Will Alexander email@example.com
Note from Webmaster: the earlier paper to which Prof Alexander refers in this memo can be found at:
Saturday 7 July 2007 (from Adelaide). This memo is rather long but very important.
As some of you are aware, I have been on tenterhooks since the beginning of this year. Our paper was almost complete. It was extremely important as it completely undermines the very foundation of current climate change science. We have solid evidence of synchronous linkages between the acceleration and deceleration of the sun as it moves through galactic space, sunspot activity, and the hydrometeorological responses on the African subcontinent and elsewhere. I was unable to detect any evidence of adverse effects of global warming postulated in the Stern Review and the reports of the IPCC.
My first worry was whether or not our paper would survive the review process. Early publication was essential if it was to have any impact. The IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report (FAR) was due for publication. The G8+5 meeting was scheduled for June. In my view, this whole climate change issue will soon collapse for a whole lot of political, economic and scientific reasons. There will be severe repercussions. We had to get our paper published before this happened.
The reviewers’ comments were critical but helpful, as was the Journal’s editor and the editorial advisory committee. There was considerable relief when we were informed that the corrected paper would be published in the June issue of the quarterly Journal. I was provided with the reference details and SAICE’s permission to disseminate the pdf file ahead of the formal distribution of the Journal, as I was on my way to Australia to participate in a workshop organized by the Lavoisier Group. I wished to distribute it to participants ahead of the workshop.
I included the file in my Memo 27/07 of 14 June. This was only three weeks ago but much has happened since then. Soon after my arrival I was whisked off to Canberra where I addressed a small group in the parliamentary buildings. A few days later I was in Melbourne for the workshop. There were some 70 participants and academic presenters from different Australian universities. It was an eye-opener. This was the first time that I could have direct discussions with academics who were also critical of the whole climate change issue. My 117-slide PowerPoint presentation was well received. On Monday we are off to Perth on our way home. I have been invited to address a meeting of the mining fraternity on Monday evening and we leave for home the next day.
The distribution of our paper coincided with the publication of the thousand-page report of the IPCC’s Working Group I on the Climate Change 2007. The Physical Science Basis. Less than five of the thousand pages are devoted to the effects of solar variability on climate. There is no mention at all of the wealth of observations and reports on the synchronous linkage of solar activity with droughts, rainfall and river flow during the past 150 years. Why?
Now came the major concerns. The purpose of our paper was to advance scientific knowledge. What is sadly missing these days is constructive criticism and debate. How would the Australian academics and audiences react? Also, our paper soon spread through the Internet. It appeared on websites from California in the west through to New Zealand in the east.
I did not have long to wait. The following responses are in the order that they were received. I have omitted the names of the senders.
These are the comments received up to 7 July. They are very encouraging and constructive. I have added our responses to them in a separate section below.
16 June. Australia
On arrival in Australia there was already an email in the inbox. It was from an Australian scientist who had read our joint paper.
Thanks for this great paper – it is ground breaking and it has a few really good bits of info. There is one major flaw in the paper, however, in figure 10. When it comes to working out the distance between the Earth and the Sun, the Earth moves about the centre of mass of the Earth-Sun system, not the centre of mass of the whole solar system. If I remember rightly, the centre of mass of the Earth-Sun system only moves about 500 km from the centre of the physical Sun.
Hence, all variations in insolation received at the Earth are due to the known ellipticity of the Earth’s orbit about the Sun. The magnitude of the changes in Solar insolation caused by the ellipticity of the Earth’s orbit is in agreement with the directly observed changes in insolation that are measured by satellite.
Put simply, the terrestrial planets and the Sun move (together) as a body around the centre of mass of the Solar System, and each of the Jovian planets moves about the centre of mass of the Sun and itself.
In spite of this mistake, the paper is a wonderful paper.
We considered this point when we prepared our paper. One of us suggested that we already had a powerful argument and we should rather omit Fig. 10. Fred Bailey was adamant and I felt that it would be dishonest to deliberately omit something because there were uncertainties. This is the foundation of the IPCC’s position on the solar influence and we had to address it. In retrospect, our position on this point is very sound. Details are in our responses later in this memo.
17 June. USA
Congratulations to you and your coauthors on your paper, "Linkages between solar activity, climate predictability, and water resource development," in
the J. S. African Institution Civil Eng., vol. 49 (June 2007) 32-44. I am not good at statistics or at space perception, but your analysis of the link between solar activity and climate is first class.
The results of isotope and element analysis on meteorites, planets, the solar wind, and solar flares since 1960 indicate that there is a very compact neutron star "rattling" around inside the Sun as it wobbles through space. That is probably what produces the solar sunspot cycle.
21 June. United Kingdom.
Dear Professor Alexander, - I have read your beautifully-researched and immaculately-presented paper with interest, admiration, and enthusiasm. Warmest congratulations to you and your co-authors on having produced one of the most detailed analyses I have ever seen of the hydrological cycle. Some of the graphs - particularly those which match solar-activity cycles to hydrological cycles - are indeed compelling. And you have taken very great care to ensure that all your results are replicable, so that your interesting hypothesis - which is part of a growing trend to reinstate the Sun's role in climate - can be independently verified. This is how science always used to be done, and always ought to be done. I shall be citing your paper all over the place.
25 June. South Africa
Thank you for your reply. Regarding your document: Phew! What a mouthful. Of course I lack understanding of many of the specifics, but enjoyed the overall understanding.
I am a software developer by profession and though I do not work with highly complex mathematical models, I understand the complexity of modeling even basic everyday processes. As such I am wary of models which claim to be able to make predictions based on processes with innumerable variables. We hardly have the computing power.
I wonder whether you have considered the creation of a website where you and similar authors can raise interest in these studies and create a repository of, at the very least, links to similar studies or data.
There is so much pseudoscience on the internet regarding the topic and websites which seem to be funded by oil companies. I've also come across American republican sites which condemn climate change science, but without real scientific substance, and
with more emotional ranting than anything else.
It was only after some hard searching that I was able to come across your information.
26 June. CCNet (3 000 international recipients.)
(6) LINKAGES BETWEEN SOLAR ACTIVITY, CLIMATE PREDICTABILITY AND WATER RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT
Linkages between solar activity, climate predictability and water resource development*
W J R Alexander, F Bailey, D B Bredenkamp, A van der Merwe and N Willemse
This study is based on the numerical analysis of the properties of routinely observed hydrometeorological data which in South Africa alone is collected at a rate of more than half a million station days per year, with some records approaching 100 continuous years in length. The analysis of this data demonstrates an unequivocal synchronous linkage between these processes in South Africa and elsewhere, and solar activity. This confirms observations and reports by others in many countries during the past 150 years. It is also shown with a high degree of assurance that there is a synchronous linkage between the statistically significant, 21-year periodicity in these processes and the acceleration and deceleration of the sun as it moves through galactic space. Despite a diligent search, no evidence could be found of trends in the data that could be attributed to human activities. It is essential that this information be accommodated in water resource development and operation procedures in the years ahead.
JOURNAL OF THE SOUTH AFRICAN INSTITUTION OF CIVIL ENGINEERING
Vol 49 No 2, June 2007, Pages 32-44, Paper 659
FULL PAPER at http://nzclimatescience.net/images/PDFs/alexander2707.pdf
26 June. Canada.
I am a Canadian journalist who has been writing a series of articles about the findings of scientists involved in climate research. I am interested in your work relating solar activity and drought, and the implications of this both water management and the climate change controversy. Am I correct in understanding that you have found no evidence of manmade influences on the patterns of rainfall and resulting river flow that you have measured?
I have seen your recent technical paper in the Journal of the South African Institution of Civil Engineering and wonder why evaporation data does not show evidence of the 21-year periodicity shown for rainfall. Do you have a possible explanation for this? I am also wondering how your data can be used to manage water resources better. Would governments ration water use, to get through periods of drought? Or build reservoirs? Or vary agricultural practices? Or perhaps employ other mechanisms?
I am hopeful that you will have the time to answer these and other questions that I might have, and also to look over my final draft, to ensure that I have understood the science properly.
If you are agreeable, would you also be able to forward any other documents that you have that are especially useful in presenting your findings to a lay audience?
28 June. Spain from Fred Bailey
I have had an e-mail from a Senior Lecturer in Ecology at the University of Madrid, enquiring about our paper and my book etc. I was going to mention your climate list to him, but changed my mind. I know that you want to wind down your commitments from now on. What is your view on this; in case I get further contacts ?
He quoted http://www.climateaudit.org/. as his source.
29 June. California
Meteorologist Anthony Watts of Chico, California, USA has linked to your paper "Linkages between solar activity, climate predictability and water resource development" in his web log "Watts Up With That".
Mr.Watts is currently getting some attention in the United States for his survey of USHCN climate stations. An anonymous post to this web log criticizes your paper and I was wondering that, if you can spare the time, could you post a response?
The criticism is as follows --
The study finds a strong correlation between water levels and sunspot numbers. But the correlation is a short term correlation - there is little to no correlation in the long term trends.
For example, there is no long term trend in Lake Victoria's levels from 1900 to 1940 when solar activity showed long term increase. Any short or long term correlation breaks down between 1930 to 1970. Next, to obtain correlation over 1968 to 2005, they filter out a 29mm per year trend. They don't explain why there's been a long term trend of falling water levels over the last 37 years while there's been no long term solar trend.
In fact, all the case studies show short term correlation with solar cycles but no long term correlation with decadal solar trends. There's so much noise due to tributary inflows, outflows, sluicing, rainfall and evaporation that while short term correlations with
the solar cycle are useful, determining or finding meaning in long term trends is
problematic. In short, measuring water levels is a roundabout way of determining the sun's effect on long term global warming.
A more direct method would be to observe the correlation between solar activity and global temperatures. In 2005, Sami Solanki at the Max Planck Institute compared solar activity & temperatures over the past 1150 years and found temperatures closely correlate to solar activity. When sunspot activity was low during the Maunder
Minimum in the 1600's or the Dalton Minimum in the 1800's, the earth went through 'small ice ages'. The sun has been unusually hot in the last century - solar output rose dramatically in the early 20th century accompanied by a sharp rise in global temperatures.
However, Solanki also found the correlation between solar activity and global temperatures ended around 1975. At that point, temperatures started rising while solar activity stayed level. This led him to conclude "during these last 30 years the solar total
irradiance, solar UV irradiance and cosmic ray flux has not shown any significant secular
trend, so that at least this most recent warming episode must have another source."
1 July. Australia.
Looking at your paper 659 on the CD, I see why you are interested in non-linear oscillations: they can have preferred amplitudes without such tight links to any preferred period: they do not have such a strong tendency to strict periodicity.
Driven by the originality and enormous importance of your profoundly valuable discoveries, I am impelled to make various comments, as below. Probably most of my comments will be things you have noticed many times in the past, but perhaps a naive observer like me might accidentally emphasise something usefully.
Looking at your graphs of accumulated departure from the mean, it occurs to me that the process of calculating these graphs is quite like the process for calculating a moving average. The difference is that a moving average is defined with a definite 'window width', while the accumulation of departures from the mean has a variable 'window width'. Both operations have a 'smoothing' effect on the raw data, making a 'tendency' more obvious, and removing rapid fluctuations. Both operations are, strictly speaking, 'information destroying': they destroy the evidence of rapid fluctuation, on the other hand emphasising the slower fluctuations. A moving average of just the specific 'window width' of the main periodicity would selectively remove the main periodicity, of course.
Moving averages are characterised by their weightings. A moving average with a fixed weighting cannot be calculated for the years near the ends of the record, but one can if one likes use a progressively shorted window width near the ends of the record, provided one says that one is doing so. One of the characters of a moving average is its 'time offset'. If one believes that one knows the direction of a causal linkage, it is natural to allow an asymmetrical weighting.
In our case we believe that the sun spots influence the weather, but the weather does not influence the sunspots. I doubt that a reasonable person would quarrel with that.
Looking at the data, I am struck by the idea that a moving average with window width of perhaps about 5 years would be suitable for seeing the 22 year cycle. They would hide the important alternate-year pattern that occurs about years 10 to 16 of the 22 year cycle.
Let the raw quantity for year i be denoted by q(i)
A possible arbitrary example of a moving average value for year i
= w(1) q(i - 4)
= 16 x 1 q(i - 4) / 211
+ 8 x 3 q(i - 3) / 211
The present year is most strongly represented, and previous years are less strongly represented.
The weights add to 1.
16 x 1 / 211
+ 8 x 3 / 211
Moving averages like this might be helpful for naked eye intuitive looks at the data, and are likely, as you have found, to be much easier to use than spectral analysis based on Fourier theory.
I think it very likely that one could find an available computer program that would help to find the best moving average model, of the form
Moving average with weighting ww(.) of the weather for year i
= moving average with weighting ws(.) of the sunspots for year i
+ random error for year i.
q(i) weather for year i
= Moving average with weighing ww1(.) of the weather for year i
moving average with weighting ws(.) of the sunspots for year i
+ random error for year i.
These are basically linear methods, suitable for study of linear processes.
Programs that can help to look at non-linear models are, I would guess, also available.
A non-linear model might for example look at non-linear """averages""" such as
w(1,1) q(i - 2)
+ w(1,4) q(i - 2)^4
Programs like this would be able to search a vast range of models. Again, as you have found, naked eye intuition would be a best guide, but it might be helped by the computer programs.
Another way of looking at the data is to make many correlograms with specified time origins. For example, the usual correlogram admits all years as time origins. But a correlogram with admitting only year 10 or 11 or 12 of a cycle as a time origin might show more detail of that oscillation. For linear processes, these specified time origin correlograms would not reveal much, but for non-linear processes they would be quite suitable. Also one could make correlograms with specified values or ranges of the variable as time origins. For example, one could make correlograms admitting only flood years as time origins, or only drought years as time origins.
The naked eye intuitive examination is very valuable. I think it is what enabled me to find out the secret of the ancient Greek pitch accent which had eluded authorities who used more automatic and less intuitive ways of examining the data.
On the subject of the motion of the sun, one would think that the motion of the sun would be best calculated as the reciprocal of the motion of the centre of mass of all the planets, not just the biggest ones.
Another feature of non-linear oscillators that I did not mention to you is that they can easily show sub harmonic and (super-) harmonic generations. For example, a non-linear oscillator with a 10.5 year period can produce a sub harmonic effect with a period of 21 years (also called period-doubling), as well as harmonics with periods of for example 5.25 years (I suppose one could call this period-halving). Period-doubling is well understood in the mathematics of non-linear oscillators.
All my remarks about non-linear oscillators do not in the least go against your fundamentally important and extremely valuable point that the earth's climate system is driven by external influences, the sun being a prime example. Indeed the concept of an oscillator is not really vital here. All that is important is that there are feedbacks somewhere in the process. The equal and opposite reaction of Newton's third law of motion for the planets is a form of feedback, through the efficacy of gravity.
It will be very interesting to see if you are given a Nobel Prize for this work. I do not know the exact rules for its award, and so I do not know whether your work is eligible. In any case, your work is revolutionary in the sense that it seems to dump the orthodoxy of the times in which it was published. It was a great pleasure for me to feel a 'radiation' of your real devotion to scientific ethics and methods, with the due reward of a great discovery.
This is very helpful and we will certainly apply it. This linkage between graphical and mathematical analyses is necessary to meet the requirements for numerical simulation models required for water resource analyses. It will also accommodate the concerns of those who maintain that graphical methods require subjective interpretation and are therefore inferior to pure mathematical analyses. (I disagree!)
5 July. USA
Your article on the linkage between solar activity and climate was sent to me by Bob Carter. As a retired geologist, I'm afraid my arithmetic is not up to the elegant arguments you make. But, I once took courses from Dr. Rhodes. W. Fairbridge who died recently at age 92. He published an astounding (to me) article describing a simple mechanism that explains complex solar output cycles. I did not see it cited in your article and wonder if you are aware of it or perhaps that it does not have any scientific merit? I add the website below.
I would be interested in your comments mostly because I admired Dr. F. when I was a graduate student at Columbia U. and wonder if "his" mechanism is viable. I have not seen it cited in any of the climate literature that I have read.
This comment was extremely important. I was altogether unaware of Fairbridge’s paper. I strongly recommend that all those interested in the solar connection download and study it. You will then appreciate all the landmark studies on the solar linkage dating back to Herschel who in 1801 discussed the nature of the sunspots, their variability, their effect on climate, and the position of the planets as possible causative forces. Why has it taken 200 years to provide solid evidence that supports these views? Even more importantly, why does the IPCC continue to deny that a causal linkage exists between variations in solar activity and climate?
5 July. Norway
I provided a file with the raw data that I used in my analyses, as well as a chapter describing my analyses.
Many thanks for the data and the chapter. In section 17.3 of the chapter you ask about a statistical approach to combined data. I think a technique called linear mixed effect modelling could be useful. It is a regression procedure designed for longitudinal data, such as yours, and can include terms for serial correlation. One possible problem would be accounting for the lack of independence between the districts, but there may be ways of overcoming it. If you are interested, I can show this problem to the statistician I work with when he returns from holiday.
Looking at the data, most of it is highly skewed, with many low values and a few very high values. Correlation tests do not perform well with such data: they assume that the data approximate a Gaussian distribution. Log transforming your data generally makes it more Gaussian. Interestingly, some of the correlations at 21 years then
disappear, for example at Vaal inflow.
I do not find it surprising that you cannot detect any signal of anthropogenic global warming. The signal in the global and hemispheric temperatures anomalies is only apparent in the last few decades. At regional levels, only now are the temperature anomalies becoming significant. Since precipitation data are much noisier than temperature data, I expect it will be difficult to detect the signal of global
warming for some years yet, especially at a regional level.
I remain skeptical of the significance of the 21 year periodicity in your data
There was recently a discussion of your paper on Steve McIntyre's blog - www.climateaudit.org - may I make your data available to interested participants there, who may have other ideas on how to analyse it? [I agreed.]
Will Alexander wrote:
My apologies for this delayed response. I am now on a visit to Australia
where I have just participated in a workshop on climate change.
I have attached Chapter 2 of my 474-page technical report. It describes
the analytical methodology that I used in my analyses. I have also
attached the raw data that I used in the analyses in computer-readable
format. I used standard serial correlation analyses to identify the
periodicity. The accumulated departure graphs were very useful for
identifying the nature of characteristics in the time series. Beware of
pure mathematical analyses in the presence of mixed distributions, high
levels of randomness and regular instabilities. It took me four years to
complete the analyses!
Please let me know if you have any problems or queries. I would be very
interested in the results of your analyses.
6 July. USA
I read through your paper again, several times, and must say that it is an astonishing piece of work. I realize now that your team is in fact invoking the suns wobble as a possible mechanism. I just wish that my arithmetic prowess was better. But your diagrams are the best evidence of a solar forcing that I have seen. I realize that "correlation does not imply causation" but I also have heard that "to know is to predict" and you certainly seem to be doing that.
Your paper is refreshing in that most of the discussion on climate change, it seems to me, has devolved into a contest about whose scientists can piss the farthest. But your paper provides hard data, cunning arithmetic and predictability. Congratulations to you and your colleagues.
6 July. United Kingdom
The comment below refers to my general interest article in the monthly SAICE magazine.
Dear Professor Alexander
I read with interest and delight your article in the June 2007 issue; you make a timely and valid point regarding the politicisation of the "Climate change / Global warming" argument. Especially as it will adversely affect the developing world, should the various means and targets be implemented as binding.
I understand that the article concerns itself mainly with annual precipitation, is there any corresponding study in respect of annual temperatures, or is there a direct link between precipitation and temperature?
I notice that there were two distinct anomalies in the figure 2 - Dublin: Annual precipitation for period 1881 to 2006, in years 1916 and 1945, could these have been as a result of increased emissions due to the activities of war? I noticed a similar anomaly in sea water temperatures; do you have any comment on these?
Would it be possible to have a copy of your paper: "Linkages between solar activity, climate predictability and water resource development" for personal interest.
Thank you in advance.
I referred the query to coauthor Nico Willemse who also studied several long rainfall records in the UK.
Responses to comments and queries
My comments were:
1. There can be no doubt at all that the sun wobbles about the solar system’s centre of mass (SSCM) as it proceeds along its trajectory through galactic space. This wobble is amenable to calculation, (our Fig. 9).
2. Note also from this figure that the SSCM lies within the sun’s perimeter most of the time but lies outside it on occasion.
3. This brings me to a very important question that needs to be addressed and answered.
4. If the earth orbits the sun and not the SSCM, then the earth’s trajectory through galactic space must also have a wobble component, (see our Fig. 7).
5. Also, referring to our Fig. 9, note that from 1952 to 1956 the centre of the sun moved half the diameter of the sun away from the trajectory of the SSCM (ignoring the additional lateral movement). Surely, a corresponding movement of the earth of this magnitude would have been observed and reported?
6. Alternatively, if the earth was orbiting the SSCM during this period, its distance from the centre of the sun could not have been sensibly constant as inferred in the IPCC literature, and our Fig. 10 must hold.
7. Something is amiss. What is it?
Fred Bailey had the answer.
There are many arguments about the relationship between the Solar System bodies and their common centre of mass, designated as the SSCM.
Simply put; the nine main objects that go together; The Sun, Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune, ( Pluto has recently been downgraded to the status of an Asteroid ); have a gravitational relationship with one another.
The Solar System is so remote from any other influencing group; such as the star Proxima Centauri, its nearest neighbour; that it is considered as isolated from the point of view of gravitational interactions.
This means that the group acts as a coherent group. i.e., all reactions are restricted to the group and all the forces resulting from these reactions are resolved to zero at any point in time in relation to a given point located within an established Newtonian Inertial Frame of reference.
In essence, what this means is, if we freeze frame the action at any point in time and take measurements within this frame of reference, determining the location of all the nine stationary objects, both in distance and three dimensional direction, such that we have a vector force of mass for each of the objects, in relation to the selected given point within the frame of reference, it will be found that all the forces will cancel out and resolve to zero. This means that the group's common centre of mass will not deviate from its original vectored track relative to the inertial frame selected point of reference.
Common sense dictates, that, if one has got to designate a point of reference within the Newtonian Inertial Frame, then why not locate it upon the line of flight of the Solar System centre of mass. ( R = 0 )
That way, when all the calculations are made, the final product result, of zero, will be at the physical centre of the group.
The Law of Conservation
In a system considered as totally isolated, Newton's laws of motion show that the total momentum of the system remains constant. All the forces acting within the group, which can be separated out into individual pairs of equal and opposite forces, means that there is no change of momentum between the two bodies in question. Therefore, because the effects of these separate forces are additive, no change of momentum of the whole group takes place. The centre of mass of the whole group obeys Newton's first law of motion, by remaining at rest relative to the frame of reference or moving at constant speed, as long as there is no external force brought to bear upon the system.
As all the bodies in this system are basically spherical in shape, it is quite in order to consider each body's mass as concentrated at a single point; its centre.
It can be seen from this, that the idea that the Earth follows the Sun as it orbits the solar system centre of mass, the SSCM, would totally negate the laws of Newton. The summation of the forces under this principle would not resolve to zero. The idea that one can negate the Earth's force that accelerates the Sun by invoking two separate rules, one for the Sun / inner planets and one for the Jovian group is mathematically impossible.
All the bodies are interacting with one another at every instant of time. At times, the Sun's attraction upon the Earth and the Earth's attraction upon the Sun, is being apposed, and at other times it is being assisted, by different groupings of all the bodies involved.
The real time acceleration of these two bodies, and all of the others, is the summation of the group.
As the orbital time of the Earth about the SSCM, is ten times faster than that of the Sun, the distance between the two bodies, the CHORD length, must be constantly changing.
This is the only likely reason for the planetary combinations matching the climate changes upon Earth.
The query was why was there no periodicity in the evaporation?
My apologies for the delayed response. I am on a visit to Australia where I have just participated in a workshop on climate change.
My studies are summarised in the two attached documents that I have just distributed. There is no statistically believable evidence of the postulated adverse effects of global warming from whatever cause on rainfall, river flow, floods, droughts, natural disasters, desertification, or threats to plant and animal species as postulated in the IPCC reports. All evidence is to the contrary.
The fundamental error in the IPCC methodology is the reliance on global climate models that do not accommodate the alternating, multiyear, solar-induced, 'wet' and 'dry' periods that date back to Joseph's biblical observations and in numerous reports during the past 150 years.
The IPCC argument that observed variations in received solar radiation are too small to influence climate does not hold water. At the very minimum, the IPCC had an obligation to provide an alternative explanation to this well documented, climate-related phenomenon. Our studies now provide solid evidence of a synchronous linkage between solar activity and climate. It is only a matter of time before the causal linkage is established. When this happens the whole IPCC edifice must collapse. The consequences of the collapse are not difficult to imagine.
Referring to your query regarding evaporation, open water surface evaporation is a direct function of incoming solar radiation, temperature and wind all at the water surface. There was a steady increase during the period of record. This paralleled increases in temperature and solar activity. Unlike the hydrological processes, there was no observable 21-year periodicity in the evaporation data. Although the periodicity is present in the other data, the magnitude (not frequency) of the periodic behaviour increases from evaporation (none), to rainfall, to river flow, to floods. Our analyses showed that it is the high rainfall events that are the dominant factor in the periodic behaviour.
The most important gap in our knowledge remains the nature of the causal linkage between solar activity and climate. I firmly believe that once the nature of the undeniable synchronous linkage as described in our paper is appreciated by solar physicists and others, this must eventually lead to the of identification of the causal mechanism. The IPCC, Royal Society and climate change scientists should direct their efforts in this direction instead of denigrating all those who are attempting to find the solution to this critically important issue.
I hope that this helps!
Long term correlation
The one and only direct criticism of our paper maintained that there was little or no correlation with solar activity in the long term. My response was:
My reply to the criticism is simple and can be condensed into a simple graph. The illustration below is from my 117-slide PowerPoint presentation Climate change – the solar connection that I presented here in Australia two days ago. It is only one of the many examples in our studies.
Cape Agulhas is located at the southern tip of the African continent. It is remote from any urban development. This particular data set covers the period from 1900 to 1990. This was before the recent exponential increase in greenhouse gas emissions. Yet the increases of air temperature and rainfall with concurrent increases in sunspot numbers since the beginning of the last century are clearly apparent. The flattening off towards the end of the period is also evident in all three processes. The direct relationship between all three processes is unequivocal, particularly bearing in mind the long and complex energy redistribution processes that link them.
My conclusions are based on a four-year study of the largest and most comprehensive database assembled for this purpose anywhere in the world. The study was based in turn on my 35-years of experience in the fields of water resources, floods, droughts and natural disasters.
My response to the reference to the Lake Victoria graphs is as follows. Lake Victoria is Africa’s largest lake and one of the largest fresh water bodies in the world. Its main source of water is from direct rainfall. Surface inflows from the surrounding catchment are minimal.
Figure 5b in our paper shows an undeniable synchronous linkage between the sunspot cycles and corresponding cyclicity in the lake water levels. The IPCC reports deny that any such linkage exists between solar activity and terrestrial responses.
Trend analyses cannot be used in this example because there was severe tectonic movement in the bed of the lake in the 1960s that caused a rapid increase in lake levels. Since then the levels are gradually returning to normal levels but the synchronous linkage between solar cycles and lake levels is still very clear.
I agree with the critic’s reference to the large noise component in the hydrological processes. The fact that these signals are clearly evident against the background of the large natural variability reinforces our views on their significance.
Regarding Solanki’s findings, the continued, synchronous linkages between multiyear variations in solar activity, rainfall and river flow since the 1970’s is unambiguous and unequivocal. See Figures 1 and 2, and Tables 2 and 3 in our paper. Solanki’s conclusions are fundamentally in error because they fail to explain the wealth of observational evidence to the contrary that has been observed and reported in the scientific literature for more than 150 years.
I have a simple question for the critic. In spite of all the evidence presented in our paper does he still maintain that there is no linkage at all between solar activity, rainfall and river flow - YES or NO?
It must now be clear to any intelligent person that the IPCC view that variations in solar activity are too small to have a meaningful influence on global climate, is seriously in error. It is only a matter of time before the causal relationship is established.
3 July 2007
My finding of 21-year periodicity was queried.
Following on my reply below and your concern regarding the serial correlation analyses of highly skewed data, the following figure is from my presentation to the South African Association for the Advancement of Science some time ago titled Climate change and the return of Hurst's Ghost. It is based on monthly evaporation, rainfall and inflow data at Hartbeespoort Dam
Note the increase in variability and asymmetry with increase from primary to secondary hydrological processes. The 12-month serial correlation is statistically significant above the 95% level in all three processes but the level of statistical significance decreases with increase in variability and asymmetry.
This brings me back to the 21-year periodicity in the hydrometeorological processes. Practically all my analyses are based on records that are less than 84 years in length, i.e. only contain three whole periods at most. If the signal is present visually (graphs), numerically (tables) and statistically (statistical analyses) and concurrently, in a whole range of data and processes each containing less than four periods, then surely this must strengthen my conclusions. Conversely, single site, single process, statistical analyses cannot be used to challenge the conclusions in this situation. This is the issue that I addressed in my analyses. As far as I am aware this approach has not been used by others in this whole climate change controversy. It is the fundamental reason for the IPCC’s failure to produce a final report twenty years after its establishment and the efforts of more than two thousand scientists.
My very deep concern is that the whole climate change edifice is about to disintegrate. Many scientists and scientific institutions are going to get hurt. This is why I welcome critical but constructive comments on our work. Hopefully, reason will prevail before too much damage is caused.
This is an appropriate note on which to end this memo.