Casey is a retired engineer, having worked on the space shuttle at NASA for most of his career. Post-retirement, he now describes himself as a climatologist, claiming on his website that he is "one of America's most successful climate change researchers and climate prediction experts" without providing any evidence that he has any coursework or research experience in climate science. Luongo parroted Casey's line, word-for-word, without attribution, in his "newsletter."
So, what is Casey's claim to fame in the realm of climatology? That the sun exhibits cycles of activity. No. Really. That is Casey's main thesis from his 2008 paper "The existence of relational cycles of solar activity on a multidecadal to centennial scale as significant models of climate change on Earth." Casey makes the claim that his paper was peer-reviewed but a quick search for the paper title and author on Google Scholar shows that it has never been published anywhere other than his own website. A quick review of his website shows that this is the only formal paper Casey has written on the subject beyond various "Global Climate Status Reports" available for $8.95. Looking at the free summaries of his status reports shows that they're largely a continuation of claims made in his 2008 paper.
Casey used a C14 calibration curve from Reimer et al. (2004) as a proxy for solar activity, analyzed it for cycles in an unspecified way, then eyeballed the graph to find the local minima that matched the cycles he found. He then eyeballed graphs of HadCRUT3 (AD 1860-2000, his Figure 5), continental US temperatures from NOAA (AD 1895-2006, Figure 6), and mainland Chinese temperatures from 1 BC to AD 2000 (Casey's Figure 7, Yang et al. 2002) for local minima. He then presented the results of that "analysis" in Table 2 on page 5. Here is his table:
Unfortunately for his "theory," Casey ignores multiple problems with his analysis. First, continental China, which he used for temperatures back to 1 BC, does not represent the entire planet anymore than the continental US or central England represents the entire planet. The only global temperature data set he used started in 1850—meaning that he doesn't have global temperatures before then. So really, his global analysis covered only the last 150 years of his time period. Before that his analysis just covered a single country. That makes me question his 4A point in his Table 2, as it occurred decades before either of the two data sets (HadCRUT3, USA) he used began.
Second, his own Table 2 reveals that there are multiple instances when temperatures bottomed out before solar activity did (e.g. 3, 4B, 6, 7, 8, 13) or that temperatures rose before the solar minimum ended (e.g. the Maunder Minimum (5) and the Wolf Minimum (8)). That means his supposed cause came after its supposed effect.
Third, his correlation calculation on page 5 is a joke. He totaled the number of solar minima (N), then counted the number of temperature minima which (approximately) coincided with those minima (R), then calculated the correlation as R/N = 0.93. That calculation in itself is problematic. When we're calculating correlations, we normally calculate either Pearson's r or Spearman's rho, then compute the p-value to decide on statistical significance. Casey used neither, preferring his own non-standard formula of R/N. Beyond his "technique," however, there are 6 instances where the effect (temperature) came first, which is impossible. Using N = 13 (removing 4A due to the fact it comes before his data sets began), that means R = 7, which means that R/N would be 0.54, far below his calculated value. To get a value of 0.93 given N = 14, R must equal 13, so Casey must have included most of the instances where his proposed effect came before his proposed cause. Completely bogus. Last, if you want to calculate the correlation between two variables, you calculate the correlation between all of the data, not just timing of the local minima.
Fourth, Casey ignored all the research published by 2008 that showed that the current global warming is not due to the sun (e.g. Meehl et al. 2004, Solanki et al. 2004, Usoskin et al. 2005, Scafetta and West 2006, Ammann et al. 2007, Lockwood and Fröhlich 2007, Lean and Rind 2008). He didn't even acknowledge any of those papers which makes me wonder if he bothered to read of any of those papers.
Last, he gives no indication how he concluded that a drop in solar activity starting in cycle 24 would cause global temperatures to drop by 1 to 1.5ºC by AD 2031. No calculations, no models, nothing. No way to double check his conclusion. Not only are his conclusions uncheckable, his conclusion was debunked by Fuelner and Rahmstorf (2010), who found that a new Maunder Minimum over the next century would have little effect on global temperatures, cutting only 0.3ºC of an expected increase of 4ºC. Given that I've already published my own analysis of where temperatures are headed by 2030, we'll get to see who is correct.
|Predicted 2030 temperatures based on an extrapolation of the warming trend since 1970 versus John Casey's predicted range for 2031.|