NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


June 27, 2007

Reputable scientists now say the long-term threat to climate is severe cooling, not warming -- the result of varying solar output, says Investor's Business Daily.

According to R. Timothy Patterson, professor of geology and director of the Ottawa-Carleton Geoscience Centre of Canada's Carleton University, solar output can vary as much as 0.1 percent over regular 11-year sunspot cycles known as "Schwabe" cycles. These variations correlate well with the fossil record.  Some of the earlier solar-driven changes are even more dramatic than an Al Gore movie:

  • As recently as 6,000 years ago, it was six degrees Celsius warmer than now.
  • Ten thousand years ago, as the world was coming out of a cold period, temperatures rose as much as six degrees in a decade, 100 times faster than the past century.
  • There have been many ice ages in earth's past, followed by warming periods like the one we're in now.

Further, according to Patterson, "Solar scientists predict that, by 2020, the sun will be starting into its weakest Schwabe cycle of the past two centuries, likely leading to unusually cool conditions on earth.  "Solar activity has overpowered any effect that CO2 has had before, and it most likely will again.  If we're to have even a medium-sized solar minimum, we could be looking at a lot more bad effects than 'global warming' would have had."

Source: Editorial, "Should Big Chill Be A Bigger Worry?" Investor's Business Daily, June 27, 2007.


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