Thank God For Scientists: "Unexpected Link Between Solar Activity and Climate Change"

Without scientists, we would never be apprised of the fact that the behavior of the sun affects how warm or cold it is on Earth (emphasis added)

For the first time, a research team has been able to reconstruct the solar activity at the end of the last ice age, around 20 000–10 000 years ago, by analysing trace elements in ice cores in Greenland and cave formations from China. During the last glacial maximum, Sweden was covered in a thick ice sheet that stretched all the way down to northern Germany and sea levels were more than 100 metres lower than they are today, because the water was frozen in the extensive ice caps. The new study shows that the sun’s variation influences the climate in a similar way regardless of whether the climate is extreme, as during the Ice Age, or as it is today.

“The study shows an unexpected link between solar activity and climate change. It shows both that changes in solar activity are nothing new and that solar activity influences the climate, especially on a regional level. Understanding these processes helps us to better forecast the climate in certain regions”, said Raimund Muscheler, Lecturer in Quaternary Geology at Lund University and co-author of the study.

My snarky tone is a bit unfair here.  While the sun seems an obvious candidate as a major climate driver, changes in its actual energy hitting the Earth have always appeared small compared to what would be needed to explain observed temperature changes.  This team hypothesizes that the changes in the sun's output have effects on atmospheric circulation that have a larger than expected impact on temperatures.  Henrik Svensmark explains it a different way, hypothesizing that cloud formation is heavily influenced by cosmic rays, and higher solar activity tends to shield the Earth from cosmic rays, thus reducing cloud formation and increasing temperatures.

Skeptics find this sudden realization that the sun affects climate to be kind of funny, since they have argued for years that higher temperatures in the late 20th century have coincided with a very active sun, probably more active than it has been in hundreds of years.   Climate alarmists have denied any influence to the sun.  Sun deniers!  This absolutist stance may seem odd, given that most skeptics (despite what is said of us) actually accept some amount of warming from CO2, but here are these folks who wrap themselves in the mantle of science that deny any effect from the sun?  The problem that warmists have is that higher climate sensitivities, on the order of 3 degrees C per doubling of CO2, greatly over-predict past warming (as I demonstrate in my videos, see around the 59 minute mark).  If anything else whatsoever other than CO2 caused one iota of the warming over the last 50 years, then this over-prediction just gets worse.  In fact, warmists have to assume crazy high levels of aerosol cooling -- that go beyond what most of the science supports -- to make their forecasts work looking backwards.

  • Sam Wah

    Your snark was less than 1% of what it should have been.

  • HenryBowman419

    Well, there are known reasons to believe that solar activity is related to climate (see http://motls.blogspot.com/2010/07/in-defense-of-milankovitch-by-gerard.html).

  • Roy_Lofquist

    "changes in its actual energy hitting the Earth have always appeared small compared to what would be needed to explain observed temperature changes."

    The energy hitting the earth is calculated by measuring the radiant energy. What about the solar wind? The solar wind is, in effect, a multi-million ampere direct electrical current flowing past the earth. Where there is a moving electrical field there is always a magnetic field. The earth has a 2,000 mile diameter ferrite core which rotates once per day. Magnetic field + rotating iron = generator.

    The intensity of the solar wind correlates with sunspot activity. Maunder and Dalton minimums = brrr.

  • Zachriel

    Coyote Blog: Climate alarmists have denied any influence to the sun.

    Climate scientists have always considered the influence of the sun concerning climate, and there is evidence that solar irradiance drives long term cycles; however, changes in solar activity are not believed to be sufficient to explain the modern warming trend. Solar irradiance has been roughly the same since 1950, but the Earth has warmed considerably, so solar irradiance is clearly not sufficient to explain the current warming trend.
    http://www.skepticalscience.com/graphics/Solar_vs_temp_500.jpg

  • Russ R.

    Zachriel,

    Congratulations... you've just confirmed that "changes in its actual energy hitting the Earth have always appeared small compared to what would be needed to explain observed temperature changes."

    As Warren wrote above.

    Keep reading.

  • marque2

    The sun has been especialy active the last 100 years which is why climate scientists now want to redefine sunspot counting to remove the "systemic errors". Now instead of the peaks increasing every cycle they are nice and flat! It would make Mann proud.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/08/19/revising-the-sunspot-number/

  • marque2

    You realize the temperatures since 1980 have been grossly adjusted upward. Like this year is particularly cold yet NOAA is adjusting numbers and using disparate datasets to prove it is the warmest ever yet again.

  • Gil G

    The effect from the Sun is effectively nil because it is relatively constant rather how much of the heat from the Sun is trapped is the problem. Presumably climate deniers are waiting for catastrophic events in their own backyard before they think there might be a problem. If food prices rise but not onerously so and food shortages and famines happen in the poor countries where no one matters then climate change will fine by deniers.
    On the other hand, Libertarians argue that the U.S. is being overrun and turned into a police state. Not catastrophically or suddenly but bit by little bit so by the time deniers start to realise there's a problem it's too little too late.