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Past studies have shown that sunspot numbers correspond to warming or cooling trends. The twentieth century has featured heightened activity, indicating a warming trend.  (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Solar activity has shown a major spike in the twentieth century, corresponding to global warming. This cyclic variation was acknowledged by a recent NASA study, which reviewed a great deal of past climate data.  (Source: Wikimedia Commons)
Report indicates solar cycle has been impacting Earth since the Industrial Revolution

Some researchers believe that the solar cycle influences global climate changes.  They attribute recent warming trends to cyclic variation.  Skeptics, though, argue that there's little hard evidence of a solar hand in recent climate changes.

Now, a new research report from a surprising source may help to lay this skepticism to rest.  A study from
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland looking at climate data over the past century has concluded that solar variation has made a significant impact on the Earth's climate.  The report concludes that evidence for climate changes based on solar radiation can be traced back as far as the Industrial Revolution.

Past research has shown that the sun goes through eleven year cycles.  At the cycle's peak, solar activity occurring near sunspots is particularly intense, basking the Earth in solar heat.  According to Robert Cahalan, a climatologist at the Goddard Space Flight Center, "Right now, we are in between major ice ages, in a period that has been called the Holocene."

Thomas Woods, solar scientist at the University of Colorado in Boulder concludes, "The fluctuations in the solar cycle impacts Earth's global temperature by about 0.1 degree Celsius, slightly hotter during solar maximum and cooler during solar minimum.  The sun is currently at its minimum, and the next solar maximum is expected in 2012."

According to the study, during periods of solar quiet, 1,361 watts per square meter of solar energy reaches Earth's outermost atmosphere.  Periods of more intense activity brought 1.4 watts per square meter (0.1 percent) more energy.

While the NASA study acknowledged the sun's influence on warming and cooling patterns, it then went badly off the tracks.  Ignoring its own evidence, it returned to an argument that man had replaced the sun as the cause current warming patterns.  Like many studies, this conclusion was based less on hard data and more on questionable correlations and inaccurate modeling techniques.

The inconvertible fact, here is that even NASA's own study acknowledges that solar variation has caused climate change in the past.  And even the study's members, mostly ardent supports of AGW theory, acknowledge that the sun may play a significant role in future climate changes.

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RE: Math???
By mandrews on 6/4/2009 12:06:51 PM , Rating: 5
One year doesn't prove anything. The general trend is that the earth is warming, like it or not, Mike.

But it does showcase a major flaw in AGW logic.


Also, regardless of this ongoing study you use, there's been numerous studies by NASA in the last year taking the opposite stance:

Come now, Jason, you and I both know that Goddard is notorious for publishing erroneous data and alarmist reports about disastrous affects of warming. Those reports you reference are largely bunk and tenuous conclusions.

Perhaps you should review the GISS's track record:

RE: Math???
By rs1 on 6/4/2009 3:17:38 PM , Rating: 5
But it does showcase a major flaw in AGW logic.

What are you talking about? Unless you're saying that "AGW logic" asserts that "humans are the only factor contributing to global warming", then the fact that solar activity accounts for minor fluctuations from one year to the next doesn't showcase a flaw in anything.

But yes, if there are really people out there who think that the warming trend is caused *only* by people, then they are being no more intelligent than the ones who would assert that global warming is caused *only* by changes in the solar cycle, or *only* by the will of god, or whatever. There are many factors all in play at the same time, and the fact that one thing influences global warming doesn't mean that other things don't, as well.

RE: Math???
By croc on 6/4/2009 9:15:03 PM , Rating: 2
"Come now, Jason, you and I both know that Goddard is notorious for publishing erroneous data and alarmist reports about disastrous affects of warming. Those reports you reference are largely bunk and tenuous conclusions."

Jason cites reports from Goddard. You pooh-pooh those reports, yet publish ANOTHER report from Goddard? What makes this report less 'bunk and tenous' than the previous? Is it the fact that YOU blogged on it?

Michael, you can call a leopard an elephant if you want, but you can't change it's spots.

"Mac OS X is like living in a farmhouse in the country with no locks, and Windows is living in a house with bars on the windows in the bad part of town." -- Charlie Miller
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