Dr Bruce J. West on Solar Energy Modeling

This was put out recently by Noah Shachtman on a paper published by Dr Bruce J. West. In view of Dr West’s research focus on data sets that elude simple mathematical modeling, it is fair to say that his findings represent the best available in terms of this question. His theoretical work is quite exciting.

The data that I have seen and the correlations that have been openly discussed supported a strong solar component in any climate model. The problem was and is in the details. Suddenly we have new methodology that begins to handle those details and is surely head and shoulders above the raging debate.

He is able to establish a first benchmark of 69% for solar influence as the driving engine of climate. This is far different from trotting my intuitions, even if they are dead right. It is also very good news. We now know that the engine driving the two degree variation in global temperature is susceptible to modeling.

With that as background, we have our only other factor that is independent of the sun and that is volcanism of course.

We have just fully recognized the true impact of the 1159 Hekla blast that turned over a two thousand year Bronze Age culture that was just then confronting Egypt and ended the long warm conditions of the Bronze Age. This has never been fully reversed, except perhaps during the medieval warm period.

I still think that we need a major volcanic event to properly explain the onset of the Little Ice Age. We can be fairly sure it was not focused on the Northern Hemisphere although the evidence is negative. In 1430, the climate was very similar to today based on the usual proxies. It very quickly declined to less pleasant conditions, finally culminating in the lows of the Little ice age. And it may just be that it was all about Solar variation.

Army: Sun, Not Man, Is Causing Climate Change

By Noah Shachtman
June 03, 2008 1:46:00 PMCategories: Science!

on the global warming debate, claiming that climate change is not man-made. Instead,
Dr. Bruce West, with the Army Research Office, argues that "changes in the earth’s average surface temperature are directly linked to ... the short-term statistical fluctuations in the Sun’s irradiance and the longer-term solar cycles."

In an advisory to bloggers entitled "Global Warming: Fact of Fiction [sic]," an Army public affairs official promoted a conference call with West about "the causes of global warming, and how it may not be caused by the common indicates [sic] some scientists and the media are indicating."

In the March, 2008 issue of Physics Today, West, the chief scientist of the Army Research Office's
mathematical and information science directorate, wrote that "the Sun’s turbulent dynamics" are linked with the Earth's complex ecosystem. These connections are what is heating up the planet. "The Sun could account for as much as 69 percent of the increase in Earth’s average temperature," West noted.

It's a position that puts West at odds with nearly every major scientific organization on the planet. "The American Meteorological Society, the American Geophysical Union, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science all have issued statements in recent years concluding that
the evidence for human modification of climate is compelling," Science magazine observes. So has the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore, for their work on global warming.

West acknowledges that the IPCC and other scientific groups have "conclude[d] that the contribution of solar variability to global warming is negligible." He argues that these groups have done a poor job modeling the Sun's impact, however, and that's why they have "significantly over-estimated" the "anthropogenic contribution to global warming."

In recent days, the science and politics of climate change have once again taken center stage. NASA's Inspector General just issued a report, acknowledging that political appointees "
reduced, marginalized or mischaracterized climate change science made available to the general public." Yesterday, the Senate began debating a bill that would cap carbon dioxide emissions -- considered one of the leading causes of man-made global warming.

UPDATE: "The Army does not have a position on global warming. Dr. West is an Army chief scientist, and is presenting one alternative theory to the cause of global warming," Army spokesperson Lindy Dinklage tells Danger Room. "This research is just some amongst thousands of studies being conducted by Army Scientists across the globe."

Okay. But the Army's Office of the Chief of Public Affairs chose to promote just this one study. And when Army public affairs rolls out research from an Army chief scientist -- with no clarifications that these are just his private views -- I think it's fair to call that an official endorsement.

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