11 August 2015

Another Climate Change Denial Talking Point Bites the Dust………

It turns out that the evidence that we are in a period of some sort of freakishly high sunspot activity is just an artifact of how counting was modernized in 1947, which means that suggesting that it's all sunspots is a load of bunk:
A bunch of boffins has completed the first-ever revision of the world's most important sunspot data repository, along the way challenging the theory that climate change is substantially attributable to the prevalence of sunspots.

It turns out, in fact, that the pro-sunspots argument relies on a statistical artefact introduced in 1947 and not corrected until this year.

While the change officially took place in July, rendering obsolete the data that climate deniers use to “prove” that it's sunspots driving global warming rather than CO2, it came to prominence at the end of last week in a presentation to the International Astronomical Union's current general assembly in Hawaii.

The most important correction to come out of the new data, the Sunspot Index and Long-term Solar Observations (SILSO) project says, is “a lowering by about 18% of all numbers after 1947, to remove the bias produced by a new counting method started in 1947 in Zürich”.


As SILSO explains, the sunspot data set (which, courtesy of Galileo (the man, not the spacecraft), stretches back 400 years) was first collected into an index by Rudolph Wolf in 1849. Startlingly, SILSO says, “this series was left unchanged since its creation … without any backward verification”.


The adoption of the new Sunspot Number doesn't change our understanding of the Maunder Minimum, the low sunspot activity period between 1645 and 1715 that coincided with the “Little Ice Age”.

However, the recalibration does overturn a previous consensus that the data set showed a 300-year upward trend in sunspot activity, culminating in a “grand maximum” in the 20th century.

As Physicsworld says, the dataset “nullifies the claim that there has been a modern grand maximum”.
In response, I expect some right wing nut-job state Attorney General to subpoena scientists private communications.


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