Sunspots and climate


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Scientists have found new evidence that the solar sunspot cycle has influenced the Earth’s climate in the recent past.

Sirocko and his colleagues found that between 1780 and 1963, the Rhine froze in multiple places fourteen different times. The sheer size of the river means it takes extremely cold temperatures to freeze over making freezing episodes a good proxy for very cold winters in the region, Sirocko said.

Mapping the freezing episodes against the solar activity’s 11-year cycle — a cycle of the Sun’s varying magnetic strength and thus total radiation output — Sirocko and his colleagues determined that ten of the fourteen freezes occurred during years when the Sun had minimal sunspots. Using statistical methods, the scientists calculated that there is a 99 percent chance that extremely cold Central European winters and low solar activity are inherently linked.

Also this:

In fact, studies have suggested that the extremely cold European winters of 2010 and 2011 were the result of the North Atlantic Oscillation, which Sirocko and his team now link to the low solar activity during that time. The 2010 and 2011 European winters were so cold that they resulted in record lows for the month of November in certain countries. Some who dispute the occurrence of anthropogenic climate change argue that this two-year period shows that Earth’s climate is not getting any warmer. But climate is a complex system, Sirocko said. And a short-term, localized dip in temperatures only temporarily masks the effects of a warming world. [emphasis mine]

Gee, it is nice of them to tell us that the “climate is a complex system,” as if the skeptics don’t argue this continually. As I’ve said more times than I can count, the climate is very complicated, which is why we really don’t yet understand it fully. In fact, the only ones who seem to think this issue is simple are the global warming activists, as it is they who claim that “the science is settled,” a claim that is pure foolishness at this time and is a perfect example of not recognizing that the climate is a complex system.

This new data point does not really settle anything. It does provide us further evidence that should the Sun enter another grand minimum, a period where there are no sunspots for decades, we should see a corresponding cooling of the Earth’s climate. And based on the Sun’s recent behavior, that possibility is considered by many solar scientists to be quite likely.

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4 comments

  • jwing

    Man-made global warming explained: It’s the SUN not my SUV.

  • Rene Borbon

    It cannot be the Sun, it would ruin all the global warming radicals’ ‘settled science’.

  • Dr. Kent L. Miller

    Given the debate in recent years about arctic ice, I went looking
    for some old observational data. Quite by accident, I stumbled across a
    surprising source: none other than Admiral Alexander Kolchak! Although he
    is better known for his role in the Russian Civil War, he was earlier an
    oceanographer and polar explorer. I am embarrassed to say that despite a
    life long interest in history and in science, this fact somehow escaped me.

    Given the debate in recent years about arctic ice, I went looking
    for some old observational data. Quite by accident, I stumbled across a
    surprising source: none other than Admiral Alexander Kolchak! Although he
    is better known for his role in the Russian Civil War, he was earlier an
    oceanographer and polar explorer. I am embarrassed to say that despite a
    life long interest in history and in science, this fact somehow escaped me.

    <a href="http://archive.org/details/problemsofpolarr28amer&quot; title="Problems of Polar Research, Amer. Geog. Soc., 1928″>

    Some other articles in that book are also interesting and some have plates.
    Startling to me was Figure 6 on page 14, which is a map showing, in black, the
    unexplored areas in the Arctic basin as of 1927. It brings home to me the
    message that most of our arctic data is recent, and that we must be careful about
    the quality of evidence used to support claims regarding long-term trends in
    the arctic (especially those regarding the ice pack).

  • Dr. Kent L. Miller

    I messed up the XHTML tags on my previous reply. Let me try it again.

    Given the debate in recent years about arctic ice, I went looking for some old observational data. Quite by accident, I stumbled across a surprising source: none other than Admiral Alexander Kolchak! Although he is better known for his role in the Russian Civil War, he was earlier an oceanographer and polar explorer. I am embarrassed to say that despite a life long interest in history and in science, this fact somehow escaped me.

    While I did not locate a copy of his original publication in Russian, I did find a reasonably well scanned copy of “Problems of Polar Research” with an English translation of his article.

    Problems of Polar Research, Amer. Geog. Soc., 1928

    Some other articles in that book are also interesting and some have plates. Startling to me was Fig. 6 on page 14, which is a map showing, in black, the unexplored areas in the Arctic basin as of 1927. It brings home to me the
    message that most of our data is recent, and that we must be careful about the quality of evidence used to support claims regarding long-term trends in the arctic, especially those regarding the ice pack.

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