Thanks to a comment by Gail Combs at WUWT I’ve got a bit of hope that NASA is not totally a lost cause on the issue of Climate Science.
While GISS may be toast, it looks like JPL still “has clue”.
Gail posted two links, that I’m going to include here. In fact, I’m just going to “lift” her comment wholesale:
May 20, 2012 at 12:43 pm
I’m with Pamela. Whenever I start hearing about 200-year cycles and such, my skeptic side starts to kick in…..
You might try reading what Richard Feynman’s sister Dr. Joan Feynman has to say about her research on that.
Yes it is “wiggle matching” but that is how we start our scientific journey. An apple bops us on the head and we take notice and try to figure out “WHY?”
So wiggle matching is a first step. Several scientists such as Alexander Ruzmaikin, Joan Feynman, Yuk Yung, (above) John Eddy, Alexandre Joukoff, physicist Richard Willson, and Henrik Svensmark to name just a few are working on the problem of how the sun varies and what effect it has on climate. The links attached to the name are brief articles of what is being done.
Is the “Jury In” of course not. Climate science is an infant science and that is why CAGW is so bad at this time. It stifles the creative thinking necessary for quick advancement.
The NASA press release says:
NASA Finds Sun-Climate Connection in Old Nile Records
Long-term climate records are a key to understanding how Earth’s climate changed in the past and how it may change in the future. Direct measurements of light energy emitted by the sun, taken by satellites and other modern scientific techniques, suggest variations in the sun’s activity influence Earth’s long-term climate. However, there were no measured climate records of this type until the relatively recent scientific past.
Scientists have traditionally relied upon indirect data gathering methods to study climate in the Earth’s past, such as drilling ice cores in Greenland and Antarctica. Such samples of accumulated snow and ice drilled from deep within ice sheets or glaciers contain trapped air bubbles whose composition can provide a picture of past climate conditions. Now, however, a group of NASA and university scientists has found a convincing link between long-term solar and climate variability in a unique and unexpected source: directly measured ancient water level records of the Nile, Earth’s longest river.
Nile River Image right: Nile River. Image credit: NASA/JPL
+ Browse version of image
Alexander Ruzmaikin and Joan Feynman of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., together with Dr. Yuk Yung of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, Calif., have analyzed Egyptian records of annual Nile water levels collected between 622 and 1470 A.D. at Rawdah Island in Cairo. These records were then compared to another well-documented human record from the same time period: observations of the number of auroras reported per decade in the Northern Hemisphere. Auroras are bright glows in the night sky that happen when mass is rapidly ejected from the sun’s corona, or following solar flares. They are an excellent means of tracking variations in the sun’s activity.
Feynman said that while ancient Nile and auroral records are generally “spotty,” that was not the case for the particular 850-year period they studied.
“Since the time of the pharaohs, the water levels of the Nile were accurately measured, since they were critically important for agriculture and the preservation of temples in Egypt,” she said. “These records are highly accurate and were obtained directly, making them a rare and unique resource for climatologists to peer back in time.”
A similarly accurate record exists for auroral activity during the same time period in northern Europe and the Far East. People there routinely and carefully observed and recorded auroral activity, because auroras were believed to portend future disasters, such as droughts and the deaths of kings.
“A great deal of modern scientific effort has gone into collecting these ancient auroral records, inter-comparing them and evaluating their accuracy,” Ruzmaikin said. “They have been successfully used by aurora experts around the world to study longer time scale variations.”
The researchers found some clear links between the sun’s activity and climate variations. The Nile water levels and aurora records had two somewhat regularly occurring variations in common – one with a period of about 88 years and the second with a period of about 200 years.
The researchers said the findings have climate implications that extend far beyond the Nile River basin.
“Our results characterize not just a small region of the upper Nile, but a much more extended part of Africa,” said Ruzmaikin. “The Nile River provides drainage for approximately 10 percent of the African continent. Its two main sources – Lake Tana in Ethiopia and Lake Victoria in Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya – are in equatorial Africa. Since Africa’s climate is interrelated to climate variability in the Indian and Atlantic Oceans, these findings help us better understand climate change on a global basis.”
So what causes these cyclical links between solar variability and the Nile? The authors suggest that variations in the sun’s ultraviolet energy cause adjustments in a climate pattern called the Northern Annular Mode, which affects climate in the atmosphere of the Northern Hemisphere during the winter. At sea level, this mode becomes the North Atlantic Oscillation, a large-scale seesaw in atmospheric mass that affects how air circulates over the Atlantic Ocean. During periods of high solar activity, the North Atlantic Oscillation’s influence extends to the Indian Ocean. These adjustments may affect the distribution of air temperatures, which subsequently influence air circulation and rainfall at the Nile River’s sources in eastern equatorial Africa. When solar activity is high, conditions are drier, and when it is low, conditions are wetter.
Study findings were recently published in the Journal of Geophysical Research.
Media contact: Alan Buis/JPL
while the paper abstract is:
Alexander Ruzmaikin, Joan Feynman1 and Yuk Yung2
1 Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Tachnology, Pasadena, CA 91109, USA
emails: Alexander.Ruzmaikin@jpl.nasa.gov, Joan.Feynman@jpl.nasa.gov
2Department of Geology and Planetary Sciences, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena,
CA 91103, USA
Abstract. Historical records of the Nile water level provide a unique opportunity to investigate the possibility that solar variability influences the Earth’s climate. Particularly important are the annual records of the water level, which are uninterrupted for the years 622-1470 A.D. These records are non-stationary, so that standard spectral analyses cannot adequately characterize them. Here the Empirical Mode Decomposition technique, which is designed to deal with nonstationary, nonlinear time series, becomes useful. It allows the identification of two characteristic time scales in the water level data that can be linked to solar variability: the 88 year period and a time scale of about 200 years. These time scales are also present in the concurrent aurora data. Auroras are driven by coronal mass ejections and the rate of auroras is an excellent proxy for solar variabiliy. Analysis of auroral data contemporaneous with the Nile data shows peaks at 88 years and about 200 years. This suggests a physical link between solar variability and the lowfrequency variations of the Nile water level. The link involves the influence of solar variability on the North Annual Mode of atmospheric variability and its North Atlantic and Indian Oceans patterns that affect rainfall over Eastren Equatorial Africa where the Nile originates.
Keywords. Sun: activity, Sun: solar-terrestrial relations, methods: statistical
All we need now is for them to match it up with planetary positions and also find the lunar correlation and the 1500-1800 year cycle…
But at least it’s a start…
I’m also quietly pleased that “Real Scientists” are interesting is using what the old Egyptians new too. Makes me feel all warm, fuzzy, and justified ;-)