2010-08-10 00:20:52Basic answer for 1: "Is the sun causing global warming?"
John Russell

jr@johnrussell...
82.70.63.102

Here is my suggested basic rebuttal for No1 -- "Is the sun causing global warming?"

Until about 1960, measurements by scientists showed that the brightness and warmth of the sun, as seen from the Earth, was increasing. Over the same period, temperature measurements of the air and sea showed that the Earth was gradually warming. It was not surprising therefore for most scientists to put two-and-two together and assume that it was the warming sun that was increasing the temperature of the Earth. 

However between the 1960s and the present day the same measurements of the sun's brightness and warmth have shown that it is now decreasing; while at the same time the temperature measurements of the air and sea around our planet have shown that overall the Earth has continued to become warmer and warmer.

This now suggests that it cannot be the sun causing global warming; something else is making the energy of the sun heat up our Earth more than we would expect. In the absence of any other, better, explanation, scientists have now shown that the cause of the warming must be the increasing amount of green house gasses which humans are adding to the air. 

I suggest a simplified version of the 'temperature vs. solar activity' graph is used graph is used which just shows the trends. Thus the temperature line is straight and ascending, while the solar energy line is an upside down 'V'.

Please note that my wife has checked the above (she's a qualified teacher) and has passed it as perfect for a twelve year old of average ability.

I await other's thoughts with interest.

Best wishes,

John Russell

 

2010-08-10 03:57:33small note
Robert Way

robert_way19@hotmail...
24.224.230.112
Hello John,
I like the rebuttal but I do have to say that the sentence "In the absence of any other, better, explanation, scientists have now shown that the cause of the warming must be the increasing amount of green house gasses which humans are adding to the air."

gives the impression that it was a matter of just running out of ideas that led them to believe it was GHG and not that it is in fact due to empirical measurements that show an increasing greenhouse effect.
2010-08-10 04:26:02Another Side note
Robert Way

robert_way19@hotmail...
24.224.230.112
Just a little side note, the warming up to the 1960s is also extremely well correlated with the AMO so that has to be considered also.
2010-08-10 09:42:53Pursuant to Robert's remark suggested revision
doug_bostrom

dbostrom@clearwire...
184.77.83.151

"However between the 1960s and the present day measurements of the sun's brightness and warmth have shown that it is now decreasing. At the same time  temperature measurements of the air and sea around our planet have shown that overall the Earth has continued to become warmer and warmer, commensurate with simultaneous increases in GHGs.

Currently there is no credible science indicating the sun is causing the observed increase in global temperature while greenhouse gasses do provide us an explanation"

2010-08-10 10:37:45Small comment on revision
Robert Way

robert_way19@hotmail...
142.162.181.139
Currently there is no credible science indicating the sun is causing the observed increase in global temperature while greenhouse gasses do provide us an explanation"

How about we just alter it slightly

Currently there is no credible science indicating the sun is causing the observed increase in global temperature while known physical properties of greenhouse gasses do provide us a real and measurable explanation
2010-08-10 21:37:29A suggestion
gpwayne
Graham Wayne
graham@gpwayne...
81.132.177.33

Hi John,

"This now suggests that it cannot be the sun causing global warming; something else is making the energy of the sun heat up our Earth more than we would expect."

Can I suggest you could remove the second clause. "This now suggests that it cannot be the sun causing global warming" does the job perfectly, and the distinction between 'the energy of the sun' and the output of the sun may be unclear.

2010-08-11 01:11:04Revised version of the rebuttal as a result of others' comments.
John Russell

jr@johnrussell...
82.70.63.102

Revised. Includes various comments...

Until about 1960,  measurements by scientists showed that the brightness and warmth of the sun, as seen from the Earth, was increasing. Over the same period temperature measurements of the air and sea showed that the Earth was gradually warming. It was not surprising therefore for most scientists to put two and two together and assume that it was the warming sun that was increasing the temperature of our planet.

However, between the 1960s and the present day, the same solar measurements have shown that the energy from the sun is now decreasing. At the same time temperature measurements of the air and sea have shown that the Earth has continued to become warmer and warmer.  This shows that it cannot be the sun; something else must be causing the Earth's temperature to rise more than we would expect.

So, while there is no credible science indicating that the sun is causing the observed increase in global temperature, it is the known physical properties of green house gasses that provides us with the only real and measurable explanation of global warming.

Robert: I didn't understand what you mean by 'AMO'. Sorry to be thick -- can you provide me with a clue and I'll add it in.

Best wishes,

JR

2010-08-11 03:41:42AMO comment
Robert Way

robert_way19@hotmail...
24.224.230.112
Hello John,
Don't bother including the AMO part, that's likely more suited for a discussion of the factors contributing to current and previous warm periods. This post just addresses solar contributions so why bother confusing the reader.

For your knowledge though, the AMO refers to the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation. It is essentially an oscillation which has two phases and switches back and forth on about a 35 year interval. When in the positive phase the Arctic and particularly the North Atlantic is extremely warm. The last positive phase correlates very well with the early 20th century warming and the current positive phase correlates well with our current warming. Essentially when the negative phase occurs there tends to be more warming in the Antarctic and positive equals more in the Arctic (Chylek, 2010).

This oscillation is not considered to be a redistribution of heat however and therefore does contribute to current and past warming. If you wanna know how well it correlates, I compared recent warming (1975-present) to the AMO using

Hadcrutv3 and found that I got an r2 value of 0.85 which shows a ridiculously good fit.

Either way the mechanism for it starts with an enhanced Thermohaline circulation that generates positive SST anomalies in the North Atlantic. In this sector, the atmospheric response is represented by an Sea level pressure low that extends over the SSTs but also farther eastward over Eurasia. The multidecadal signal is also transferred in the Pacific basin via the Tropics. Further, it affects the North Pacific through atmospheric teleconnections, where it manifests as a weakened Aleutian low and associated positive SST anomalies extending eastward from the East Asian coast. The local positive feedback that involves oceanic adjustment amplifies these structures, which are reaching a maximum amplitude after 10–15 yr. At this time, the HWN1 SLP structure includes a maximum gradient over Fram Strait, increasing significantly the Arctic sea ice and freshwater export. Consequently, the meridional overturning in the ocean is reduced due to resulting freshwater fluxes in the North Atlantic and the cycle is turned into its opposite phase. Therefore, the negative feedback of the cycle results from ocean–atmosphere–sea ice interactions in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Arctic Oceans.



Twentieth century bipolar seesaw of the Arctic and Antarctic surface air temperatures

GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS, VOL. 37, L08703, 4 PP., 2010
doi:10.1029/2010GL042793
Twentieth century bipolar seesaw of the Arctic and Antarctic surface air temperatures
Petr Chylek et al.

2010-08-15 04:38:58Thumb up
doug_bostrom

dbostrom@clearwire...
184.77.83.151

On the 11 Aug 2010, 1:11 AM revision.

Concise and nice. Amazing how little there is to some of these arguments, if people are prepared to follow the lead of scientists. 

2010-08-15 06:20:54Expectations?
gpwayne
Graham Wayne
graham@gpwayne...
81.152.239.255

Hi John - the second version is really economic. I just wondered about this phrase:

This shows that it cannot be the sun; something else must be causing the Earth's temperature to rise more than we would expect.

My question is this: you say 'more than we would expect' but I'm not sure what that expectation would be. If TSI goes down, our expectation would be a reduction in temperatures. So if you just ended the sentence with "rise". that would remove the ambiguity.

2010-08-15 07:07:28graph for post
Robert Way

robert_way19@hotmail...
142.162.181.139
Hey For the graph youre going to use, let me know what you need and ill put something together


2010-08-16 20:16:58Thumbs up
John Cook

john@skepticalscience...
121.222.17.49
Looks good. I have a few tiny nits but still thumbs up from me. First, typo "green house gasses" - shouldn't that be "greenhouse gases"? Secondly, bit puzzled by phrase 'brightness and warmth' - aren't they the same thing with the sun?
2010-08-16 21:11:52All good but please - no graph!
AdamK

adam.kierce@shinetech...
58.160.115.140

I think the argument as presented read very well to the layperson. It's a very strong argument, well expressed and even us laypeople can understand that if the heat from the sun has diminished, then it's hard to pin the blame on the sun. I have one issue with the text, and one with the graph. Here goes;

Text

I think the text should address just the question - "is it the sun?" , and not address a second, question which is "Well if its not the sun, then what else is it?"

The text answers the 2nd question by the last sentence;

So, while there is no credible science indicating that the sun is causing the observed increase in global temperature, it is the known physical properties of green house gasses that provides us with the only real and measurable explanation of global warming.

To my super sensitive eyes, it looks a little desperate - a bit too strong a sell. As if we have to lead the reader down the AGW path. If they're reading this text, they're nearly there. But having rebutted the 'sun' argument, I think we're done. So the last paragraph for me would read;

There is no credible science indicating that the sun is causing the observed increase in global temperature.

Graph

 I really don't think the graph is required. And I'd go further; it will put some laypeople off, or confuse them. If you take a quick look at the graph, it actually looks like there is a correlation between the blue and the red lines. To a layperson. A great test here is the squint test - literally squint when viewing - what you see here is what most people will take away from it.  (  please don't flame me on what correlation means to a scientist. Think layperson ) You'll see the big red peaks on the right of the graph - near the upwards trending blue line. That looks like there's some relationship between the two - until you look at the scale; particularly on the right. If you're going to use a graph, make sure the scale is right ; start it at zero. Or IMHO, leave it out. The text as is, is very powerful, and tells the layperson all they need to know.

 That was my 2 cents worth...

2010-08-17 03:25:40Response
Robert Way

robert_way19@hotmail...
24.224.230.22
AdamK,
The reason that the graph looks like there is a correlation between solar and global temperatures is because there is one. Total solar irradience does play a part in temperature rise albeit a small one. That's pretty well known. With respect to the scale, you cannot put the scale at 0. Solar Energy does not start at zero and it varies little in magnitude meaning the difference between 1365 and 1366 is quite big. If I did a standardization formula such as (x-mean/stdev of series) then I could have them both centered on 0 but you would see the same result roughly and i'd have to explain the standardized units part. I think what you can see in the graph is that solar isn't rising but that temperature is and that even when in a big minimum, temperature can still rise.

If you disagree it is your choice. Ultimately it is John Russell who will make all these decisions either way. If there are any other solar measures you think I should plot up instead, I can do so.

Thanks,

Robert Way
2010-08-17 17:35:23Keeping things moving
gpwayne
Graham Wayne
graham@gpwayne...
86.156.59.156
I don't want to bog this process down. It's really good as it stands (I'm still concerned about 'more than we expect' but understand what you mean, and don't think it's consequential). So thumbs up from me...
2010-08-17 19:09:15
Anne-Marie Blackburn
Anne-Marie Blackburn
bioluminescence@hotmail.co...
80.42.219.219
Nice, clear post. Ready to go as far as I'm concerned
2010-08-17 20:25:37Solar vs Temp image
John Cook

john@skepticalscience...
121.222.17.49

John, is this what you had in mind for the image?

 

2010-08-17 21:04:28New graph gets thumbs up!
John Russell

jr@johnrussell...
82.70.63.102
That'll do very nicely, John!  Excellent!
2010-08-17 21:43:41Gone live
John Cook

john@skepticalscience...
121.222.17.49
JR, I've gone live with your sun rebuttal, including the pic. Have a look at http://www.skepticalscience.com/solar-activity-sunspots-global-warming-basic.htm and if you're happy, let me know and I'll post a blog post.
2010-08-17 21:56:18Comment
Robert Way

robert_way19@hotmail...
24.224.230.22
Nice Graph There John. I got a little busy for a bit and didn't get a chance to even realize how easy of a solution it really was (h/t to you on using the 11-year cycle)
2010-08-17 22:58:19two slight typos
John Russell

jr@johnrussell...
82.70.63.102

John,

I've made two small mods to correct typos and I've substituted the word 'proves' for 'shows' (because there were too many 'shows'). From my perspective it's good to go.   

Best wishes,

JR