Saturday, July 09, 2011


Seeing the Light

Prediction is very hard, especially about the future. Niels Bohr (and Yogi Berra)

In an otherwise fairly pedestrian story about how the British weather predictors (the Met Office) are trying to improve their abilities to see even a day into England's weather future, comes this bombshell (at least it's a bombshell to those who dabble in the Global Warming controversy):

...scientists at the Met Office and elsewhere are beginning to understand the effect of the 11-year solar cycle on climate. When sunspots and other solar activity are at a minimum, the effect is similar to that of El Niño: more easterly winds and cold winter weather for Britain.

“We now believe that [the solar cycle] accounts for 50 per cent of the variability from year to year,” says Scaife. With solar physicists predicting a long-term reduction in the intensity of the solar cycle – and possibly its complete disappearance for a few decades, as happened during the so-called Maunder Minimum from 1645 to 1715 – this could be an ominous signal for icy winters ahead, despite global warming.

Wow. Just wow. This is Denier stuff. It is a Warmie article of faith that CO2 is the prime mover of climate; to even hint that natural variability could override the effect of man made CO2 is heretical. To say that a natural cycle in the sun could cause warming or cooling on our planet is, to the Denier viewpoint, merely stepping onto the broad, sunlit uplands of rational thinking. It's blasphemy to the likes of Al Gore and James Hansen.

Notice, however, how Mr. Scaife clings to the dogma when he says we could have "icy winters ahead, despite global warming." A more neutral way to put that would have been: we could have "icy winters ahead, instead of global warming."

Still, progress. Half a loaf and all that.

(h/t Watts Up With That)


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