[Coral-List] climate change

Eugene Shinn eshinn at marine.usf.edu
Wed Mar 4 11:58:43 EST 2009

Doug, I promised myself a few years ago that I would avoid getting 
caught up in public debates about climate. It is too much like 
arguing religion. Sorry I let my guard down and forwarded the 
comments of a friend who is very much engaged with the issue. Guess I 
opened Pandora's box.
I did communicate your comments to this fellow. His response is below.
(Do you get the feeling there is a minor war going on??)

"They are trying to obfuscate the issue, Gene. Wikipedia is not an 
expert source, nor is googling names a legitimate way to identify 
people. If you were to google me, you would not find all my 23 
publications on climate, nor most of my background, nor my 200 plus 
total publication record. Same for you. This argument is nothing more 
than the computer modeling of climate - vapid at best,   dishonest at 
worst. I agree, there is no arguing with theology."

Since everyone is stirred up they might as well read this:


Paul Biggs [<mailto:p.m.biggs at bham.ac.uk>p.m.biggs at bham.ac.uk] 

Kyle Swanson and Isaac Held make some odd comments in the Discovery News
article (CCNet 3/3/09), which questions where global warming went.
Apparently, the 'radiative forcing' of CO2 will stay in an unknown
hiding place for 30 years and then jump out on us! This sounds like an
excuse for buying more time for the failing hypothesis which attempts to
implicate CO2 as THE driver of climate. They also seem to claim that
natural variability largely manifests itself as cooling rather than

Swanson was, of course, a co-author on the 2007 Tsonis et al GRL paper
'A new dynamical mechanism for major climate shifts' in which the
authors claimed to be able to explain all the global temperature
tendency changes and El Nino variability in the 20th century, without
CO2. They go on to say that major climate shifts have occurred or will
occur around 1913, 1942, 1978, 2033, and 2072 and they also predicted a
0.2 Celsius cooling between 2005 and 2020 which should be followed by a
0.3 Celsius warming until 2045 or so - then cooling for the rest of the
21st century. The authors also state that, "The standard explanation for
the post 1970s warming is that the radiative effect of greenhouse gases
overcame shortwave reflection effects due to aerosols [Mann and Emanuel,
2006]. However, comparison of the 2035 event in the 21st century
simulation and the 1910s event in the observations with this event,
suggests an alternative hypothesis, namely that the climate shifted
after the 1970s event to a different state of a warmer climate, which
may be superimposed on an anthropogenic warming trend." A new paper from
Wang, Swanson and Tsonis, 'The pacemaker of major climate shifts'
suggests the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) as the 'pacemaker.' The
latest paper from Swanson and Tsonis, accepted for publication on 24th
February, asks the question 'Has the climate recently shifted?' Their
answer is yes it probably has. In 2001/02 climate shifted away from the
consistent warming trend for the period 1976/77 to 2001/02. This is set
against a background of global CO2 emissions increasing at a rate of
3.5% per year since 2000.

Meanwhile, Nir Shaviv's latest paper finds more evidence of an unknown
solar amplification mechanism, where the radiative forcing associated
with small changes in Total Solar Irradiance (TSI) over the 11-year
solar cycle are multiplied by 5 to 7 times. So, rather than developing a
'hiding place for CO2' hypothesis, we can look to the collective
behaviour of known climate cycles such as the Pacific Decadal
Oscillation, the North Atlantic Oscillation, the El Nino/Southern
Oscillation, and the North Pacific Oscillation, plus poorly understood
solar factors as a big part of the explanation for climate change. Of
course, this explanation isn't attractive to social engineers or
politicians wanting to impose 'green' taxes and restrictions.  You can't
tax the Sun, which brings us to the subject of falling solar activity.
On 21st December 2006 NASA's David Hathaway was predicting that solar
cycle 24 would be bigger than cycle 23. By January 2009 he changed his
mind and predicted a smaller cycle 24. Hathaway also predicts a very
small cycle 25, and Milivoje Vukcevic claims to have a formula that
predicts cycle 26 that will be even lower than cycle 25. In their 2008
GRL paper Weiss et al asked 'For how long will the current grand maximum
of solar activity persist?' The answer was probably not very long, but
they couldn't predict the level of the ensuing minimum and they remained
loyal to the greenhouse warming 'consensus' by stating that any cooling
would be "insignificant compared with the global warming caused by
greenhouse gases. "

So, the lack of cycle 24 sunspots continues and the 'grand maximum' of
solar activity we enjoyed during the 20th century may be coming to an
end.  Small changes in the Sun may have much larger effects on climate,
and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) seems to have entered a cool
phase that could last between 21 to 25 years. If the global non-warming
since 2002 continues for 30 years as Kyle Swanson suggests, then we have
to consider the possibility that, rather than going into hiding, CO2
isn't the all powerful climate driver that some would have us believe.


Paul Biggs

<mailto:p.m.biggs at bham.ac.uk>p.m.biggs at bham.ac.uk 


Tsonis, Anastasios A.; Swanson, Kyle; Kravtsov, Sergey, A new dynamical
mechanism for major climate shifts', Geophys. Res. Lett., Vol. 34, No.
13, 12 July 2007

Wang, G., K. L. Swanson, and A. A. Tsonis (2009), Pacemaker of major
climate shifts,' Geophys. Res. Lett., doi:10.1029/2008GL036874, in

Swanson, K. L., and A. A. Tsonis (2009), Has the climate recently
shifted?, Geophys. Res. Lett., doi:10.1029/2008GL037022, in
press.(accepted 24 February 2009)

Shaviv, N. J. (2008), 'Using the oceans as a calorimeter to quantify the
solar radiative forcing,' J. Geophys. Res., 113, A11101,

Climate Research News:

'Big' Solar Cycle 24 Now Predicted to be Smaller than Cycle 23



Long Range Solar Forecast, 05.10.2006: Solar Cycle 25 peaking around
2022 could be one of the weakest in centuries.


Abreu, J. A., J. Beer, F. Steinhilber, S. M. Tobias, and N. O. Weiss
(2008), For how long will the current grand maximum of solar activity
persist?, Geophys. Res. Lett., 35, L20109, doi:10.1029/2008GL035442.


No Rocks, No Water, No Ecosystem (EAS)
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E. A. Shinn, Courtesy Professor
University of South Florida
Marine Science Center (room 204)
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St. Petersburg, FL 33701
<eshinn at marine.usf.edu>
Tel 727 553-1158---------------------------------- 

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