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Social Media Attempt to Block the Sun

September 30, 2021

Climate Change Weekly #413

Ronan Connolly, Willie Soon, Michael Connolly, Sallie Baliunas, Johan Berglund, C. John Butler, Rodolfo Gustavo Cionco, Ana G. Elias, Valery M. Fedorov, Hermann Harde, Gregory W. Henry, Douglas V. Hoyt, Ole Humlum, David R. Legates, Sebastian Lüning, Nicola Scafetta, Jan-Erik Solheim, László Szarka, Harry van Loon, Víctor M. Velasco Herrera, Richard C. Willson, Hong Yan (艳洪), and Weijia Zhang.

What do all these names have in common? First, they are all researchers with advanced degrees in physics, geology, or other academic disciplines involved in climate research. Second, they recently coauthored a paper published in the peer-reviewed journal Research in Astronomy and Astrophysics (RAA) arguing more research should be conducted into the Sun’s influence on climate. Third, Facebook and other social media outlets are doing their best to suppress this report and prevent the sharing and discussion of it by their members after their supposedly independent “fact checkers” labeled the article “incorrect” and “misleading.”

What did the authors of this paper do to raise the ire of so-called fact checkers? They simply tried to ascertain to what extent the Sun is driving or influencing present climate change. Such research is vital to understanding the causes of climate change and is critical to formulating successful responses to it. It should not be controversial.

Before the last decades of the twentieth century, it was commonly accepted scientifically that solar activity—periodic, alternating cycles of hyperactivity and quiescence—plays a huge role in driving regional and global climate shifts. Little ice ages and climate optimums were tied to solar activity.

Since governments formed the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) under the auspices of the United Nations, directing it to study the human causes of climate change, however, the Sun’s influence on climate shifts has been downplayed. Political and scientific mandarins declared human greenhouse gases were the only important factors driving climate change. With their marching orders in hand, those contributing to the IPCC’s reports have produced documents supporting this position.

Nevertheless, independent research continued. As documented in the RAA paper, dozens of international researchers or teams of researchers have published dozens of papers detailing reasons for believing solar activity continues to play an important role in climate change. Connolly et al. write,

[T]here have been many reviews and articles published [since the IPCC was formed] that reached the … conclusion … that much of the global warming since the mid-20th century and earlier could be explained in terms of solar variability. For example: Soon et al. (1996); Hoyt & Schatten (1997); Svensmark & Friis-Christensen (1997); Soon et al. (2000b,a); Bond et al. (2001); Willson & Mordvinov (2003); Maasch et al. (2005); Soon (2005); Scafetta & West (2006a,b); Scafetta & West (2008a,b); Svensmark (2007); Courtillot et al. (2007, 2008); Singer & Avery (2008); Shaviv (2008); Scafetta (2009, 2011); Le Mouël et al. (2008, 2010); Kossobokov et al. (2010); Le Mouël et al. (2011); Humlum et al. (2011); Ziskin & Shaviv (2012); Solheim et al. (2012); Courtillot et al. (2013); Solheim (2013); Scafetta & Willson (2014); Harde (2014); Lüning & Vahrenholt (2015, 2016); Soon et al. (2015); Svensmark et al. (2016, 2017); Harde (2017); Scafetta et al. (2019); Le Mouël et al. (2019a, 2020a); Mörner et al. (2020); Lüdecke et al. (2020)).

Meanwhile, other reviews and articles over this period have either been undecided, or else argued for significant but subtle effects of solar variability on climate change. For example: Labitzke & van Loon (1988); van Loon & Labitzke (2000); Labitzke (2005); Beer et al. (2000); Reid (2000); Carslaw et al. (2002); Ruzmaikin & Feynman (2002); Ruzmaikin et al. (2004, 2006); Feynman & Ruzmaikin (2011); Ruzmaikin & Feynman (2015); Salby & Callaghan (2000, 2004, 2006); Kirkby (2007); de Jager et al. (2010); Tinsley&Heelis (1993); Tinsley (2012); Lam & Tinsley (2016); Zhou et al. (2016); Zhang et al. (2020b); Dobrica et al. (2009); Dobrica et al. (2010); Demetrescu & Dobrica (2014); Dobrica et al. (2018); Blanter et al. (2012); van Loon & Shea (1999); van Loon & Meehl (2011); van Loon et al. (2012); Roy & Haigh (2012); Roy (2014, 2018); Roy & Kripalani (2019); Lopes et al. (2017); Pan et al. (2020).

Why were these dissenting scientific opinions in the literature not reflected in the various IPCC statements?

That is a good question.

Knowledge only grows if we ask questions. The scientific enterprise is founded on the asking of questions and the free and open exchange of ideas, theories, and fact-grounded opinions in the pursuit of understanding, knowledge, and truth. Challenging and testing of hypotheses, theories, premises, and conclusions are critical to the scientific enterprise. Scientific advances and successful democracies share this in common: they are more likely to bring positive results when they are operated transparently. Tyranny and “science” directed toward political ends, catering to the desires of supposed experts and elites, thrive in darkness, when debate, free speech, and questioning are suppressed or prohibited.

As part of their research for the RAA paper, the 23 scientists from 14 different countries undertook a comprehensive analysis of the 16 published solar output datasets.

The researchers found the IPCC uses a very small number of solar irradiance datasets with uniformly “low solar variability” to support its conclusion solar activity plays a negligible role in climate change. Using the broader, more comprehensive series of datasets, the researchers conclude “most, if not all, of the long-term temperature changes are due to natural factors.”

Solar data from NASA’s ACRIM Sun-monitoring satellites matches temperature data from the most reliable datasets well. These indicate almost all recent warming may be explained by solar activity with very little contribution from human greenhouse gas emissions. The IPCC ignores the NASA ACRIM data and other datasets in favor of those lending credence to the hypothesis of human responsibility for climate change.

The lead author of the RAA paper, Ronan Connolly, Ph.D., of the Center for Environmental Research and Earth Sciences (CERES), commented on the IPCC’s treatment of solar irradiance as a factor in climate change:

The IPCC is mandated to find a consensus on the causes of climate change. I understand the political usefulness of having a consensus view in that it makes things easier for politicians. However, science doesn’t work by consensus. In fact, science thrives best when scientists are allowed to disagree with each other and to investigate the various reasons for disagreement. I fear that by effectively only considering the datasets and studies that support their chosen narrative, the IPCC have seriously hampered scientific progress into genuinely understanding the causes of recent and future climate change.

The RAA paper doesn’t claim humans have played no role in the present cycle of climate change. It simply points out there is an alternative theory that has data to back it up, one which should be considered by those who are formulating public policies aimed at controlling the climate.

If this and other research is right about the Sun still playing a substantial but inadequately accounted-for role in climate change, strict policies limiting greenhouse gas emissions from energy use, agriculture, construction, transportation, and other life choices and economic activities may be completely unnecessary, overly prescriptive, or even counterproductive. Alternatively, they could be inadequate to the task of preventing further warming. This is something politicians, the public, and scientists should know.

As far as I can ascertain, none of the so-called fact checkers have published any peer-reviewed research on climate change, but even if they were “experts” in some sense on the topic, Facebook and other social media and mainstream media outlets are not advancing the public good or knowledge by limiting access to or suppressing discussion of this paper on their platforms.

In the realm of climate research, as in most areas of life, progress is best served by free and open debate, even at the expense of having some people be outraged or offended by what is said. Philosopher and social reformer John Stuart Mill said it well:

[People should have] absolute freedom of opinion and sentiment on all subjects, practical or speculative, scientific, moral or theological. …

If all mankind minus one were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind. …

The peculiar evil of silencing the expression of an opinion is, that it is robbing the human race; posterity as well as the existing generation; those who dissent from the opinion, still more than those who hold it. If the opinion is right, they are deprived of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth: if wrong, they lose, what is almost as great a benefit, the clearer perception and livelier impression of truth, produced by its collision with error.

The [scientific] beliefs which we have most warrant for, have no safeguard to rest on, but a standing invitation to the whole world to prove them unfounded. … This is the amount of certainty attainable by a fallible being, and this is the sole way of attaining it.

The RAA study merits a wide hearing and public discussion, not suppression by self-appointed censors who arrogantly believe they have a monopoly on the truth about the causes and consequences of climate change. To prevent people from exploring whether solar activity is a possible influence on climate change is dangerous scientifically and politically.

SOURCES: Research in Astronomy and Astrophysics; Jennifer Marohasy; Watts Up With That; Climate Change: the Facts




Three new studies examining compound natural disasters—some combination of flooding, drought, bush fires, cyclones, storms, and heat waves occurring simultaneously—finds there has been no trend: neither an increase nor decrease in concurrent events in Australia over the past 50 years.

In a study published in the journal Geomorphology, researchers examined the records of insurance claim losses during periods of compound natural disasters since 1966. They found no trend tracking with global warming. Instead, they found compound natural disaster events were most often concurrent with shifts in the El Niño Southern Oscillation.

The same is true of rainfall patterns. Increases or decreases in overall precipitation or in extreme precipitation events have not tracked with climate change, according to a study published in the Journal of Hydrology. Parts of northern Australia have experienced increasing rainfall totals and a decline in drought, and the southwest and southeast coast of Australia have experienced declining rainfall, particularly in the winter months. Some parts of Australia have experienced increased rates of flooding, but rainfall records and streamflow measurements indicate this is due to factors other than increased rainfall.

A third study, published in the journal The Holocene, examined Australia’s wildfire history and found “Australia is far less prone to fire today than it was 4600 to 2800 years ago.” “All proxies denoting fire incidence have shown a significant decline in the last 900 years,” No Tricks Zone’s summary of the report’s findings states.

The researchers examined charcoal and pyrogenic carbon (materials left behind by fire) in the soil in multiple locations across Australia to reconstruct its fire history. They found no trend of increase at present:

[The h]ighest fire incidence occurs at ~4600–4000 cal BP [calibrated years before present], coinciding with regional records of high effective precipitation, and all fire proxies decline from that time to the present. 2800–900 cal BP is characterized by variable fire intensities and aligns with archaeological evidence of occupation at nearby Blue Mud Bay. All fire proxies decline significantly after 900 cal BP.

Regardless of what climate models project and alarmists claim, multiple lines of real-life evidence show incidences of extreme natural disasters and compound natural disaster events are not rising in Australia.

SOURCES: No Tricks Zone; Environmental Hazards; Journal of Hydrology; The Holocene


A new study in the journal Geomorphology examines shoreline expansion and losses of 104 coral reef islands from 16 atolls in the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) along the equator in the Pacific Ocean during the recent period of climate change.

A team of researchers from universities in New Zealand and Canada examined aerial photographs from the mid-1940s and 1970s, before global satellites were launched, and compared them to “recent high-resolution satellite imagery to document shoreline changes and planform morphological adjustments in islands.”

What they found may surprise those who’ve bought into the false claims that rising seas are swamping small island nations as a result of climate change. The islands of the FSM, like those making up the Maldives and Tuavalu, are growing. The team found 46 percent of the shorelines experienced statistically significant growth, adding more than 64 hectares of land across the island chain. Three new islands were formed, while three islands eroded.

During the period of climate change, the researchers found some islands gained elevation, formed or added to spits or archipelagos, rotated and moved, or migrated along their reef platforms. On the whole, the empirical evidence shows FSN shorelines have displayed a net growth that is ongoing despite continued mild sea level rise.

SOURCE: Geomorphology

H. Sterling Burnett, Ph.D., is a Heartland senior fellow on environmental policy and the managing editor of Environment & Climate News.
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