The sun, not fossil fuels, mostly affects climate

Extracts of Part VI of The Sun-Climate Effect paper by Javier Vinós & Andy May, published September 4, 2022 at judithcurry.com (see extracts of part V) demonstrate not only the vast complexity of climate science, but also that decarbonisation of the economy will not have much effect on climate. It is solar activity that has an outsized effect on climate change. 

One of the most puzzling aspects of climate is that, despite very different land, ocean, and snow/ice surface extensions, both hemispheres have essentially the same albedo. This phenomenon is known as hemispheric albedo symmetry (Datseris & Stevens 2021). Models fail to reproduce such a crucial aspect of the climate, because nobody knows how it is produced and maintained (Stephens et al. 2015). Datseris & Stevens (2021) have identified cloud asymmetries over extratropical storm tracks as the compensating factor of the surface albedo asymmetries. Storm tracks are MT (meridional transport) highways over already MT-favored oceanic basins. Storms are the product of baroclinic instability along the LTG and transport a great amount of energy as latent heat. They are also responsible for a significant part of global cloudiness, linking MT to cloud cover. Changes in MT must necessarily result in changes in cloudiness, altering the climate. If the albedo of the Earth is kept symmetrical by changes in storm track cloudiness, albedo is probably another fundamental climate property linked to the strength of MT.

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Climate is one of the most complex phenomena to become a subject of popular scientific debate. Feynman (1981) once said of science that: “we don’t know what’s true, we’re trying to find out, everything is possibly wrong.” This is especially true for climate science, a very long-term phenomenon, and where a great deal of the critical data is only available for a few decades. The immaturity of climate data is demonstrated by the periodic changes to temperature datasets, that invariably increase the registered warming over time, despite being based on the same original data.

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Modern climate science has allowed itself to be contaminated by activism without protest. Activist climate scientists are doing a great disservice to science by abandoning Popper’s goal of objective knowledge and allowing themselves to get emotionally involved with their subject and married to a chosen result. The history of science is not kind to scientists that allow themselves to become misguided servants of social or political goals. Lysenkoism and eugenics come to mind as dark examples. As Joel Hildebrand (1957) said of the scientific method, “there are no rules, only the principles of integrity and objectivity, with a complete rejection of all authority except that of fact.” The question is: Does research in climate science meet the standards of scientific objectivity? This is increasingly important in framing public debates about science and science policy (Tsou et al. 2015).

Over this series, we have presented some of the evidence that solar activity has an outsized effect on climate change, together with a proposed explanation for the observed effect. The scientific literature is full of additional evidence for a solar effect on climate. To deny that evidence can only delay progress in climate science. The search for a solar-climate effect has had the unexpected result of showing that modern climate theory is missing a crucial component. Changes in the poleward transport of energy cause the planet to change its climate state. It appears to be the main climate change driver.

Opposite of what is generally believed, when less energy is transported poleward the planet gets warmer. The planet warmed after 1850 from a a reduction in MT, followed by the increase in GHGs since the mid-20th century. While global warming is likely to continue over most of the 21st century, the rate is unlikely to increase, and might even decrease, disproving nearly every climate projection. Recent warming appears multicausal, caused by changes in solar activity and MT, besides GHGs. It is thus very unlikely that the decarbonization of the economy will have any significant effect on climate, although it could have a great effect on the transfer of wealth from some agents in the global economy to others, even if its total effect on wealth creation is negative.

Dr. Javier Vinós, is a biosciences researcher; Andy May is a petrophysicist and author

Paper in full

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