Sloppy journalism from the BBC


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Though solar scientists have discovered that certain recent solar behavior might help explain the long and deep solar minimum that just ended, this BBC article immediately tries to give that result credit for explaining everything. To quote:

Solar physicists may have discovered why the Sun recently experienced a prolonged period of weak activity.

NOT! The result only observed a change in solar behavior beneath the surface, whereby the meridional flow slowed down as well as lengthened significantly into the high latitudes, and that this change occurred at the same time as the weak solar minimum. The paper made no attempt to explain why this happened, nor did it provide a theoretical explanation for how these changes resulted in a weak solar minimum.

Finally, and far more important, scientists still have no good theory for explaining the solar cycle in the first place. “We think it’s the solar dynamo [that causes the solar cycle],” noted Dean Pesnell of the Goddard Space Flight Center when I interviewed him for my Sky & Telescope article, What’s Wrong with Our Sun? (August 2009). “But we don’t undertand how the dynamo works, as yet.”

The BBC should be more careful in how it reports a story like this.

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2 comments

  • Kelly Starks

    To be fair though, given the BBC did air “The great global warming swindle” even though they are obviously very thirsty for global-warming Kool-aid — I’ll cut them a little slack.

    ;)

  • Great post, bookmarked, will be back later. Because this was a fantastic article, keep up the good work. (There we go, hows that? Two sentences now, can’t call that SPAM.)

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