So Eli has been looking for a couple of weeks at a paper by Georg Feulner, from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, "The Smithsonian solar constant data revisited: no evidence for cosmic-ray induced aerosol formation in terrestrial insolation data" that is under review at Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics. Eli was holding off until at least some of the reviews were in to avoid the food fight that blogs can bring to the table, but he has been gazumphed by Rasmus at Real Climate.
The bottom line is that an earlier paper by Werner Weber claimed to have found a "Strong signature of the active Sun in 100 years of terrestrial insolation data" (the Acrobat file can be downloaded), but Feulner, who understands the data set that Weber used for the period 1905 to 1954, the Smithsonian Astrophysical Obvervatory solar irradiance series, thinks it's hooey and explains why.
A careful re-analysis of the data on which these claims are based shows that these trends are due to the effects of volcanic eruptions (and other sources of aerosols) and due to seasonal variations. None of the three quantities shows any significant trend with sunspot 10 number once these effects are taken into account (see the summary in Table 1). This illustrates once more that extreme care must be taken to understand any systematic bias of a dataset when investigating possible trends.Well, the first referee's comment is in and if Feulner were O'Donnell the gloves would be off (actually, if you read the review, the gloves are off)
This paper is effectively a technical comment on the paper by Weber in Ann PhysThe hurumphing goes on a bit, but the review is open and Eli suggests that interested bunnies go read it. However the next part is precious
(Berlin). For a long time scientific practice has generally been to publish comments
in the same journal as the original paper, to allow comments and corrections (and
the courtesy of a reply from the author) to be associated with the first piece of work.
Throughout there is an assumption of a linear relationship between sunspot number and cosmic ray aerosol production. What is the basis for this ? The variable experimental work probably does not support this, for example there is a square-root relation between ion production and ion concentration.Well maybe because Weber analyzes the relationship between sunspot number R, the top of the atmosphere solar insolation S, pyrheliometer measurement of solar intensity I, pyranometer values of the solar aureole and the water vapor content W using linear regression?
I have analyzed the S, I,A andW data with respect to their linear dependence on the sunspot numbers R of the respective days . For this analysis various data prearrangement strategies have been employed; all of them produce very similar findings. Here, I report results based on the simplest scheme which evaluates a data group by standard linear regressionand Feulner does exactly the same analysis. There is no assumption about cosmic ray aerosol production being linear with sunspot number or not. Feulner does not need to get that far to show that Weber's analysis was, wait for it, Eli's favorite description of this stuff, naive. Weber, of course is a condensed matter theoretical physicist who, judging from his paper, has a full blown case of physicist's arrogance.
Eli is not going to engage in a Steve and Jeff act, wondering who wrote this review but it is a great illustration of the rough and tumble of peer review.