Antwort auf IDW Pressemeldung gegen die Unterzeichner (Authors)
( Stein des Anstoßes war der GSA Artikel )
Dear author(s)
Taking into account that it was not considered necessary to inform us in advance of the public release of the web page and press release, we believe it would be a matter of decency to post our responses on your web page.
Nir Shaviv and Ján Veizer

Spekulationen zum Einfluss der kosmischen Strahlung auf das Klima wissenschaftlich nicht haltbar

I carefully read the letter written by the cosigners and was quite bewildered by it. First, it is strange that they decided to hold a scientific debate by press releases. While I am sure that this debate is of interest to the general public, the nature of the medium allows them to bring forth accusations without actually presenting any supporting evidence. This is hardly a scientific approach, made even worse with general claims, such as "methodically very doubtful". To counter such a claim, we would have to show that all the steps we have taken were done carefully. Obviously I cannot condense about 75 journal pages of detailed analysis, published in 6 articles, and reviewed by 10 referees. I will, however, show how specific concerns are invalid.

For example, the statement that "The reconstruction of the cosmic radiation is based only on 42 meteorite finds, which are interpreted differently by other experts" demonstrates the above. First, the reconstruction is based on 50 not 42 meteorites. This is a minor point, but it demonstrates that they read only the first analysis published in a short letter and not the 30 page subsequent paper detailing the cosmic ray flux reconstruction. Second, they failed to mention that the same periodicity and phase is obtained in a totally independent way using astronomical observations on galactic spiral arm dynamics. One can thus throw away the meteoritic data altogether, yet still reach the same conclusion. This makes the cosmic ray flux reconstruction quite robust since it is based on two independent methods. Third, if there are "completely different interpretations by other experts", why have they not been published in the scientific media (or non-scientific for that matter). Apparently, no other consistent explanation of the data actually exists.

Figure 1: The period and phase of four totally independent signals with the 1sigma error bars depicted. (The phase is defined as the predicted/reconstructed peak CRF or the height of the cold epochs as derived using sedimentation/geochemical reconstruction, relative to today in units of the period). It is the consistency of these independent measurements which forms the circumstantial evidence that cosmic rays dominate the Phanerozoic climate. (also located at )

As another example, writing that "The two curves show a statistic connection only because the time scale of the cosmic data was stretched arbitrarily in such a way, until an agreement arises", is simply wrong. The cosmic ray flux reconstruction gives a periodicity of 143 +/-10 Myr. Since the reconstructed tropical temperature shows a periodicity of 135 +/-9 Myr, the two signals are consistent with each other, without a needless "arbitrary stretching". Interestingly, also, the phases of the signals are consistent to within the measurement error.

And a last example, writing that "Even if it were material, this cycle (with three degrees of warming over 70 million years) would cause a warming of around a millionth degree in 20 years" simply is not relevant. What we strived to demonstrate is that the cosmic rays appear to affect climate on geological time scales as a result of the changing galactic "geography". If the result is correct, then the implication to global warming is not through the slowly changing flux outside the solar system, but arises from modulations by the solar wind which is known to affect the cosmic ray flux reaching Earth. In particular, the increased solar activity over the past century should have translated into a quick rise in global temperature, explaining more than half the observed global warming.

I could continue, but I think I have made my point. An avid reader should not take for granted a single word that I or the cosigners write in non-scientific media. Instead, he/she should take a look at the scientific articles and counter-articles and judge with a critical mind. One should always look also at the error quoted in these scientific articles. It may prove illuminating. The cosigners write that the doubling of CO2 in IPCC models would result in a "1.5 to 4.5 deg Celsius" rise in temperature. In our paper, we find that the upper limit (at 90% confidence) for the doubling CO2 is about 1.5 degs (at least on the geological time scales). Our results are thus inconsistent only with the upper range of the IPCC claims.

-- Dr. Nir J. Shaviv
Racah Institute of Physics, Hebrew University, Jerusalem

Spekulationen zum Einfluss der kosmischen Strahlung auf das Klima wissenschaftlich nicht haltbar

In a press release of October 24 ( ), a group of scientists denounced our publication in GSA Today (July 1) as "wissenschaftlich nich haltbar" and based "auf aeusserst fragwuerdigen Methoden" that should "in keiner Weise in Frage stellen" the "fundierte Wissen" about anthropogenic climate impact.

It concerns me that the debate stooped to this level, but it is symptomatic of the general atmosphere surrounding the climate change issues. A recent personal attack by the PIK cosigner on other scientists in Die Zeit is another example. I strive to refrain from the divisive public discussion of political ramifications (Kyoto) and would not conceive of attacking the scientific integrity of the IPCC-supporting scientists, despite the fact that these models too have a plethora of weak points (clouds, biology...) and yield predictions that are inconsistent with reality (balloons and satellites show no tropospheric temperature rise, the Antarctic and Greenland are mostly cooling...). Note also that in the Antarctic ice cores, cited by the signatories as the prime confirmation of the greenhouse theory, the CO2 commences to rise only centuries after the temperature has risen. Nonetheless, in the GSA article we still treated this cause/effect issue as an open question, striving not to belittle the research that attributes climate change to greenhouse gases. Regrettably, such is often the treatment of ideas exploring alternative scenarios. Arguing that our research is being "misused" by others is hardly a justification for personal attack on our scientific integrity. After all, is not the research of the signatories utilised in exactly the same way, albeit for an alternative view?

My coauthor, Dr Shaviv, has responded to the points that concern the astrophysical issues. As for the geological part, it involved years of data gathering by many researchers, financed mostly by the Leibniz prize of the DFG, and the curve is based on about 4500 hard won measurements. Moreover, ours is the only comprehensive Phanerozoic database presently available, yielding a result in good agreement with the actual climate patterns deduced from sediments (see ). In contrast, the CO2 model (IPCC, page 40, figure 10e,f) is completely at odds with actual observations. Yet, it is the thousands of measurements corroborated by observations that are "fragwuerdig", while the theoretical construct that is at odds with reality merits inclusion in the IPCC summary chapter. The insinuation that our curves were shifted around until a fit was obtained is just that, unfounded insinuation. Dr Shaviv and ourselves published our research and curves independently in top refereed journals, totally ignorant of each other's work. As for the rest, I invite the readers to peruse our publication and decide for themselves what we have actually claimed, and what is being imputed to us by the cosigners.

As scientists, we are not infallible and may eventually be proven wrong, but this should be done by factual science and not by denunciation of our scientific integrity in press releases.

Prof. Dr. mult. Jan Veizer FRSC, Institut fuer Geologie, Mineralogie und Geophysik, Ruhr Universitaet, Bochum and Ottawa – Carleton Geoscience Center, University of Ottawa, Canada.

Jan Veizer
Department of Earth Sciences
University of Ottawa
P.O. Box 450, Station A
Ottawa, Ontario K1N 6N5

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