Sunspots, a Crucial Climate Indicator

Sunspots, a Crucial Climate Indicator
Posted on April 12, 2009 by chillguy33
Commenters on this blog (Julia LeVan on Human CO2 Snuffs Out Sun’s 10.7cm Band) have noted that anthropogenic carbon dioxide may be unlikely to affect conditions on the sun. This is an important insight which may have a lot of truth in it, notwithstanding the likely resistance of climate scientist and global warming pundit and businessman Al Gore. Particularly since conditions on the sun are seemingly of primary, if not dominant, significance in Earthly climate.

Dr. Willie Soon, a senior Harvard astrophysicist, has observed that “when sunspots are present, the temperature goes up; and when sunspots are absent, the temperature goes down.” It may be disputable I suppose, but I think Dr. Soon is referring to temperatures on Earth, actually.

Dr. Soon goes on to further ignore (or perhaps minimimize is fair) the importance of carbon dioxide in controlling Earth’s climate, in this most interesting article, Harvard astrophysicist: Sunspot activity correlates to global climate change

H/T: ICECAP ‘Curious’ Why the Sun Has Been So Dim Lately, under category Blogosphere

Further quoting Dr. Soon, and his explanation of three rather direct ways in which solar output could have dominant influence on terrestrial climate:

“When the energy input to the Earth from the sun is lower, you can easily imagine then what the first effect would be — heating less of the ocean’s surface. This promotes less evaporation of water vapor from the ocean, reducing what we all know to be the major green house gas, water vapor, in contrast to atmospheric carbon dioxide. Then, you would say that if the sun provides less energy to warm the ocean’s surface, and there is less of this water vapor and less of the water vapor greenhouse effect, then the Earth begins warming less so than you would normally have during the normal sunspot activity maximum when the sun gives off more light-energy to the planetary system.

“The second way to think about this is if the sun is giving less light to the ocean’s surface, then you will also give less energy to transfer the heat, or even the material itself, from the surface to the upper atmosphere. The connection between the surface and the upper atmosphere is less than it would be, including the circulation patterns of the weather and the oceans.

“And then one can think about it another way, if you give less energy to transfer energy from the surface to higher up in the atmosphere, as high as 5 or 8 kilometers, then the chance for the system to produce these so-called thin high-cirrus clouds is less. These are the clouds that are very, very effective as a greenhouse blocker, these thin high-cirrus clouds. This is the idea that Professor Dickenson from MIT has suggested, that the Earth system may act like an iris. If it’s too warm, then the iris opens, if it’s too cold it closes, so that this fixture can trap heat, providing a very efficient way to warm or cool the Earth system.

“During a solar activity minimum, imagine that you produce less of these high-cirrus clouds, then the ability of the Earth to shed heat itself is a lot easier, therefore the system cools. And then continuing, when you don’t have enough energy to bring all of this water vapor and the currents more than a few kilometers up, then it all accumulates at the bottom of the system, producing more of the low clouds. And on low clouds we know that they are very effective at reflecting sunlight. So again, it’s another way that the Earth system can cool.

“And even another way to think about it is less energy intercepted in the tropical region, from say 20 or 30 degrees north and south latitudes, then you are able to transfer less heat energy to the polar regions, resulting in the arctic regions getting slightly cooler in that sense as well.

“So these are some of the possible scenarios that we’ve reached which in sort of a low-sunlight scenario would affect the Earth’s weather.”

Dr. Soon does not give much notice to carbon dioxide of any kind. He is also not a strong advocate of the “chilling stars” theory of Dr. Henrik Svensmark and others apparently; but his thoughtful explanation of three distinct and very reasonable mechanisms by which solar conditions strongly influence Earth’s climate is very noteworthy.

“If this deep solar minimum continues and our planet cools while CO2 levels continue to rise, thinking needs to change.”

Or even if the deep solar minimum does not continue (but our planet continues to cool while CO2 levels continue to rise).

Interesting WBZ-TV video here: ‘Curious’ Why The Sun Has Been So Dim Lately.

Filed under: Willie Soon | Tagged: Willie Soon

Israel to US: Stop favoring the Palestinians

Israel to US: Stop favoring the Palestinians
Rick Moran
In retrospect, the Netanyahu/Obama meeting of a fortnight ago may be seen as a turning point in Israel-US relations. The fact that the government of Israel feels it even has to ask this question does not bode well for the future.

Barak Ravid writing in Haaretz reports:

Tensions between Washington and Jerusalem are growing after the U.S. administration’s demand that Israel completely freeze construction in all West Bank settlements. Israeli political officials expressed disappointment after Tuesday’s round of meetings in London with George Mitchell, U.S. President Barack Obama’s envoy to the Middle East.

“We’re disappointed,” said one senior official. “All of the understandings reached during the [George W.] Bush administration are worth nothing.” Another official said the U.S. administration is refusing every Israeli attempt to reach new agreements on settlement construction. “The United States is taking a line of granting concessions to the Palestinians that is not fair toward Israel,” he said. The Israeli officials attributed the unyielding U.S. stance to the speech Obama will make in Cairo this Thursday, in which he is expected to deliver a message of reconciliation to the Arab and Muslim worlds.

The speech in Cairo, after a stop to bow before Saudi King Abdullah again, will no doubt be conciliatory toward Israel, but firm on the settlements. It is a balancing act that Obama is not doing a good job of so far because you cannot appease both sides in this conflict. Obama, the master straddler, has no place to hide on the Israeli-Palestinian question and he will find that he will get no favors from the Arabs simply for showing empathy toward the Palestinians by taking a hardline stance against the settlements.

Page Printed from: at May 31, 2009 – 02:59:07 PM EDT

GOP takes aim at Obamas’ NYC trip

GOP takes aim at Obamas’ NYC trip
By: Politico Staff
May 30, 2009 05:44 PM EST

President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama landed in New York Saturday afternoon, and after taking a helicopter from JFK into Manhattan, drove up the West Side Highway, where the northbound lanes were shut down by police for their visit, past Ground Zero, into the Village for dinner at the Village’s Blue Hill restaurant. From there, they went north to Times Square, where they went to to see a production of “Joe Turner’s Come and Gone” at the Belasco Theater on West 44 Street.

Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest read a statement from Obama: “I am taking my wife to New York City because I promised her during the campaign that I would take her to a Broadway show after it was all finished.”

Asked about the cost of the trip, which Republicans have criticized as indulgent, coming just ahead of the expected announcement of GM’s bankruptcy filing on Monday, Josh Earnest told pool reporter Dave Michaels of the Dallas Morning News, that he “didn’t anticipate being able to provide a cost estimate tonight.”

After the play let out at about 11:30 p.m., the presidential motorcade went down Sixth Avenue, shut down by the NYPD, and onlookers packed onto the East side of the street cheered as the presidential motorcade passed as the Obamas headed back to JFK for a return flight to Washington.

The Republican National Committee slammed the outing in an “RNC Research Piece”: “As President Obama prepares to wing into Manhattan’s theater district on Air Force One to take in a Broadway show, GM is preparing to file bankruptcy and families across America continue to struggle to pay their bills. … Have a great Saturday evening – even if you’re not jetting off somewhere at taxpayer expense. … PUTTING ON A SHOW: Obamas Wing Into The City For An Evening Out While Another Iconic American Company Prepares For Bankruptcy.”

The RNC’s Gail Gitcho added: “If President Obama wants to go to the theater, isn’t the Presidential box at the Kennedy Center good enough?”

The president traveled in a smaller, Gulfstream-type plane rather than the larger planes typically used as Air Force One. Two other planes carried staff and reporters.

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Here are Dave Michaels’ pool reports to the White House press corps:

“We touched down at JFK International Airport about 4:35 p.m. in the first plane of three. We held in helicopter for POTUS AND FLOTUS arrival at 4:43 p.m., which we witnessed through windows. We took off before Marine One and passed over the rooftops of Queens before turning south over the East River. Just after passing over the Brooklyn Bridge we landed at the downtown Manhattan Heliport, which I’m told is also called the Wall Street landing zone.

The Politico 44 Story Widget Requires Adobe Flash Player.

“The sky is clear and blue here, same weather as in Washington. No traffic on West Street as NYPD had cleared the road. Some observers watched for Marine One from a pier about 100 yards north. I could see ten or more NYPD motor jocks, a bunch of cruisers and a rather large RV-style van, perhaps a mobile command center.

“We headed north on West Street in vans and passed Ground Zero. Southbound traffic on the Westside Highway seemed light, but probably slowed down as the rubber necking began. We turned right on Clarkson Street and headed cross town. Plenty of pedestrians and diners at the trattoria checking us out.

“POTUS waved to enthusiastic watchers as his vehicle headed toward the Blue Hill restaurant on Washington Place.

From an earlier report from Michaels as the presidential party took off from Washington: “Three presidential helicopters descended on Andrews Air Force Base about 3:42 p.m. A group of about 20 people, a few members of the military wearing camouflage and what must have been their families, watched from a distance of 50 to 75 yards.

“Exactly five minutes later, President Obama and Michelle Obama stepped down from Marine One. POTUS was business casual, but very sharp, in a dark blue suit and black shoes. His white shirt was unbuttoned at the top — no tie. Mrs. Obama wore a black cocktail dress and black heels. Her hair was up and she held a small blue purse, which I’m informed is called a clutch. They boarded a presidential Gulfstream 500 and we took off shortly before 4 p.m. en route to New York City, where the first couple is to have dinner and watch a play, ‘Joe Turner’s Come and Gone’ at the Belasco Theater. The name of the production is courtesy of the New York Daily News.
“The first couple has left the Blue Hill restaurant in the West Village and headed north of the Belasco Theater, arriving at 7:55 p.m..

“NYPD had blocked 6th Avenue for our motorcade to move north from the restaurant toward Midtown. Pedestrians lined both sides of the street, taking photos and waving behind metal barricades, as if we were part of a parade.

“A bit earlier, your pooler asked Josh Earnest, deputy press secretary, how much this trip costs taxpayers. He said other reporters had asked and he ‘didn’t anticipate being able to provide a cost estimate tonight.'”