CO2 Causes Solar Storms!

No, no article found with that claim, but I could easily see one being made via a ‘wiggle match’.

I was looking into the ways the Earth’s magnetic field changes over time, especially on short time frames, wondering if a lunar cycle might show up. Well, I found a daily variation (claimed to be due to solar induced electric currents) and several other variations all documented nicely by the British Geological Survey here:

What I found surprising was this chart of the sunspot cycle vs geomagnetic storms. While the sunspots mostly cycle, with some ebb and flow, the magnetic storms ramp rather nicely just like CO2 does over the same period. As we have a ‘wiggle match’, the AGW folks would happily claim CO2 causes solar storms (just as they claim all sorts of other nutty things from wiggle matches, often just wiggle matches of computer models and not even real data. This is real data.)

Geomagnetic Storms vs Sunspots

Geomagnetic Storms vs Sunspots

Now there is a problematic drop off at the end, coincident with the halt to ‘global warming’, and a wag might point out that causality seems to run the other way; that our warming trend follows nicely from the solar / geomagnetic storm chart. Heck, it even has a ‘dip’ in the late ’60s / early ’70s when we had the New Ice Age scare and snow in the Central Valley of California (where it very very rarely ever snows). A wag might also point out the spike near the early ’30s and late ’40s when we had a warm spike. Even the low level back in the late 1800’s when it was significantly cold. But hey, I’m sure that’s “just weather” ;-)

There’s another interesting image in that page. The magnetic field at sites in the United Kingdom:

Rate of Change of Declination in UK

Rate of Change of Declination in UK

A rather remarkable match to the hot peak in the ’30s, cold in the ’60s / ’70s, then warming since. About 2000 we have a spiky ‘wobble’ but the net rise has reduced / left. It will be very interesting to see if this starts heading down.

Does any of this speak to ‘mechanism’? Not really. But IMHO it does show that at a minimum the Earth’s magnetic field is an indicator of processes that change our global weather. That the magnetism is likely driven by solar changes is indicated by that solar storm chart. As to mechanism, I can’t say if it’s the impact of charged particles and induced electric fields causing temperature changes or precipitation changes, or if it might be a direct magnetic / angular momentum coupling causing oceans to be stirred around. What I can say is that any attribution of causality to CO2 has a couple of large hurdles to leap. Explain the rise in the ’30s, the drop in the ’60s, and the stagnation from 2000 on. Explain why THIS data has a close match and CO2 is a disconnect.

IMHO, one needs to use that scale of data (monthly to at most annual granularity) and attribute that changes on that scale vs magnetic variation to non-CO2 sources (i.e. to the magnetic driven events) and let any residual be fought over by the other attributions (natural variation, UHI / thermometer error, data-diddling, and yes, even a smidgen for CO2…)

While it pains me to say we need to attribute things to “magnets” as causal (as it is the usual dodge of magicians and charlatans) the simple fact is that magnetic forces drive everything from our electric motors to our computers. The sun is driven by magnetic dynamo forces, and the Earth is a giant spinning magnetic ball. To ignore all that is even more distressing.

Guess the next step is to ask what causes ‘solar storms’ and look at their correlation to things like solar angular momentum. They look, to me, like a better metric than just sunspot count for whatever mechanism is changing weather on Earth. Be it solar particles, solar wind, electric currents, or yes, even magnets and angular momentum…

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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29 Responses to CO2 Causes Solar Storms!

  1. Don B says:

    This AA Index looks similar to your number of magnetic storms graph; unfortunately it only goes through 2007.

  2. adolfogiurfa says:

    This is gonna be dedicated to “Al Baby”:
    The transit of Venus will happen ON California!!!!:

    And consider:
    By causing the heavens to tremble and the earth to quake,….
    (I.Velikovsky “Worlds in collision” pp177).

  3. Judy F. says:

    @Adolfo 6:54pm

    Could you elaborate a little more on your post and what it means? And when you answer, kindly remember that Astronomy and I have just a passing acquaintance. :)

  4. E.M.Smith says:

    @Don B:

    Your aa index graph and a web search landed me on:

    where Landscheidt had this in 2000…

    Maybe I ought to just commit all his stuff to memory and save myself a lot of surprises ;-)

    Somehow I get the feeling that many of us are just rediscovering his already ploughed ground… But at least now we also know that solar storms correlate with aa index and that whatever drives them drives the rest… ( or so it’s looking from the data and graphs…)

    That Landscheidt paper says the geomagnetic leads by about 4 to 8 years. By my count we’ve got about 5 short bars on the right side of that graph, so any time now it ought to take an even bigger cold plunge. To the extent that metric holds, it would be highly valuable to farmers and folks trading commodities (and catastrophic insurance and…)


    Near-Earth variations in the solar wind, measured by the geomagnetic aa index since 1868, are closely correlated with global temperature ( r = 0.96; P < 10-7). Geomagnetic activity leads temperature by 4 to 8 years. Allowing for this temperature lag, an outstanding aa peak around 1990 could explain the high global temperature in 1998. After 1990 the geomagnetic aa data show a steep decline comparable to the decrease between 1955 and 1967, followed by falling temperatures from 1961 through 1973 in spite of growing anthropogenic CO2 emissions. This points to decreasing global temperature during the next 10 years.

    Looks to me like we had one more aa spike after this paper, but have now fallen off a cliff.


    Well, I’m expecting one on the Hayward / Calaveras / Rogers collective ( it has a pattern of alternating with large quakes on the San Andreas and it has not ‘gone’ since a long time back, despite the Loma Prieta / World Series quake).

    So if your ‘time’ is right and my ‘place’ is right…

    I just hope it’s not the Cascadia…

    @Judy F:

    I think he’s pointing out how the Moon and Venus are positioned such that they are pulling California apart… Some folks also assert some kind of electrical energy flow, but don’t know if Adolfo is asserting that. Basically, when things ‘line up’ their gravity influence is strongest.

  5. vukcevic says:

    Geomagnetic storms change intensity of the Arctic magnetic field (as recorded at Tromso).
    Changes in the Arctic’s magnetic field intensity (delta Br & Bz) correlate well with the Holocene epoch’s temperature changes.

  6. adolfogiurfa says:

    @Judy F: We are having fun ….. look at this:

    @E.M: Three dimensional sight of the event:

    @E.M. The previous Venus transit happened in 1874:

  7. R. de Haan says:

    adolfogiurfa says:
    20 April 2012 at 11:40 pm
    AccessDeniedRequest has expired716D50C6746E8B022012-04-20T23:54:51ZMZ7ivpGyRJuuhe2OOjGI7TIyyFzGyyR2aplwbWV2C52lMtV+lfKVDlD/VTVzqLgh2012-04-20T23:57:56Z

  8. adolfogiurfa says: Haan: NY times seems to accept one request at a time: Try this one: Haan: It reads like this:

    The fact that previous to the nineteenth century there were recorded but 3,085 earthquakes, shows that the ancients either had no particular fondness for the subject, or had some…

  9. Mark Miller says:

    Reads like this opinion column written in my local paper almost 3 years ago…

    I loaded as much publicly available data as I could into Microsoft Excel. The result? An 88 percent correlation between global temperatures and atmospheric CO2 concentration. The temperature correlation peaks about 12 years after the CO2 stimulus, and falls off slowly over decades. This is huge evidence that CO2 drives temperatures, and that the oil we burn today causes the most warming 10 to 15 years from now.

    There is also a large (about 80 percent) correlation between CH4 and temperature, although the records for methane are not as extensive. But, as hard as I looked, I found little correlation between temperature and other factors like solar activity. We have sunspot records going back centuries, and there is a small (about 25 percent) correlation between that and global temperatures.

    A common criticism of analyses like these is that they can overestimate the correlation between two datasets when both are increasing. So, I did one more analysis in which I removed all increases from both the CO2 and temperature data. Ignoring the fact that both have gone up significantly in the past 130 years, there is still a 43 percent correlation between them.

    Is there still a shadow of a doubt in anybody’s mind?

    I remember one of the commenters to this article joked that there was a strong correlation between the gyrations of the S&P and CO2 levels. Maybe CO2 causes what happens with the stock market, too…

  10. John F. Hultquist says:

    Mark Miller says: Reads like this opinion column written . . .
    and at the end of which is this:
    Mike Ellis’s hobby is studying climate change.

    I wonder what he does the rest of the time?

    That article claims to have been posted at 12:00:00 AM.

    This is never a good sign. In the common sense, time is very well defined and the above attempt is undefined. Was it posted at Noon or Midnight?

    This time-stamp thing is likely the paper’s fault and not the author’s, so we can cut him some slack.

    However, within the article he writes things, such as:
    An 88 percent correlation between . . .

    . . . a 43 percent correlation between . . .

    . . .the oil we burn today causes the most warming 10 to 15 years from now . . .

    The common measure of correlation is the Pearson product-moment correlation coefficient, designated as Pearson’s r – usually as just r, because the man’s name is assumed – unless stated otherwise. The value of r can be from +1 to -1. It is not expressed as nn% correlation.

    From wikipedia
    “ The square of the sample correlation coefficient, which is also known as the coefficient of determination, estimates the fraction of the variance in Y that is explained by X in a simple linear regression.”

    So, for example, if he *properly* calculated and got r = .43,
    then r – squared equels 18.49 %
    and this isn’t a high enough level of explanation to write:
    “Is there still a shadow of a doubt in anybody’s mind?”

    I wonder if he knows correlation is not cause, that the CO2 relationship he he writes about is a logarithmic function, that back in the 1970s it seem to be getting cooler while CO2 was going up, that CO2 is still going up and the global average temperature (?) is not, that ice cover on the Arctic Ocean is complete (100%) this spring, . . .

    Are you all aware of the “connect the dots” motto adopted by the CAGW group? Look for a post on WUWT.

    This writer from the Boulder Daily Camera has failed to connect the dots.

  11. adolfogiurfa says:

    @Mark Miller: No CO2, no you:
    CO2 follows temperature, not the other way. Open a coke and you┤ll see it: The more you have it in your warm hand the more gas will go out when you open it.
    CO2 is the transparent gas we all exhale (SOOT is black=Carbon dust) and plants breath with delight, to give us back what they exhale instead= Oxygen we breath in.
    CO2 is a TRACE GAS in the atmosphere, it is the 0.038% of it.
    There is no such a thing as greenhouse effect, greenhouse gases are gases IN a greenhouse, where heated gases are trapped and relatively isolated not to lose its heat so rapidly. If greenhouse effect were to be true, as Svante Arrhenius figured it out: CO2 like the window panes in a greenhouse, but the trouble is that those panes would be only 3.8 panes out of 10000, there would be 9996.2 HOLES.

    CO2 is a gas essential to life. All carbohydrates are made of it. The sugar you eat, the bread you have eaten in your breakfast this morning, even the jeans you wear (these are made from 100% cotton, a polymer of glucose, made of CO2 you didn´t know it, did you?)
    You and I, we are made of CARBON and WATER.
    CO2 is heavier than Air, so it cannot go up, up and away to cover the earth.
    The atmosphere, the air cannot hold heat, its volumetric heat capacity, per cubic cemtimeter is 0.00192 joules, while water is 4.186, i.e., 3227 times.
    This is the reason why people used hot water bottles to warm their feet and not hot air bottles.
    Global Warmers models (a la Hansen) expected a kind of heated CO2 piggy bank to form in the tropical atmosphere, it never happened simply because it cannot.
    If global warmers were to succeed in achieving their SUPPOSED goal of lowering CO2 level to nothing, life would disappear from the face of the earth.
    So, if no CO2 NO YOU!

  12. tallbloke says:

    I covered some relevant stuff a couple of years ago here:

    Chief, did you find my lost comment from the big planets thread?

    [Reply: I don’t look at the SPAM queue very often, and for some inexplicable reason, two of your comments were there. That one and this one. Fished out now… -E.M.Smith ]

  13. Mark Miller says:

    @John Hultquist and adolfogiurfa:

    In case there’s any misunderstanding, I agree that our increasing CO2 is not harmful to us. E.M.Smith was talking about correlations and how one can make nonsensical arguments out of them. I was giving an example of an AGW believer using a similar type of argument to justify his position. I was unable to make the argument that Hultquist made, because I am not that skilled in statistical analysis. I confronted Ellis at the time on what he wrote, saying it was a lot of junk masquerading as truth, citing “evidence.” “Evidence of what,” I asked. Early in the comments, or on his own blog, where he also published this article, he said that he loaded a bunch of data sets into Excel, and then shifted them around in time to find correlations. That’s how he came up with the “10-15 year” effect he said he “found.” He shifted CO2 relative to temperature about 12 years until he found something that looked like a close match. I asked him whether he had any scientific study to cite that would support his claim. He said no. “So how do you know it has validity,” I asked. He said that taking into account that CO2 is a GHG, in conjunction with his analysis, the possibility that he was wrong, with such a good correlation, over such a time span was very low, etc. I said that he was trying to make a scientific argument without even testing his theory. His response to that blew me away, “This isn’t a scientific paper.” I knew that, but what he was saying was, “I’m not using science to say this.” Then what the @#$^ validity does it have??? I guess he thought he could just use mathematics, though as Hutlquist points out, he probably didn’t even do that right. It was really infuriating. To give you an idea of how insulting this felt, this was printed in the paper of record in a university town with 3 science labs: NIST, NOAA, and NCAR/UCAR. It was just an assumption of mine for years that the editorial standard in newspapers, particularly this one, was that if they were going to discuss what Nature was doing that they would only use scientific information to do it. Apparently that’s no longer the case. I did finally complain to the opinion editor about this piece, saying it was irresponsible for them to run it. It wasn’t just run on their website. It was in their print edition as well. The response I got back was, “I didn’t think he was making a scientific claim.” I responded back, “Then why did you run it?” No response to that.

    In later conversations, I confronted Ellis about his ability to interpret scientific information, since he claimed to have reviewed all of the science on this issue, which confirmed to him that AGW was “fact.” He told me that he had been trained in science, and that when he was in college, Richard Feynman was one of his teachers! I couldn’t dispute his claim, because I didn’t have anything that said otherwise, but I thought, “How is this possible?” I really got a sense that he didn’t know what he was doing, but he put on this front that he did. He did seem to be familiar with scientists’ work, but he didn’t understand how to apply scientific reasoning to it. Feynman’s speech on “cargo cult science” seemed to provide an explanation for what I was seeing. He said that despite his efforts to get across what science is to students, that it was a challenge, because the priorities of faculty, and of budgets, didn’t encourage students to really explore and challenge existing knowledge. It’s a problem that’s been going on for decades.

  14. Mark Miller says:

    @John F. Hultquist:

    I wonder if he knows correlation is not cause, that the CO2 relationship he he writes about is a logarithmic function, that back in the 1970s it seem to be getting cooler while CO2 was going up, that CO2 is still going up and the global average temperature (?) is not, that ice cover on the Arctic Ocean is complete (100%) this spring, . . .

    I tried talking to him about “correlation does not mean causation” when I first encountered him. I didn’t get anywhere. It’s not just the correlation. He also threw in probability that there is a relationship between CO2 and temperature. Probability is interesting, but it still doesn’t get to cause and effect. I tried using the example of the Aztecs with him, that they believed that the Sun rose every day because they made a daily human sacrifice to it. There was a perfect 1:1 correlation for many years. It wasn’t true. When I asked him to make a scientific case, he referred me to Arrhenius’s work from the late 19th century. He didn’t know about his later work in the early 20th century, where he corrected his earlier claim.

    I’ve found that with CAGW believers, they try to use Occam’s razor, that the simplest explanation is probably the right one. They apparently haven’t heard of Einstein’s maxim that, “It can scarcely be denied that the supreme goal of all theory is to make the irreducible basic elements as simple and as few as possible without having to surrender the adequate representation of a single datum of experience.”

    I think I did go over with him that the effect of CO2 is logarithmic. He believes in the out-of-control feedback “tipping point” theory, even though you don’t find this with an agent whose effect is not accelerating. From what I heard from one scientist, who does occasional work for the NSF, there is a real “tipping point” phenomenon that has been shown to exist with the earth’s climate, but it’s something that’s occurred naturally. There is the possibility that human actions could cause the climate to “flip,” but it seems we don’t know what conditions might cause that. We don’t know what the agent would be, whether it can only be triggered naturally, given the relative impact of our current state of technological development, or if something we might do might contribute to such an event. IMO it goes back to a realization I’ve heard about that even though we think of our lives as having a certain amount of certainty and stability, we’re actually on the edge of disaster and chaos all the time.

    Anytime I brought up cooling trends with Ellis, he said that AGW is a long-term phenomenon, and you have to look at the long-term trend, not brief periods. That’s a lot of hand-waving to me. If you’re going to say X causes Y, you have to account for the exceptions, or else admit that your theory doesn’t hold up.

    Ultimately I found that Ellis didn’t really believe in science, at least with this subject. He was just using it as a prop. It’s kind of amazing the level of hysteria that can be generated where people can actually see science as “inadequate.” I’ve heard the same has happened with the IPCC. I relate it to the childhood experience of thinking there’s a monster under the bed, or in the closet. You can even say you heard a bump in the night, and hear from your friends that they come out at 3AM when you least expect it, and think that’s confirmation, but that doesn’t make it real.

  15. John F. Hultquist says:

    Thanks Mark. Good effort on your part.

  16. Stephen Wilde says:

    Changes in the geomagnetic aa index cause a change in the size and shape of the polar vortices so as to make the mid latitude jets wave around more meridionally when the sun is less active and line up more zonally when the sun is more active.

    Thus the cooling mid latitudes and warming polar regions when the sun is less active. There are then more and longer surges of air poleward and equatorward than when the sun is more active.

    Meridional air exchanges result in a cooling troposphere whereas zonal jetstream tracks accompany a warming troposphere.

    Different UV effects on ozone at different levels in the atmosphere would seem to be the main culprit but other ozone reactions involving other wavelengths and particles are also implicated.

  17. R. de Haan says:

    Here the latest from Archibald about the sun sea level connection. Also read the comments.

  18. adolfogiurfa says:

    @ Stephen Wilde:
    This is an EXPERIMENTAL reality:

    Click to access ajp-jp4199707C408.pdf

  19. dearieme says:

    “The magnetic field at sites in England…”: nope. Two of them are in Scotland.

  20. R. de Haan says:

    If we wanted America to fail

  21. E.M.Smith says:


    What do you expect from an American? ;-)

    OK, I’ll swap to UK. ( I know the difference, just don’t always strictly enforce the difference between England, UK, Great Britain, …) At least I had it right in the caption…

  22. R. de Haan says:

    Great comments guy’s, thanks.

  23. Hugo M says:

    While I was looking in some other context for a certain quote from from the annual astrophysical reviews by Virginia Trimble, I was attracted by this interplanetary gem:

    Another oddity of the not-so-regular solar cycle is its apparent coupling to the secular variation of the interplanetary magnetic field, which was recently discovered to have doubled over the past 100 years. A new model of the long-term evolution of the Sun’s large-scale magnetic field that is sensitive to the variation of the sunspot cycle length could now reproduce the observed doubling of the mean interplanetary field strength (Solanki et al. 2000). However, the advertized secular increase of the interplanetary magnetic field implied by the IPM data (Lockwood 2001) was questioned on the basis of the constancy of the mean photospheric magnetic field over the last 32 years (Kotov & Kotova 2001).

    Source:Trimble V. and Aschwanden M., Astrophysics in 2001, Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, 114:475–528, 2002; URI: h ttp://

  24. adolfogiurfa says: Haan: Who?, …No, no, just not name the butlers, who are the ones who want America to fail?, obviously those who plan to buy America very cheap, like they did already with many countries and lands. That was one of the purposes of one of their projects: “land reform”, imposed on many countries, not to allow the poor to own the land taken from the hands of the local landlords, no, but to own it themselves, the international lenders, the future owners of the lands and lives of every man on the earth: The New World Order.

  25. adolfogiurfa says:

    @E.M.: That graph above, showing the variations of the magnetic field at the UK, follows the 55-60 year cycle cited by many.
    Where you can find the following graph:

    And see that the next dip will be in 2020.

  26. E.M.Smith says:


    There does seem to be a pretty clear evidence for a cycle showing up all over the place. That same 2020 point also keeps showing up as a likely Ah Shit time. Starts to turn now, gets rough then…

    Oh, and that link on Birkeland and Plasma in the lab is great! Loved this bit:

    After running discharges, he took out the terrella and studied it in a microscope, and observed small craters where the spot discharges had been. This observation supported his hypothesis that mass is thrown out from the Sun during solar flares. Some of this atomzc dust, falls back to the surface of the Sun, some disappears into Space, and some will end up orbiting the Sun, and slowly clump together and form planets. He considered the asteroid belt as masses halfway in the process from solar dust to planets.

    Rather than the common formation from a swirling cloud of dust, we have a stellar formation, then it basically spits out ‘stuff’ that condenses into planets.

    I always wondered where all the accumulated solar mass ejections ended up ;-)

    @R. de Haan:

    Thanks for the link!

    @Hugo M:

    Nice confirmation of the solar involvement.

    @Stephen Wilde:

    Looks to me like you’ve pretty much “got it” on how solar modulation of UV causes weather / climate changes here. I ended up at the same place (though by a slightly different route).


    Thanks for the link!

    @Mark Miller:

    Very interesting story of being confronted by an “Irrational Belief” being rationalized and how it can be incredibly resistant to even recognizing the alternatives…

  27. Mark Miller says:


    Fear and loathing of current circumstances mixed with dreamy idealism about what does not exist are apparently potent motivators towards irrational beliefs. I think this was a factor in Obama’s election. One could say we find this mixture in religion, and I think that would be correct, though it’s not a feature of *all* religious practice. At one point Ellis asked me, “What would convince you, a major city being flooded?” I said that had happened already with Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans, except that wouldn’t qualify by his own rationales, since he had said repeatedly by that point, “Climate is not weather.” :) That shut him up for a bit, but it didn’t change his view one iota…

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