The Sun and Global Warming: Can It Be Just a Coincidence That the Earth's Climate Appears to Be Warming as the Sun Is Getting More Active? Clearly There Is More to Global Warming Than Greenhouse Gases

By Behreandt, Dennis | The New American, September 18, 2006 | Go to article overview

The Sun and Global Warming: Can It Be Just a Coincidence That the Earth's Climate Appears to Be Warming as the Sun Is Getting More Active? Clearly There Is More to Global Warming Than Greenhouse Gases


Behreandt, Dennis, The New American


As any homeowner in the northern latitudes knows, there are two ways to keep warmer in the winter. The first is to increase the amount of insulation in one's home. The other is to increase the amount of output from the home's heat source, the furnace. Of the two, increasing the amount of heat generated by the home's furnace causes the most noticeable increase in temperatures.

The same may be true of the globe. So far, global-warming research has focused on the role played by the increase of insulating greenhouse gases. But what if the Sun, the globe's heat source, is actually growing more intense? If so, then any warming trend is probably the result of a rise in solar intensity.

This is, in fact, what some researchers and scientists are beginning to believe is the major source of global warming. In 1999, a team of Dutch and Russian scientists published a paper in the scholarly journal Quaternary Science Reviews pointing out that solar activity coincided in the past with climate changes. The team examined the relative levels of a certain carbon isotope that is more commonly created when the Sun is quiet and solar radiation is at a minimum. They found that substantial increases in the carbon isotope coincided with global cooling events at about 850 B.C. and 1600 A.D. The latter date corresponds to the so-called Little Ice Age.

According to the researchers, "It is well documented that periods of decreased solar activity ... often coincide with climatic change. The best-known example is the Maunder Minimum (1645-1715), a solar event that is coinciding with one of the coldest phases of the Little Ice Age.... According to Lean et al. (1992) the sun during the Maunder Minimum was 0.25% less bright than it was during the solar minimum of 1985-1986. Climate model experiments indicate that such a decrease in solar irradiance is capable of causing a global cooling of about 0.5[degrees]C [0.9[degrees]F]."

As a result of their research, the Dutch and Russian scientists reached the conclusion that the climate is very susceptible to changes in solar radiation. …

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