Dr. Kenneth Tapping is worried about the sun. Solar activity comes in regular cycles, but the latest one is refusing to start. Sunspots have all but vanished, and activity is suspiciously quiet. The last time this happened was 400 years ago -- and it signaled a solar event known as a "Maunder Minimum," along with the start of what we now call the "Little Ice Age."
Tapping, a solar researcher and project director for Canada's National Research Council, says it may be happening again. Overseeing a giant radio telescope he calls a "stethoscope for the sun," Tapping says, if the pattern doesn't change quickly, the earth is in for some very chilly weather.
During the Little Ice Age, global temperatures dropped sharply. New York Harbor froze hard enough to allow people to walk from Manhattan to Staten Island, and in Britain, people reported sighting eskimos paddling canoes off the coast. Glaciers in Norway grew up to 100 meters a year, destroying farms and villages.
But will it happen again?
In 2005, Russian astronomer Khabibullo Abdusamatov predicted the sun would soon peak, triggering a rapid decline in world temperatures. Only last month, the view was echoed by Dr. Oleg Sorokhtin, a fellow of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences. who advised the world to "stock up on fur coats." Sorokhtin, who calls man's contribution to climate change "a drop in the bucket," predicts the solar minimum to occur by the year 2040, with icy weather lasting till 2100 or beyond.
Observational data seems to support the claims -- or doesn't contradict it, at least. According to data from Britain's Met Office, the earth has cooled very slightly since 1998. The Met Office says global warming "will pick up again shortly." Others aren't so sure.
Researcher Dr. Timothy Patterson, director of the Geoscience Center at Carleton University, shares the concern. Patterson is finding "excellent correlations" between solar fluctuations, a relationship that historically, he says doesn't exist between CO2 and past climate changes. According to Patterson. we shouldn't be surprised by a solar link. "The sun [is] the ultimate source of energy on this planet," he says.
Such research dates back to 1991, when the Danish Meteorological Institute released a study showing that world temperatures over the past several centuries correlated very closely with solar cycles. A 2004 study by the Max Planck Institute found a similar correlation, but concluded the timing was only coincidental, as the solar variance seemed too small to explain temperature changes.
However, researchers at DMI continued to work, eventually discovering what they believe to be the link. The key factor isn't changes in solar output, but rather changes in the sun's magnetosphere A stronger field shields the earth more from cosmic rays, which act as "seeds" for cloud formation. The result is less cloud cover, and a warming planet. When the field weakens, clouds increases, reflecting more light back to space, and the earth cools off.
Recently, lead researcher Henrik Svensmark was able to experimentally verify the link between cosmic rays and cloud formation, in a cloud chamber experiment called "SKY" at the Danish National Space Center. CERN plans a similar experiment this year.
Even NASA's Goddard Institute of Space Studies -- long the nation's most ardent champion of anthropogenic global warming -- is getting in on the act. Drew Shindell, a researcher at GISS, says there are some "interesting relationships we don't fully understand" between solar activity and climate.
quote: The sensible thing to do promote conservation for our health and for our economy, not because of this sham called climate change.
quote: use it before you start calling people ignorant when in fact you are ignorant.
quote: ... all the middle men between the farmer and the local grocery store. What fair trade does is it only puts one middle man who takes care of all the steps in between ...
quote: Even then, many European nations discovered that complying with it required them to become more efficient, which saved them a lot of money
quote: I'm sorry, but this is flatly untrue. In fact, nearly every European nation which signed Kyoto hasn't complied with it, in part because of the vast expense required.
quote: Britain, Ireland, France, Denmark, Austria, Spain-- all are not meeting the commitments.Only tiny Finland seems poised to meet Kyoto...and that's due to it building the first nuclear reactor in Europe in over a decade, an act that earned them the ire of environmentalists worldwide.
quote: Kyoto actually went into force in 2005; the Annex I penalty phase is what spans 2008-2012.
quote: As for the UK, it appears they're actually emitting nearly twice as much methane as they claim, which throws them seriously out of whack on meeting commitments:
quote: If it is going to happen, no matter how much we spin it, it will still happen.
quote: we should further lift restrictions from various production plants so that they can pump out more CO2
quote: However, they don't know the first thing about science.
quote: mike does is present anti global warming information
quote: and he quotes the several outliers and pretends like its clear cut no gw will occur.
quote: this shouldnt be a political issue we should all take this seriously.
quote: So you like one sided presentation? If CNN only presents one side then so should everyone else?
quote: You are not even sure gw will happen so how can you, with any accuracy, predict the damages and financial costs involved?
quote: Get over yourself.
quote: and its certainly a lot more balanced than anything I read in the mainstream media
quote: my stories reach no one who hasn't already heard "the other side of the story"
quote: this is the internet, your stories can reach just about anyone, anywhere. did you go out and ask all your readers "hey do you know the other side of gw?
quote: So everyone on the internet and in the world is fully informed about gw?
quote: my bet is because it doesn't support your side of the argument, and rather than pointing out how Masher is wrong and giving solid proof to back your claims, you choose to attack his "bias."
quote: the modern mass media are lazy on top of their editorial slant
quote: scientific community, with very little exception, is being lazy
quote: I'd really like someone to give me some real serious information about the "studies" that are always quoted in news articles.
quote: I don't feel like trusting the scientists involved in the study of global climate change
quote: yes everyone is being lazy.
quote: Temperatures of 40 Below Breaks All Records in MN
quote: We couldn't scare them with global warming... all the intelligent people rebutted our manufactured evidence. We'll have to try something sneakier this time... Yes, I have it.. an ICE age! We'll scare the hell out of them and be able to regulate everything!
quote: I've looked into climatologists models, they are modeling correctly.
quote: You do realize that the person who 'disproves' global warming will get a Nobel prize.
quote: Theories can be wrong. Bludgeoning people with math can't change that.
quote: Yes, but if you used a club instead of math, it would change.
quote: Oh yeah, I am open minded. BS doesn't count.
quote: Oh I know the volcano argument.
quote: You do realize that natural sources account for some 97% of all carbon dioxide produced on earth? That in itself obviously doesn't mean humans aren't contributing to the rise, but it does help to put it in perspective.
quote: On a worldwide basis, the anthropogenic emissions of CO2 are known to be small. In comparison with the gross fluxes of carbon from natural systems they represent only a fraction (~2%) of total global emissions
quote: Btw, the greenhouse earth was not a friendly place.
quote: Your logic is flawed, because it doesn't account for the complexities of the situation. It's called oversimplification.
quote: Global warming is happening because of CO2. Period.
quote: What if modern man isn't so migratory anymore
quote: what if we can't all just pack up and move infrastructure and people to the planet's poles,
quote: Tell use how well preparded you are to totally migrate and continue functioning as you did previously
quote: Here's some logic for you - IT WAS WARMER BEFORE & YOU ARE STILL HERE.