Solar Cycles and the Weather: Successful Experiments in Autosuggestion?

  • A. Barrie Pittock

Abstract

Claims relating the single and double sunspot cycles to weather and climate are critically reviewed in the light of what is known about the sun/weather/climate system. Various pitfalls in the application or lack of application of statistics to the problem are discussed and illustrated from the literature. Following a survey of the literature it is concluded that despite the great number of papers on the subject, little convincing evidence has yet been produced for real correlations between sunspot cycles and weather or climate, although evidence for correlations between weather and solar events on time scales of days appears to exist. The conclusions tend to support A. S. Monin’s impression of “successful experiments in autosuggestion” and S. J. Gould’s recent suggestion that unconscious manipulation of data may be a scientific norm. Some guidelines are offered as an aid to critical evaluation of our own and other scientists’ work and it is suggested that progress is more likely on shorter time-scale solar-weather effects. A longer version of this paper may be found in the August 1978 issue of Reviews of Geophysics and Space Physics.

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Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company, Dordrecht, Holland 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. Barrie Pittock
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Laboratory of Tree-Ring ResearchUniversity of ArizonaTucsonUSA
  2. 2.Division of Atmospheric PhysicsC.S.I.R.O.MordiallocAustralia

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