Bill Totten's Weblog

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Solar Activity 'Not The Cause of Global Warming'

by Steve Connor

The Independent (July 11 2007)

Claims that increased solar activity is the cause of global warming - rather than man-made greenhouse gases - have been comprehensively disproved by a detailed study of the Sun.

Scientists have delivered the final blow to the theory that recent global warming can be explained by variations in the natural cycles of the Sun - a favourite refuge for climate sceptics who dismiss the influence of greenhouse-gas emissions.

An analysis of the records of all of the Sun's activities over the past few decades - such as sunspot cycles and magnetic fields - shows that since 1985 solar activity has decreased significantly, while global warming has continued to increase.

Mike Lockwood, of the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in Chilton, Oxfordshire, said: "In 1985, the Sun did a U-turn in every respect. It no longer went in the right direction to contribute to global warming. We think it's almost completely conclusive proof that the Sun does not account for the recent increases in global warming."

The study, published today in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society A, shows there is no doubt that solar activity over the past twenty years has run in the opposite direction to global warming, and therefore cannot explain rises in average global temperatures.

Dr Lockwood and his colleague Claus Frohlich, of the World Radiation Centre in Davos Dorf, Switzerland, have produced the most powerful counter argument to suggestions that current warming is part of the natural cycle of solar activities. "There is considerable evidence for solar influence on Earth's pre-industrial climate, and the Sun may well have been a factor in post-industrial change in the first half of the last century", they write.

However, since about 1940 there has been no evidence to suggest that increases in global average temperatures were caused by solar activity. "Our results show that the observed rapid rise in global mean temperatures seen after 1985 cannot be ascribed to solar variability, whichever of the mechanisms is invoked and no matter how much the solar variation is amplified", the two scientists said.

The theory that past changes in solar activity may have explained some changes in the climate before the industrial revolution is not in dispute. In previous centuries, for instance, notably between about 1420 and 1570, when the Vikings had to abandon their Greenland settlements, solar minima corresponded with unusually cool weather, such as the "little ice age" of the 17th century.

But climate sceptics have exploited this to dispute the idea that man-made emissions are responsible for global warming. In the recent Channel 4 programme The Great Global Warming Swindle, the rise in solar activity over the latter half of the 20th century was erroneously presented as perfectly matching the rise in global average temperatures.

Dr Lockwood said he was outraged when he saw the documentary, because of the way the programme-makers used graphs of temperature rises and sunspot cycles that were cut off in the 1980s, when the two trends went in the opposite direction.

"The trouble is that the theory of solar activity and climate was being misappropriated to apply to modern-day warming. The sceptics were taking perfectly good science and bringing it into disrespect", Dr Lockwood said.

The Royal Society said yesterday: "There is a small minority which is seeking to confuse the public on the causes of climate change. They are often misrepresenting the science, when the reality is that the evidence is getting stronger every day."

(c) 2007 Independent News and Media Limited

Bill Totten


  • I've been studying global climate change for a research paper, and I have discovered that many of the claims made by the people that assert that human activity is causing global warming are specious at best, and in many cases outright lies. Industrial contributions to carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are dwarfed by natural sources such as volcanoes, organic decomposition and undersea vents. Even if we reduced our output of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere to zero it would reduce the total amount by less than 10%. 90% of the carbon dioxide introduces into the atmosphere comes from these natural sources, so something other than human activity is causing global warming.

    If you look back at the temperature of the earth over the last 100,000 years, it is obvious that there were periods where the earth was much warmer than it is today. Less than a thousand years ago the northern hemisphere was warm enough for Greenland to be rather heavily populated. Archaeological finds there show settlements that are now covered by glaciers. Since that is an indisputable fact, we must conclude that global temperature changes are a natural feature of the planet, and attempting to change it by reducing carbon dioxide emissions is pointless. The global warming alarmists must be confronted with these facts at every opportunity. We cannot allow them to disrupt modern society based on bad science and political agendas.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:49 AM, July 30, 2007  

  • I am not sure your data is correct. If you look at the temperature data, you will find that since about 1990 or a little later we have had no general increase in global warming. So your statement that sun activity is less in 1985 actually strengthens the sun contribution argument. If you want to read more about this check out my site at

    By Blogger Sean, at 3:43 AM, July 30, 2007  

  • Thanks for this great post.....

    By Anonymous Solar Power Installation, at 3:44 PM, May 16, 2009  

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