(Translated/edited by P Gosselin)The star at the center of our solar system last month again approached bottom with its solar activity. The monthly mean for sunspot number (SSN) was 21.4. Just how low this is, is clearly illustrated by comparing it to other solar cycles. SSN in November was only 36% of the mean of the previous 23 cycles 96 months into the cycle. The data are plotted in the following chart:
Figure 1: The monthly SSN of solar cycle (SC) 24 (red) since December 2008 compared to the mean of the previous 23 observed solar cycles (blue) and the similar SC 5 (black).
Over the past 8 years of the current cycle, activity has been only 56% of the mean. The following chart shows all 24 solar cycles — 8 years into the respective cycle:
Figure 2: The activity of the previous 24 systematically observed cycles since 1755 is compared. The numbers result from the summed accumulated monthly anomalies from the mean value (blue curve in Figure 1) — 96 months into the cycle.
SC24 activity up to the current month is dropping rapidly. There are many indications of a protracted end of the cycle with few sunspots.
In January 2017 we will assess the sun’s polar fields. The suspense is building because what we suspect with respect to the next cycle is becoming more and more solid as we get closer and closer to the sunspot minimum. A quick look at the new data all points to another weak cycle ahead.
And it is widely accepted that weak cycles are associated with cooling climate conditions. Little wonder an increasing number of scientists are retreating from runaway warming predictions.
Sexed up climate models
And as the evidence of much slower warming grows, climate modelers have been scrambling to get their models back in line with observations, Bosse and Vahrenholt write. A recent new paper appearing on November 30, 2016 has created some controversy. Thomas Knutson and his colleagues of the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory of the NOAA at Princeton examined the warming slowdown we have seen since 1997.
They conclude that it is due to large internal variability, one that is larger than assumed by climate models. They find:
Nonetheless, if CMIP5 models overestimate the TCR (forced warming rate), internal climate variability may have also played a significant role in the late 20th century global warming.”
“Internal variability” is in fact just another name for natural factors, and the authors suspect that there is a significant probability of a reduced warming trend for the future – like we have been seeing since 1997.
Their findings confirm what a number of scientists have suspected already: CO2 has been greatly exaggerated as a climate-driving factor. Ocean cycles are turning out to be playing a major role and rising CO2 concentrations are not leading to a climate catastrophe after all. The climate catastrophe is only showing up in IPCC models.
Grant Foster’s far-fetched claims
Bosse and Vahrenholt write that proponents of high CO2 climate sensitivity are upset by these new, non-alarmist findings. Grant Foster at his site “Tamino” claimed flaws in the findings, commenting:
I consider its many, and very serious, flaws to be telling evidence that the whole “slowdown” idea was misguided from the very start.”
But Bosse and Vahrenholt claim that “Tamino“ first ought to carry out a few simple operations before making such far-fetched claims about peer-reviewed papers, and so present all trends in “Tamino’s“ own datasets since 1951 that are at least 15 years long – and all end at 2015.
Figure 4: Trends of global temperature (GMST) with the start year on x axis until 2015. The steep drop since 1997 is clear to see. The AMO trends (violet) are also plotted.
The slowdown in the warming rates after 1997 compared to the values after ca. 1975 are not what Tamino (Grant Foster) claims they are. Rather they are in fact real.
Figure 4 clearly shows that the AMO (violet) sets the pace, with its trend some 4 years ahead of the GMST.
Getting back to real physics
In summary observations show that there is a TCR that is not more than 1.35°K for a doubling of CO2 atmospheric concentration. Anything over that is just “modeling hype”, write Bosse and Vahrenholt.
What does it all mean? Vahrenholt and Bosse summarize?
When models predict a warming of 2°C, observations tell us it is actually only 1.4°C — which is really not a catastrophe. So let’s keep the focus on physics, which deals with the evaluation of observations, and stays away from catastrophe scenarios!”