Blame sun for global warming:
Science proving that industry is off the hook for Mother
Nature's woes [note]
Sunday 2 December 2001, p. A18
By Lorne Gunter
I first encountered the idea that the sun was the dominant force in climate change a
little more than a decade ago.
In the early 1990s, scientists from Cambridge University compared known sunspot activity
with shipwreck records from Lloyd's of London. While not direct proof of cause and effect,
there were stunning parallels
Reliable records of sunspot activity go back to the early 17th century when Galileo and
others began making the first telescopic observations. Lloyd's has been keeping reliable
records of maritime losses and causes since the late 18th century.
Exempting out manmade disasters, such as ships lost to war, scuttling, sabotage or drunken
skippers, the rise and fall in the number of sinkings due to ocean storms matched almost
exactly the rise and fall in solar activity. The implication was that as the sun has
roiled or rested, the sea has absorbed more or less solar energy, and churned or calmed on
roughly equal time scales.
These results, of course, do not prove the sun is the major instigator of global heating
and cooling, although such a conclusion should be self-evident. For decades, school
children have been taught that the temperature on the dark side of the moon -- the side
perpetually away from the sun -- is so cold it would freeze anything in an instant, while
on the sunny side an unprotected astronaut would bake in a flash.
We all know winter is colder than summer because the latitudes experiencing winter are
tipped away from the sun. Even cavemen knew day was warmer than night, and probably the
cleverer ones, feeling the sun beating down on their low foreheads, figured out why.
But still, in the debate on global warming, suggestions that solar activity might be
behind the slight warming of the earth in the past century-and-a-half are routinely
dismissed. The early supercomputer models that first claimed to show a massive warming is
coming over the next 100 years failed to account at all for solar flares, sunspots, solar
brightening or solar winds. Even the better, newer climate models, which still show
moderate to massive warming, fail to account adequately for the sun's influence, although
the scientists are now making basic efforts to.
Scientists at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and the Mount Wilson
Observatory, at Columbia University, at the European particle physics centre in Geneva,
the Eugene Parker Laboratory for Astrophysics and Space Research at the University of
Chicago, and Britain's Rutherford Appleton Laboratory near Oxford have all demonstrated
that major warming and cooling periods have corresponded precisely with periods in which
some solar activity or other was markedly above or below normal.
Indeed, shortly after sunspots began to be charted accurately, they seemed to disappear.
Between 1645 and 1715, an era known as the Maunder Minimum, almost none were observed. Not
coincidentally, that was also the deepest trough of the last major cooling, the Little Ice
Age. Seventeen of the past 19 global warmings, over the past tens of thousands of years,
correspond with increased solar activity.
Theodor Landscheidt at Nova Scotia's Schroeter Institute for Research in Cycles of Solar
Activity, has shown quite conclusively that the sun waxes and wanes on quite predictable
11-year cycles, which can be moderated or intensified by longer-range, but more irregular
cycles. Landscheidt, as a result, is unpopular with the UN scientists in charge of pushing
the manmade global warming theory. In 1995, they wrote that the sun's effect on climate in
the 20th century "has been considerably smaller than the anthropogenic (manmade
effect)." But Landscheidt has demonstrated that "a change of 0.1 per cent (in
solar energy) effective during a very long interval can release a real ice age."
For some reason, despite all this research, most climate scientists have clung to the
"solar constant," the notion that the sun more or less shone steadily and that
its variations had little impact on climate change.
Now, that may be about to change. Gerard Bond of the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of
Columbia University, along with nine other experts on oceans, environmental physics,
tree-ring formation and glaciation from around the world, have examined the rates of
deposit of tiny particles from melting icebergs in the North Atlantic.
And what have they found? Why, lo and behold, during periods of increased sun strength,
the oceans have warmed and the bergs have melted more rapidly. The correlation is so
strong, that one scientist who formerly blamed man's industrial activity for global
warming told Science magazine, the solar theory "is now the leading hypothesis."
Blaming the industrialized world for global warming, and urging international regulation
of industry is misguided. It's putting the ideological horse before the scientific cart.
© Edmonton Journal
Note: Lorne Gunter commented privately (he didn't pick
the sub-heading), industry is off the hook as far as global warming goes, not with respect
to other problems, such as environmental pollution that causes the feminization of fish
and men and a slew of other problems that we do have to
come to terms with and that we can do something about.
However, we can't do anything about the Sun and its influence on the weather,
no matter how much the David Suzukis of the world and our poor
uniformly uninformed politicians struggle and try to convince us
otherwise, and no matter how many more calamities like the Kyoto Accord will be rammed
down our throats. WHS
of Lorne Gunter's articles on global warming and on the Kyoto accord