called a ‘climate optima’ like the previous Medieval, Roman, and Minoan warm periods when humans, and Life on Earth generally, thrived.

Looking at the Earth's carbon cycle, it became obvious that the mere 1% we have added with our total industrial era emissions was not upsetting the carbon cycle and that other factors were determining atmospheric CO2 levels.

I was also surprised to realise how little public discussion and serious debate this issue had received, given the extreme measures that were being proposed. We were being told by the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that we had to ‘decarbonise’ our energy use – a massively costly act of deliberate self-harm if not justifiable. There are two links in the chain of logic that supported this conclusion. The first was that our industrial CO2 emissions were the primary cause of increasing atmospheric CO2. The second link was that the amount of carbon dioxide in the Earth's atmosphere controlled surface temperatures.

I am now convinced that the IPCC is wrong on both counts, and that the counter-measures the UN have pushed on us are ill-considered and failing. Those countries that have pursued this course are now facing industrially crippling energy prices and supply uncertainty. We need to act quickly to prevent further damage.

My latest research is summarised in the article Radiative Delay in Context. Its abstract reads:

It is said that radiative gasses (RGs, or greenhouse gasses) trap heat radiated from the Earth's surface causing it’s temperature to rise by 33 K above the theoretical temperature with no atmosphere. The word ‘trap’ is misleading. RGs delay the radiative transmission of heat from surface to space.
I estimate this delay and conclude that its average impact on atmospheric temperatures, the Radiative Delay Effect (RDE), is in the order of 0.15 [0.1 to 1] K. This result is then placed in the broader context of atmospheric thermodynamics where it complements recent work on the air-surface interaction. The combination leaves no significant role for carbon dioxide.

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The IPCC and the Carbon Cycle

We are told by the IPCC that CO2 emissions from burning fossil fuels are causing atmospheric CO2 levels to rise and that these are causing global warming. Of the two links in this chain of reasoning this article addresses the first.

I show that the IPCC view of the carbon cycle is fundamentally flawed in many ways, and is not supportable at any meaningful level of confidence. This is not esoteric science to be left to specialists or ‘great minds’. Any numerate person who cares to look and think can understand the insignificance of our total industrial era CO2 emissions at less than 1% of the carbon cycle and our annual emissions at just 5% of the air-sea fluxes.

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This article looks at the energy dynamics of the Earth's atmosphere. Since the role of radiative gasses has become a political issue that is undermining the stability of industrial economies and denying the many benefits of cheap and reliable energy to billions of people, the precise nature of the energy dynamics of our atmosphere has become a trillion dollar question.

It shows a new derivation for the adiabatic temperature lapse rate in the atmosphere.
It also points to a possible explanation for why the Earth's water thermostat cuts in so suddenly at 30 Cº.

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The IPCC and the Carbon Cycle

We are told by the IPCC that CO2 emissions from burning fossil fuels are causing atmospheric CO2 levels to rise and that these are causing global warming. Of the two links in this chain of reasoning this article addresses the first.

I show that the IPCC view of the carbon cycle is fundamentally flawed in many ways, and is not supportable at any meaningful level of confidence. This is not esoteric science to be left to specialists or ‘great minds’. Any numerate person who cares to look and think can understand the insignificance of our total industrial era CO2 emissions at less than 1% of the carbon cycle and our annual emissions at just 5% of the air-sea fluxes.

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This is an early overview article looking at things and events that have influenced my views on climate.

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Plot from the southern Sea Surface Temperature modelling.
See the SST images archive in the images branch. A description of this project is forthcoming.

./dai/Other/Natural Cycles/Natural Cycles.html (2y 25w 6d ago, size: 6850 bytes)

Natural Cycles

Dai Davies
brindabella.id.au
PERPETUAL DRAFT, 160901

Ocean currents have quasi-millennial timing of around 800 to 1000 years. Along with climate optima, they are probably best seen as geographical events that are influenced by weak external drivers that have a more regular cyclic pattern. What might those driver be? 

Some people find it difficult to consider that cycles in sunspot numbers and associated solar flares could have an impact on the Earth's climate, and that these, in turn, are driven by planetary motions. To the modern mind it smacks a bit too much of astrology, but bear with me. I'm not talking about meeting the love of your life on the bus tomorrow morning.

I find the idea intriguing, and not at all surprising if you consider that the solar system evolved from a swirling cloud of dust and gas into a highly synchronised cyclic system interconnected by gravitational and electric fields. The Golden Mean harmonies of planetary orbits – ‘the music of the spheres’ – were noted centuries ago. Modern measurements are showing more and more resonant structures in the motions of moons and even in the braided banded disks of the ringed planets. 

The motions of the planets shake the sun about by a distance greater than its diameter. The tidal forces the planets exert on the sun are small, but they have been acting through the full evolution of the solar system. This is likely to be influencing, if not dominating, the sun's roiling internal dynamics that produce sunspot and flare activity at the chaotic boundaries, which influences the Earth's magnetic field that deflects cosmic rays toward the poles forming the shimmering light curtains of the auroras, or, when it's weak, let more through. 

The huge showers of secondary particles that cosmic rays create in our atmosphere play a part in seeding clouds, which play a vital role in our water thermostat. Variations of a few percent in cloud cover are all that's needed to account for the small recent temperature changes.

My small excursion into climate modelling consisted of looking at published models of sunspot cycles and adjusting them to fit surface temperature data for the southern oceans – initially, a few hours work with a spreadsheet. The accuracy and simplicity of the result spurred me on to explore further. The model already fitted the data far better than the supercomputer models used by the IPCC.

The choice of this data set was not arbitrary. It can be taken as the rectal temperature of the Earth since there is more ocean down here, and southern climates and ocean currents are simpler than up north. 

Figure 4 shows the output of a model using 820, 193, 60 and 32 year cycles. Temperature data is the large black circles. The best fit is the blue line, with others showing 10% parameter variations as part of a sensitivity analysis not error bands. A significant 11 year cycle and other shorter ones help the fit but have been omitted in this model for simplicity sake, and the 32 year cycle is not critical. The mean error (root mean square, rmse) is 0.03ºC.

How various cycles found in sunspots and Earth systems data can be related to planetary orbits is discussed in detail by Nicola Scafetta (1) whose sunspot models inspired my effort. From my own analysis, temperatures follow a clear, but unstable, 11 year cycle – a Jovian year. The 60 year cycle can be clearly seen as 30 year steps in any representation of temperature for the last century. Longer cycles exist, but their periods are disputed. A 210 year Suess cycle is seen in radiocarbon and sunspot data. 


Figure 4 

For temperatures, we don't have long enough, or accurate enough, records to pin long cycles down precisely. The 820 (perhaps 800 to 950) year cycle in this model roughly matches the 800 year alignments of Jupiter and Saturn, when they act in concert. There's a limit to how well it can be determined from 135 years of data, but the fact that we're at its peak means the curvature is at a maximum, which helps. 

Missing from this model is a long term cooling trend as we slowly descend towards the next major ice age. Historical records suggest that the millennial peaks are weakening.

The value of a model is not how well it fits the data, but whether it can answer questions about our world. Is the rise in temperature over the last century part of an ongoing upward trend caused by increasing atmospheric CO2, or is it part of a natural cycle? 

The full model I'm using here exhaustively optimises the fit to data given the specified initial constraints – in the illustrated case, four cycles of unconstrained period. Replacing the millennial cycle with an upward sloping straight line that might represent the influence of rising CO2 levels, then letting the model relax to an optimum, reduces accuracy relative to the cycle. 

Can a combination of straight line and long cycle improve the fit? Optimising with both present, but fixing the straight line at increasing slopes for successive optimisations, provides a maximum slope for the line of about 0.3 Cº per century before it doubles the error and the data starts screaming for mercy. An upward turning line would be worse. The data demands a long term cycle in ocean temperatures. There is no significant role for CO2.

Copernicus offended sensibilities by suggesting that we were not the centre of the universe. The current turn of the Copernican revolution involves the recognition that we are a tiny part (0.001%) of the Earth's biosphere, and all our industrial activity has added just 1% to its carbon cycle.

The model has been extrapolated to show the last millennial peak, the Little Ice Age, and future trends. I was motivated by a desire to know what conditions might be like in the year 2200 – a time I escape to whenever I can – a time when we understand our planet and our solar system much better – when we confront the next turn of the Copernican revolution and start heading out across the vast expanse of our galaxy. 


References:

  1. Scafetta, N., 2010, Empirical evidence for a celestial origin of the climate oscillations and its implications, Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics

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Forthcoming article: a technical description of the SST modelling discussed in the article Natural Cycles.

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This is a personal view of the political nature of the CO2 scare from an environmentalist who has watched on in dismay at the extreme politicisation of the environment. I watched the takeover of the environment movement since the 1970s by the extreme left acting with motives that have nothing to do with reducing our environmental impact.
Moving forward we see the actions of the totalitarian left in the United Nations and associated NGOs forming the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and how this has perverted the already corrupted nexus between science and public policy.

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