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Global Warming Explained
Climate forecasts
What is wrong with the forecasts
The solar constant
The Little Ice Age
Is the Earth warming up or not?
Tree rings
Droughts, sand dunes, and wells that dry up
Greenhouse gases
Glaciers, polar ice and rising oceans
If only we had a bit of global warming

Global Warming Explained

The solar constant isn't constant.  The sun is a variable star. 

The vast majority of climate scientists in the world seriously and objectively studies what it is that influences global climate changes.  We don't hear as much from them in the media as we do from the far smaller but also far more vocal minority of climate scientists who make a living by publicizing alarmist and often outrageous claims about man's detrimental influence on the global climate.

Armed with the very real evidence of the global cooling trend during the first half of the 20th century, climate alarmists claimed in the 1970s that another ice age was imminent.   Today they (including even some former proponents of a coming ice age, e. g.: Stephen Schneider), ride a wave of alarm about man-made catastrophic global warming, a wave of alarm they created and keep fueling .

Objective scientists find that the evidence supporting a man-made global warming trend is at best skimpy.  However, it cannot and should not be denied that climate changes take place and that they have done so since long before man even made an appearance on Earth.

Based on many different indicators from widely varying sources, it has been found that our sun, a variable star, is a major and controlling influence on the extent and rate of long- and short-term climate changes affecting Earth.  In a January 17, 2003 article, [email protected] describes the extent of the fluctuations in solar radiation over time, how they are being measured, the instruments that are being used to measure them, how those instruments are being calibrated and what has been found by using them.[1]  The following graph is from that article.

eddy_strip.gif (99597 bytes)

Above: Inferred variations in solar intensity (red and green lines) over the last 900 years appear to be related to the severity of winters in London and Paris. The red line is deduced from the abundance of a heavy form of carbon (carbon-14) in tree rings. This "isotope" of carbon is formed in the upper atmosphere when incoming cosmic rays smash into carbon dioxide molecules. When the Sun's activity is low, its weakened magnetic field lets more cosmic rays into the solar system, so carbon-14 abundances go up. (Notice on the graph that the scale for carbon-14 is upside down.) This image by scientist John Eddy is based on an earlier one that appeared in Science, 192, 1189 (1976).[1]

That appears to be ample evidence of variations in solar radiation, but it does not explain what causes them.  If the causes of the variations were to be determined and if it were possible to use knowledge about them to predict the trends of the variations in solar radiation, that would permit to forecast trends for climate change.  Some climate researchers are hard at work to do just that.

In his report, Solar Activity: A Dominant Factor in Climate Dynamics, Dr. Theodor Landscheidt discusses that the distance of the nucleus of the Sun from the center of the mass of the solar system varies in an eleven-year cycle.  The centre of the mass of the solar system is a function of the distribution of the mass of the Sun and the planets, and as that distribution changes as the planets orbit around the Sun, the distance between the nucleus of the Sun and the center of the mass of the solar system is not constant and varies from one cycle to the next.  That causes variations in the rotational speed of the Sun.  In turn, that causes disturbances in the internal circulation of the Sun.
   Those disturbances manifest themselves in the form of sunspots and solar flares.  It is primarily the intensity of solar flares and eruptions, not so much the 11-year sunspot cycle, that is of concern.  Massive solar flares can be triggered and occur even during or near the minimum of the 11-year sunspot cycle, and  it can happen that none or few of the sunspots detected during the peak of the 11-year sunspot cycle are associated with very intense increases of solar radiation brought about by massive solar flares or eruptions.

Depending on whether the nucleus of the Sun is closer or farther removed from the center of mass of the solar system, and depending on the Sun's position in its oscillation around that centre of mass, solar activity ranges from being virtually absent to being very pronounced.  During periods of high solar activity, the energy radiated by the Sun increases, and therefore the Earth receives more radiation from the Sun and heats up.   Moreover, solar activities also interfere with the amount of cosmic radiation that reaches the atmosphere of the Earth.  Then there will be also a corresponding reduction in cloud formation and therefore less precipitation.  When the Sun has a long interval of relatively large energy output, the Earth experiences global warming.  When the energy output by the Sun is low for an extended interval, the Earth cools off.  If such a quiet interval lasts for a very long time, the Earth experiences an ice age.

The position of the Sun over time in relation to the center of mass of the solar system can be calculated with great accuracy, both forward and backward in time and for many years.  It is therefore possible not only to correlate solar activity with attributes of the climate in the past but also to predict to what extent solar activity will vary in the future.  Dr. Landscheidt related his calculations to some aspects of the weather and accurately predicted three years in advance an end to the Sahelian drought (the end of which brought hunger in Ethiopia to a close).  He also predicted the devastating flood in the Spring of 2001 (as well as others, that, he estimates, are still to come at intervals of about 8.7 years, as they have been doing) in the River Po catch basin, Italy.

Figure 7
solvarfig7.gif (26510 bytes)

Most important [in the prediction of global climate] are solar cycles which are without exception related to the sun’s fundamental oscillation about the center of mass of the solar system and form a fractal into which cycles of different length, but similar function are integrated. The solar dynamo theory developed by H. Babcock, the first still rudimental theory of sunspot activity, starts from the premise that the dynamics of the magnetic sunspot cycle is driven by the sun’s rotation. Yet this theory only takes into account the sun’s spin momentum, related to its rotation on its axis, but not its orbital angular momentum linked to its very irregular oscillation about the center of mass of the solar system (CM).

Figure 7 shows this fundamental motion, described by Newton [85] three centuries ago. It is regulated by the distribution of the masses of the giant planets Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune in space. The plot shows the relative ecliptic positions of the center of mass (small circles) and the sun’s center (cross) for the years 1945 to 1995 in a heliocentric coordinate system. The large solid circle marks the sun’s surface. Most of the time, CM is to be found outside of the sun’s body. Wide oscillations with distances up to 2.2 solar radii between the two centers are followed by narrow orbits which may result in close encounters of the centers as in 1951 and 1990. The contribution of the sun’s orbital angular momentum to its total angular momentum is not negligible. It can reach 25% of the spin momentum [60]. The orbital angular momentum varies from -0.1 x 10 47 to 4.3 x 10 47 g cm 2 s -1 , or reversely, which is more than a forty-fold increase or decrease. Thus it is conceivable that these variations are related to varying phenomena in the sun’s activity, especially if it is considered that the sun’s angular momentum plays an important role in the dynamo theory of the sun’s magnetic activity.

Figure 2
solvarfig2.gif (39426 bytes)
Modulation of the intensity of the 11-year sunspot cycle by the 90-year Gleissberg-cycle, according to J. A. Eddy [17]. 
The arrows indicate the minima of the Gleissberg-cycle around 1670 (Maunder-Minimum), 1810 and 1895, which coincided with low points in global temperatures.

Figure 2 after J. A. Eddy [17] shows the strong intensity variations in the 11-year sunspot cycle. When we connect the peaks by an enveloping curve, minima in the Gleissberg cycle emerge around the years 1670 (Maunder minimum), 1810, and 1895. They are marked by black arrows. Each of these secular sunspot minima coincided with cool climate in the Northern Hemisphere. The deeper the level of solar activity fell, the deeper sank the temperatures.

Quoted from: Solar Activity: A Dominant Factor in Climate Dynamics, by Dr. Theodor Landscheidt, Schroeter Institute for Research in Cycles of Solar Activity, Nova Scotia, Canada


See also the following:

Dr. Tim Ball, a Canadian climate scientist, says about the longer range of variations in solar radiation:

At a presentation at the University of Victoria I stated that the IPCC computer models do not include the Milankovitch Effect. A person challenged this and said the models do include it. He was confused because some models do include it, but not those used by the IPCC. On a radio program Andrew Weaver, a lead author of the computer model chapters in the IPCC Science Report called and said it was not included because it was insignificant on a short time scale. Figure 2 shows a plot of variations in the amount of solar radiation at 65 north for a period of 1 million years.


Figure 2: Variations in the amount of insolation (incoming solar radiation) at 65N.
Source: BERGER, A. 1978. Long-term variations of daily insolation and quaternary climatic changes. J. Atmos. Sci. 35: 23622367.

Range of variation is approximately 100 watts per square meter, which far exceeds the 2 watts per square meter the IPCC attributes to humans. ("Climate Research Has Been Hampered by the IPCC and Governments for over Twenty Years," by Dr. Tim Ball, Canada Free Press, Thursday, September 30, 2010)

One of the main parties interested in making a living off the man-made-global-warming hoax is Canada's federal government.  It loves "global-warming" because the public's acceptance of the hype constantly provides new means to collect new taxes and to ram through its agenda for socialization and world-income equalization, until we all are at the same level of poverty, or until the Canadian economy collapses in ruins, whichever comes first.

The calculations done by General Circulation Models (GCMs) are the main source of the information that fuels the global warming hysteria.  Nevertheless, not one of them comes acceptably close to accurately calculating what the climate presently is at any location, let alone of the whole Earth.  Not only that, but all of the GCMs differ widely from one another as to what the climate was in the past, and as to what it is supposed to be in the future.

Therein lies the problem.  No one in his right mind will base any decisions about the future on tools that cannot determine with acceptable accuracy what the present is and the past was.

Next Page: The Little Ice Age  — Will there be another one?

Back to Global Warming Index Page

Posted 2002 09 26 (page broken up into several pages)
2003 01 17 (added comments based on the January 17, 2003 NASA report on the variability of solar radiation)
2010 10 02 (added comment by Dr. Tim Ball about long-term variations in solar radiation)