PIERS CORBYN, Weather Action and South Bank University, South Bank Technopark, London, SE1 6LN. to Climate Changes Symposium, Bonn, 10-11 Nov 1997
The current "conventional" wisdom of man-made Global Warming is increasingly being called into question and is now clearly contradicted by reliable satellite measurements which indicate that no warming has taken place in the lower atmosphere (troposphere) as a whole over the last 20 years. Hitherto, critics of the models which are used to support the conventional CO2-centred greenhouse wisdom have concentrated on questioning the size of man-made effects rather than the fundamental assumptions that underlie those models. However the failure of conventional CO2-centred models to explain the observed facts necessitates a new approach.
Here a new approach is put forward, namely that the fundamental assumption of the primacy of CO2 as a greenhouse gas is incorrect; and that instead natural forcing factors, especially solar activity, are essentially responsible for temperature changes. In particular it is posited that solar activity and other natural factors govern the concentration of a number of important primary greenhouse gases (H2O and O3 for example), and these in turn control world temperatures - including sea temperatures. These temperatures then determine the natural dynamic equilibrium level of CO2 which is consequently relegated to the status of a secondary greenhouse gas. This means most of the small quantity of CO2 emitted by mankind's activity gets rapidly re-absorbed and any temperature effect it might have is a "second order" effect little import.
2. The relative importances of different Greenhouse gases.
There are numerous and mounting observational and theoretical reasons why traditional Global climate models used by the IPCC to make claims of climate change are failing (see inset and refs 1-11). However, the core reason for the model failures are now becoming clear, namely they misunderstand the status of carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas and overestimate its effects.
2.1 The Sizes of Greenhouse effects.
Water vapour (H2O), Ozone (O3), Carbon Dioxide (CO2), Methane (CH4) and various oxides of Nitrogen are all greenhouse gases which by absorption of electromagnetic radiation and re-emission at different wavelengths cause 'greenhouse warming'. The relative importance of these gases on different timescales is determined, not by their absolute average effects - which if constant will have no bearing on climate change - but by the variation of their heating effects, here termed their 'Greenhouse Importance' (see Appendix). The absolute greenhouse effect of water vapour is twice as large as that of CO2 in its long term average greenhouse rffect (IPCC report) but more importantly it varies hugely in concentration in time and space. This means that the greenhouse effects of H2O are much more important than greenhouse effects of CO2.
However, traditional CO2-centred models assume that water vapour variation is small on the time scales considered and so it is ignored. This assumption is invalid for two reasons:
(i) There is strong evidence that water vapour varies by large amounts on all time-scales (see Refs 20).
(ii) Water vapour content of the atmosphere, it appears, is strongly influenced by solar activity (such as changes in magnetic, particle, UV and X ray effects) which varies by significant factors on all time scales. (see Refs 20). As evidence of the reliability of this statement it should be noted that knowledge of these effects are already used in the Solar Weather Technique of long and medium range forecasting and in 'Solar Factor Enhancement' of traditional short range forecasts (Ref 13) which work largely by predicting solar-activity based changes in efficiency of water vapour condensation. Ozone (O3) is also a powerful greenhouse gas and shows similarly high variability on all observed timescales and is very strongly influenced by solar activity (see Ref 16 and refs to diagrams therein).
2.2 Primary and secondary Greenhouse Gases.
The facts about the relative sizes of greenhouse effects are enough to cast serious doubt on CO2-centred models. However examination of the temperature dependence of CO2 concentration (Refs 1-11) shows the necessity to question the assumptions of traditional models. The new concepts of primary and secondary greenhouse gases and the corresponding alternative solar-based model of climate development firmly relegate CO2 into the category of a secondary greenhouse gas and can explain the failures of traditional models to predict observations. Ice Core measurements over the last 250,000 years and other observations (Refs 1-4) show that CO2 levels generally follow temperature changes not the other way around (Ref 21) This leads to the inescapable conclusion that the non-CO2 factors which determine world temperatures and thereby affect the dynamic equilibrium levels of CO2 are dominant compared to any independent CO2-induced greenhouse warming effect.
What, then determines world temperatures? There are many natural factors (see eg Refs 18 & 19) but the key mediators of world temperatures must be the primary greenhouse gases, water vapour and ozone. This is partly because their 'Greenhouse Importances' (GIs) are greater than that of CO2, but also, and more fundamentally, because their equilibrium levels are dictated by external forcing factors especially solar activity, not temperatures. CO2 is a secondary Greenhouse gas because its concentration is mainly controlled by temperature (for example an increase in temperature reduces the absorbivity of the CO2 by the oceans and results in an increase in atmospheric concentration, and a fall in temperature has the opposite effect).
Primary greenhouse gases such as water vapour have more influence on world temperatures in the long run than secondary greenhouse gases, such as CO2, because concentrations of the former are determined primarily by external independent forcing factors, whereas the concentration of the latter is controlled primarily by temperatures through their effect on dynamic absorption rates. Of course in general terms the detailed developments of concentration of some primary as well as secondary greenhouse gases are affected both by external forcing as well as temperature dependent feedback mechanisms. For primary greenhouse gases such as O3 and H2O external factors (especially solar forcing) are dominant, whereas for secondary greenhouse gases - especially for CO2 - temperature is dominant.
3. The size of solar-activity based effects in determining world weather and climate.
Much has been reported on the effects of solar activity on weather and climate on all time scales, and it has been well propounded that the most important factor affecting climate over periods of decades is solar activity (see Ref 23, 24).
In general Sun-Earth weather relationships concern the high variability of particle, magnetic and some electromagnetic (eg UV) fluxes rather than changes in visible radiance - which show small variability (see Calder, Ref 25 for an excellent summary).
There are several observational estimates which show quantitatively that solar based factors are more significant than CO2-centred greenhouse effects on various time-scales. Two illustrations are given below.
3.1 Solar-magnetic modulation of cosmic ray enhancement of cloud formation. [Time scales of year to decades]
It has been suggested (and tentatively shown) that extra-solar cosmic ray particles induce cloud droplet formation by ionising water molecules. The higher solar magnetic fields present during periods of high solar activity keep some of these cosmic rays out of the solar system and the Earth's atmosphere thereby reduce their cloud formation role, which may result in an increase in temperature of the lower atmosphere or surface (Ref 22). It has been estimated that the effect of this solar magnetic expulsion of cosmic rays by solar activity in the 1980s was to reduce the production of cloud condensation nuclei and hence cloud cover by about 3% which corresponds to solar heating reduction of 1.5Wm-2 This matches the official estimate of about 1.5Wm-2 of the effects of all man made CO2 added to the atmosphere so far (see Ref 12).
3.2 General solar effects; random accumulation [Time scales of days and weeks to decades] and slow changes [time scales of decades to centuries]
Many extremes of weather have been correctly predicted by the Solar Weather Technique (SWT) of long range forecasting (Ref 13, 14) which depends on the prediction of solar effects. These extremes can therefore be reasonably attributed to changes in solar activity. Such temperature deviations from normal can be 2 deg C over a season. Therefore a random addition of such (in principle predictable) deviations over 25 years (100 seasons) could easily be (using 'random walk' addition and binomial statistics) 2 / v100 = 0.2. Therefore 0.4 deg C change could reasonably be attributed from time to time to solar changes over 50 years. This is comparable to supposed recent man-made CO2 effects.
This argument for solar activity effects is even stronger when one considers the slow and extreme changes in solar activity which appear to have caused major cooling in the 'Maunder minimum' period (17th century).
4. Solar Activity magnifiers.
There are a number of Solar Activity Magnifier (SAM) processes which magnify the effects of solar activity on the atmosphere directly by affecting the concentration of primary greenhouse gases, and indirectly by various Solar Enhanced Greenhouse Mechanisms (SEGMs) of stratosphere-troposphere exchange (see Ref 13, 15 and 16). Mechanisms involved include particle and UV effects on Ozone and many electrical effects on water vapour, and dynamic exchanges.
SAM processes also change the efficiency of frontal systems and the 'world weather machine' which pumps heat from the equator to the poles. 'SAM' processes have a decisive influence on world temperatures.
Dozens of potential mechanisms for Sun/Earth weather links and SAM processes are being researched in different parts of the world ( see Ref 17) This work clearly shows there are a number of channels of SAM processes and it would be wrong to assume there is just one main SAM process.
The ozone UV effect magnifier process, for example, involves essentially competition between particle and UV (209nm) into the lower atmosphere. This process is very sensitive to stratospheric wind directions (see Ref 15) as are many SAM processes.
There is mounting evidence of the importance of solar forcing operating on all time scales and in particular, the world's most significant weather signals are probably 'solar powered'. Indeed the Solar Weather Technique propounds, with increasing evidence, that the two most significant world weather signals, namely the Quasibiennial oscillation in stratospheric wind (SQBO) and the El Niño phenomena (ENSO) are driven or triggered by solar activity.
5. A new solar based weather, climate and greenhouse model.
The new approach needed which gives solar activity its proper place
is summarised in Figure 1.
A diagramatic representation showing the alternative theory of global warming.
Under this model (which does not consider volcanic activity at this stage, although this is known to modulate some Sun-Earth links) solar activity dominates the primary greenhouse gasses and carbon dioxide is a secondary greenhouse gas.
Man's additions of CO2 into the atmosphere are a small second order effect since the extra CO2 is reabsorbed into the sea and biosphere at rates determined by temperatures which are controlled by primary greenhouse gases and thereby largely by various aspects of solar activity. The fact that world temperatures have risen (primarily due to external solar forcing and reductions in volcanic cooling) over the last hundred years and thereby caused an increase in dynamic equilibrium levels of CO2, while at the same time mankind's emissions of CO2 have increased, makes reliable unravelling of effects difficult.
Some estimates of the actual size of any man made effects have been made and one study (Ref 24) suggest the combined man-made CO2 and CH4 effects may have been up to one third of observed changes. However a closer consideration of the new solar-based model would probably substantially reduce this figure.
Why CO2 - Centred Greenhouse Theory Is Inadequate
- None of the catastrophic predictions of Greenhouse campaigns have ever come true and all their forecasts have been revised downwards.
- Satellite measurements do not show any global warming going on over the last few decades.
- There is nothing special happening in the world's weather now when compared with the last few hundred years.
- All the so-called extreme events commonly attributed to global warming have been going on at various times for millions of years - e.g: African droughts; bits of ice-caps breaking away; floods in America; periods of storms; ozone "holes" in Antarctica and Arctic.
- 250,000 years of ice-core measurements in Antarctica show that world temperatures control CO2 levels rather than the other way around.
- Most of the so-called global warming of the last hundred years is probably in fact relative global cooling 100 years ago caused by volcanic dust; and other natural processes - many of which are influenced by solar activity.
2: Assumptions and Theory
Current CO2-centred greenhouse computer models are fundamentally flawed for a number of reasons, such as:
* They ignore changes in water vapour which has a much higher Greenhouse Importance than CO2. Its average absolute Greenhouse heating effect is at least twice as large as that of CO2 and furthermore it shows huge variations, much of which depend on solar activity (eg due to solar particles, UV radiation, etc)
* They ignore the temperature dependence of the dynamic interaction of CO2 with sea water which covers 70% of the world! This temperature dependence of CO2 absorbitivity makes CO2 a secondary greenhouse gas.
* They ignore all important interactions of sea life (algae) etc with atmospheric CO2. * They ignore the crucial role of the quasibiennial oscillation of stratospheric winds (SQBO) in weather systems - which displays complex relationships with solar activity.
* They ignore variations in stratospheric Ozone - which are strongly influenced by solar activity (both particle and UV).
* They ignore cosmic ray enhancement of efficiency of cloud nucleation - which is strongly influenced by solar (magnetic) activity.
Appendix: The 'Greenhouse Importance' of a Greenhouse gas.
This concept is distinct from the absolute average heating effect of a greenhouse gas which if constant will have no bearing on weather and climate. The Greenhouse Importance (degrees Celsius), GI, of a greenhouse gas, measures the variability of its Greenhouse heating effect and is defined as the product of its average greenhouse heating effect, G, and its typical fractional variation, f, on a certain time scale, s. GI(s) = G x f(s),
The total Greenhouse effect of all greenhouse gases is: Gtotal = G(H2O) + G(O3) + G(CO2) + G(others)
Estimates of the average absolute sizes G (see IPCC) suggest that G(H20) = 2 G(CO2), (Approx) Estimates of f values put the f-values for H2O and for O3 as much greater than that for CO2 on all time scales. Consequently GI(H2O) is considerably larger than GI(CO2) and GI(O3) is probably also considerably greater than GI(CO2). This is probably true on all timescales from days to centuries.
1. ESEF (1996): The Global Warming Debate, ed J Emsley, London: European Science and Environment Forum.
2. - 11. (Refs 1-10 on p77 of above)
12. Corbyn, P & Golipour, M, (1997) 'A Solar Based Alternative to Theories of Global warming', IAGA Uppsala 1997 sessions 2.15/3. 13. Corbyn, P, Bamsi-Yazdi, K & Golipour, M, (1997),: 'The Solar Weather Technique, a breakthrough in Long Range Forecasting', 3rd European Conference of Applications of Meteorology Lindau Sept 1997.
14. Wheeler, D (1997) 'Assessment of SWT gale forecasts', 3rd European Conference of Applications of Meteorology, Lindau, September
15. Solar (direct and modulated) signals in atmospheric and geomagnetic data - Application in the Solar weather Technique of Long Range Forecasting IAGA Uppsala 1997, session 2.15/3.14.
16. Stratospheric Wind modulations of weather/solar wind effect correlations - Applications in SWT, IAGA Uppsala 1997, session 2.15/3.14.
17. See Proceedings of IAGA Uppsala 1997 (see ref 20)
18. Corbyn, P (1996): 'Carbon Dioxide Fluctuations Resulting From Climate Change', in ESEF (1996), pp 71-78
19. Corbyn, P & Golipour, M (1996): 'What is a Global Temperature? The Over-Representation of Temperate and Polar Zones', in ESEF (1996)
20. IAGA (1997) 8th Scientific Assembly of International Association of Geomagnetism and Aeronomy, Uppsala, Sweden, August 4-15th
21. Jaworoski, Z, Segalstad, TV & Hisdal, V (1992): 'Atmospheric CO2 and Global Warming: A Critical Review', Norsk Polarinstitutt, Oslo
22. Tinsley, BA (1996), 'Journal of Geophysical Research', vol 101, pp 21701-21714
23. See Ref 1 for, Friis-Christensen & Lassen, 1991, 1996; and Butler, 1996.
24. Baliunas & Jastrow 1997
25 Calder, 1997, The Manic Sun - Weather Theories confounded, Pilkington Press.