Sunday, November 18, 2012

Global Cooling - Climate and Weather Forecasting.


Over the last 10 years or so as new data have accumulated the general trend and likely future course of  climate change has become reasonably clear. The earth is entering a cooling phase which is likely to last about 30 years and possibly longer. The major natural factors  controlling climate change have also become obvious.Unfortunately the general public has been bombarded by the scientific and media and political establishments with anthropogenic global  warming  - anti CO2 propaganda based on the misuse and misrepresentation of already shoddy IPCC "science"   for political ,commercial and personal ends.
The IPCC climate science community  largely abandoned empirical Baconian inductive scientific principles  and  built  worthless climate models based on  unfounded assumptions designed to show that anthropogenic CO2 was the driving force behind changing climate. Most of the IPCC output is useless as a tool for predicting future climate trends and their impacts and in particular the IPCC Summaries for Policymakers can be safely ignored for practical purposes. The divergence between the IPCC Hansen projections and the observed trends is shown below.
                                   Fig 1 ( From Prof. Jan-Erik Solheim (Oslo) )
Fortunately, however , the basic data is now easily available so that any reasonably intelligent person can check on line daily or monthly to see what the incoming empirical data actually is and draw ones own conclusions.Here's how to do it in a few simple steps. I have put  in CAPITALS the main empirical observations on which one can draw conclusions re climate change ,its causes and future trends and also get a good idea of weather patterns and trends for the next year or so.

1. Check the Temperature Trends and Data.

Because of the Urban Heat Island effect ,the built in local variability of the NH land data and the thermal inertia of the oceans, Sea Surface Temperatures are the best measure of global temperature trends. These show that the global warming trend ended in about 2003. THERE HAS NOW BEEN NO NET WARMING SINCE 1997 -15 YEARS WITH  CO2 RISING 8.5% WITH NO GLOBAL TEMPERATURE INCREASE.  SINCE 2003 THE TREND IS NEGATIVE.
To check the past years go to
and for monthly updates go to.

The 2012 average NCDC SST anomaly thru Sept was .4438 versus the 1997 annual anomaly of  .4575.
The peak anomaly was .5207 in 2003.

An excellent site for reviewing all the basic temperature data is

2. Check the current phase of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation.

Here  is a plot and suggested projection based on the Hadley SST3  from Tallbloke.

Fig 2

(See:  He says “I have put together a simple model which replicates sea surface temperature (which drives global lower troposphere temperature and surface temperatures a few months later). The correlation between my model and the SST is R^2=0.874 from 1876 FOR MONTHLY DATA.” The model is shown  with predictions to 2050 (blue) along with the HADsst3 (red).

I included Fig 2  because an approximate 60 year cycle is obvious by inspection and this coincides well with the  30 year +/- positive (warm) and  30year +/ negative (cold) phases of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation.  Figure 2 shows warming from about 1910 -  1940-45  , cooling from then to about 1975 -.warming to about 2003-5 and cooling since then. Total warming during the 20th century was about 0.8 degrees C. For a complete discussion and review of the data relating the PDO to the other oceanic cycles and temperatures see

For latest PDO data see


Fig3    ( from

3. Check Solar Activity - where are we at?

The major ice age  climate cycles are controlled by the sun - earth orbital eccentricity,and the earth's obliquity and precession. These cycles are approximately 100,000, 41,000 and 21000 years  in length respectively and are well documented in the ice core and geological record. It is useful to keep in mind that the warmest temperatures in the current interglacial occurred about 7500+/- years ago and the GENERAL TREND IS NOW A COOLING TOWARDS THE NEXT ICE AGE.

                                Fig 4

These long term cycles are modulated by quasi cyclic trends in solar activity  which may be decadal ,centennial or millennial in length.Of particular interest in deciding where we are with regard to the solar cycles is the approximately 1000 +/- year cycle which produced succesively the Roman Warm Period, the Dark Ages,the Medieval Warm Period, the Little Ice Age and the recent 20th century warming.

Fig 5  (From )

The red line shows the continuing cooling trend from the Holocene optimum and the 1000yr +/- solar cycle is clearly seen.
The clearest empirical measure of  solar activity is the solar magnetic field strength. On an empirical basis Livingston and Penn have shown that the decline in solar magnetic field strength suggests that sunspots could disappear by about 2015 signalling THE START OF A NEW  MAUNDER MINIMUM WITH SIGNIFICANT COOLING.
For a semi-empirical estimate of the possible cooling if a Maunder Minimum does develop see


 "For a good review of the latest sunspot and magnetic data see     and to keep  with the decline in solar magnetic field strength  and the liklihood of a Maunder Minimum  check  monthly the Livingston and Penn thread at

Perhaps the best indicator of the effect of the declining solar magnetic field can be seen in the Galactic Cosmic Ray flux.
This can be checked on a daily basis at

Fig 6 Neutron count since 1964 from the Oulu data base.

 The Dec 2009 neutron maximum  ( solar cycle 23 -24  minimum) is greater than anything seen previously and the neutron count is now (Nov 2012) higher than at any comparable time in previous cycles since we are only 12 -18 months away from the cycle 24 solar maximum.There was a secular change in solar magnetism in 2005 - check the WUWT link posted earlier. The neutron count ties to earths climate via cloud cover and albedo. Simply put -  the lower the neutron count the lower the cloud cover  and the warmer the temperature. Because  of the enthalpy and thermal inertia of the oceans there is  a 10 - 12 year lag between the neutron troughs  and global SSTs. The short term  temperature record is variable over shorter times than 12 years because of El Ninos and  La Ninas  and volcanic and lunar effects but  the increasingly lower counts on the three troughs from 1970 -  1991 are well matched by the temperature rise from 1981 - 2003. THE RELATIVELY HIGH NEUTRON COUNT IN 2012 COMPARED WITH 1970 SUGGESTS THAT BY 2024 GLOBAL TEMPERATURES WILL BE BELOW THOSE OF 1970 WHICH WERE ALREADY BELOW 2012  BY ABOUT 0.36 C.
4. Check the Southern Oscillation Index.
Having checked the PDO a look at the SOI  will give  a shorter term look at climate and weather trends over a three or - five year period and a good idea of climate and  related weather  over the next six - 12 months.On a global scale, during El Ninos temperatures are warmer and during La Ninas temperatures are colder. El Ninos are more common during the positve phase of the PDO and La Ninas are more frequent during the negative or cold phase of the PDO. Here is where we are now.(Nov 2012)

                                  Fig 7

In Fig 7 values above +8 indicate La Ninas, values below -8 are El Ninos and values in betwen are neutral or La Nadas.
 Figure 7  also has some predictive value relative to global temperatures. ( Mclean et al JGR 2009)  Global temperatures appear to lag the SOI by about 7 months.

5. Climate , Weather  and Extreme Events.

Sections 1 - 4 above show that the earth has entered a cooling trend which will continue for at least 30 years and perhaps longer. To get some idea of possible extreme weather events we might look at extremes found between the MWP and the Little Ice Age. It is unlikely however that any future extremes will be "unprecedented".There is a large literature on this topic which interested parties can consult.Some general empirical observations can be made.
On a cooling earth there is a steeper temperature gradient from the Tropics to the Poles. This produces instabilities with the jet stream swinging meridionally further south and north. Thus blocking  high pressure systems develop with extremes  of cold and heat and sharp temperature gradients between air masses with for example Sandy type blizzards or tornado swarms. A cooler world will be a generally drier world with increasing droughts globally and  in e.g the USA corn belt and in the USA in general When combined with shorter growing seasons and possible early and late frosts this is likely to threaten world food production as population increases.
The PDO and SOI  indices are the main ocean climate and weather indicators.Obviously ,for regional analyses at particular times, the phases  of other ocean systems relative to the first two -  for the U.S for example  the AMO and NAO need to be considered. These are easily checked by looking from time to time at the work of the best climate and weather  interpreters Joe D'Aleo and Joe Bastardi on 

6.Summary of some Future Trends and Policy Suggestions.

The empirical observations highlighted in CAPITALS above indicate that the global warming  temperature  trend has peaked .The peak is broad with only a little cooling to date but this will likely accelerate from 2015 or 2016 on reflecting the beginning of the increase  in the cosmic ray count already seen   from 2004  - 2009 in Fig 6. The cooling will last until 2030- 2040. Often the signal for a climate direction change is a see saw effect between Arctic and Antarctic sea ice. The Arctic is still reflecting the peak in the warming  trend with low summer ice values.
The first indication of a cooling event is however the increase in Antarctic sea ice which has already occurred.
This alters the oceanic deep water circulation patterns and spreads the cooling world wide. The Arctic ice will begin to catch up in a five years or so.
With a cooling world sea levels will stop rising and begin to fall  as glaciers and ice caps begin to increase and the oceans compress with cooling.Eventually the rate of CO2 increase will slow and may even reverse even if human emissions continue to rise .
Because the error bars in our rough estimates of natural temperature variations are larger than any possible
effect of  anthropogenic CO2 ( the sensitivity curve is logarithmic and there is currently no observed empirical connection between CO2 and measured global temperatures) we cannot even measure the small effect of anthropogenic CO2 .Furthermore it is simply delusional to try to control temperature by emmission caps when the warming threat is non existent. Indeed because crop production is helped by CO2 it would make more sense to increase CO2 emissions to ameliorate the deleterious effects of cooling.
The increasing  damage from extreme ( but not unprecedented ) events arises because billions of people have moved into coastal areas,deserts and semi -arid regions during a period of unusually optimum climate. We should review infrastructure and water resources in light of the climate and weather trends outlined above and make adaptive investments as necessary after cost benefit analysis.In general ,food stocks should be built up, GM seeds adapted to drought and cold should be developed.The use of ethanol from food stocks is criminal folly and all subsidies and mandates should be abolished immediately. The best way to reduce the human footprint on the planet is to reduce population growth by getting the cheapest energy and food to the maximum number of people possible . This would free billions of women from toil so that they could pursue education , and raise their standard of living . The birth rate would drop significantly if women's status were raised in this way.


  1. While I agree completely with you overall thesis there are a couple of details I would question. The main problem is the idea that the 60 and ca 1000 year cycles are both ihn decline. The ca 1000 year cycle bottomed about 1670. At ca 500 years up that would give an expected peak about 2170. Because we are almost certainly still on the up side of the ca 1000 year cycle this minimum is most unlikely to be as cold as the Maunder. See Chaotic Climate and the Next Ice Age at for a somewhat different take on the same thesis.

  2. You make a possibly valid point and could well be right - My main point is that we seem likely headed for 30 years of cooling during which time we will learn more about the longer term solar cycles.



    Let me try to explain better why carbon dioxide has no effect ...

    The process of diffusion in the vertical direction in a gravitational field effectively turns a "level base" into a "sloping base" like a concrete driveway running down a hillside.

    This diffusion process ensures that the sum of the PE and KE of individual molecules has a propensity towards equality in all molecules at all altitudes. Those lower down (with less PE) thus have higher KE, leading to higher temperature in the lower regions.

    There will be some absorption of Solar insolation at all levels in the Venus atmosphere, because we know at least some gets through to the surface. Think of this absorption as being like lots of different size loads of sand dumped on that sloping driveway. In general, the piles will be smaller as you go towards the top. So there's no real propensity for convection rising in the atmosphere (sand from higher piles flowing down through the bigger piles further down the slope) so what happens is simply that the amount of radiation varies at different levels to get rid of the sand. But it stops when it gets down to the concrete driveway. The mean amount of radiation has to equate with the incident radiation, so this requirement (long ago) set the level of the driveway, but not its gradient - gravity and the specific heat of the gas set the gradient.

    Now I know that some radiation (roughly half) is directed towards the hotter surface, but those who understand what Prof Johnson proved, will realise that the electro-magnetic energy in such radiation is never converted to thermal energy in a hotter region than that from whence it came. Instead it is immediately re-emitted, just as if "pseudo scattered." Hence the energy in all radiation from the atmosphere always ends up eventually getting to space, even if it strikes the surface, or gets partly absorbed by cooler gas and subsequently re-emitted.

    So the diffusion process in a gravitational field sets the gradient of the temperature plot in the atmosphere, with some small variation depending on the specific heat of the gases. The incident Solar radiative flux sets the overall level. These combine to produce a sloping, near linear temperature plot which of course intercepts the surface at a temperature which is determined by the input factors just mentioned, and nothing else.

    Any additional absorption of either incident or upwelling radiation merely adds temporary energy which will be quickly radiated away and, even though such radiation is in all directions, it will eventually transfer energy out of the planetary system and back to space.

    Venus is a good example, because it is so much more obvious that the surface is not heated to the temperature it reaches by the direct Solar radiation it absorbs. Instead, an interplay of conduction (diffusion) and radiation at the surface/atmosphere interface keeps the surface at a temperature close to that of the base of the atmosphere.

    Which came first - the chicken or the egg? The temperature of the base of the atmosphere must have come first because otherwise it would be just too much of a coincidence that the same formula "works" on all planets with sufficient atmospheres.

    So, if you don't accept the above, then please explain in a similar level of detail, exactly what you think explains the surface temperature, being sure to keep within the confines of the laws of thermodynamics and atmospheric physics, as I have.

    Doug Cotton

  4. This piece was picked up at WUWT
    where it has attracted 177 comments for those who are interested.

  5. thanks for sharing.

  6. There's a prediction of cooling until 2027 archived on 22 August 2011 on this page which has not been altered since that date ...

    It reads ...

    From 2003 the effect of El Niño had passed and a slightly declining trend has been observed. This is the net effect of the 60-year cycle starting to decline whilst the 934 year cycle is still rising. By 2014 the decline should be steeper and continue until at least 2027. (This statement was archived 22 August 2011 here)