It has become common practice in climate science for a press release reporting the findings of a new paper to precede the publication in the journal concerned. Thus, the Lockwood and Frohlich paper ‘Recent oppositely directed trends in solar climate forcings and the global mean surface air temperature’ (M. Lockwood and C. Fröhlich Proc. R. Soc. A doi:10.1098/rspa.2007.1880; 2007, 10th July) was announced in the 5th July edition of the journal Nature under the headline ‘No solar hiding place for greenhouse sceptics.’
It came as no surprise that Real Climate’s Stephan Rahmstorf was first out of the woodwork:
“This paper is the final nail in the coffin for people who would like to make the Sun responsible for present global warming,” says Stefan Rahmstorf, a climate scientist at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany.
Normally papers are published because there is new research to report, but not this time it seems:
Mike Lockwood, says he was “galvanized” to carry out the comprehensive study by misleading media reports. He cites ‘The Great Global Warming Swindle’, a television programme shown in March by Britain’s Channel 4, as a prime example.
But wait! There’s more:
Ken Carslaw, an atmospheric scientist at the University of Leeds, UK, points out that solar effects might still be possible. They might have acted to cool the climate in recent decades, but been overwhelmed. If so, the climate could be more sensitive to greenhouse gases than is generally thought, and future temperature increases might be greater than expected if a countervailing solar effect comes to an end.
Lockwood was “galvanised” again in response to criticism of his paper in the UK’s Daily Telegraph:
“I am one of the authors of the Royal Society global warming paper that you say is simple and fundamentally flawed (Comment, July 15). Simple? The idea was to present a straightforward demonstration, without recourse to complex climate models. Flawed? None of the three academic referees the paper was subjected to found any flaws.
Climate change is by far the greatest threat to everyone’s standard of living. Unlike political parties, companies, media stars, works of art, consumer products and even social trends and national economies, a scientific reality is immune to spin.”
(Prof) Mike Lockwood, Southampton University
Meanwhile, Piers Corbyn of Weather Action, who appeared in The Great Global Warming Swindle, had a letter published in The Guardian:
In desperate attempts to shore up their crumbling doctrine of man-made climate change, Professor Lockwood and Henry Davenport (Letters, July 14) themselves cherry-pick data. Prof Lockwood’s “refutation” of the decisive role of solar activity in driving climate is as valid as claiming a particular year was not warm by simply looking at the winter half of data. The most significant and persistent cycle of variation in the world’s temperature follows the 22-year magnetic cycle of the sun’s activity. So what does he do? He “finds” that for an 11-year stretch around 1987 to 1998 world temperatures rose, while there was a fall in his preferred measures of solar activity. A 22-year cycle and an 11-year cycle will of necessity move in opposite directions half the time.
The problem for global warmers is that there is no evidence that changing CO2 is a net driver for world climate. Feedback processes negate its potential warming effects. Their theory has no power to predict. It is faith, not science. I challenge them to issue a forecast to compete with our severe weather warnings – made months ago – for this month and August which are based on predictions of solar-particle and magnetic effects that there will be periods of major thunderstorms, hail and further flooding in Britain, most notably July 22-26, August 5-9 and August 18-23. These periods will be associated with new activity on the sun and tropical storms. We also forecast that British and world temperatures will continue to decline this year and in 2008. What do the global warmers forecast?
The BBC’s verdict was ‘No Sun link’ to climate change.
In Part 2 I’ll take a closer look at some of what the L& F paper did, and didn’t say.