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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 goz314 on 6/4/2009 1:05:57 PM , Rating: 5
Some of the data from that ongoing study by NASA seems to contradict the very general conclusion you offer in your article. For example, last year's solar minimum was the lowest in decades constituting a 50 year low in solar wind pressure, a 12 year low in solar irradiance, and a 55 year low in solar radio emissions, but the average global temperature for 2008 was the eighth warmest on record.

So, yes there is a very real correlation between solar activity and temperature - that statement is obvious. However, the same arguement can't be used to discount anthopegenic global warming theories. They are separate variables and phenomena altogether.

Here's a link to recent SOHO data about solar activity in 2008:
http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2009/01apr_deep...

... and here's a link to NOAA's report on average global temperature in 2008.
http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2009/20090113_...


RE: Math???
By omgwtf8888 on 6/8/2009 12:43:48 PM , Rating: 2
This tends to make sense of both the Solar and greenhouse variables. The increase of greenhouse gases would serve as a insulator which would tend maintain temperatures during solar dips. When we experience solar increases this would drive temperatures up. Strange thought is that we probably need to find out how to balance greenhouse/atmospheric conditions to reduce future ice ages from occuring. I think we need to get vanities out of the science and get more facts driving the research. Of course who get their hands on the world's thermostat will be an interesting question. I could see several countries that will be happy with a bit more sea lanes open in the north. While several countries might end up under water.


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