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Earth Sun Microsystems

Sun Not a Significant Driver of Climate Change 552

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the koch-brothers-say-no dept.
damn_registrars writes "Scientists from Edinburgh, Scotland have recently published a study based on 1,000 years of climate data. They have compared the effects of differing factors including volcanic activity, solar activity, and greenhouse gases to find which has the most profound effect on climate. They have concluded that the driving factor since 1900 has been greenhouse gases."
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Sun Not a Significant Driver of Climate Change

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  • by game kid (805301) on Monday December 23, 2013 @10:09PM (#45772189) Homepage

    In related news, angered Sun goes supernova, replies "I'm not a significant what!?"

    • Re:In related news (Score:4, Informative)

      by rossdee (243626) on Monday December 23, 2013 @10:28PM (#45772305)

      Fortunately our sun can't go supernova, its too small, and has no close companion star to give it the extra mass needed.

      However it is still a significant factor, after all if it wasn't there, this ball of rock would soon be covered in ice.

      • Re:In related news (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 23, 2013 @10:34PM (#45772349)

        I'm pretty sure the OP stopped being rigidly scientific when he started anthropomorphizing the sun, Mr. Buzzkill.

    • by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Tuesday December 24, 2013 @01:32AM (#45773189)
      Mod parent Flarebait.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 23, 2013 @10:11PM (#45772197)

    c. 1350-1850 A.D. [wikipedia.org] Increased volcanic activity was noted but is only one of several (possibly compounding) possible factors.

    Besides, changes in solar activity levels may have a delayed impact via ice melt, changes in atmospheric circulation, etc.

    • by TubeSteak (669689) on Monday December 23, 2013 @10:17PM (#45772237) Journal

      Besides, changes in solar activity levels may have a delayed impact via ice melt, changes in atmospheric circulation, etc.

      May? The sun's effects may have a delay of over 1,000 years?
      At what point are you going to stop grasping at straws and accept peer reviewed facts that are in front of you?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by icebike (68054)

        Oh, maybe when the peers stop denying the sole energy source for the planet has any effect.

        • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 23, 2013 @11:03PM (#45772515)

          If I'm driving on the freeway, holding the gas pedal steady, and suddenly notice the car is speeding up, I don't think "gee, it must be the small fluctuations in the pressure I'm applying to the pedal, since the engine is the primary source of energy". I start looking at other factors, like a downward slope.

          Do you understand? Of course not, because that would mean admitting you were wrong about this issue. If all the scientists in the world can't convince, no logic will ever get through.

          • by mpthompson (457482) on Monday December 23, 2013 @11:48PM (#45772781)

            To further your analogy, what if it is determined the car is indeed traveling downward on a gentle slope. It was traveling 55 mph, but is now going 60 mph. All the passengers in the car produce "scientific" studies that predict the car will keep going faster because of the downward slope.

            However, a funny thing happens. Careful observations of the car's speedometer indicate that the speed is not increasing as it was a short time earlier. But, in fact, has paused for some mysterious reason. Preposterous, the passengers, all scream. Our best computers models prove beyond a doubt that when traveling on a downward slope the car must speed up. It's a scientific fact that no one can dispute and we have the "peer reviewed" papers to prove it. Some even go so far as to proclaim the "science is settled". To claim otherwise is to be an anti-science "denialist". They explain, if the car is not increasing it speed it must because the car must have hit a brief level spot or something. That is why the velocity has failed to increase. Unfortunately for the passengers, though, further measurements indicate the slope is actually now steeper than it was previously, but the car is still traveling at the same speed. Even worse, the latest measurements hint that the car may actually be slowing down.

            In all their haste to prove their own "scientific" perspective correct and those of the "denialist" wrong, all the passengers failed to observe the driver has lifted her foot off the gas pedal.

            • by Daniel Dvorkin (106857) on Tuesday December 24, 2013 @12:22AM (#45772931) Homepage Journal

              To further your analogy, one of the passengers in the car is insisting that the acceleration has ceased because the slope leveled off for a few hundred feet a couple of miles back, and continues to claim that the speedometer reads 55 MPH even as the needle climbs toward 100 and the entire State Patrol is chasing the car down the highway.

            • by Alex Cane (3296683) on Tuesday December 24, 2013 @02:52AM (#45773455)
              It was autumn, and the Indians on the remote reservation asked their new Chief if the winter was going to be cold or mild. Since he was an Indian Chief in a modern society, he had never been taught the old secrets, and when he looked at the sky, he couldn't tell what the weather was going to be. Nevertheless, to be on the safe side, he replied to his tribe that the winter was indeed going to be cold and that the members of the village should collect wood to be prepared. But also being a practical leader, after several days he got an idea. He went to the phone booth, called the National Weather Service and asked, "Is the coming winter going to be cold?" "It looks like this winter is going to be quite cold indeed," the meteorologist at the weather service responded. So the Chief went back to his people and told them to collect even more wood in order to be prepared. One week later he called the National Weather Service again. "Is it going to be a very cold winter?" "Yes," the man at National Weather Service again replied, "it's going to be a very cold winter." The Chief again went back to his people and ordered them to collect every scrap of wood they could find. Two weeks later he called the National Weather Service again. "Are you absolutely sure that the winter is going to be very cold?" "Absolutely," the man replied. "It's going to be one of the coldest winters ever." "How can you be so sure?" the Chief asked. The weather man replied, "The Indians are collecting wood like crazy."
          • It would affect the probabilities slightly.

          • by zifn4b (1040588) on Tuesday December 24, 2013 @08:22AM (#45774695)

            Honestly, I don't think the problem is that people don't really know this and are arguing against the human effect of carbon emissions on our planet's environment. The problem is our modern society at its foundation is completely based on carbon based fuel and combustion engines. A group of brilliant scientists, no matter how intelligent or correct they are, is not going to convince the entire modern world to stop what it's doing, shut down society and restructure it for the long term health of the planet.

            Two things to note about this: 1) That would have a devastating impact because of the chaos it would create and 2) There's not enough motivation because it's not going to affect anyone currently here in their lifetime. By the time it's a problem, it will be a future generation and it will be too late.

            Now I know this is a bitter bill for geeks to swallow but you'll have to negotiate the win/win, not just use pure logic. Fortunately, you're the smart group and what you should use your intelligence for is to find an economically equivalent or better, cleaner, environment friendly source of energy and propulsion. Get to work! We're depending on you to solve the problem.

        • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 23, 2013 @11:43PM (#45772751)

          Or you could learn to read what they are actually saying, and stop listening to the made up crap you invent in your head.

          Variations in solar output is not the key driver behind climate variation since 1900AD. That's it. Note the decided lack of dismissal of the sun as an energy source, or of the possibility that the sun could have been the primary driver of climate change. People suggested it, so they checked a millennium's worth of proxy data, and they showed a marked disconnect between the trends in solar and climate activity that appears in the last 100 years. This reconfirms similar studies over the last 20 years that have shown the same thing. Science.

        • by riverat1 (1048260) on Tuesday December 24, 2013 @03:10AM (#45773531)

          Nobody is denying the Sun is (practically) the only source of energy on the Earth's surface including the oceans, land and atmosphere. All they are saying is that the Sun isn't variable enough to account for most of the variability in climate that is seen.

        • by mbkennel (97636)

          This comment is not (Score:5 Iinsightful) in the slightest, in fact it's aggressively ignorant, and snarky about it no less.

          No scientist denies that the physics of the solar insolation is critical---after all, without solar insolation the entire mechanism of the greenhouse effect wouldn't even matter very much!

          The actual point is what actual changes in solar insolation and other physical mechanisms have occurred over recent times with reliable climate records. Changes in the Sun have been very small, and d
        • The suns variation in radiation, for various effects (solar spots and others) is +/-1%.
          So yes, the influence is neglegtible. The difference between distance of the earth (closest in northern winter btw) is much bigger.

  • by PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) on Monday December 23, 2013 @10:19PM (#45772243)

    Yeah, ever since Oracle bought them . . .

  • by thepainguy (1436453) <thepainguy@gmail.com> on Monday December 23, 2013 @10:25PM (#45772281) Homepage
    How did the world warm up and cool down before then? Perhaps that is relevant?
    • by dnavid (2842431) on Monday December 23, 2013 @11:00PM (#45772499)

      How did the world warm up and cool down before then? Perhaps that is relevant?

      Over geologic times, lots of things have affected Earth's climate. On astronomical time scales the Sun has an impact: as it ages the Sun emits more radiation: it becomes warmer. But not on human timescales, or even moderate geological time scales. 600 million years ago the Sun was about 4% cooler. That means over the last 15 million years the Sun's radiation has probably increased by about 0.1%. Oceanic circulation has a major role: as continents move around they alter how the oceans transport and circulate heat. Volcanism also has a significant impact, but that impact is tricky to work out: increased CO2 adds to the greenhouse effect, but other volcanic emissions like dust and SO2 have a net cooling effect on the surface of the Earth. The Deccan traps, for example, is believed to have caused significant cooling during their formation.

      Life, on long time scales, also causes an effect, Much of the petroleum the industrial revolution is burning and adding to current CO2 levels came primarily from the Carboniferous period. During that time Earth had a warm and humid climate promoting the development of huge rainforests worldwide. These plants photosynthesized so much carbon out of the atmosphere that CO2 levels dropped from something like 1400ppm to 400ppm. That caused the climate to cool significantly over a few hundred million years until it became colder and drier. The rainforests died off, and with the rainforests gone atmospheric CO2 began to rise again, increasing temperatures again.

      Actually, over Earth's history the largest contributors to climate change have been atmospheric greenhouse gases, oceanic circulation currents, and the configuration of the continents. Two of the three are things human activity is demonstrated to be capable of altering on timescales many times faster than they have changed in Earth's history.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        But how does that explain the pretty big swings in temperature from the Medieval Warm Period to the Little Ice Age? A few hundred years separate the two.
    • by bill_mcgonigle (4333) * on Tuesday December 24, 2013 @12:10PM (#45776311) Homepage Journal

      How did the world warm up and cool down before then? Perhaps that is relevant?

      The trick is that you can have the Sun as the major driver of climate before 1900 and have something else as the major driver of climate since 1900, with the Sun still as a driver of climate since 1900, just not the major driver of climate.

      With that said, the current climate trend started c. 1840. This is evident from seabed deposits (see Scrips Institute reserach) - we can be really confident in how we measure those - we're good at that and physical, measured evidence is the best kind.

      Either the research at hand does not discuss the period 1840-1900 or their metaanalysis is contradictory with physical evidence. Somebody here will have read the paper and can comment.

  • by Charcharodon (611187) on Monday December 23, 2013 @10:36PM (#45772365)
    "The sun is not a major source of warming"

    Well tell that to my dog Max who only naps in the sun beams.

  • by BoRegardless (721219) on Monday December 23, 2013 @10:53PM (#45772469)

    The article's title is patently false and provable as such. Time to report reality.

    The Earth's orbital changes around the Sun varies from more circular to more elliptical and its axis wobble changes and the net effect is that the different solar inputs are what causes the major climate shift on about a 110,000 year cycle.

    The Sun rules. Eventually as the Sun becomes a Red Giant, the Earth will become hotter until all life and water evaporates and eventually the Sun will effectively consume the Earth.

    In a very short period of time, other factors may cause climate changes including asteroids, volcanism, forest fires and mankind's creation of soot, CO2 and such.

    • by Anti Cheat (1749344) on Tuesday December 24, 2013 @12:33AM (#45772979)

      Don't get me started on volcanoes. Even up to 5 years ago, many in the climate science said that volcanoes play no significant role in the present climate changes. This year they finally began to retract that belief, based on actually beginning to look at the data..

    • by hey! (33014) on Tuesday December 24, 2013 @08:44AM (#45774779) Homepage Journal

      You wrote (emphasis mine):

      The Earth's orbital changes around the Sun varies from more circular to more elliptical and its axis wobble changes and the net effect is that the different solar inputs are what causes the major climate shift on about a 110,000 year cycle.

      From the /. summary (emphasis mine):

      They have concluded that the driving factor since 1900 has been greenhouse gases.

      From the U of Edinburgh press release (emphasis mine):

      Research examining the causes of climate change in the northern hemisphere over the past 1000 years has shown that until the year 1800, the key driver of periodic changes in climate was volcanic eruptions.

      These tend to prevent sunlight reaching the Earth, causing cool, drier weather. Since 1900, greenhouse gases have been the primary cause of climate change.

      Now let me tie it all together for you. Let's say we assume:

      (1) Over the course of hundreds of thousands of years, variations in solar radiation are the strongest determinants of global temperature.

      (2) Over the course of the last thousand years, volcano eruptions have been the strongest determinants of global temperature.

      (3) Over the last hundred years, anthropogenic greenhouse gasses are the strongest determinants of global temperature.

      Here's the important point: you can believe ALL THREE of these things without the least contradiction. Denialist arguments seem to assume that any dominant factor must be dominant in every past period and over every timescale. This is why people scratch their heads at the denialists' "gotchas!", e.g. "Gotcha! There were no SUVs in the medieval warm period." So what? It's a straw argument. Nobody ever claimed that *all* past climate variation was due to greenhouse gasses, much less *anthropogenic* greenhouse gasses.

  • by ebno-10db (1459097) on Monday December 23, 2013 @11:39PM (#45772725)

    Scientists from Edinburgh, Scotland have recently published a study showing that the sun is not a significant driver of recent climate change.

    Of course they think that - there is no sun in Edinburgh.

  • by WOOFYGOOFY (1334993) on Tuesday December 24, 2013 @01:47AM (#45773243)

    There's this.

    http://climatesciencedefensefund.org/ [climatesci...sefund.org]

    They are also looking for donations:

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