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Solar Variability Most Likely Not the Cause of Global Warming

21 Feb , 2008 by

The gradual increase in global temperatures is getting harder and harder to pin on the Sun and its energy output variability. The Sun has a variation in how much energy it outputs but this variability is only about one tenth of one percent. The pattern of atmospheric heating since the 1960s is showing an increase with the increase in human activity (industry, transportation, power generation) and neither are showing signs of slowing down…

At the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) meeting in Boston, many talks are focusing on climate change and the human impact on the Earth. Experts in solar science, climate modeling, and atmospheric science are exploring the issues surrounding what the main culprit behind the rapid rate of change in global temperatures could be. The sole energy input into the Earths atmosphere comes from the Sun; so many scientists have looked toward our star for the answers. The Sun does vary its output of energy (historically, this is obvious during long periods of solar inactivity, such as the Maunder Minimum in the 1600’s where hardly any sunspots were observed on the Sun – this reduction in activity has been linked to the “Little Ice Age” experienced during this time), but generally speaking, the net energy increase or decrease is very small.

The link between solar variability and global warming has taken another blow from analysis of historical samples of sediment containing radioactive carbon-14 and a beryllium isotope. Quantities of carbon-14 and beryllium-10 reflect solar activity as they are greatly affected by solar magnetic field strength. The Sun’s magnetic field is directly related to solar activity (and therefore sunspot population). These radioactive isotopes are created by the impact of cosmic rays in the Earths atmosphere, and should the solar magnetic field be strong (i.e. during periods of high activity), cosmic rays will be blocked, reducing the quantity of isotopes in the sediment.

However, results from this analysis appear inconclusive and no strong link can be found in favour of increased solar activity during periods of atmospheric heating.

Linking any atmospheric phenomenon with solar variability is a difficult task. Attempts to connect monsoons with the 11-year solar cycle for instance have failed in 150 years of trying. It would seem that, for now at least, any connection between increased solar energy output and global warming is tenuous at best.

Casper M. Ammann, climate modeler at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado, points out that global temperatures are rising at a historic rate, and there remains no link between solar variability and global warming. He states that global warming has “nothing to do with changes in solar activity. It’s greenhouse gases. It’s not the sun that is causing this [climate] trend.”

Perhaps the only answer is to drastically cut back our dependence on fossil fuels to slow the rate of carbon dioxide production. Even if the Sun should decide to become inactive, as there appears to be very little relationship between solar output and global warming, we will not be able to escape the greenhouse gases heating up our climate.

Source: Physorg.com


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Tom
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Tom
February 21, 2008 8:54 AM
Wait a second here…it was my understanding that there are two issues here. First, as described in this article, was a theory that the subtle changes in the sun’s brightness and heat output may have an effect on earth temps. I seem to remember reading something regarding a recent study that found that the sun’s average heat output and changes in it did not have any measurable effect on our atmosphere. However, I think it is important to point out that there are two very different factors at work involving the sun. What is very important is earth’s orbit, and how our distance from the sun changes over time as the earth’s orbit varies (over many thousands of… Read more »
leafguy
Member
February 21, 2008 7:52 AM

You’ll see a drastic change once the ZENN car is introduced as an actual bonafide vehicle on the streets and not the little Go Kart it is right now.

Fraser Cain
Admin
February 21, 2008 8:16 AM

I want a ZENN car. Maybe they’ll give me one of those for review. smile

Dave
Guest
Dave
February 21, 2008 9:24 AM

Hummmm, a “scientist” huh? First is says that the results are “inconclusive” which by definition means can’t conclude one way or the other. Followed just two paragraphs later the learned scientist says proudly “There is NO link!” Really . . . . No agenda here is there?

Vincent Peri
Guest
Vincent Peri
February 21, 2008 10:34 AM
Trippy
Member
Trippy
February 21, 2008 10:52 AM

People always bring up the Milankovitch cycles.

One thing I have noticed (repeatedly) is that people who bring up the Milankovich cycles, generaly don’t seem to do the research required to realize that they’re entering a cooling phase.

Bernd Missal
Guest
Bernd Missal
February 21, 2008 11:09 AM

This discussion about solar variability and global warming is probably part of the systematic desinformation effort by the industry.
It’s a campaign that, up to now, succeded in convincing the public that the climat risc isn’t yet proven.
But no matter the cause, we got to do something about it, and we could. We even have the money.
But our social-economic system proves once again to be a dead end.
Survival of the fittest? May be we are not fit for surviving in our environment.

Joshua brotman
Guest
Joshua brotman
February 21, 2008 11:34 AM

I do think it is hard to pinpoint the what caused the little ice age, but from the sound of it, it wasn’t the sun.

This does not rule out the fact that it still may influence us.

Even though the variability of the energy of the sun is only by .1 percent, the earth does not receive more than 1 percent of the total output of the sun. So a little as it may be, it is still likely a great factor even if it is not directly seen by our weather patterns.

Dave
Guest
Dave
February 21, 2008 2:40 PM

An absence of evidence != evidence of absence.

Laszlo
Guest
Laszlo
February 21, 2008 5:05 PM
Yes, the Milankovich cycle’s say we’re in cooling, but remember they’re at least 3 I recall, 200k, 45k & 11k, or there abouts. Hard to acquit sun from lil Ice age. Some huge volcano in East Indies put out enough ash to ‘nuclear winter’ a couple years. Vast famine occurred in Europe due permafrost throughout summer some summers. That may have hastened new world colonization. From the difficult maritime adventures, losing ~half ships or crew, one wonders if the thermohaline (gulfstream) current didn’t demise? The orbit comment could be right on, but I’m uncertain @ timeline. Now we’re facing sun-ward from Northern Hem during apogee, while the Southern Hem gets the seasonal extremes (facing sun-ward during perigee &… Read more »
Forester
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Forester
February 21, 2008 5:41 PM

I feel you may have inadvertantly misrepresented the case for Solar influence.

Here it is, put forcefully, by David Archibald – “Solar Cycle 24: Implications for the United Statesâ€? http://www.warwickhughes.com/agri/Solar_Arch_NY_Mar2_08.pdf

Calvin L.
Guest
Calvin L.
February 21, 2008 6:31 PM

Bravo, Dave
Nice comment.

Anybody here watched ‘An Inconvenient Truth’? It already clearly points out the sun isn’t a factor in global warming. Plus, as Laszio said, the Milankovic cycle cycles every 200,000 years. However, according to ‘An Inconvenient Truth’, the amount of warming we have had in the past 40 years is double the amount shown by ice cores up to 650,000 years old

Paul C.
Guest
Paul C.
February 21, 2008 6:47 PM

People who deny increasing global temperatures are ridiculous , BUT, people who think for a second that humanity will end our desire for fossil that come straight out of the ground, ready to use, are just as ridiculous. Our main focus should be on mitigation measures for the inevitable changes. An unfortunate fact of life is that there is NO FORSEEABLE VIABLE ALTERNATIVE TO FOSSIL FUELS.

dbreit
Guest
dbreit
February 22, 2008 12:45 AM
Conveniently forgetting that it was far warming in the early part of this Century… This story is nothing but a ruse.. And a poor one at that.. One comment said we had the money to “solve this”.. All the money in the world will not solve this, as man is not the cause of any suspected warming… It is all about the Sun and the orbital parameters of the Earth’s orbit.. Just ask the previous Ice Ages that formed and receded in the past… And another thing.. I don’t trust a weather forecast for 48 hours from now.. Why would you trust one 1, 5 , 10 or however many years out in the future these idiots are… Read more »
marcellus
Guest
marcellus
February 22, 2008 7:49 AM

“Evolved societies don’t live long enough to communicate.” “The polar ice cap will disappear within our lifetime.”

Bah! What rubbish. A lot of these global warming advocates sound like the pot smoking, long haired Grateful Dead “heads” that used to plant trees on some of our crews down south before the Hispanics took over.

I don’t trust any weather forecast beyond 48 hours either, and by the way, you still have to get up for work in the morning.

Luke Bryant
Guest
Luke Bryant
February 22, 2008 12:52 AM

Can someone explain what caused the great ice ages of the past hundreds of thousands of years – if it was not related to solar variation, what was it !? pollution from coal, oil, or what!?

Fenring
Guest
Fenring
February 22, 2008 4:54 AM
There was climate change aplenty in Earth’s past, caused by many “natural” factors: orbit, inclination, sun power output, evolving life, etc. Difference is in the speed of this process. While significant natural climate changes happend in 1000s of years, the one we’re experiencing now is happening much faster. Also, i’d like to point out to anyone who thinks it’s arrogant/egocentric of us to think we might be influencing nature and climate, let’s just start with the fact that at least 1/3 of Earth’s arrable land is today used for farming. That’s growing livestock and plants. This does not include the living space we occupy, nor the area industry takes. And it’s not like there was nothing there in… Read more »
UkMan
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UkMan
February 22, 2008 5:00 AM
Wouldn’t it be great if the moon was the same size as the earth. It would have an atmosphere, oceans, everything! Then – when we’ve messed up on this planet we could all move in ‘next door’. Unfortunately for us – the Earth is all we have. We have nowhere else to go. The fact is that – within our lifetime – we could see the total disappearance of the polar ice cap. Some of this ice is over a million years old – it’s been there long enough for polar bears to evolve to live on it. The probability that this melt happened by chance within two hundred years of the industrial revolution is too much of… Read more »
Timber
Guest
Timber
February 22, 2008 7:46 AM

At 45.9N, 122.3W I’m starting to build my greenhouse today smile

UkMan
Guest
UkMan
February 22, 2008 8:28 AM

Marcellus
If you’re going to quote me – at least make it accurate!

Be honest – the reason you dispute humans being responsible for GW is that you dont want to stop using your car or change your lifestyle.

Your comment about Hispanics tells me all I need to know about your right wing views. I personally hope Obama gets in.

…I’ve never smoked pot and I don’t posses a Gratefull Dead album.

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