The Sun Sets (finally) on the Solar Radiation Myth

Tue, 2007-07-10 18:03Kevin Grandia
Kevin Grandia's picture

The Sun Sets (finally) on the Solar Radiation Myth

While the “cosmic ray” theory of climate change will probably still continue to be put forward by the persistent little army of global warming deniers, there's a new study to be published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society that appears to put the myth to rest once and for all.

Researchers have found that the Sun's output has actually fallen over the past 20 years, while temperatures continue to rise.

Any global warming denier who continues to defend this myth is more than welcome to send their scientific findings to the Proceedings of the Royal Society or any other peer-reviewed scientific journal for review and possible publication.

If rejected, Fox News is always on the look-out for scientific opinion that does not stand up to the process.

H/T to Conscious Comment.

Previous Comments

I’m getting very concerned that it’s now impossible to have any real science around global warming. What real scientist would say we can now “put to rest” any research/discussion around the possibility that the sun is affecting the temperature of the earth. How can so-called scientists generation after generation claim to have all the answers when their theories are constantly disproven. It seems completely insane to close off any area of discussion or research around any area related to climate science. Our current understanding of the complexities our our climate will seem primative to people 100 years from now - but that doesn’t stop us for arrogantly claiming the “debate is over - we have all the answers! (we are in a global cooling - woops, I mean warming period)”.

You don’t need to be concerned that “real science” is not possible in climate science. Despite the deliberate efforts of some to muddy the public understanding of the science, the science continues regardless.

Our current understanding of the quantum mechanical behaviour of matter makes Newtonian Physics seems quite primitive. Newtonian physics is still largely correct however, just that at very small scales the simple Newtonian understanding fails to work properly. Similarly, no doubt in 100 years much of our current science may seem naive. That does not mean it will be wrong. Science does not re-write all theories every 6 months. It is possible to know things, absolutely. Until you understand that it is possible to know a thing absolutely and therefore understand other ideas to be wrong the scientific method will continue to confuse you.

In any case this new science is a new observation, not a theory. As observations often do it demolishes some theories (in this case the idea that the sun is responsible for current warming) and indirectly lends support for other theories. This interplay of “observation” and “theory” is science.

If you read the whole thing, you’ll see that he’s not trying to say he has all the answers. Lockwood says this: “He said: “I do think there is a cosmic ray effect on cloud cover. It works in clean maritime air where there isn’t much else for water vapour to condense around. It might even have had a significant effect on pre-industrial climate.”

I think if you read it again you’ll see that that quote was probably in the context of the awful docudrama The Great Warming Swindle – the debate regarding cosmic rays being responsible for warming and not CO2.

But I want to take issue with another attitude you express – you seem to think that scientists should never be closing off avenues of research. What you’re suggesting is anethema to Popperian science which strives to operate by eliminating less likely hypotheses. Science has eliminated many and those have remained eliminated. Thank goodness we now know that spontaneous generation is wrong. Do you think there’s a chance that science will find that it’s not?
So Demi, you think we shouldnt accept that the world is round or that HIV causes AIDS or that smoking causes Lung Cancer? You think those debates are still open and anyone who has Lung Cancer should refuse all treatment because hey, how do we know it will work? There is real science around about global warming, Its the stuff not sponsored by Exxon Mobil.
“It’s the stuff not sponsored by Exxon Mobil”… So any research that is funded by an oil company is completely worthless? What about research funded by extreme environmental groups? Is that valid? Are you really that naive to think that there is no biased on the other end of the spectrum. That’s my point. Everyone is accusing everyone of political bias. A scientist reports something that disagrees with the status quo - he’s branded a oil company lacky; A scientist report that Manhatten will be floaded in 30 years - he’s branded an evironmental crazy. That’s scary. If no ones can come out with contrarian views - that’s when science shuts down. We need to stop calling people names, attacking their credentials and start debating the science - the findings. The problem with modern science is that is takes money to fund research, funders have preconceived notions, and researches risk loosing their funding by disagreeing with funders preconceived notions. It’s a big problem in the scientific process. And of course we can know things, but just 30 years ago the scientific consensus was we were in a global cooling period. Now 30 years is a microsecond in geological time - so science was very wrong a short time ago. The world climate is so incredible complex - influenced by a multitude of factors inside and outside the atmosphere. I think we are a long way off having complete understanding.

Demi, you are repeating a whole lot of the nonsense carried by the right wing blogs. Go over to and spend some time there with an open mind. You will find that most of what you have said in your post is just not true.

The climate deniers are not wrong because they received money from Exxon. They are wrong because they are not doing research but are distorting the findings of the real climate scientists according to a political agenda. None of them have published papers in the peer reviewed scientific literature (well a couple have but there are very dark clouds hanging around those papers).

And by the way, there was no “scientific consensus” regarding “global cooling” in the 1970’s, only a few scientists speculating but no hard data and no consensus, not like now regarding AGW.

Ian Forrester

I’m sorry, but what a joke!! Realclimate and an open mind. Realclimate is the most closed minded place next to…next to, this place. Climate Audit and Pielke’s Climate Science deal with Actual, Factual, Science. RC is just another attack dog website devoted to protecting “THE” theory. — ps to Demi — Ya gotta watch out for the groupthink/peer reviewed dynamic they use to slap people around with. If scientists like Svenmark have trouble getting funding for research that directly challenges the status quo, we’re supposed to believe that getting articles published that also challenges the status quo will such an easy, easy thing. If AGW is such a sure scientific fact, why don’t they publish -all- the data, -all- the methods used on the data and challenge people to find the flaws?? Instead, we’ve a had a 20 year fight against “The debate is over” groupthink. Bow down to our theory or be shamed as a skeptic, a denier, an oil industry lackey, and on and on. And these people think -they- have open minds. (whew)
Considering I am in the process of publishing scientific research I can attest to the single biggest reason not to get published is lack of quality and scientific validity. Publishing is cheap, research as you point out isn’t. But the vast bulk of scientific research in Canada is independent coming from the NSERC program which is an arms length body from the federal government more or less. You don’t quite understand how publications work I think, new ideas are constantly generated in science, its how it evolves and progresses, but you need to actually do research to get published. The primary reason the deniers don’t get published, they spend to much time sitting in front of the TV camera’s or more specifically working for PR firms instead of actually conducting any science. The rest of your post is drivel.
I guess I’m backing Carl up here, but in an attempt to be slightly original, I’ll suggest this:

Robert in Calgary should be upset that Exxon et al are spending money on spreading garbage in the media (what about those graphs ending in 1980?) rather than funding poor Svensmark. In addition, any idiot who sends $$ to NRSP should, rather than supporting PR, probably send their dough to RESEARCHERS who claim that they can’t get funding through supposedly pro-AGW-biased channels.

“Realclimate is the most closed minded place next to…next to, this place.” Robert, to call RealClimate closeminded is to tell a lie; and anyone who spends much time at RealClimate knows it. Whatsamatta, did they give your pet theories short shrift? Or are you just afraid that more and more people will see through your nonsense?

Edited to clarify.

Just for fun, let’s change just a few words Demi’s post and see how it sounds….

I’m getting very concerned that it’s now impossible to have any real science around evolution. What real scientist would say we can now “put to rest” any research/discussion around the possibility that living things were created as described in the Old Testament. How can so-called scientists generation after generation claim to have all the answers when their theories are constantly disproven. It seems completely insane to close off any area of discussion or research around any area related to evolution. Our current understanding of the complexities of life will seem primative to people 100 years from now - but that doesn’t stop us for arrogantly claiming the “debate is over - we have all the answers!.

It’s interesting how the attack dogs of AGW will constantly poo-poo the growing evidence supporting the solar/cosmic line of research but get something going the other way and immediately, it’s “the debate is over folks!!” What observations? It’s an analysis! Based on the BBC article the researchers involved looked to have had a none-too-subtle agenda going in. I’ve learned that pro-AGW reseach (and analysis) needs to be investigated very, very, very carefully. Why don’t we wait to see what the article actually contains before popping the champagne corks and once again stifling science and free discussion. And shame on the BBC writer for not waiting for a response from Svensmark. (I doubt he actually wanted one, it would have ruined the headline) …and I guess someone should tell the Max Planck Institute…
No, it seems to me that the more the solar hypothesis is investigated the more one finds that it doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. Your charicature of the real scientists is poor and shows your “none-too-subtle agenda”. I do think people should wait until the paper rather than jumping to conclusions based on press releases prior to publication. You made a good point there, but then you ruined it with the comment about the motive of the writer and the insinuation that Svensmark would be able to explain why the last 20 years don’t fit his hypothesis.

You say you’ve learned that “pro-AGW reseach (and analysis) needs to be investigated very, very, very carefully.” What about efforts in the media by the AGW-is-a-lie crowd, like ignoring the last 20 years’ data? How come Robert in Calgary didn’t think it was worth commenting about that?

PS> I’m sure the Max Plank Institute has found out. In fact, the link you posted provides this quotation: “On the other hand, the rather similar trends of solar activity and terrestrial temperature during the last centuries (with the notable exception of the last 20 years) indicates that the relation between Sun and climate remains a challenge for further research.”
Actually no, my point was - if this is supposed to be the “silver bullet” killing the other theory, you would want reaction from the other side. This was a cheerleading story. Svensmark may have some answers, he may have none. I think a basic devotion to science means we -hear- him. Check out “The Chillings Stars”, read the “Discover” interview. We would know more now if people hadn’t been so eager to slow down Svensmark’s research. How odd, people trying to stop science! (and yes, I’m aware of the other comment by the MPI, it’s not like I tried to hide it, hmmm) ps-early indications are that Lockwood’s “analysis” is.. to be charitable…flawed. No wonder the PR push is so strong.

Robert in Calgary said: “ps-early indications are that Lockwood’s “analysis” is.. to be charitable…flawed”.

This is quite correct, however, the flawed work is by a completely different Lockwood to the one writing the paper under discussion. G. W. Lockwood wrote a number of papers suggesting that there was global warming on Neptune which was caused by changes in solar irradiance. This hypothesis has recently been shown to be wrong since recent research obtained using the Hubble telescope shows that the changes observed by G. W. Lockwood are in fact caused by seasonal (orbital) variation. This paper can be found at:

The work by M. Lockwood, under discussion on this thread, shows that there is no correlation between solar output and global temperature over the past 20 years.

The paper can be found at:

So, Robert in Calgary, check up on your Lockwoods before claiming the wrong one is guilty of “flawed analysis”.

Ian Forrester

“poo-poo the growing evidence supporting the solar/cosmic line of research”

Are you kidding me? Where is you research? Where is the “growing evidence?”

Fox News, Glenn Beck and the Great Global Warming Swindle are not peer reviewed journals. Please, this thing is getting a little ridiculous.

Just send along the peer-reviewed research.

“Just send along the peer-reviewed research.” So the Pope told Galileo.
That was about the most ignorant comment that I’ve seen in a long time, congrats
Eco-snitler has posted some really ignorant stuff that surely competes with this.
Thanks for the laugh Carl.

Sorry, I've never understood this comparison. Galileo lived during the time of witch-hunts and super-power religions.

Are you saying that our culture today is the same as that of Galileo's time? Would be strange because I think there has never been a time in history like ours where scientific advancement has been so embraced.

“Are you saying that our culture today is the same as that of Galileo’s time?” On this topic, yes. on this website, absolutely. “super-power religions” Welcome to the world of AGW.
Galileo was not correct because he was in the minority, and nor was he correct because he was a heretic. Likewise, AGW is not incorrect because it is the conclusion of the overwhelming majority of climate scientists. I’d argue that the comparison to Galileo and the Church is not only a false comparison, but it is an irrelevant comparison, for how can we then understand dominant views such as evolution by natural selection? “False facts are highly injurious to the progress of science, for they often endure long; but false views, if supported by some evidence, do little harm, for everyone takes a salutory pleasure in proving their falseness.” - Charles Darwin
Sorry, that’s Galileo was correct not because… (no edit feature on this blog?)
This website has highlighted the IPCC conclusion that AGW over the last 50 years is 90-99% certain. In terms of religiosity, I suspect (I’m no theologian and don’t know for sure) that a 90-99% faith is quite moderate. You, however, seem completely convinced that the mainstream science is corrupt and wrong, despite lacking (apparently) any competence in making such a determination. You seem to be the true-believer, Robert.
I am just concerned to see things kept tidy. The undead who can sometimes be seen staggering around, like Tim Ball,should be properly buried.

California Governor Jerry Brown used the occasion of his fourth inaugural address to propose an ambitious new clean energy target for the state: 50% renewable energy by 2030.

“We are at a crossroads,” Brown said in announcing the proposal, according to Climate Progress. “The challenge is to build for the future, not steal from it, to live within our means and to keep California ever golden and creative.”

Already the leader in installed solar...

read more