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» Agriculture: Tropical Cyclones are Welcome Visitors

» Sea Level Acceleration: Not so Fast

» Hansen Is Wrong

» Earth’s Carbon Sink Still Strong and Growing

» Wild Speculation on Climate and Polar Bears

» Illiteracy at NASA

» The Heat Was On—Before Urbanization and Greenhouse Gases

» What’s to Blame for the Rains on the Plains?

NewsBusters - Global Warming

» CNN's Blitzer: 'I Don't Remember' Biden's Law School Plagiarism

» CNN's Chetry: 'Please Tell Me It's Not Lipstick Again'

» MRC Report Asks: Why No Fairness Doctrine for PBS?



Climate Science: Roger Pielke Sr. Research Group

» Roger Pielke Sr. is now on Twitter!

» 2012 Climate Science Weblog in Review by Dallas Jean Staley – A Guest Post

» The Weblog Is Retiring

» Publication Of “Reply to “Comment On ‘Ocean Heat Content And Earth’s Radiation Imbalance. II. Relation To Climate Shifts’ ” by Nuccitelli Et Al. By Douglass and Knox 2012

» Q&A From A Group Of Retired NASA Personnel And Associates

» The Importance of Land Use/Land Practices On Climate – A Perspective From Jon Foley

» Interview With James Wynn In The English Department At Carnegie Mellon University

» University Of Alabama At Huntsville October 2012 Lower Tropospheric Temperature Analysis

» USA Election Day 2012

» New Paper “Climatic Variability Over Time Scales Spanning Nine Orders of Magnitude: Connecting Milankovitch Cycles With Hurst–Kolmogorov Dynamics” By Markonis And Koutsoyiannis


» Marvel et al.’s new paper on estimating climate sensitivity from observations

» Reply to Patrick Brown’s response to my article commenting on his Nature paper

» Polar Bears, Inadequate data and Statistical Lipstick

» Brown and Caldeira: A closer look shows global warming will not be greater than we thought

» US East Coast Sea Level Rise: An Adjustocene Hockey Stick

» New Antarctic Temperature Reconstruction

» Reconciling Model-Observation Reconciliations

» Part 2- The TV5 Monde Hack and APT28

» From Nigerian Scams to DNC Hack Attribution – Part 1

» Guccifer 2: From January to May, 2016



Global Warming News

» Leaked Clean Power Plan Repeal Proposal

» Documents Pertinent to the Nomination of Jeffrey Bossert Clark for AAG DOJ ENRD

» SJW-day at COP22

» Clean Power Plan: EPA’s Updated Base Case Now Tallies with EIA Data

» Clean Power Plan Oral Argument Transcript Available Here!

» President Obama and Chinese President Xi will officially join the Paris Climate Treaty on 3rd September

» South China Morning Post reports: China and US to ratify landmark Paris climate deal ahead of G20 summit, sources reveal

» Posting: Little-Known Documents Pertinent to Assessing the Legality of EPA’s Clean Energy Incentive Program

» Kyoto-Financed Cook Stoves Fail as Health/Climate “Intervention”

» CEQ Finalizes NEPA Guidance for Greenhouse Gases: Will Pointless Keystone XL Controversy Become ‘New Normal’?








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Since Exxon Hasn't Sent Us Our First Million Dollars Yet You're Welcome To Help Pay Our Bills Until They Do.


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Date published: Tue, 20 Feb 2018 22:49:36 +0000

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Date published: Fri, 16 Feb 2018 18:01:31 +0000

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Date published: Wed, 21 Feb 2018 01:11:35 +0000

Date published: not known

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Date published: Wed, 21 Feb 2018 01:32:00 +0000
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Ponder the Maunder
The Original Essay by 15 year old Kristen Byrnes
on Saturday 16 June 2007
by Kristen Byrnes author list print the content item create pdf file of the content item
in Ponder the Maunder

Ponder the Maunder
The Sun

I begin with the sun because, in fact, it is the sun that heats the Earth. Many people think of the sun as burning at the same temperature every day; the solar constant. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Solar Faculae

Because of different levels of magnetic activity between the sun's core and surface, sunspots are created and are visible to man. While the spots themselves are slightly cooler, the areas surrounding them (solar faculae) are warmer and result in increased total irradiance. Those who champion the greenhouse gas warming theory such as the IPCC only consider this variation of solar output.

Sunspots come in pairs, they are areas of the sun's surface where large magnetic fields exit then re-enter the suns surface. These magnetic fields carry with them large amounts of energy that is flung out into space. These are known as prominences.

Solar Flares
Sunspots occur in 11 year cycles and during maximum sunspot activity comes another varient of solar heat, solar flares (solar mass ejecta or coronal mass ejecta). Solar flares are where large lesions open up on the sun's surface resulting in huge explosions that range in temperature from 10 to 100 million degrees, a much higher temperature than the sun's normal surface temperature of 6,000 degrees. (A11)

Solar flares cause huge increases of irradiance in every wavelength in the spectrum. Some of the material ejected from solar flares is super heated gas from below the sun's surface. Much of this gas is deflected by the Earth's atmosphere. Satellites measuring energy fromt he sun do not detect this portion of heat from the sun because it is not radiative energy. While very large flares like the one in the picture above are rare, smaller solar flares are constantly emerging from the sun's surface during much of the sunspot cycle.

Gallactic Cosmic Rays and Clouds

Another effect on global temperature related to sunspots is the deflection of cosmic particles coming from Milky Way by the sun's increased magnetic field during increased sunspot activity. During periods of decreased sunspot activity, the sun's magnetic field is reduced and a higher percentage of cosmic rays enter the Earth's atmosphere. "The ions produced by cosmic rays act as condensation nuclei for larger suspension particles and thus contribute to cloud formation. With increased solar activity (and stronger magnetic fields), the cosmic ray intensity decreases, and with it the amount of cloud coverage, resulting in a rise of temperature on the Earth. Conversely, a reduction in solar activity produces lower temperatures." (A12)

This phenomenon is not new to science but greenhouse gas theorists have gone to great lengths to ignore the temperature changes caused by this effect. The graph below shows extremely good correlation between cosmic rays and low cloud cover. The effect was also recreated in the laboratory by Henrik Svensmark, who is Director of the Sun-Climate Center within the Danish National Space

Center in Copenhagen.

Another effect on Galactic Cosmic Rays was noted by Astrophysicist Dr. Nir Shaviv. A "muting effect" by particles being blasted from the sun during high sunspot activity collides with Galactic Cosmic Rays, thus deflecting them away from the solar system before they can reach Earth.

Sunspot activity and Temperature
Since the invention of the telescope over 400 years ago, man has recorded sunspot activity. Because of these historical records, we can compare variations in sunspot activity to long term trends in cooling and heating in other historical records. Sunspot activity strongly correlates with levels of Carbon 14 and Berrylium 10 isotopes found in tree rings and ice cores. Therefore, accurate, long term reconstructions of sunspot activity can be made with low margins of error. The reconstructions of sunspot activity correlate strongly with almost every reconstruction of global temperature until about 1980. The graphic below is from Sami Solanki of the Max Planck Institute. Solanki believes that half of the warming of the last 30 years is due to solar activity.

click on image to enlarge

Albedo is “the fraction of incident electromagnetic radiation reflected by a surface, especially of a celestial body”. Simply stated, how much a surface reflects light. (A13)

Dark surfaces have low albedo and light surfaces have a high albedo, an example would be snow and oceans. Snow has high albedo, because it is very light, and oceans have a low albedo because of their dark color. This means that with snow, as much as 90% of visible light reflects back into space because of its high albedo. The amount of reflection of dark water depends on its properties (solid or liquid, still or wavy).

(Water reflection) (B8)

Earth’s average albedo is about 30%, and with the Northern Hemisphere having more land, but the Southern Hemisphere having more constant sunlight, the amount of reflection is about even.
Also, the Earth’s albedo varies due to the seasons, because the albedo correlates with the position of the sun. So when it is winter in North America, the albedo is high because of the amount of snow.
“Clouds are another source of albedo that play into the global warming equation. Different types of clouds have different albedo values, theoretically ranging from a minimum of near 0% to a maximum of 80%.”

Albedo and climate in some areas are already affected by artificial clouds, such as those created by the contrails of heavy commercial airliner traffic. A study following the September 11 attacks, after which all major airlines in the U.S. shut down for three days, showed a local 1 °C increase in the daily temperature range (the difference of day and night temperatures).” (A14)


After the sun produces heat, the oceans store the heat like a battery stores electricity. Unlike the land which reflects heat back into space very quickly, solar heat is absorbed into ocean water and trapped there. This is a very important point because when people look at global warming over time, they do not consider the cumulative heat effect of the warming ocean. As the sun’s total irradiance has increased over the last 150 years, the basis of global temperature, sea surface temperature increased. Thus, as the sun shines on the ocean year after year, the solar heat this year is basically added to the solar heat of the previous years.

Heat in the ocean is distributed around the Earth by various ocean currents then released back into the atmosphere. Several factors, such as geography, solar heating, wind and the Earth’s rotation, contribute to ocean currents.

World Ocean Currents and global warming
click on image to enlarge

“The world's oceans also have significant currents that flow beneath the surface (Figure above). Subsurface currents generally travel at a much slower speed when compared to surface flows. The subsurface currents are driven by differences in the density of seawater. The density of seawater deviates in the oceans because of variations in temperature and salinity. Near surface seawater begins its travel deep into the ocean in the North Atlantic. High levels of evaporation, which cools and increases the salinity of the seawater located here, cause the down welling of this water. The high levels of evaporation take place in between Northern Europe and Greenland and just north of Labrador, Canada. This seawater then moves south along the coast of North and South America until it reaches Antarctica. At Antarctica, the cold and dense sea water then travels eastward joining another deep current that is created by evaporation occurring between Antarctica and the southern tip of South America. Slightly into its eastward voyage the deep cold flow splits off into two currents, one of which moves northward. In the middle of the North Pacific and in the Indian Ocean (off the east coast of Africa), these two currents move from the ocean floor to its surface creating upwelling. The current then becomes near surface moving eventually back to the starting point in the North Atlantic or creating a shallow warm flow that circles around Antarctica. One complete circuit of this flow of seawater is estimated to take about 1,000 years.”

North Atlantic Drift Current
When watching tourist advertisements about England that show people swimming in the water at a warm sunny beach, one might wonder how England and much of Europe can have such a nice climate when the rest of the world at that latitude is covered in ice and snow.

Part of the ocean current discussed above is the North Atlantic Drift Current, often known as the North Atlantic Oscillation. This current is associated with numerous other currents in arctic waters. When the ocean conveyor reaches the southern North American coastline it turns north and is pushed by the winds known as the Gulf Stream. When this shallow warm mass of water reaches the North Atlantic the warm water begins to evaporate. The warm, moist air is carried west over Europe and some of Asia. Since salt cannot evaporate, the water that is left is saltier and denser and therefore sinks. It is then carried south as part of the ocean conveyor.

Some of this warm water continues north to the Arctic where it is divided into a series of smaller ocean currents, both warm shallow and deep cold.

The North Atlantic Oscillation is what determines the track of storms over Europe, whether they go over France or south to the Mediterranean Sea.

El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO)
El Nino and La Nina are weather patterns that occur between Peru and Indonesia. During normal years, trade winds blow from Peru to Indonesia where water levels increase. In this area of Indonesia there is a low-pressure system that normally takes heat from the ocean surface and into the atmosphere. During El Nino the trade winds relax and the warm surface water spreads from Indonesia back to Peru. This has the effect of increasing the size of the area of warm surface water that is in contact with the atmosphere. Thus more heat is released into the atmosphere. During La Nina years the opposite happens. The trade winds blowing from east to west increase in strength and blow the warm surface water to Indonesia. This causes a decrease in contact area between the atmosphere and warm water. Thus less heat is released back into the atmosphere.


The graph above demonstrates how El Nino affects global temperature and the effects of two volcanoes on climate are included. Notice in 1998 how temperature skyrocketed after a strong El Nino. Notice in 1993 how temperature did not rise after a strong El Nino; this is because the El Chichon volcano belched enough aerosols into the atmosphere that reflected enough sunlight to cancel the heating effect of the El Nino.

The Atmosphere
On a grand scale, the sun is the producer of heat, the ocean is the storage container of the sun’s heat and the atmosphere is the conductor of heat going from the earth’s surface (both land and ocean) back into space.The atmosphere is divided into several vertical layers, each differing in temperature and in the chemical reactions occurring in each layer.


The way that volcanoes affect global temperatures depends upon the particular volcanic event. For instance, the 1980 eruption of Mt. St. Helens did not have much affect on global temperatures for two reasons. First, the eruption of Mount St. Helens was not very large compared to other volcanoes that did affect global temperatures in the past. Second, the energy emitted by this eruption went sideways, rather than vertically, therefore particles did not enter high enough into the atmosphere to reflect sunlight.

On the other hand, the eruption of Mt. Tambora in 1815 cooled the Earth by several degrees centigrade. The following year was known as “the year without a summer.” This is because Mt. Tambora was a large eruption that sent small particles high into the atmosphere, as those particles spread around the globe they blocked out sunlight and cooled the Earth’s surface. Mt. Tambora also happened during the Dalton Minimum, increasing the cooling effects that were already occurring from low sunspot activity.

The effect of volcanoes on Earth’s climate is to cool the Earth for a few years after a major eruption. This is because particles and gases from the volcano reflects sunlight back into space, and the particles eventually fall back to the ground and gases are eventually removed from the atmosphere by natural chemical processes. In this way, volcanoes can produce a 3 to 5 year “snapshot” of what a cooler climate would be like.

Nuclear Weapons Testing

To date, no one seems to be able to explain the cooling period between 1945 and 1985.
There has been some investigation in the past to learn if the above ground testing of nuclear weapons in the 1940’s through the late 1970’s may have contributed to climate cooling of the same period. There was a paper on the late John Daily’s web site (A15) that suggested that there might have been correlation. While the paper offered information on the size, date, and number of some atomic bomb tests, the important information about climate effects was based on unfounded rumors. It estimated that the Earth should have cooled from:
  1. Ozone depletion from the heat created by the fireball. (Ozone depletion in the troposphere and stratosphere would lead to cooling).
  2. That the release of atomic particles would have increased condensation nuclei, thus clouds and rain would have increased, like galactic rays do (thus causes cooling).
  3. That it would have taken a weapon over 1 Megaton (equivalent to one million tons of TNT) to send dust high enough into the atmosphere to block some of the suns rays for a period of months or years.

As for #1, ozone depletion, a study published in the Journal of Geophysical Research stated in the abstract, “Local changes in atmospheric ozone relative to background regional changes over a period during which a small megaton nuclear weapon was detonated in tropical latitudes have been studied by using backscatter UV observations from Nimbus 4 satellite. Little change in total ozone was observed, less than might have been expected from current models of NOx catalytic depletion.”(A16)

As for #2, increased condensation nuclei, a study of rainfall over the U.S for the same time period indicated that rain actually decreased during the three years following the 1950’s testing and the early 1960’s testing. (figure below)

As for #3, increased particles that would have blocked out sunlight, there was no data to confirm this hypothesis.
Fortunately my step-dad was a Nuclear, Biological and Chemical warfare Specialist in the U.S Marines and was able to help me understand how nuclear weapons work.

Types of Nuclear Blasts

1. Ground burst
When the fireball of the nuclear weapon comes in contact with the ground or ocean. This causes the substances (dirt, water, trees, bugs, automobiles) on the ground to be “vaporized” and blown up into the air with the mushroom cloud. The way to tell if an atomic bomb was a ground burst is if the stem of the mushroom cloud is dirty and dark. Most of the material in the mushroom cloud will fall to the ground causing radioactive “fallout” down wind. The very fine particles that were vaporized by the fireball will mix in the atmosphere. These particles would be like the dust or soot from a volcano that block the sun’s rays, thus causing some cooling.

2.Underground burst
No atmospheric effect.

Because the fireball does not touch the ground, there are only tiny amounts of radioactive dust and dirt particles to fall back to the ground. There is some residual radiation, but not enough to create the kind of fallout that might affect military operations. The stem of the mushroom cloud will look white and steamy.

4.Ocean- burst
Exploded below the surface of the ocean. This creates an underwater shockwave that sinks most ships and submarines in the area, but the blast is so far underwater that the mushroom cloud usually is not very high. Highly radioactive water rains down in the immediate area.

The “yield” of nuclear blasts
The size (yield) of the nuclear explosion is expressed as an equivalent of tons of TNT exploding. People in the military are trained to estimate the size (yield) of nuclear explosions by measuring the top of the mushroom cloud ten minutes after the explosion (also cloud bottom, 2/3 stem or cloud radius). Then they apply those measurements to the FM 3-3-1 calculator (figure below).

In this part of the paper I compare the series of eruptions of Mount Pinatubo, Philippines, in 1991, which caused a decrease in mean global surface temperatures of .5 Co in the three following years to nuclear bomb testing.

There were many different comparisons of the Mount Pinatubo eruptions to nuclear yield on different web sites, none matched. Therefore, a method of comparing the eruption of Mount Pinatubo to nuclear yield is necessary.

(B15) June 13 Pinatubo

While the type and size of the exploding areas are different in volcanoes and nuclear explosions, the amount of energy that would cause a mushroom cloud of similar size to be pushed to a similar altitude would be the same.

For the following section, in order for a nuclear detonation to be included in the tabulation, the entire mushroom cloud must have entered the stratosphere.

To make this comparison, I use a satellite photo of the June 15th eruption that shows cloud width and Wikipedia information that indicate cloud top height, (112,000 ft.).


I estimated the cloud radius by measuring distance from the center of the yellow X (volcano center) to the upwind (right) side of the plume and comparing it to the yellow “100 km” scale measurement in the upper part of the photo.

Therefore, we can estimate the Mount Pinatubo climactic eruption as being about 16 MT, because both 35 km cloud radius and 112,000 foot cloud top height are indicated on the FM 3-3-1 calculator as about a 16 MT blast.

The table below converts each of the Pinatubo eruptions in 1991 to nuclear yield.

This is compared to only a portion of the following ground bursts of nuclear tests in the 1950's and 60's; (A17)

Note: The only tests used in the table below were those that had yields big enough to send the entire mushroom cloud of a ground burst into the stratosphere. (Appendix

The reason why a volcano can cool the climate is because of the amount of gases it sends into the atmosphere after an eruption. The sulphur gases that are sent into the atmosphere reflect the rays of the sun, which causes the climate to cool. This is different than the dust from nuclear weapons that send fine particles high into the atmosphere that absorb sunlight thus causing the climate to cool. The cooling effects of volcanoes should be stronger, however there were many more nuclear tests between 1951 and 1962. The total yield of Mt Pinatubo’s 5 eruptions that reached the stratosphere was 19.4 MT. The total yield of 157 nuclear weapons tests that reached the stratosphere was 367 MT, more than 19 times the yield of Pinatubo’s 5 eruptions and spread out over 11 years.

Greenhouse Gases
Greenhouse gases are a natural part of the Earth’s temperature stabilization process, this is what keeps the earth from freezing at night. During the day, sunlight heats the Earth’s surface, some of the heat from the sun, and heat being re-radiated by the Earth’s surface, is absorbed by greenhouse gases. As day turns to night and the sun is no longer heating that part of the Earth, the greenhouse gases still have the absorbed heat from the sun, thus keeping the night air at higher temperatures.

Water Vapor
Water vapor is by far the most abundant of all greenhouse gases. The amount of water vapor in the atmosphere can vary widely, for instance from dry desert air to humid tropical air, the average of water vapor content in the atmosphere is usually about 3%. Water vapor is not considered a component of the atmosphere.

Its effects on global temperature is complex and varies enormously. The main problem with the accuracy of computer climate models is the interaction of water vapor in the atmosphere.
As a greenhouse gas, water vapor absorbs the same infrared bandwidths as does CO2.
Clouds are also an important part of water vapor because they cool the Earth during the day because of high albedo. But they heat the Earth at night because of the energy stored in the clouds.

CO2 naturally occurs in the atmosphere and follows closely behind temperature.
During periods of glaciation, atmospheric CO2 levels are usually about 200 parts per million, according to ice core studies from Vostok Glacier, Antarctica. When the planet warms during periods of interglaciation the same ice core studies indicate atmospheric CO2 levels are normally about 280 parts per million.

In a study conducted by the late Dr. Charles Keeling we learned that atmospheric Carbon Dioxide is increasing. The graph below shows how CO2 levels in the atmosphere change with the seasons (the saw teeth on the graph are from decreases in CO2 during spring when plants grow then increase in the fall when they slow down the photosynthesis process and do not absorb as much CO2.

The data that Dr. Keeling collected shows a steady increase in atmospheric CO2 levels to the current level of about 380 parts per million.

Some scientists believe that CO2 increases are man made, other scientists have warned that past atmospheric CO2 levels calculated from studying ice cores are inaccurate and that present atmospheric CO2 level increases are a result of natural causes. To me, this argument was put to rest by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory whose satellites and sensors have been able to track CO2 sources and have concluded that the current increases in atmospheric CO2 are coming from raw coal burning family home heaters in the third world, primarily in China.

Dr. C. Miller of JPL, Director of the Carbon Observatory Project, stated on his web site that ½ of industrial CO2 has been cleansed by the atmosphere.

If man is responsible for a 100 part per million increase of atmospheric CO2 levels we must still keep in mind that 100 parts per million is a very tiny number. Said another way, man’s contribution to atmospheric CO2 is only one ten thousandth of total atmosphere.

Greenhouse gases and the spectrum
I will start this section with a very important point. CO2 in the atmosphere does not reflect radiation back to the earth as some have tried to state.

Some scientists have warned that when sun light strikes the surface of the Earth it is absorbed then re-emitted as infrared radiation. This infrared radiation is then absorbed by atmospheric CO2 and re-emitted back to the Earth’s surface thus causing the lower atmosphere to remain warmer. Other scientists say that CO2 can only absorb infrared at very limited wavelengths and that those wavelengths are already saturated. A simple example of this is that when you are watching television and someone is standing in your way, it does not matter if another person stands between you and the television. The light from the television cannot make it through the extra body when the first body is there. CO2 absorbs infrared radiation in very narrow bandwidths.

When confronted with this problem, the greenhouse theorists claimed that the CO2 re-emits the energy at a slightly different wavelength, but no measurements of this energy has ever been made and water vapor absorbs in the same wavelengths. Just how much of this re-radiated energy is absorbed by CO2 and how much is absorbed by water vapor is the key sticking point for many scientists who remain undecided about the greenhouse theory.

Feedbacks are stabilizers of the Earths atmospheric temperature. For example, the sun could be shining bright on the ocean surrounding Hawaii on a given day, causing this area to become very hot. This in return would cause the ocean water to evaporate and eventually form clouds. The clouds would then block out the sun light and cause the ocean surrounding Hawaii to cool down. This is called a “negative feedback.”

On the other hand, snow in high latitudes and altitudes reflects sunlight. But when the ice melts, the water or land below then absorbs that light that would otherwise be reflected, causing the Earth’s temperature to rise. This is called a “positive feedback.”


Aerosols, or smog, are usually sulphur based gases that combine with water vapor in the atmosphere to make droplets of sulphuric acid. When sunlight strikes the droplets, part of it is scattered. Sulphur oxide smog also can be cloud condensation nuclei, forming clouds. These clouds reflect sunlight and cause cooling during the day, but in reverse they trap and hold heat during the night resulting in heating. Greenhouse theorists think the cooling period between 1945 and 1975 was caused by smog.

© Kristen Byrnes and Ponder the Maunder - All Rights Reserved. Reprinted on with Permission.

article index
page 1 : intro
page 2 : Page 1
page 3 : Page 2
page 4 - current : Page 3
page 5 : Page 4
page 6 : Page 5
page 7 : Page 6
page 8 : Page 7
page 9 : Page 8
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