Euthanizing Overholt et al.: How bad can a bad paper be?

Last month I visited the U of Washington to give a talk in which I discussed the effects of cosmic rays on climate. At the end of it, not one, but two people independently asked me about Overholt et al., which supposedly ruled out the idea that passages through the galactic spiral arms affect the appearance of glaciations on Earth. I told them that the paper had really stupid mistakes and it should be discarded in the waste bin of history, but given that Overholt et al. is still considered at all, I have no choice but to more openly euthanize it.

Sights from a Field Trip in the Milky Way: From Paleoclimatology to Dark Matter

32 million year oscillation in the paleoclimate data
I was recently asked to write an article to “The Institute Letter” of Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, where I am spending a wonderful sabbatical year. It briefly describes a very interesting discovery that my colleagues and I made, which is that the 32 million year oscillation of the solar system perpendicular to the galactic plane can clearly be seen in the paleoclimate data. In the article, I also discuss how the discovery came and some of its implications. I am bringing a slightly expanded version here (with more figures and elaborated caption), and references of course. Enjoy.

The oceans as a calorimeter

I few months ago, I had a paper accepted in the Journal of Geophysical Research. Since its repercussions are particularly interesting for the general public, I decided to write about it. It's called, using the "Oceans as a Calorimeter to quantify the solar radiative forcing".

More slurs from continues with its same line of attack. writers try again and again to concoct what appears to be deep critiques against skeptic arguments, but end up doing a very shallow job. All in the name of saving the world. How gallant of them. This time it is an ill-founded attack by Jahnke and Benestad.

The Hebrew University debate on Global Warming

The panel. From left to right: Prof. Colin Price, Prof. Nathan Paldor, Prof. Dan Yakir, and myself.

On Sunday last week, a global warming debate was held at the Hebrew University, in front of a large public audience. The speakers included myself, and Prof. Nathan Paldor from the HU, on the so called sceptic side, and Prof. Dan Yakir (Weizmann) and Prof. Colin Price (Tel-Aviv Univ.) on the anthropogenic greenhouse gas (AGHG) side.

You can watch the debate, in Hebrew at the Authority for Community and Youth of the Hebrew University. Since most of the readers are not from Israel (98% of the visitors to, here is a short synopsis. It is followed by a detailed response to the claims raised against the cosmic ray climate link.

The inconvenient truth about the Ice core Carbon Dioxide Temperature Correlations

One of the "scientific" highlights in Al Gore's movie is the discussion about the clear correlation between CO2 and temperature, as is obtained in ice cores. He leads his audience to beleive that this correlation implies a clear CO2→ΔT link, but does it really?

On the IPCC's summary for policy makers, and on getting interviewed without noticing

Yesterday I was surprised to find out that the IPCC didn't really come out with the Fourth Assessment Report (4AR). I was also surprised to find an article with something which appeared to look like an interview of me. Since I am not senile (getting there, but not just yet) I found it strange that I didn't remember actually being interviewed!

On Climate Sensitivity and why it is probably small

What is climate sensitivity?

The equilibrium climate sensitivity refers to the equilibrium change in average global surface air temperature following a unit change in the radiative forcing. This sensitivity (often denoted as λ) therefore has units of °C/(W/m2).

Often, instead &\lambda;, the sensitivity is expressed through the temperature change &Delta Tx2, in response to a doubled atmospheric CO2 content, which is equivalent to a radiative forcing of 3.8 W/m2. Thus, &Delta Tx2 = 3.8 W/m2 λ

Comments on nature's "A cosmic connection"

Last week, a report by Jeff Kanipe appeared in nature. In it, Kanipe explains the solar → cosmic-ray → climate connection, and the planned CLOUD experiment in CERN, expected to finally resolve the issue. Given that my work is mentioned in the review, I through I should mention a few relevant points.

The Critique of Knud Jahnke and a New Meteor Exposure Age Analysis

General Remarks

The manuscript submitted by Jahnke is an attempt to repeat analyses previously carried by myself (Shaviv PRL, 2002, New Astronomy, 2003). Although Jahnke raises a few interesting aspects, his analysis excludes several critical problems, because of which he obtains his negative result, that is, that there is no statistically significant periodicity in the data. By far, the most notable problem is that Jahnke's analysis does not consider the measurement errors. In his analysis, poorly dated meteorites were given the same weight as those with better exposure age determinations. As I show below, this has a grave effect on the signal to noise ratio (S/N) and consequently, on the statistical significance of any result.