INTERVIEW: PIERS CORBYN
`Don't Bet on Man-Made Origins
of Global Warming'
Piers Corbyn, an astrophysicist, is the originator of the revolutionary solar weather technique of long-range forecasting and a founder of Weather Action Long Range Forecasters. His first scientific publications were on aspects of meteorology and astronomy. He also carried out astrophysics research at Queen Mary College London and published work on galaxy formation and the mean matter density of the universe.
From his research into the causes of weather change, he totally rejects the carbon dioxide-based theory of global warming and climate change. Corbyn is one of the scientists featured in the wagTV film-produced "The Great Global Warming Swindle," shown on Channel 4 in Britain in March.
Corbyn was interviewed by Gregory Murphy on May 2.
EIR: Could you please tell us a little of your background?
Corbyn: I've got a first-class degree in physics from Imperial College, and a high degree in astrophysics at Queen Mary College, which are both part of the University of London. Prior to that, I was always very interested in weather, and I built myself an observing weather station and did experiments in science and the weather.
While studying astrophysics, I knew of various supposed connections between solar activity (that is, sunspots) and the weather, although at the time, I was more interested in sunspots. Subsequently, I thought that the idea of trying to predict sunspots, which is all I wanted to do, was a bit silly, because, who cares? It might be more interesting if one could predict the weather using solar activity, and I set about doing that.
Now, it was too difficult, and I gave up—until the miners' strike came along in 1984. And friends involved in these things in Britain, asked me, "Piers, you were trying to do long-range weather forecasting. Is it going to be a cold Winter?"
And I said, "I haven't a clue. I've given up."
And they said, "Well, have another go, see if you can tell us."
So, I did go back into trying to do this, and I said that the Winter of 1984-85 in the United Kingdom would be very cold. And it was. It wasn't quite cold enough for the miners—you know, they wanted to win—but it was very cold.
After that, I went back into doing [weather prediction]. And to cut a long story short, I found a certain connection, a certain predictability. I tested this by doing gambling with William Hill, the bookmaker here, in the Summer of 1988. Then, for 12 years, I carried on doing gambling every month [on weather prediction], and made a lot of money, until they stopped me from doing it.
This was things like, will April in London be warmer than normal, or will there be thunderstorms in a certain time period....
EIR: I noticed that on your website, that you got banned. Now the going thing is risk management services, one Bob Ward (who wants to stop the DVD of "The Great Global Warming Swindle" from being released) is running a weather derivatives operation. So, while you were doing it on a small scale, now they want to make a whole financial services industry out of it.
Corbyn: That's right. They want our financial services industry run on fear. They want to carry on trading carbon and energy and so on, running on fear. The last thing they want, actually, is working long-range weather forecasts.
Now, in 1995, I set up a limited company called Weatheraction Ltd, and we've been through various phases since then, on and off the stock exchange (we're now off).... And we're now making long-range forecasts up to 12 months ahead, more accurate than anything we did before. We sell to farmers and the energy industry. The rail network buys them, for example, to get warning of heavy rainstorm and potential landslides.
EIR: It seems like you're producing your forecasts from actual physical observations, not like NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, in the United States, which uses more computer modelling, and which tends to have high inaccuracy.
Corbyn: As I said in a presentation I gave in January, at the Science Museum in Imperial College: Computer modelling for weather forecasting, and indeed for climate forecasting, has reached its limits.
No amount of improved computer power will get past the really basic climate inputs. The activity from the Sun, which affects the upper atmosphere—these things are also modulated by lunar effects for example. We do take those into account in our forecasts. We have eight weather periods every month and six or seven out of the eight will be correct, in any one month.
EIR: It seems that the computer models hold the Sun's output as constant. They can't model water vapor. And what other researchers have told me, is that once you start putting up the energy input in the computer model, and the carbon cycle, the model is invalid.
Corbyn: That's right. The model is invalid, and it's "rubbish in equals rubbish out."
On the very fundamental, basic level, I think we can see it's invalid just by looking at the Ice Ages.
It's not the case that carbon dioxide drives temperatures. When you leave Ice Ages, it's the other way around: The temperatures go up first, and then carbon dioxide levels go up. And if you look at the fluctuations during the Ice Ages, you can see that, actually, temperature goes up and down, about twice as fast, and twice as often, as carbon dioxide levels go up and down.
So that means that at least about half the time, they're going to be moving in opposite directions, and half the time, they'll be moving in the same direction. I mean, essentially, that they are unconnected. They probably are connected in some complex way, but there's no evidence anywhere that carbon dioxide systematically drives temperature. Where there is evidence of some sort of driving, it's the other way around.
So, that being the case, that whole theory is fundamentally a failure. Actually, since 1998, world temperatures have been falling.
EIR: Lately, the BBC and the U.S. press have picked up on how this is the warmest April in Great Britain, but yet, they don't talk about the 4- to 5-year running cold snap in the Southern Hemisphere, because it pokes a hole in their line that "the whole Earth is warming up, and Antarctica is going to melt and flood whole islands in the Pacific."
Corbyn: There are fundamental things wrong with that "warm April" view. First of all, of course, America's just had a cold Winter. But the Central England data set occupies 1/5,000th of the global area. So, to say this warm April is evidence of global warming, is insane.
This is a description. It can't be a cause of global warming, in the world or anywhere. It's just complete nonsense.
EIR: The latest now, in the New York Times, is that a new study shows that the ice cap will melt 30 years ahead of time. So they must have found a satellite that looks 30 years into the future.
Corbyn: Well, of course, there's nothing new happening in the world now, that hasn't happened before: In terms of the post-glacial period, the last 700 or so years have been the coldest part of the last 10,000 years, and 4,000 years ago, it was much warmer than now. That was the Bronze Age. It was called the "climate optimum" by historians, and since then, temperatures have actually generally declined, while carbon dioxide levels have gone up.
And until about 1900, or 1910—about 100 years ago, carbon dioxide levels had gone up, for various reasons, at the same time as temperatures. But the general trend in the last 4,000 years is that carbon dioxide and temperature have been moving against each other.
Now, in the world, the fundamental periodicity of temperature changes is the 22-year magnetic cycle of the Sun. And we understand quite a lot about why that is. The peak of the current 22-year cycle was in 2002-2003, and we're now in a declining phase of that. And if you take [as the global warmers did] the world average temperatures, averaged over a two-year moving average, the recent peak was in 1998, because there were cold years before and after that.
But in 2002-2003, the world temperature moving average peaked at the same time as the phase of the natural 22-year cycle. So, what we think is happening is that world temperatures may be not rising on average, but in the last 10 years, up until 2002, we have seen the rising course of a natural cycle [related to the 22-year magnetic cycle of the Sun].
This happened to coincide with CO2 levels going up, but so what? It may be, that really we're in a period overall, where temperature and carbon dioxide are actually moving in opposite directions, in terms of deviations from a norm. But for some reason, there is also a general increase in solar activity. That was definitely the case since 1900 or so, and that is also causing a general slow warming, which may also be coming to an end now.
What carbon dioxide does, appears to be irrelevant.
EIR: What about the recent book of Henrik Svensmark and Nigel Calder, The Chilling Stars, about the cosmic ray connection to some formation of clouds and cooling? How does the 22-year magnetic cycle of the Sun affect that?
Corbyn: I think their experimental work to show that charged particles cause cloud nucleation and could therefore affect the development of weather fronts is of tremendously important significance, and groundbreaking. And that is their contribution, although I think their work has got a fundamental problem....
EIR: There's another meeting of the IPCC in Bangkok this week to produce another summary for policymakers. To be more honest, it's a summary written by policymakers.... And you wrote a letter requesting that certain graphs that question the IPCC science conclusions be included with their policy summary.
EIR: Did you have an answer yet?
Corbyn: No, there are two things: One is, that I've written the letter to the leaders of the British activity on the IPCC, Sir David King, Chief Scientific Advisor and David Miliband, the minister responsible for environment—who, I would like to add, is the most callous liar in British politics, I've ever come across.
And I also sent a copy to Prof. Martin Rees, president of the Royal Society, who, in previous times, I worked with on the question of neutrino energies in cosmology. So, I do know him. He is a very, very good scientist, but I think he's sold his soul for something or other, in the Royal Society. We'll see.
Anyway, there's been no reply to the letter I wrote saying, "Please, by Bangkok, get the graph that you left out put into that summary for policymakers."
What they've done in their summary for policymakers, is put in a graph showing that carbon dioxide levels have been rising, since about 5,000 years ago. So, I wrote them saying: If you're putting this in, please also put the graph, measured from my source, which show what temperatures have been doing. We must have these comparisons; policymakers should have these comparisons.
What also happened is that one Member of Parliament—Martin Jones—has now asked questions to Parliament on the lines I suggested, because he got hold of my letter. Jones is a scientist himself, and he's very distressed about what's going on.
EIR: Is he a member of the Conservative Party?
Corbyn: No, he's Labour....
EIR: There's a very interesting paper that's been published in Energy and Environment by Ernst Beck on the 180 years of measurements of atmospheric CO2 that were carried out by Nobel Prize laureates and other scientists from the 1800s into the 1950s. Contrary to what is shown in ice cores, there have been periods where you had 400 parts per million [ppm], almost up to 500 ppm, for example, and a period in the 1850s, where there is a peak. But, as I remember, there were not many power plants, and other assorted man-made industries at that time to account for this CO2.
Corbyn: Absolutely: There's a lot of modulation of carbon dioxide and temperatures, which has nothing to do with mankind—plant growth being one of them, and volcanoes being another.
Now, it is also very important to notice that ice cores do not measure annual amounts of carbon dioxide, but the values are spread out over centuries, because carbon dioxide is a gas, and it diffuses into the ice. So, although the annual layers of ice will give you measures of temperatures then, or temperatures within a year or so of any place, any date, carbon dioxide levels can not be measured like this.
This comes to another lie of the global warmers: They say, "Well, carbon dioxide levels are rising now faster than they've ever risen before."
Now, there's no evidence of CO2 levels having risen, or not risen, faster than before, because you couldn't see such things in the ice cores. It's like saying a blind man can't see, therefore there's nothing to see. What they put out about that is a total lie.
The papers you refer to, are very interesting and important, but carbon dioxide is not a driver of temperature. And there have been many periods when carbon dioxide levels must have been—or when you can measure them, it's clear they would have been, or were rather—reaching quite interesting peaks or troughs, but which have no bearing on temperatures.
EIR: Yes, I asked this question in an e-mail to Phil Jones [a leading British global warming scientist] at the Climate Research Unit, in which he said, he had not read the paper, but on face value, he could tell me that the paper was "totally wrong," and ice cores were the only way to determine CO2. Period.
Then I asked about the paper on global mean temperature that a Danish professor put out, which, you know, has created a big problem for the global warmers. Phil Jones, again, told me that there was something wrong with the paper, that it would not have been published in a "reasonable" climate journal, and that I had to use "Google Scholar" to see how many citations the paper had. So, in essence, he said, "check on the internet to see what's true!"
Corbyn: Check the internet to see if something's true—well that's interesting, isn't it!
EIR: These guys are having trouble, now.
Corbyn: Eee-yi-yi-yi. Well, I like the lie about sea level rising. Now, there have been actual measurements of the Maldive Islands that show that if you stick to actual data, they show that sea levels have gone down in the Maldives (or the Islands have risen up) in the last 70 years. But the general problem is that the [global warmers'] sea level measurements in the Pacific are insane, because the Pacific is in constant motion. You know, there's a ring of volcanoes in the Pacific, and indeed, it shows that the whole area is moving. So, these islands are going to go up and down, and it has nothing to do with sea level.
The overall point is, that since the last Ice Age, sea level has been constantly rising, because heat energy has been slowly getting into the sea. The sea as a whole used to be much colder, and now it has expanded. And that expansion has nothing to do with carbon dioxide, or what's happening this year, or last year, or the last decade in temperatures. And that is why, when the Romans came to England, the sea level was lower, and there are ports which they built, which are now well under the sea.
EIR: Yes, it seems that the warmers forget about underwater volcano activity, and they also forget about, the underwater volcano activity in the Arctic Sea, too! This is what creates the melt ponds, which they cry about.
Corbyn: Absolutely. Of course, they also don't admit the early Medieval Warm Period, which was much warmer than now. Greenland was much warmer: It was called Greenland when discovered by the Vikings, because it was habitable, and a lot of people emigrated there.
And polar bears did very well in the warmer times. They didn't die out at all; they didn't die out in the last 10,000 years, nor during the previous interglacial, nor the one before that. So, they're just used as a deceitful heartthrob; you know, to pluck your heartstrings because the polar bears might die out.
EIR: Yes, we should find a picture of a polar bear chasing one of these people trying to take its picture, and publish that, instead of all of these cute little pictures of polar bears.
Corbyn: Anyway, my view is that climate changes have happened in the last 80 years, that is, the world has got a little bit warmer, although not as warm as it has been in Medieval times, or the Bronze Age.
That warming is a good thing. It leads to more prosperity. If it goes on, it could lead to the reopening of what's called the Northwest Passages, a sea route to the North Pacific going through parts of Canada and Greenland. And our own ideas—and we do have some planet forecasts based on the ideas about changing solar activity—is that actually, this world warming has probably reached its peak, and it will stay constant, or it will go down a bit, until 2013. Beyond that, we're not sure what will happen, but the warming will probably carry on declining.
EIR: The global warming crowd talks about increased CO2 as some kind of negative thing, but if you think about all the changes in plants, with photosynthesis being produced better, you will have more food output—
Corbyn: Yes, that's right, more food. And it's good for trees, good for grasses; it's great! More CO2 equals good, and global warming equals good—although they're not calling it good. The CO2 causes the plants to grow, but the CO2 is not causing the temperatures. The temperatures encourage the plants to grow, as well. A warmer world, more CO2: That's the best.
EIR: Yes. Just ask anybody who moves from South Dakota in the United States, to Florida. That's what Fred Singer always says, when you ask him about "Is the warmer climate better?" "Well, just ask someone who just moved from South Dakota, where it's frozen a lot of the time, to Miami, where it's nice and warm. Ask them."
The one thing the warmers don't have, is a sense of humor. And the faked data, which are probably more faked than the intelligence we were told about the Iraq War—
Corbyn: Oh, absolutely! The so-called hockey stick [graph] is a lie. They've known it's a lie, yet they carry on repeating it.
EIR: Yes, the IPCC has backed off the hockey stick in its last report, but it's still there. It's just not pointed to as if it's their Holy Grail.
Corbyn: The Al Gore film, as far as I could see, has got the hockey stick in it.... I counted 20 deliberate lies in his film—well, I say "deliberate" because Gore ought to know better. And I wrote them all down. I daresay, you would've gotten a few of them anyway, but I think—
EIR: Yes, there's been a lot of people who've gone through it and found all the misrepresentations. And the global warmers are crying about "The Great Global Warming Swindle" over a small error in one little chart, while Al Gore's film is like Soviet propaganda. That's what some people have told me, that the film was just put together like Soviet propaganda.
Corbyn: He could change his name to Al Gorebbels.