Here Comes The Sun

It seems that I'm going to be stuck on a global warming thread for the next couple of days.

After reading the article from which yesterday's post was created, I checked the links that accompanied the article (called “The Deniers”) a series that looks closely at those that have chosen to say “Hey, wait a minute! Something doesn't add up here. Not one little bit!”

Yet another space scientist, Sami Solanki of the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research says that theories of human caused global warming are all wet.

In 2004, he led a team of scientists that, for the first time, quantitatively reconstructed the sun's activity since the last Ice Age, some 11,400 years ago. Earth hasn't been this hot in 8,000 years and, he predicts, the hot spell will carry on for a few more decades before the sun turns down the heat.

The 19th and 20th centuries are especially noteworthy. "The sun is in a changed state. It is brighter than it was a few hundred years ago and this brightening started relatively recently -- in the last 100 to 150 years," he says. "The sun has been at its strongest over the past 60 years and may now be affecting global temperatures."

Dr. Solanki gives cold comfort to those who claim that global warming took off with the Industrial Revolution, and that the warming we've seen over the last century is mostly man-made. To demonstrate how unlikely this is, Dr. Solanki shows an almost perfect correlation between solar cycles and air temperatures over the land masses in the Northern hemisphere, going back to the mid 19th century.

For example, when the length of solar cycle increased dramatically, as it did in from 1910 to 1940, so did the temperature on Earth; when it decreased, as it did from the 1940s to the 1960s, so too did Earth temperatures. Dr. Solanki's startling correlation marked a pivotal point in the climate change debate: Its publication, more than any other single event, caused researchers around the world to examine the role that the sun plays in heating and cooling our planet.

This man is not a global warming denier. Instead he is offering a theory that goes against the so-called “consensus” that all global warming is all our fault. Unlike many of the theories offered about anthropogenic global warming, Dr. Solanki offers some hard to refute data that backs his theory that it is solar activity that has been the cause of climate change. But he hasn't ruled out the possibility that human activity has had an effect on the global climate.

Not that Dr. Solanki discredits the role of man-made greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide. These have probably played a large role in Earth's climate, he believes, but only since 1980 or so, when the sun's almost perfect correlation with Earth temperatures ended. He also believes that evidence that greenhouse gases have played a larger role in climate change may some day turn up, because his near-perfect correlation does not constitute proof. To date, however, he hasn't seen anything compelling that undermines his own findings.

I am far more inclined to believe Solanki's figures than those from the anthropogenic global warming camp. Their theories have large holes, they lack the data to prove their theories, or ignore data that disproves them. It seems they and their supporters act more from emotion and the misinformation that stokes those emotions rather than looking at all of the evidence, all of the data, and then coming up with a conclusion. There are too many unanswered questions to say definitively that humans are the sole, or major cause of global warming.

I want facts, dammit! Not half-baked or poorly thought out theories that are difficult, if not impossible to test in any way, shape, or form. Our future actions will be dictated by whichever theory wins out, and heaven help us if it's the wrong one because it means we will waste precious time and money on a solution to the wrong problem and we won't be prepared when reality slaps us in the face.

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