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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 jonodsparks on 6/5/2009 1:29:03 AM , Rating: 1
If weather and climate cannot be predicted accurately on the micro scale, how can it be accurate on the macro scale.

I have a few family members that are meteorologists and I asked them why can't the weather for a single city be accurately predicted from one day to the next. The answer I received was "there are just too many variables to account for." That is for one small city of 50,000 people.

When going to a global level, there are variables atmospheric density and pressure changes, axis wobble, gravitational eddies from the moon and other sources, etc. Most of these things can vary on a day to day basis with no real decernable pattern. So, they guess, or estimate by looking a past evidence and hoping that hundreds of conditions are exactly the same to draw some conclusion.

However, at this point, there is so much marketing clout behind the "Green" movement, that no one cares that equations and formulae haven't been updated in decades. It is hip and cool. It has been said that human arrogance has caused global warming. Isn't it just as arrogant to assume we are the only cause or that we can do anything to change it?

Yes, the climate is changing. And, yes, we may have played a SMALL part of it. But this planet is far to vast to be influenced by a single sector of mammals.

RE: Math???
By HotFoot on 6/5/2009 1:28:13 PM , Rating: 3
If weather and climate cannot be predicted accurately on the micro scale, how can it be accurate on the macro scale.

That's like saying Quantum Mechanics should have needed to be completely understood before Newton could have ever come to F = m*a.

I don't mean for my statement to infer anything about the climate change debate.

RE: Math???
By Spuke on 6/5/2009 2:49:12 PM , Rating: 1
I don't mean for my statement to infer anything about the climate change debate.
Then why bother posting it?

RE: Math???
By HotFoot on 6/8/2009 1:45:10 PM , Rating: 3
It's just an invalid kind of argument structure I've seen a few times now and I just wanted to point out the problem with it with the example I gave above. I don't feel the need to tag on my own opinions about climate change to make this point.

"Intel is investing heavily (think gazillions of dollars and bazillions of engineering man hours) in resources to create an Intel host controllers spec in order to speed time to market of the USB 3.0 technology." -- Intel blogger Nick Knupffer
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