Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Oops: Sun Spot Count Unexpectedly Low – Again......

Solar scientists have various models aimed at predicting the variabilities in the sun's luminance (or irradiance, the sun's total energy output).  The main (though not the only) variable is related to sunspot count – somewhat counter-intuitively, the lower the sunspot count, the lower the sun's luminance.  Skeptics of anthropogenic global warming (AGW), myself included, have pointed out the close correlation between the sun's luminance and temperatures in the Earth's atmosphere.  In particular, the rising temperatures seen in the '90s and early '00s exactly corresponded with higher sunspot counts (and higher solar luminance).  Recent mainstream climatology studies have, somewhat obliquely, found the same thing.

So it is of great interest to AGW skeptics to note that the more recent lack of a warming trend in Earth's atmospheric temperature correlates rather well with a lack of sunspots – the sunspot counts are coming in consistently well below the predictions by the solar scientists' models.  Besides providing yet another really nice example of models gone horribly wrong, this also provides more support for the skeptic's hypothesis that the primary driver of “global warming” isn't greenhouse gases at all, but rather solar luminance.

The latest solar luminance numbers from NASA are plotted at right, with the dots being the actual data and the blue curve the smoothed equivalent.  The green curves are the predictions (from 2007) of the two main families of solar luminance models, each with their cadre of solar science supporters (there were also a few solar scientists who thought both models were bunk).  The red curve is a revised model, published in 2009 at which point it was quite clear that both original models were way off.  The 2009 model isn't faring much better.

Robert Zimmerman, who collected and published this data, says:
Meanwhile, on January 2 the solar scientists at the Marshall Space Flight Center once again lowered their prediction for the upcoming solar maximum, dropping their predicted peak sunspot number from 72 to 69. This is the fifth month in a row that they have changed their prediction, and the fourth in a row in which they have dropped it. Considering that we are now only a few months from when they say maximum should occur, their constant revision of their prediction suggests they really haven’t the faintest idea what causes the solar cycle, and are merely guessing at what they think will happen.
I agree. They haven't a clue. I wish they would just admit the mystery and get to work solving it!