In the study of climate change, we should monitor relative changes in the amount of precipitation each year (rain and snow). Whether glaciers advance or retreat depends more on how much snow remains after summer has passed than by how much the temperature may have increased above average for some days during the summer. This year we’ve had over 105 days with temperatures above 80 deg F; with the autumnal equinox at hand, we are unlikely to match the record of 120 days experienced the summer of 1939. While the increase in hot days is highlighted as result of global warming, that could not be the reason for the number of hot days in 1939 – clearly, our assessment of relationship between our present weather and climate change is more complicated than looking at conditions for only a year or two. Climate is the average of weather conditions for long periods, typically an average over 30 years. This is most succinctly described in an old explanation quoted by Steven E. Koonin in his book “Unsettled.” “Climate is what we expect, weather is what we get.” As such, it is inappropriate to describe the present climate until we have experienced it.
Something many people fail to recognize is that we still are in the latest iteration of the de Vries 200-year Solar Cycle. During each of these periods, for two or three decades the Sun is unusually quiet with fewer sunspots, significantly reduced solar magnetic field, and reduced luminance – the result is reduced shielding of Earth from galactic cosmic rays, GCR. While the solar wind interferes with and helps shield Earth from incoming GCR, the combination of Earth’s magnetic field and Earth’s atmosphere protects us from the energetic charged particles of the solar wind. Increased GCR impinging on the upper atmosphere produces increased high energy, ionizing particles that continue through the atmosphere. Surface neutron detectors have been monitoring cosmic ray levels since beginning of the space age. Currently, neutron counts have been running 8% to 12% higher than average. While numerous sunspots are expected at this time, September 18, 2021 was the last of a three-day run of no visible sunspots. For the year to date, 59 days (23% of days) the solar surface has been blank. On the other hand, in 1991 with an active Sun, the neutron count was 32.1% below average.
Not only can ionization tracks form leaders for lightning strokes but also ionized particles can be nucleation sites for cloud formation, and if there is sufficient moisture, can be nucleation sites for rain drops. Numerous studies have found increased precipitation during periods of increased cosmic ray intensity. While they’ve observed increased precipitation across the south and east this last year, here at the Illinois-Wisconsin border we’ve been experiencing reduced precipitation. Is it possible that with sufficient increase of GCR, moisture that normally would come to us from the Gulf would not arrive because the water had been wrung out before it could get very far? This is pure speculation, and likely is inadequate fully to explain our experience because weather is very complex, much more complex than global warming alarmists would have us believe.
A variable hole in the Ozone Layer over the South Pole is currently larger than Antarctica, producing speculation that human induced global warming must be responsible for that occurrence as well. The Ozone Layer is produced by solar wind and UV radiation interacting with a very low-pressure region of the upper atmosphere. Some climate change alarmists blame people for destruction of the ozone layer over a large area. Not recognized is sensitivity of the Ozone Layer thickness to solar activity. An enlarged region of diminished ozone content as result of a quiet Sun would be much easier to argue than result of human activity.
My point – we are passing through a period of significant change in solar activity involving changes that seem to be ignored in computer programs used to predict change to our climate and to describe future climates. An accurate computer simulation of atmospheric conditions is incomplete if it ignores changes in solar activity. In addition, there is no reason why GCR activity should remain unchanged as the solar system orbits within the Milky Way Galaxy. In fact, Be-10 data in lake sediments reveals that previous glacial periods coincided with increased. GCR. Accurate computer models cannot ignore the single most significant contributor to weather and climate, the Sun. Excluding a key element in a scientific analysis may permit a desired outcome but does not provide useful results. It’s important that computer modelers recognize the significance of the truism that’s been with us since the earliest use of computers: “Garbage in, garbage out.”