Global climate change
The Sun and Global Warming
7/05/2010, 1:42:09 PM
NASA's Earth Observatory posted an interesting article a couple weeks ago about the sun's impact on this most recent period of global warming going back to 1950.
According to the article, studies have shown that solar variability has significantly influenced past climate changes.
In general, more sunspots (blue peaks) mean more intense solar activity and more energy received by the Earth.
A decrease in solar is believed to have triggered significant cooling periods. Remember the Maunder Minimum back in the 1600's and early 1700's.
Current estimates through proxy data and satellites indicate that the sun is probably now as active as or more active than it has ever been during the past 8,000 years, but even if that is indeed true, scientists can't account for all of the warming observed at the end of the 20th century.
Climate models can only reproduce this rise in temperature when the increase in greenhouse gases is built into the system.
Most recently, the sun has gone into an unusually long period of low solar activity and solar scientists have been constantly adjusting their forecasts downward for the next 11-year peak in the solar cycle.
The latest image of the sun below only shows two sunspots.
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Global climate change
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