New papers confirm solar effects could bring on little ice ages

There seems to be a renewal of interest in solar effects on climate change and especially on little ice ages. It would be too much to expect an early abandonment of the carbon dioxide hypothesis. Equally unlikely is any acknowledgement that carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is of insignificant influence for climate. But the acknowledgement of solar influences on climate helps to redress some of the balance.

The UK Met office research referred to in yesterday’s Sunday Times article might well refer to this paper in Nature Geoscience published online yesterday which makes the link between UV radiation variation during solar cycles and cold winters in the Northern hemisphere. The authors are from the Met Office Hadley Centre, Oxford and Imperial College.

Solar forcing of winter climate variability in the Northern Hemisphere by Sarah Ineson, Adam A. Scaife, Jeff R. Knight, James C. Manners, Nick J. Dunstone, Lesley J. Gray & Joanna D. Haigh  Nature Geoscience (2011) doi:10.1038/ngeo1282

Sarah Ineson – Met Office Hadley Centre, FitzRoy Road, Exeter, Devon EX1 3PB, UK 

Abstract:An influence of solar irradiance variations on Earth’s surface climate has been repeatedly suggested, based on correlations between solar variability and meteorological variables. Specifically, weaker westerly winds have been observed in winters with a less active sun, for example at the minimum phase of the 11-year sunspot cycle. With some possible exceptions, it has proved difficult for climate models to consistently reproduce this signal. Spectral Irradiance Monitor satellite measurements indicate that variations in solar ultraviolet irradiance may be larger than previously thought. Here we drive an ocean–atmosphere climate model with ultraviolet irradiance variations based on these observations. We find that the model responds to the solar minimum with patterns in surface pressure and temperature that resemble the negative phase of the North Atlantic or Arctic Oscillation, of similar magnitude to observations. In our model, the anomalies descend through the depth of the extratropical winter atmosphere. If the updated measurements of solar ultraviolet irradiance are correct, low solar activity, as observed during recent years, drives cold winters in northern Europe and the United States, and mild winters over southern Europe and Canada, with little direct change in globally averaged temperature. Given the quasiregularity of the 11-year solar cycle, our findings may help improve decadal climate predictions for highly populated extratropical regions.

A sceond paper in Nature Geoscience also released online yesterday reports that simulations with a climate model using new observations of solar variability suggest a substantial influence of the Sun on the winter climate in the Northern Hemisphere.

Atmospheric science: Solar cycle and climate predictions by Katja Matthes Nature Geoscience (2011) doi:10.1038/ngeo1298

Katja Matthes is at the Helmholtz Centre Potsdam, GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, Telegrafenberg, 14473 Potsdam, Germany

Interestingly a paper from 2001 with Michael Mann and Gavin Schmidt  (of climategate infamy) as co-authors has similar findings:

Solar Forcing of Regional Climate Change During the Maunder Minimum by Drew T. Shindell, Gavin A. Schmidt, Michael E. Mann, David Rind and Anne Waple,  Science 7 December 2001: Vol. 294 no. 5549 pp. 2149-2152 DOI: 10.1126/science.1064363

Abstract:We examine the climate response to solar irradiance changes between the late 17th-century Maunder Minimum and the late 18th century. Global average temperature changes are small (about 0.3° to 0.4°C) in both a climate model and empirical reconstructions. However, regional temperature changes are quite large. In the model, these occur primarily through a forced shift toward the low index state of the Arctic Oscillation/North Atlantic Oscillation as solar irradiance decreases. This leads to colder temperatures over the Northern Hemisphere continents, especially in winter (1° to 2°C), in agreement with historical records and proxy data for surface temperatures.

Update! The BBC reports on this story here but takes great care to pay due respect to global warming orthodoxy with the statement “The researchers emphasise there is no impact on global warming”.

Of course not – It’s only the sun stupid! And what can the sun possibly have to do with warming the planet?!

Related:

Colder winters to come and solar influence on climate beginning to get its due

Is the Landscheidt minimum a precursor for a grand minimum? 

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