Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Puncturing stupid ideas

A new scientific study concludes that changes in the Sun's output cannot be causing modern-day climate change.

It shows that for the last 20 years, the Sun's output has declined, yet temperatures on Earth have risen.

It also shows that modern temperatures are not determined by the Sun's effect on cosmic rays, as has been claimed.

Writing in the Royal Society's journal Proceedings A, the researchers say cosmic rays may have affected climate in the past, but not the present.

"This should settle the debate," said Mike Lockwood, from the UK's Rutherford-Appleton Laboratory, who carried out the new analysis together with Claus Froehlich from the World Radiation Center in Switzerland.

"This paper re-enforces the fact that the warming in the last 20 to 40 years can't have been caused by solar activity"
We really need to just stop listening to people who keep grasping for nonsensical explanations for global warming. The science hasn't changed fundamentally since the Johnson administration, but God forbid you tell the coal lobby that.


Technetium said...

I am happy to see studies like this, not because of their outcome, but because they are the result of scientific work helping us to better understand what is going on with our climate, as opposed to those who would call something that has "affected climate in the past" as a "nonsensical explanation" ;)

I am by nature skeptical (in the general scientific sense) and it pains me to see a valid hypothesis called nonsensical when it is nothing of the sort. If it was nonsensical, these fine researchers wouldn't have dedicate time and money to test it, would they have? Perhaps it is (now) irrelevant, but there is a huge difference!

PS: I look forward to reading more of your thoughts on Afghanistan when you choose to post them =)

john said...

Nobody ever said that it was nonsensical to believe that the sun affected the Earth's climate. What is silly -- the idea the study rebutted, and the idea that I called nonsensical -- was the idea that changes in the sun's output could explain the observed climate change data. Solar cycles are well understood and charted, and even a passing amateurish knowledge (such as my own) of such things would dispel the idea.

auntiegrav said...

"With Speed and Violence" by Fred Pearce covers this subject pretty well.
I used to love talking about G.W. to people. Now, I just tell them to read this book. It's not that everything is settled by it, but that there are several places on the planet and above the planet which provide tipping points, and we've pretty much screwed up every one of them.

If you aren't angry, you aren't paying attention. If you aren't terrified, you aren't watching enough TV.

Technetium said...

"What is silly -- the idea the study rebutted, and the idea that I called nonsensical -- was the idea that changes in the sun's output could explain the observed climate change data."

Really? As far as I recall, the IPCC's most recent report effectively stated there was a something less than 10% chance the observed climate change data could be explained by changes in the Sun's output.

That sure sounds unlikely, but to disregard as nonsensical makes me question your objectivity!

I also think it is these kinds of statements that help fuel a lot of the "it's not our problem" crowd. Then again, maybe there aren't as many people interested in the precautionary principle as I'd like (i.e. those who will take action even if there is less than 100% certainty...say, 90+% ;) and as a result hyperbole and politicisation are justified and neccessary?

auntiegrav - I'm not angry and I'm paying attention, for the record, but I'm a pretty relaxed guy ;)

I'm also not terrified, however I don't watch much TV, so you may have me there!

Technetium said...

For the health of science and rigourous debate here is a a critique of your topic paper.

Please don't get me wrong, I believe we should be doing everything we can to prevent the human impact on global warming, regardless of whether we know whether or not it is a significant cause.

That does not mean, however, we should scrap scientific rigour or scepticism!