The Earth has warmed about 0.8 degrees C since leaving the Little Ice Age. Now a new study shows that a less active sun could lower temperatures 0.5 degrees in just a few decades, making the warming of the past 150 years statistically insignificant. The now-standard “climate change is still occurring” is tacked on to ensure ongoing funding:
One important factor in the unchanging rise and fall of the Earth’s temperature and its different cycles is the sun. As its activity varies, so does the intensity of the sunlight that reaches us.
One of the key questions facing climate researchers is whether these fluctuations have any effect at all on the Earth’s climate. IPCC reports assume that recent solar activity is insignificant for climate change, and that the same will apply to activity in the near future.
Researchers from the Physical Meteorological Observatory Davos (PMOD), the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology (EAWAG), ETH Zurich and the University of Bern are now qualifying this assumption. Their elaborate model calculations are supplying a robust estimate of the contribution that the sun is expected to make to temperature change in the next 100 years. For the first time, a significant effect is apparent. They expect the Earth’s temperature to fall by half a degree when solar activity reaches its next minimum.
According to project head Werner Schmutz, who is also Director of PMOD, this reduction in temperature is significant, even though it will do little to compensate for human-induced climate change. “We could win valuable time if solar activity declines and slows the pace of global warming a little. That might help us to deal with the consequences of climate change.” But this will be no more than borrowed time, warns Schmutz, since the next minimum will inevitably be followed by a maximum.