2011-01-03 17:40:42A submitted skeptic blog post (which I rejected)
John Cook



I received a submitted blog post from one of our regular skeptic commenters. Below is the article and beneath that is my reply (which rejected the submitted article).


Dear John,

Attached I submit a short text that you could consider for a guest post on Skeptical Science. I used some of Akasofu’s arguments in a discussion on Skeptical Science in August 2010. From the reactions I concluded that these arguments are rather unknown among the readers of SkSc. Now that his views have been published in a journal, is seems necessary that SkSc readers learn about this very intriguing subject.

Kind regards,

Frans Dijkstra


Most sceptical climate scientists believe that the influence of natural factors on the global climate is much higher than main stream scientists think. A very outspoken representative of this school is Dr. Syun-Ichi Akasofu, International Arctic Research Center, University of Alaska, Fairbanks. According to Akasofu’s view, the trend in global temperatures from 1800 to 2010 can largely be explained as recovery from the Little Ice Age (LIA). This recovery causes a linear temperature trend of roughly 0.5°C/century. Superposed on this trend is the effect of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), that caused warming, peaking in 1900, 1940 and 2000 and cooling between 1940 and 1970.  and after 2000. This negative effect could possibly continue until 2035.

These natural causes of climate change should, in Akasofu’s view, be subtracted from the observed temperature trends, to determine the effect of man made greenhouse gasses. Doing so, Akasofu predicts a warming in this century of 0.5°C, instead of 3°C as predicted by the IPCC.


Akasofu’s views are well-known among sceptical climate scientists, but not very well-known among main-stream scientists and bloggers. I referred to Akasofu in a discussion on Skeptical Science about whether global warming has paused since 1998, and I claimed, that the present developments fit better to a declining curve according to Akasofu than to an ongoing rising trend. Most reactions were very critical, which I for myself explained from the fact that Akasofu’s work was so far not published in a journal. That is not surprising, because it is ten times more difficult to publish a paper that contradicts main stream views than a paper that supports them. But nevertheless, last autumn a paper by Akasofu was published in the peer-reviewed journal Natural Science. In this paper Akasofu demonstrates with data on sea level changes, glacier retreat, freezing/break-up dates of rivers, sea ice retreat, tree-ring observations, ice cores and changes of the cosmic-ray intensity from the year 1000 to the present, that the Earth has experienced a series of cold periods between 1100 and 1800. All available evidence shows, that the recovery from this cold periods has been roughly linear from 1800-1850 to the present.


One important question remains to be answered: what caused the recovery from the LIA and why should this mechanism still be active, so that it could explain the main temperature trend in the 20th century? Akasofu thinks that the main cause is in the sun: there is a strong correlation between the solar modulation function of cosmic rays and the global temperature from 1000 to 2000. The present climate models do not support this view. These models have been tuned to reproduce the 20th temperature in a way that does not need much influence of solar variation. But as far as I know, these models are unable to explain the recovery from the LIA from 1800 to 1900. What if these models were tuned to do so? Maybe than the models will need a much stronger influence of the sun, an influence that could also open new perspectives for the 20th century.

We can conclude that Akasofu’s views need more modelling research to be proven correct, but his work can no longer be ignored. Anyhow, his views are not contradicted by the observations so far.


My reply to Frans:

Hi Frans,

Thanks for the submission. I will say I don’t have any problem in principle of publishing blog posts by climate skeptics – there is one regular skeptic commenter at Skeptical Science who I’ve actually been encouraging to submit a guest post on his pet subject of the bipolar seesaw (unfortunately he baulked at the idea– I’m still periodically sending him gentle encouragements). But I do have a problem with publishing guests posts that I fundamentally disagree with. The problem with the statistical analysis by Akasofu is he neglects the rather significant gorilla in the room – all the extra heat being trapped by increasing greenhouse gases. Akasofu’s views are contradicted by observations – satellites find less heat escaping to space (at CO2 wavelengths), surface measurements find more heat returning to earth (at CO2 wavelengths) and heat building up globally in the oceans. So it’s not adequate to merely draw a straight line and superimpose impose a PDO cycle. This neglects the physical reality of all this extra heat being trapped by greenhouse gases.




2011-01-03 17:53:22He's rather well-known here, alright
Daniel Bailey
Daniel Bailey

Tom Curtis has a three-part take-down of Akasofu 2010, starting here:




Edit:  I belatedly note Dijkstra's citing of Akasofu's article in a SCIRP pub (pub of another disinformation piece making the rounds on WTFUWT)

2011-01-03 19:12:45
Rob Painting
Oh dear, I see why it was rejected.
2011-01-04 03:39:52good call
Dana Nuccitelli

I've never been impressed with Akasofu's arguments.  Plus we already have a rebuttal about how warming isn't just recovery from the LIA.  It would be rather contradictory to then publish a blog post about how maybe it is just a recovery from the LIA.

Plus solar activity has been flat for 50 years and PDO changes were net approximately zero over the same period.  Akasofu's arguments just don't hold water.  Just because a paper got published in some rather obscure journal (Natural Science?) doesn't mean there's anything to it.

2011-01-04 05:47:30



- The impact factor (average citations/article) for "Natural Science" = 0.2334

- The impact factor for "Nature", with comparable scope, = 34.48

- For "Scientific American": 2.47

Yes, "obscure" might be a fair evaluation.


2011-01-04 09:29:45wow
Dana Nuccitelli
An order of magnitude lower than Scientific American?  Sheesh.  I guess when you do bad science, you've got to go with whatever journal will have you!
2011-01-07 03:20:24
Mark Richardson
Fair to reject that IMO on the grounds that with the data we have it's simply unphysical.