Scientists: The Entirety Of The 1979-2017 Global Temperature Change Can Be Explained By Natural Forcing

The last 40 years of global temperature changes can be radiatively explained by a natural reduction in cloud cover.

From 1979 to 2011, satellite data provide documentation of a reduction in cloud cover and aerosol depth that allowed an additional 2.3 W/m² of positive shortwave energy to be absorbed by the Earth’s surface rather than reflected to space.

This change in absorbed solar radiation can account for the energy imbalance and warming during this period far better than the much smaller 0.2 W/m² forcing associated with a +22 ppm CO2 change over 10 years (representing just 10% of the overall trend in downwelling longwave).

Image Source: Herman et al., 2013

Other satellite observations reveal a pronounced 6.8 W/m² positive solar forcing particularly concentrated during the 1984-2000 period due to a decrease in reflected shortwave energy (via clouds).

Image Source:  Goode and Palle, 2007

From 2014 to 2017, the reduction in cloud cover resulted in an additional 0.83 W/m² shortwave forcing, which explains the imbalance and the stark warming during this post-“pause” period.

Image Source: Loeb et al., 2018

The reduction in cloud cover and positive shortwave forcing trend can also explain the post-1995 ice melt pattern for the Greenland ice sheet.

Image Source: Hofer et al., 2017

Image Source: Simpkins, 2017

A new paper underscores the salience of cloud cover reduction in explaining not only the modern warming but the temperature variation that occurred in recent decades.

Image Source: Poprovsky, 2019

22 responses to “Scientists: The Entirety Of The 1979-2017 Global Temperature Change Can Be Explained By Natural Forcing”

  1. tom0mason

    Thank-you again Kenneth Richard,

    No magic gas needed, no unverified models. No belief needed, just a clear mind and common sense. Natural variations are all there is, the sun sets the basic rhythm and natural events on this planet cause the climate.

    Forward to 600ppm atmospheric CO2 and letting the plants breath again.

  2. Christopher Hanley

    ‘Changes in Earth’s Energy Budget during and after the “Pause” in Global Warming: An Observational Perspective’ — as if an empirical study in Climate Change™ science was a novel approach, which I guess in a way it is, given the apparent dominance of computer modelling.
    The climate is a multifactorial and incredibly complex system and masses of observations over a long period, which are now possible, are going to be necessary to even begin to understand it.

  3. alloytoo

    It would be interesting to chart the reduced cloud cover against air quality.

    There has been a concerted attempt to “Clean up our act” in so far as particulate matter in the atmosphere especially since the 70’s.

    Wouldn’t the particulates promote cloud growth?

    1. Lasse

      More sun in Sweden since 1980. A 17% increase in hours and 10% in energy:!/image/allsack_1983-lastyear.jpg_gen/derivatives/Original_1256px/image/allsack_1983-lastyear.jpg

      Less SO2 in the air since 1980 in all western countries thanks to clean air act:

      Temperatures did not rise before 1980-Global cooling was the concern then.

  4. Senex

    There has also been a huge reduction in smog and smoke in most Western countries since 1970, due to clean air laws and increasingly strict automobile emission regulations. Domestic heating with coal has almost completely ended. This must have some effect on ground level insolation.

    1. Chaamjamal

      Good point. It does look like the acid rain program did in the schneider 2017 aerosol theory for the 1940s to 1970s

  5. drumphish

    The globe might be warming, far out if it is, but the warmth is all gone from here, must be someplace else, went south in a hurry.

    Last week the forecast was for daytime temps in the 40s, some 50s all this week. Today the high temp is maybe 34 F, 24 this morning. Everything changed weather wise. The rest of the week is the same.

    Tomorrow’s daytime temp is going to be 29 F. The ground is froze three inches deep. Never have seen the ground freeze inches deep so soon. Always have been able to plant the garlic into easily tillable ground, frozen ground that can’t be worked forces you to give up. Holy smoke. The garlic planting might have to wait until spring of next year. It is unreal.

    The overnight lows are going to be in the teens. Cold.

    It could warm up in November, have seen it in the 70s at times over the years. Rain in December happens too.

    Once everything begins to freeze, it will be tough to thaw it this time of year. uffda

    Makes me cry.

  6. Hasbeenb

    Some honest science just might help with that understanding.

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  8. Dimitris Poulos

    I have some nice paper on this, namely between others geomagnetic field intensity changes are responsible for cloud cover

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  11. Ron Clutz

    Do note the Loeb paper is the one with global scope (not just polar). They claim they are investigating the warming hiatus, and think we are now post-hiatus, thanks to the 2016 El Nino. I beg to differ.

    For a more complete report on global brightening and dimming see my post:

  12. Henry Huse

    Henry Huse @HuseEnergy Global warming has little to do with ground level greenhouse gases. It is caused by upper elevation gases put there by jet aircraft that have become semi-permanent and restrict night time radiation. The imbalance between energy in and energy out causes global warming.

    Restrictions on carbon fuels in the upper troposphere are required to halt progression. Ref:

  13. Tim.

    Does personal experience count for anything in this world? I can remember the thick smogs of the late 1950s, produced by power station smoke, and domestic fire smoke railway train smoke, factory smoke. All thick choking stuff. When driving you couldn’t see other vehicles. Sunlight did not penetrate it.

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  15. Prashanth

    Nice article thank you so much sir for sharing your knowledge and ideas
    BMVSS | Jaipur Foot | Artificial Limbs

  16. Ian Phillips

    What a very interesting development.
    The obvious question is “so what has caused the cloud cover to decrease during these last decades?” ……are we back to CO2 again?!!
    I have some research carried out by an amateur, Conor McMenomie….It’s available as a pamphlet entitled “The Nile Climate Engine”. Copies from St. Matthew’s Publishing, 1 Barnfield, Common Lane, Hemingford Abbots.
    Essentially this research links the damming of the Nile to the loss of cloud cover in low latitudes…..the annual flooding and consequent evaporation having been prevented.
    Cloud formed in this region drifts Westwards over the mid Atlantic. The scale of the effect is calculated to be so huge that this part of the world’s oceans is absorbing more solar radiation than ever before. The author calculates that the overall warming is exactly what global temperatures are showing.
    Someone with the right knowledge needs to rapidly put all this together so we can have a strong case to push back the CO2 “UN world government” useful idiots….led by Greta!

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  19. Julian Flood

    It may be that the reduction in cloud is not entirely natural. There are various mechanisms whereby this could be caused. My bet is:

    1. Ocean pollution by oil and plastic. An oil-smoothed water surface has a lower albedo so it warms. It has fewer breaking waves thus producing fewer salt aerosols which reduces cloud cover, so it warms. It stirs less, reducing nutrient flow from the depths, feeding fewer plankton which in turn do not emit dimethyl sulphide (DMS) aerosols, which reduces cloud cover. An oil-smoothed surface is slower to evaporate.

    2. Massive changes in land use – mechanised farming for example – may have increased the flow of dissolved silica into the oceans. The first spring bloom in sea water is an explosion in the number of diatoms, silica shelled competitors which, I have read, suppress the DMS-producing, CO2-fixing plankton that can bloom only when the diatoms exhaust their silica supply and die off.

    First, remember Tom Wigley and his “why the blip” brief moment of clarity when the Hockey team was engaged in suppressing the blip in temperatures during WWII? Lots of ships sunk, lots of ocean surface pollution by oil. Some idea of the volume of oil discharged on the oceans can be got on the SeaWifs site. A major town, just from oil leaks from the vehicles travelling on its roads, leaks many tonnes of light oil into its runoff water. Look at the images from the Deepwater Horizon. I know I have the fond eye of someone with a theory, but it’s obvious that the spill is eroding cloud cover as it suppresses salt aerosol production. After I had posted about this on Judith Curry’s blog she tried to get an airborne sampler over the spill to see what it was doing to the atmosphere above it. Unfortunately she failed, otherwise we might have a better idea about what is going on.

    I have seen a smooth over literally tens of hundreds of square miles on the way to Madeira. I’ve no idea where the smoothing agent came from, the currents are wrong for it to come from Europe, and unless the light oil degrades much slower than expected one wouldn’t expect it to survive the trip from North America. Maybe a surfactant/oil mix is longer lasting. It would be ironic if deep sea vents are pushing out climate-altering amounts of oil and we’ve never even looked. There’s a white smoker (?) at about the right place for the big Madeira smooth.

    The second cause is easy to understand. I’ve wondered about plankton changes from NA silica pollution causing the cod failure on the Banks.

    Climate science does not perform well when measured against the real world. Maybe it’s time to look at other theories.


  20. chaamjamal

    Also a serious weakness in the statistics that relate warming and its effects to emissions with the proposal that climate action in the form of reducing emissions will attenuate these changes. Pls see

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