Pondering an American Cultural Treasure

Most of you who read my blog probably don’t know it, but I am a big-time jazz maniac, and I have been for a long time. I became hooked around age 16 when I discovered my father’s 33rpm of Louis Armstrong’s ground-breaking recordings from 1927-28 with Earl “Fatha” Hines. Well that was around 1978 or 1979 when most kids I knew who were around my age were listening to rock groups like Led Zeppelin, the Beatles, or the Rolling Stones. Most of them couldn’t give a hoot about Jazz. Sure, I dug Rock and Roll then and still do, but I knew that there were other great forms of music as well. Jazz just grabbed me from the beginning and I’ve been in love with this great music ever since. One thing I sensed early on – there was a lot more to Jazz than the music alone.

This has given me a long time to ponder the meaning of Jazz – about 35 years. And for some reason I am now compelled to put my thoughts to paper. This will be my humble, incomplete and certainly imperfect attempt to explain what Jazz means to me. And if this gets one person who was formerly apathetic about Jazz to sit down and enjoy it, then I will have accomplished something. Jazz is, after all, also about sharing.

One thing about Jazz, it made me want to know – who were the people who created this amazing music. I think part of this drive to know is the amateur anthropologist/historiographer hiding inside me. Where did the music originate? What culture or cultures did it emerge from? You cannot separate the people from the music. Jazz is the expression of almost everything it is to be human. In this sense Rock and Roll seems far more one dimensional – the product of youthful, somewhat immature concerns and obsessions. What was unique about Jazz was that it came out of the experiences, for the most part, of the American Negro. Therefore, its roots are folk music. It can be argued that it was the Negro’s music that was his or her primary form of artistic expression and the only one visible to most of the outside world. Incidentally, anyone who studies the history of rock music knows that “Negro music” played an essential role in its development. Rock and Roll would not exist if it were not for the blues which originated out of the southern Negro culture.

It is the people who made and created jazz that give it its depth. Lester Young, the great tenor saxophone player who came to prominence in the late 1930’s with the Count Basie Band, once said that he would never play a solo if he did not know the words behind the song. He had to know the song, even if the band was playing an instrumental version with no vocals. Lester knew that if he did not understand the meaning of a song, the human story, the emotions, that his solo would be in vain, it would be meaningless. The ideas behind the song were the compass that gave his solos direction. The mechanics of playing music did not seem to matter to Lester Young.

Lester Young playing tenor saxophone ca. 1940.

Lester Young playing tenor saxophone ca. 1940.

Near the end of his life, when he was deteriorating rapidly both mentally and physically, Lester Young played one of his greatest solos ever. Lester may no longer have had the capacity to play some of the jubilant solos of his earlier days, but that did not matter. The song was “Fine and Mellow” and during this recording and filming session Lester was reunited with female singer Billie Holiday after several years. I do not know if Lester and Billie were ever romantically involved, but there is no doubt in my mind that they loved and respected each other very deeply. Because that’s what their music tells me. Lester was so frail that day that no one was sure if he would be able to play with the band. But oh did he play!

Tenor saxophonist Ben Webster played his solo before it was Lester’s turn. Webster was no slouch, after all, the great bandleader and composer Duke Ellington thought highly enough of Webster to ask him in 1935 to join his band. But when Webster solos on “Fine and Mellow” you know what he is playing – a tenor saxophone. His instrument sounds like it’s supposed to, like you’d expect it to sound. Contrast that to Lester’s solo a little later in the tune – it doesn’t sound like a tenor saxophone at all. It doesn’t sound like any instrument that has ever existed. It is pure Lester, pure emotion. It’s as if there are no mechanics, no reed, no instrument there at all, just Lester’s spirit, Lester’s soul.

Lester’s whole solo can be broken down to about 50 notes or so, whereas Webster’s probably contained several hundred notes. Amazingly, Lester’s solo seems to have a pronounced effect on the band; the tempo slows a bit, the band plays more softly and it’s as if the members of the band are stepping aside for the moment out of reverence and respect for Lester. Compare Lester’s “Fine and Mellow” solo to ones like his blazers on Taxi War Dance, or Woodside, or Limehouse Blues and one cannot help but be astonished at the range and depth of expression that Young was able to communicate through his horn.

Jazz critic Nat Hentoff was in the control room during the recording of “Fine and Mellow” and recalled that Lester’s solo literally brought everyone in the control room to tears:

“Lester got up, and he played the purest blues I have ever heard, and [he and Holiday] were looking at each other, their eyes were sort of interlocked, and she was sort of nodding and half–smiling. It was as if they were both remembering what had been—whatever that was. And in the control room we were all crying. When the show was over, they went their separate ways.”

The great jazz musicologist, Gunther Shuller wrote, “Billie and Lester – two great tragic figures of jazz – never saw each other again. Little more than a year later, they were both gone; they died within four months of each other. Billie was only 44, Lester, 49.

Billie Holiday, 1947 by William Gottlieb.

Billie Holiday, 1947 by William Gottlieb.

Billie Holiday, 1949 by Herman Leonard.

Billie Holiday, 1949 by Herman Leonard.

 

Jazz is also a great medium through which to learn about American history, the good as well as the bad. Most of the great jazz musicians were Black. I’ll leave it to someone else to explain this, but there are certainly exceptions, like Bix Beiderbecke and Benny Goodman. So if you study the lives of these great Black masters of 20th century Jazz music, you cannot escape the stain of racism on our history. Some of these all Black bands and musicians tried to avoid touring in the Deep South altogether if they could. Trumpet virtuoso, Roy Eldridge, was one of the first Black jazz musicians to be integrated into an all-White swing band. The trouble was that although Roy was at least on equal footing musically with anyone else in the band, he still felt like an outcast. While traveling on the road with Gene Krupa’s band, Roy could not dine in the local eateries with the rest of the band because of his skin color. And Roy knew the only proper entrance for a Black man at many of their music venues was through the back door. It was too much for poor Roy to take and he had to quit playing with the all-White bands. But Gene Krupa and Artie Shaw both showed guts when they asked Roy to join their bands, they didn’t care that Roy was Black. What they cared about was Roy’s playing and what he brought to the stage and Roy was really great. He wasn’t called “Little Jazz” for nothing.

Roy Eldridge.

Roy Eldridge.

Gene Krupa even got into a fistfight once when one restaurant owner refused to serve Roy because of his skin color. On another occasion one local police official trumped up charges against Krupa because he didn’t think it was proper that a Black man was playing and travelling with an otherwise all-White band. In addition to being a great musician and performer, Roy Eldridge was one of the nicest, sweetest guys ever and so these stories really break your heart.

One amazing human being who played jazz was a man who went by the name of Chick Webb. Born William Henry Webb in 1905, Chick was one of the greatest swing drummers of his era. His powerful, often melodic solos, were innovative displays of swinging, syncopated rhythms. As everyone knows drumming is a physically demanding part of any Jazz band, which makes Chick Webb’s playing all that more amazing because Chick was a very sickly human being throughout most of his short life. He contracted tuberculosis of the spine as a young child which resulted in a badly deformed spine. Chick wasn’t even 5 feet tall and he looked like a hunchback.

Chick Webb at his drums, ca. 1937.

Chick Webb at his drums, ca. 1937.

In the 1930′s Chick and his orchestra played regularly at the Savoy Ballroom, an upscale dance club in Harlem were the “Battle of the Bands” competition was often held. His band often came out on top even edging out the Benny Goodman and Count Basie bands. One might say that Chick Webb deserved the title “King of Swing” as much as anybody. You can really hear Chick driving the band on some of the suggested listening numbers below. Listen to Chick’s drums during the first break on “Who Ya Hunchin’.” Later in the tune you can hear Chick joyfully shouting “YEAH!” as the band pushes to the heights of swing.

Chick died from his spinal tuberculosis when he was only 34. He kept playing almost to the very end even though he was often in great pain. Although small in stature, Chick Webb was big in spirit. He had a lot of heart and played big.

Look for the next Jazz post where I’ll explore some of the other great Jazz personalities and their music.

Frotho Canutus

Note: My use of the words Black and Negro are not meant to offend anyone. These words are simply better choices (in my opinion) for communicating the history of Jazz and are the same words used by jazz musicologists of previous generations. The point of this post is to learn something about Jazz and the wonderful people who made it. The purpose of this blog is not to be concerned about political correctness and self-censorship. P.C. is anti-freedom, and therefore anti -Jazz.

Suggested listening (some can be heard on YouTube):

Louis Armstrong and His Hot Seven (Armstrong – cornet, trumpet, vocals):

“Potato Head Blues” (Recorded 5/10/27)

Louis Armstrong and His Hot Five:

“Struttin’ With Some Barbecue” (12/9/27)

“Sugar Foot Strut” (6/28/28)

Louis Armstrong and His Orchestra:

“Basin Street Blues” (12/4/28)

Louis Armstrong and His Savoy Ballroom Five:

“St. James Infirmary” (12/12/28)

Lester Young (tenor saxophone) with the Count Basie Orchestra:

“Jumpin’ at the Woodside” (August 22, 1938)

Taxi War Dance (March 19, 1939)

Lester Young (tenor sax, clarinet) with Glenn Hardman and his Hammond Five:

“On the Sunny Side of the Street” (June 26, 1939)

Lester Young (tenor saxophone) with Billie Holiday (vocals):

“He’s Funny That Way” (8/13/37)

“When You’re Smiling” (January 6, 1938)

“All of Me” (3/21/41)

“Fine and Mellow” (12/8/57)

Roy Eldridge (trumpet, vocals) with the Gene Krupa Orchestra:

“Let Me Off Uptown” (May 8, 1941)

“Rockin’ Chair” (July 2, 1941)

“Skylark” (November 25, 1941)

Chick Webb (drums) and His Orchestra:

“Harlem Congo” (Nov. 1, 1937)

“Liza” (May, 1938)

“Who Ya Hunchin’” (August 18, 1938)

“Undecided” (Feb. 17, 1939)

Chick Webb on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zgX5_waK–w

Should we be frightened by the IPCC’s new Climate Report?

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a report today that is grabbing the headlines. The report basically concludes that mankind’s current activities will lead to catastrophic climate change. But is there really a climate crisis underway?

AP Photo: Providence Rhode Island in 1938. Are storms really worse than they used to be? Or do we suffer from climate amnesia?

AP Photo: Providence Rhode Island in 1938. Are storms really worse than they used to be? Or do we suffer from climate amnesia?

I would like to add a little additional context to the climate debate from a different perspective – the discipline of the archaeology.

In his 2003 book, Looking Beneath the Surface: The Story of Archaeology in New Jersey, R. Alan Mounier says that, “About 11,000 years ago the sea stood as much as 262 feet below its present level, and the shoreline lay as much as 100 miles to the east of its current position (Edwards and Emery 1977).”

So you see people the oceans have been rising for a very, very long time. This is not a new phenomenon. When we build along our coasts it is always at our own peril.

Archaeologists study climate change and even they know that climate change is nothing new:

Environmental conditions in the (U.S.) Southwest are extremely variable in terms of both place and time. By this I mean that there are not only marked seasonal changes that play out over decades, centuries, and millennia. Readers should keep in mind that irrespective of similarities in temperatures and rainfall patterns, the environment that we experience today is not the same environment that pre-Hispanic people experienced. Over the past millennia many water sources have dried up, arroyos have been cut, and much of the naturally occurring flora and fauna have disappeared. The last few thousand years have been subject to general and consistent climatic patterns, but we need to be sensitive to the existence of some highly erratic and severe periods that acutely affected the choices available to indigenous people.” Before Santa Fe: Archaeology of the City Different, by Jason S. Shapiro, Museum of New Mexico Press, Santa Fe, 2008, p. 6.

And while the climate always changes, whether it be from natural or man-made forces, it will present challenges, but it will also bring new opportunities as it did in the past:

“Eventually the persistent warming trends associated with the Altithermal caused even more noticeable changes throughout the Southwest. The new opportunities associated with different plant and animal foods, as well as the techniques needed to collect, process, and store them, became integral to the next cultural period that we will examine, the Archaic.” Before Santa Fe: Archaeology of the City Different, p.47.

Don’t believe the doom and gloom hype coming from the IPCC. If we take a rational approach to the changing climate we will be far better off than if we act out of fear. The fear-based approach will cost us far more in lives and wealth than a rational approach. Technology and economic freedom will solve our problems, not fear mongering and coercive governing which seeks to coerce human behavior and raise the price of the energy that heats our homes, powers our hospitals, produces and delivers our food, etc. The Kerry-Obama-IPCC-AlGore approach is based on false assumptions – the IPCC climate models did not predicted the lack of warming over the last approx. 17 years or so. The climate does not seem to be as sensitive to CO2 as we have been led to believe. There is no crisis. Stop the nonsense IPCC!

Frotho Canutus

Random Thoughts

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder,  a paid servant of the people.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, a paid servant of the people.

Letting Convicted Criminals Vote

Do you value your right to vote? Should anyone be allowed to vote? President Obama’s right hand man, Attorney General Eric Holder, is working quickly and furiously to allow convicted felons, some who commit the most violent crimes against their fellow men, the right to vote. Is there anyone who can argue with a straight face that giving people convicted of armed robbery, murder, car-jacking or rape the right to vote will be a good thing for this country? Wow! Look at Eric Holder. Look at how low our country has sunk.

Putin vs. Obama

It is very dangerous when a when a weak leader like President Obama, in way over his head, is challenged with a foreign crisis like Crimea. His desire to suddenly appear strong and silence his critics, but without the heart or stomach to follow a coherent strategy through to the end is a very dangerous urge that could set the stage for future unthinkable disasters. For one thing, the Republicans should stop publicly daring Obama to “do something” about Crimea. Don’t egg a weakling on to fight a bully – he might get creamed.

At this point, there is little in the short-term President Obama can do. I am not saying President Obama should do nothing about Russia’s invasion of Crimea, but whatever he does it should not be done rashly, it must be part of a viable long term strategy and it must be done for the right reasons. Playing politics with foreign policy is very dangerous. That goes for Republicans too.

When the administration of Neville Chamberlain encouraged Hitler through its weakness and naïveté to invade his neighbors, at least in Great Britain it was possible to call for a new administration who could get serious about stopping the tyrant’s designs, and it was done – Churchill was appointed Prime Minister. In the U.S. we are stuck with Obama for almost three more years and so the world watches and nervously waits. Who is nervous? Japan, Western Ukraine, Poland, Latvia, Estonia, Israel. Who is not so nervous? China, Vladimir Putin, Iran’s Mullahs, Kim Jong-un.

Some say it is ridiculous to compare Putin to Hitler, Obama to Chamberlain, etc. But some general parallels do apply that are instructive. Mark Twain once said that although history does not repeat itself, it often rhymes. Weakness encourages aggression. It’s true in the schoolyard. It’s true on the world stage. It was true in the 1930′s and it is just as true now. Unfortunately, many modern-day liberal progressives do not study history and thus do not have any compass to guide them. Theoretical ideas and political correctness are no substitute for historical knowledge.

Conservatives vs. Liberals: A View of Big Government and a Challenge

When conservatives complain that the IRS has used its coercive power to abuse them and stifle their political speech, liberals shrug it off – no problem they say, conservatives should stop whining. But when liberal leaders in Congress like Diane Feinstein think the Federal government is abusing them (spying drones) they cry foul and demand action.

I know it is difficult for liberals to admit that the federal government has gotten too large, too powerful, too coercive, too invasive – they don’t want to sound like their Tea Party opponents. But the time has come for all sides to agree that we need to reign in the beast we have created. The Obama administration will not offer any assistance in this area. It likes the power it has and will try to expand it. What liberals do not seem to understand is that someday they may be the target of a wrathful, powerful administration (a few who don’t toe the line are already).

It’s not a liberal vs. conservative argument as the media often portrays it. Those who marginalize the issue do not understand the dangerous political atmosphere it creates. The United States Constitution set up a limited form of government. And under it Congress and the Executive have enumerated, specific powers. Either you believe in the Constitution or you don’t. Don’t cherry pick the parts you like and ignore the parts you don’t. If you don’t believe in the Constitution, stop pretending that you do.

If you believe in the rule of law and not the rule of whim, then defend all parts of the Constitution, not just the parts that support you fleeting causes. The alternative will lead to anarchy and misery. It’s time for liberals and conservatives to put the future of our country above personal concerns and party politics. We must join hands to reign in Congress and the federal bureaucracy that routinely exceeds its statutory powers. If We the People do not demand a return to Constitutional principles and the Rule of Law then we are all at risk of being personally abused and even ruined by our own federal government.

Frotho

“Posterity! You will never know how much it cost the present generation to preserve your freedom! I hope you will make good use of it! If you do not, I shall repent it in Heaven that I ever took half the pains to preserve it!”
John Adams, April 26, 1777

Voter Fraud? What Voter Fraud? Part II

Melowese Richardson

Melowese Richardson

In February 2013 we reported a story from Hamilton County Ohio where poll worker Melowese Richardson admitted on camera that she voted for President Obama more than once during an election cycle.

For those of you who missed it – Ms. Richardson was sentenced in July of 2013 to serve 5 years for violating the principle of “one person, one vote.”

Bravo Judge Robert Ruehlman! The judge’s decision and his defense of the “one person, one vote” principle is well worth listening to (link to video below). The only thing the judge said that I disagree with is when he said that President Obama would be appalled that Melowese Richardson cheated to help him get reelected. No, I rather think that President Obama simply was appalled that she got caught. Many of the liberal election strategists in this country have worked so hard to sow the seeds of confusion and mistrust with regards to elections. Many of the so called “voting rights” laws like “motor voter” that have been implemented in recent years have made it easier to stuff the ballot with phony votes and all while claiming that it is Republicans who want to deny minorities the right to vote. Funny thing is there is never any proof that Republicans “disenfranchise” minority voters. While there is plenty of evidence that unscrupulous Democrats  like Melowese Richardson have no problem cheating at election time. Feminist Nun Marguerite Kloos (likely a Democrat) pleaded guilty to committing voter fraud in Hamilton County in 2012 as did Russell Glassop (party affiliation unknown). I am sure there are examples of Republicans who have been convicted for voter fraud, but evidence indicates that majority of ballot stuffers are from a certain party.

Frotho

Watch the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UXe3PdFStc4

Senator Snowball Fights Global Warming

Bernie SandersI sent the following letter to the self-avowed socialist, U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, when I noticed the irony of a picture posted on his official website. The picture showed some happy revelers in Washington DC having a rare snowball fight in front of the Capitol building during a snowstorm. It may have been an old photo, but of course DC has had snow this year and temperatures well below average as have much of the rest of the country. Bernie Sanders is one of the leading voices in the crusade to end humanity’s use of fossil fuels to prevent global warming. (I don’t know what he thinks will replace fossil fuels anytime soon since “green” energies like wind and solar still only supply less than 5% of all U.S. Energy).

Funny thing is - a few minutes after I emailed my letter to Senator Snowball I could no longer find the photo on his website. Coincidence?

The letter:

Dear Senator Sanders:

I love the photo posted on your website of the snowball fight in front of the Capitol. It’s proof of catastrophic man-made global warming! Quick – we need to legislate more taxes and regulations on coal, propane, oil and natural gas so that we make it more expensive for people to heat their homes or do anything for that matter since everything we do and buy or consume requires energy.

Of course, I’m being sarcastic, because the Earth has not had any statistically significant warming now for about 17 years despite the run up of CO2 and other greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere. The climate scientists’ assumption that CO2 raises temps X amount in a complex climate system are wrong. We know this to be true because the results have been coming in and the climate model predictions do not match actual temperature data as the graph here shows. (Shown below.)

http://www.drroyspencer.com/wp-content/uploads/CMIP5-73-models-vs-obs-20N-20S-MT-5-yr-means1.png

Please do not allow President Obama to squander taxpayer $$ on climate schemes that will do little to prevent global warming or cooling. The climate has always warmed and cooled in the past. It’s better to spend our $$ adapting to climate change regardless of what drives the change. We have to be smarter about where we build. The oceans have been rising for thousands of years – duh!

I have heard that China is building a Thorium nuclear reactor, which may be safer and produces little nuclear waste. The only reason the US used plutonium and uranium reactors was because we used those same materials to build bombs. Perhaps Thorium reactors could solve some of our energy problems. Will you look into it? That could be real progress.

Spencer's graph models vs. realityThis graph was created last year by Dr. Roy Spencer, a climate scientist at the University of Alabama, Huntsville. It shows IPCC climate model predictions vs. actual temperature data. The thick black line is the average of the climate model predictions. The divergence between the models and reality is growing, because the models are flawed and are predicting too much warming. No catastrophic global warming in the real world! In fact global temps have been flat for about 17 years now.

Frotho

How Much Is Earth’s Climate Determined By The Sun?

Below are quotes from various scientific papers and authors. Some of their findings lend support to the idea that global climate variations correlate in some manner with the Sun’s energy output. This begs the question: has mankind’s effect on the climate been overstated?

(Note: Sources are cited at the end of each quote.)

NasaSun

The Sun (Photo: NASA)

“Current concern over ‘greenhouse’ warming and possible human influence upon global climate has been countered by claims that recent advances in solar theory demonstrate a greater role than previously thought for solar forcing in recent climate change. This is still disputed for this century, but new evidence from a range of palaeoenvironmental indicators lends strong support to the notion that not only the long-term (105 to 103 years) climate changes of the Pleistocene but also short-term (101 to 102 years) climate changes in the Holocene may derive in large or small part from solar variability. (Palaeoenvironmental evidence for solar forcing of Holocene climate: linkages to solar science, Frank M. Chambers, Michael I. Ogle, Jeffrey J. Blackford, Progress in Physical Geography, December 2013: http://ppg.sagepub.com/content/23/2/181.abstract)

The Maunder Minimum (A.D. 1645–1715)

Early records of sunspots indicate that the Sun went through a period of inactivity in the late 17th century. Very few sunspots were seen on the Sun from about 1645 to 1715. Although the observations were not as extensive as in later years, the Sun was in fact well observed during this time and this lack of sunspots is well documented. This period of solar inactivity also corresponds to a climatic period called the “Little Ice Age” when rivers that are normally ice-free froze and snow fields remained year-round at lower altitudes. There is evidence that the Sun has had similar periods of inactivity in the more distant past. The connection between solar activity and terrestrial climate is an area of on-going research. (NASA: http://solarscience.msfc.nasa.gov/SunspotCycle.shtml)

sunspotactivity

“Therefore, the variation of GCR (galactic cosmic ray) flux associated with the multidecadal cycles of solar magnetic field seem to be causally related to the significant and widespread climate changes at least during the Maunder Minimum.” (Synchronized Northern Hemisphere climate change and solar magnetic cycles during the Maunder Minimum, Yasuhiko T. Yamaguchi, Yasuhiko T. Yamaguchia, Hiroko Miyaharad, Kenjiro Shoe, and Takeshi Nakatsukaf, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, November 30, 2010: http://www.pnas.org/content/107/48/20697.abstract)

The Current Solar Cycle: Cycle 24

“We are currently over five years into (solar) Cycle 24. The current predicted and observed size makes this the smallest sunspot cycle since Cycle 14 which had a maximum of 64.2 in February of 1906.” (From NASA’s website, updated January 2, 2014: http://solarscience.msfc.nasa.gov/predict.shtml)

“The incipient cycle 24 will probably mark the end of the Modern Maximum, with the Sun switching to a state of less strong activity.” (Solar Cycle Prediction, Kristóf Petrovay, December 27, 2010. Link provided by NASA website: http://solarphysics.livingreviews.org/Articles/lrsp-2010-6/)

 If we are entering another period of low solar activity, will it usher in a new “little ice age?

sunCycle22Cycle23Cycle24bigIt has been decades since parts of the Midwest experienced a deep freeze like the one expected to arrive Sunday, with potential record-low temperatures heightening fears of frostbite and hypothermia even in a region where residents are accustomed to bundling up.(Carson Walker, Associated Press, January 4, 2014:)

The 3 graphs below show the monthly averaged sunspot numbers from 1750 to the present. Note the downward trend of sunspot activity after the peak of Solar Cycle 19  around 1957.

sunspots1750.jpeg

“The solar cycle modulation of cosmic rays (Section 3.8) leaves its imprint in the concentration of the radioisotopes 14C in tree rings and 10Be in ice cores (Section 3.9). The connection between solar activity and radioisotope concentrations is complicated by the transport and storage of these radioisotopes. Nonetheless, estimates of solar activity levels over time-scales much longer than the 400-year sunspot record can be obtained (see Usoskin, 2008, for a review).  These reconstructions of solar activity reveal Grand Minima like the Maunder Minimum as well as Grand Maxima similar to the last half of the 20th century. The reconstructions suggest that the Sun spends about 1/6th of its current life in a Grand Minimum phase and about 1/10th in a Grand Maximum.” (The Solar Cycle, David H. Hathaway, March 2, 2010: http://solarphysics.livingreviews.org/Articles/lrsp-2010-1/fulltext.html)

monthlysunspot.jpeg

“After reviewing evidence in both the latest global data (HadCRUT4) and the longest instrumental record, Central England Temperature, a revised picture is emerging that gives a consistent attribution for each multidecadal episode of warming and cooling in recent history, and suggests that the anthropogenic global warming trends might have been overestimated by a factor of two in the second half of the 20th century. (Using data to attribute episodes of warming and cooling in instrumental records, Ka-Kit Tung and  Jiansong Zhou, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, February 5, 2013: http://www.pnas.org/content/110/6/2058.short)

“Different records of solar activity (Wolf and group sunspot number, data on cosmogenic isotopes, historic data) were analyzed by means of modern statistical methods, including one especially developed for this purpose. It was confirmed that two long-term variations in solar activity – the cycles of Gleissberg and Suess – can be distinguished at least during the last millennium. The results also show that the century-type cycle of Gleissberg has a wide frequency band with a double structure consisting of 50–80 years and 90–140 year periodicities. The structure of the Suess cycle is less complex showing a variation with a period of 170–260 years. Strong variability in Gleissberg and Suess frequency bands was found in northern hemisphere temperature multiproxy that confirms the existence of a long-term relationship between solar activity and terrestial climate. (Long-Period Cycles of the Sun’s Activity Recorded in Direct Solar Data and Proxies, M.G. Ogurtsov, Yu.A. Nagovitsyn, G.E. Kocharov, H. Jungner, Solar Physics, December 2002: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1023%2FA%3A1022411209257)

The Suess Cycle

Is the Sun about due to enter into another bicentennial minimum?

“One periodicity that arises in many radiocarbon studies of solar activity has a well defined period of about 210 years. This is often referred to as the Suess or de Vries Cycle (Suess, 1980).” (The Solar Cycle, David H. Hathaway, March 2, 2010: http://solarphysics.livingreviews.org/Articles/lrsp-2010-1/fulltext.html)

“The Earth as a planet will henceforward have negative balance in the energy budget which will result in the temperature drop in approximately 2014. Due to increase of albedo and decrease of the greenhouse gases atmospheric concentration the absorbed portion of solar energy and the influence of the greenhouse effect will additionally decline. The influence of the consecutive chain of feedback effects which can lead to additional drop of temperature will surpass the influence of the TSI (Total Solar Irradiance) decrease. The onset of the deep bicentennial minimum of TSI is expected in 2042±11, that of the 19th Little Ice Age in the past 7500 years – in 2055±11.” (Bicentennial Decrease of the Total Solar Irradiance Leads to Unbalanced Thermal Budget of the Earth and the Little Ice Age, 2012, Habibullo I. Abdussamatov.)

The dotted blue lines on the 2nd graph below show Dr. Abdussamatov’s prediction of lower solar activity. If this is correct it may trigger another “Little Ice Age” similar to the one experienced in Europe from 1645-1710 A.D.

sunpredictionminimum.jpeg

It sure will be interesting to see if Dr. Abdussamatov’s “prediction” comes true.

What if the Earth begins to cool again?

Let us hope that the world is prepared for a colder climate if that’s where we are heading. The Obama administration is basing it energy policy on an opposite scenario in which the Earth continues to warm due to man’s burning of fossil fuels. Many countries around the world have also formulated policies based on an assumption of continued warming, but some, like Australia, have begun to rethink their policies in light of the fact that global warming halted sometime around 1998 and contrary to the most widely accepted predictions.

“The scientific community would come down on me in no uncertain terms if I said the world had cooled from 1998. OK it has but it is only 7 years of data and it isn’t statistically significant.” – Phil Jones: July 5, 2005. Dr. Jones is Director of the Climatic Research Unit and a Professor in the School of Environmental Sciences at the University of East Anglia. His work was featured prominently in both the 2001 and 2007 IPCC reports.

“The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t.” – Kevin Trenberth, 2009. Dr. Trenberth was a lead author of the 1995, 2001, and 2007 IPCC Scientific Assessment of Climate Change and is head of the Climate Analysis Section at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder Colorado.

“Average global temperatures hit a record high in 1998 — and then the warming stalled…..Although there have been jumps and dips, average atmospheric temperatures have risen little since 1998, in seeming defiance of projections of climate models and the ever-increasing emissions of greenhouse gases.” 
Jeff Tollefson, writing in Nature, the “International Weekly Journal of Science,” January 15, 2014

“William Herschel (1801) was the first to report correlation between a level of sunspot activity and a climate after his discovery of inverse interrelation between a wheat price and a level of cyclic variations of solar activity before and during Dalton minimum. When the Sun’s surface was covered with sunspots, the wheat prices were going down. When the number of sunspots dropped the prices went up. He supposed that variations of wheat prices are the consequence of the corresponding climate changes. However, he could not explain the physical nature of this phenomenon. Later Eddy (1976) was discovered interconnection between clearly determined periods of significant variations of the sunspot activity level during the last millennium and corresponding deep climatic changes in both phase and amplitude. During each of the eighteen deep minima of solar activity (of Maunder type) with a bicentennial cycle found in the preceding 7.5 millennia, deep cooling was observed, while during the periods of high maxima – global warming (Borisenkov, 1988). Recent studies (Bal, et al. 2011; McPhaden, et al. 2011) confirm our results (Abdussamatov, 2009a, b) concerning a common action of eleven-year and bicentennial cyclic variations of the total solar irradiance (TSI) (with some time-lag) on the change of state of the surface and subsurface layers (with the depth of tens and hundreds of meters) in the tropical part of the Pacific Ocean accompanied with appearance of warm or cold water (the cycles of La Niña or El Niño phenomena) which affects the climate change as well. Observed characteristics of El Niño during the last 31 years have been changing in the opposite direction with regard to predictions of the climatic models assuming predominant influence of the greenhouse gases.

“Since the Sun is now approaching the phase of decrease of bicentennial luminosity on the basis of observed accelerating drop in both the 11-year and bicentennial components of TSI from early 90s, we can forecast its further decline similar to a so called Maunder minimum….Hence, we can expect the onset of a deep bicentennial minimum of TSI in approximately 2042±11 and of the 19th deep minimum of global temperature in the past 7500 years – in 2055±11 (Fig. 4). In the nearest future we will observe a transition (between global warming and global cooling) period of unstable climate changes with the global temperature fluctuating around its maximum value reached in 1998-2005. After the maximum of solar cycle 24, from approximately 2014 we can expect the start of the next bicentennial cycle of deep cooling with a Little Ice Age in 2055±11. Thus, long-term variations of TSI (with account for their direct and secondary, based on feedback effects, influence) are the main fundamental cause of climate changes since variations of the Earth climate is mainly determined by a long-term imbalance between the energy of solar radiation entering the upper layers of the Earth’s atmosphere and the total energy emitted from the Earth back to space.” (Bicentennial Decrease of the Total Solar Irradiance Leads to Unbalanced Thermal Budget of the Earth and the Little Ice Age, 2012, Habibullo I. Abdussamatov.)

 “The ~200-year solar cycle (de Vries cycle) is commonly believed to be one of the most intense solar cycles.

“The quasi-200-year variations revealed in the palaeoclimatic reconstructions correlate well (R2=0.58–0.94) with solar activity variations (Δ14C variations). The quasi-200-year climatic variations have also been detected in climate-linked processes in Asia, Europe, North and South America, Australia, and the Arctic and Antarctica. The results obtained point to a pronounced influence of solar activity on global climatic processes.

“Analysis has shown that climate response to the long-term global solar forcing has a regional character. An appreciable delay in the climate response to the solar signal can occur (up to 150 years).” (The influence of the de Vries (~200-year) solar cycle on climate variations: Results from the Central Asian Mountains and their global link, O.M. Raspopov, V.A. Dergachev , J. Esper, O.V. Kozyreva, D. Frank, M. Ogurtsov, T. Kolström, X. Shao, 2006 http://www.issw.ch/info/mitarbeitende/frank/Raspopov_etal_PPP_2008.pdf)

The Obama administration is actively working to artificially increase the price of fossil fuel production and consumption. One example of this is that the Environmental Protection Agency has been increasing regulations on coal-fired power plants and has made compliance so costly that many  of these plants will simply cease to operate. If the world is about to enter a prolonged period of cooling, the Obama administration’s energy policies, which will necessarily lead to higher energy prices and fewer energy choices, will turn out to be one of the biggest policy blunders in modern history. Raising the price of energy during a time of increasing demand will have deadly consequences, especially for those at the bottom of the economic ladder.

Frotho

What Happened to Global Warming? Part II

“Science alone of all the subjects contains within itself the lesson of the danger of belief in the infallibility of the greatest teachers in the preceeding generation . . . As a matter of fact, I can also define science another way: Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts.” – Richard Feynman (1918-1988), Nobel-prize-winning physicist.

Are carbon dioxide and the other greenhouse gases we humans have been adding to the atmosphere really the cause of global warming? If so, why has the world stopped warming over the past 17 years despite the continuing buildup of greenhouse gasses? Climate reality has not lived up to the scary predictions of Al Gore, James Hansen, IPCC and other climate change/global warming propagandists.

Here’s what climate scientist Kevin Trenberth admitted in an email to colleagues in 2009: “The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t.” Dr. Trenberth was a lead author of the 1995, 2001, and 2007 IPCC Scientific Assessment of Climate Change and is head of the Climate Analysis Section at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder Colorado.**

Last year, John Christy, a climate scientist at the University of Alabama, constructed the following graph which clearly shows how the Earth has not warmed anything like the IPCC’s climate models have predicted. The thick red and blue lines near the bottom of the graph represent actual temperature data. The solid black line is the average of 44 predictive models. Obviously, the models are grossly overestimating global warming. In fact, the models’ average has overestimated warming by about 3 times.

models vs reality

(Graph: John Christy and DrRoySpencer.com)

So why would any government formulate energy policies based on conclusions drawn from these severely flawed models? Well, that’s what the Obama Administration is doing and what other developed countries like Australia, Germany, Spain and Japan have already done. Now some of those countries are beginning to regret it.

The Earth’s recent climate history seems to indicate that our planet is not as sensitive to greenhouse gasses as we have been led to believe and that natural variability plays a much larger role in determining global and regional climates.

Why should we blindly accept the policies of the environmentalists and their accomplices in government who claim the burning of fossil fuels is the main reason for global warming?* Should we allow them to put coal and natural gas companies out of business and put our energy supplies at risk? The Environmental Left’s desire to tax and regulate energy production and energy consumption for the purpose of “saving” the planet will make everything we do and everything we buy more expensive. Should we allow this to happen? Can the poor and the middle class afford to pay for these misguided “green” schemes? Is the planet really on the verge of environmental destruction and in need of being “saved?”

Why shouldn’t we be skeptical about the climate science that is presented to policy makers and the public? We should be and here’s a quote from the late climate scientist Stephen Schneider (1945-2010) to remind us why:

“On the other hand, we are not just scientists but human beings as well. And like most people we’d like to see the world a better place, which in this context translates into our working to reduce the risk of potentially disastrous climate change. To do that we need to get some broad based support, to capture the public’s imagination. That, of course, means getting loads of media coverage. So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have. This “double ethical bind” we frequently find ourselves in cannot be solved by any formula. Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest.”

Stephen Schneider spent a lot of time and energy trying to explain that this quote was taken out of context and twisted by his critics, but I think most people with average intelligence do not need an explanation. Schneider’s original meaning is quite clear.

In fairness, the link to Schneider’s ex post facto explanation can be seen here.

Forget about climate science for two seconds – In general, skepticism is a healthy defense against the flaws of human nature. So the next time you hear a news story confidently reporting that mankind is destroying the global climate by burning fossil fuels, you may want to ask yourself - are the producers of the story offering up a scary story in order to strike a balance “between being effective and being honest?”

*Since there has been no significant global warming in the past 17 years or so the propagandists have had a tough time convincing the public that global warming is a problem and that mankind has something to do with it. Instead, they have resorted to pointing to severe weather and call it “climate change.”

Frotho

Note: The author of this piece would like to explain his position on man-made global warming: He believes that global and regional climates have always been changing, are changing now, and will always change regardless of what the human race does. The Earth’s climate is always changing. It changed in the past without man’s help. The tiny population of hunter-gatherers that lived 11,000 years ago were not burning massive amounts of fossil fuels and therefore were not responsible for ending the last Ice Age. The shift  on Earth from a glacial period to a warmer interglacial period, which we are still in, was caused by natural events. The Sun has cycles, the Earth has cycles. These cycles are natural. Man’s burning of fossil fuels does contribute to a greenhouse effect, but the effect is probably not as catastrophic as we have been lead to believe. The climate and temperature trends we are able to identify are caused mostly by natural forces. Although mankind has some impact on the Earth’s climate, our burning of fossil fuels does not override the natural forces that largely determine it.

Archaeologists working in my native state of New Jersey are well aware that the Atlantic coastline extended much farther east in times of old. They tell us that much archaeological evidence from ancient Indian sites along the coast has been lost to the rising ocean. This has been going on for a long time, a lot longer than man has been burning fossil fuels. With the strides we have made in science and technology we are now able to measure the sea levels with great accuracy. Since the data shows that the sea levels are still rising, it’s imperative that we develop a more sensible approach to development along our coasts. Since the probability is very high that development directly along our low lying coasts will suffer destruction from the rising waters it is totally irresponsible to ask federal taxpayers to foot any part of the bill to rebuild along these areas after destruction from rising waters occurs. Why should a waitress in land locked Nebraska be asked to fork over part of her paycheck in order to subsidize the rebuilding of million dollar summer homes overlooking the Atlantic Ocean? Let the fat cats pay 100% of the cost to rebuild their own homes.

Why “Global Warming” has been replaced by “Climate Change”

That our scientific instruments have not measured any statistically significant global warming for about 17 years now is a fact. Things have levelled out a bit. Unfortunately, IPCC climate scientists do not understand the climate system sufficiently enough to say exactly why. If they did, then some of the climate models represented in the figure above that we have been asked to rely on for policy decisions would have predicted this leveling off of temperatures. But the fact is they did not. This probably means that one or more assumptions that climate scientists have built into these models are just plain wrong.

If the warming trend resumes, the term “global warming” will regain its popularity and it will be blamed on the burning of coal, oil and natural gas. If the Earth enters another natural cooling phase, we might look back and give thanks for any bit of warming we may have contributed to. And if a decades long cooling trend manifests itself, then the climate scientists who claimed that “the science is settled” should have their funding severely trimmed and the IPCC should be completely disbanded.

Since carbon fuels and the energy they provide are in large measure responsible for powering an economy that has brought us so many incredible benefits, we should be extremely wary of those who want to artificially raise the cost of energy by imposing taxes and regulation on it. Some environmental extremists favor politicians who promise to tax and regulate fossil fuels like coal and natural gas and make them so expensive that businesses and people cannot afford to use them. In fact, this is the plan that President Obama has already begun to implement and it is extremely dangerous.

Carbon to the Rescue

“Carbon to the Rescue” was the title of a great Wall Street Journal piece that touched on these points.The Journal piece pointed to a story in the news recently about a ship carrying eco-tourists and climate scientists that set out on a summer expedition to the Antarctic to report on how the climate there had changed since Sir Douglas Mawson explored the region 100 years ago. On Christmas day last the ship carrying the eco-tourists became stranded when shifting winds surrounded the vessel with ice and blizzard like conditions. The ice was so thick that the Chinese ice breaker initially sent to rescue the stranded ship had to turn back and eventually became stuck itself. Finally after waiting helplessly for over a week the 52 eco-tourists and climate scientists were rescued. The helicopters and ships that participated in the rescue were not powered by windmills and solar energy. Instead it was “carbon to the rescue.” The Wall Street Journal pointed out that, “In an earlier age, explorers who so badly underestimated the expanse of polar ice would surely have perished.” How true. Maybe fossil fuels are not so evil after all.

Hopefully the irony in this story will help open some eyes to the fact that fossil fuels are immensely beneficial. The Environmental Left’s War on Fossil Fuels is really a war on modern society itself and could have catastrophic consequences particularly if our power grids are not sufficiently equipped to supply the energy needed to heat our homes, power our cities, and run our hospitals. Obama’s EPA is already forcing coal-fired power plants to close and they have no workable plans that will immediately replace that lost energy. It’s a very dangerous situation. It’s time we begin to demand a more sane approach to our energy policies from our leaders.

**Kevin Trenberth’s full email from 2009 reads:

Hi all

Well I have my own article on where the heck is global warming? We are asking that here in Boulder where we have broken records the past two days for the coldest days on record. We had 4 inches of snow. The high the last 2 days was below 30F and the normal is 69F, and it smashed the previous records for these days by 10F. The low was about 18F and also a record low, well below the previous record low. This is January weather (see the Rockies baseball playoff game was canceled on saturday and then played last night in below freezing weather).

Trenberth, K. E., 2009: An imperative for climate change planning: tracking Earth’s global energy. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, 1, 19-27, doi:10.1016/j.cosust.2009.06.001. [1][PDF] (A PDF of the published version can be obtained from the author.)

The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t. The CERES data published in the August BAMS 09 supplement on 2008 shows there should be even more warming: but the data are surely wrong. Our observing system is inadequate.

That said there is a LOT of nonsense about the PDO. People like CPC are tracking PDO on a monthly basis but it is highly correlated with ENSO. Most of what they are seeing is the change in ENSO not real PDO. It surely isn’t decadal. The PDO is already reversing with the switch to El Nino. The PDO index became positive in September for first time since Sept 2007.see[2]http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/GODAS/ocean_briefing_gif/global_ocean_monitoring_c urrent.ppt

Kevin