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Space Science

A Hotter Sun May Be Contributing To Global Warming 536

Posted by timothy
from the or-a-shrinking-orbit dept.
no reason to be here writes "The sun seems to be getting hotter. Total radiation output has increased .05% per decade since the 1970s. This article over at Yahoo! News has the scoop. Though .05% may not seem like much, if it has been going on for the last century or more (and circumstantial evidence suggest that it has), it could be a significant factor in the increase in global average temperature noticed during the 20th century."
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A Hotter Sun May Be Contributing To Global Warming

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  • by taliver (174409) on Sunday March 23, 2003 @05:13PM (#5579517)
    The sun has been causing global warming? Now who would have ever expected a giant ball of uncontrolled nuclear explosions to change at all and have any effect on the warming of our planet.

    I'm still believing it's the cow farts.

    • by Gortbusters.org (637314) on Sunday March 23, 2003 @05:46PM (#5579696) Homepage Journal
      I was gonna go for the sarcastic comment... of course it's ultimately the sun's radiation which is warming the planet. The problem is that while the atmosphere is losing its ability to filter radiation, the radiation is slightly increasing.
    • it's not cow farts (Score:3, Informative)

      by js7a (579872)

      I'm still believing it's the cow farts.

      It is not, primarily, the cow farts, although they alone probably cause more global warming than any 0.00005/year change in solar output. Carbon dioxide [bovik.org], from whatever source, forces heat that would normally be radiated into space to remain in the atmosphere. The extent is very easy to quantify, and it's a hell of a lot more than 0.05% per decade.

      This article is just more fossil fuel apologist crap. It makes SUV drivers feel a little bit better about sending all

      • by gnuadam (612852) on Sunday March 23, 2003 @08:15PM (#5580327) Journal

        I'm a chemist, and you're quite right. Carbon dioxide does store energy that an IR transparent gas would not trap in our atmosphere. But you glibly assume that it is easy to measure the effect of this trapping on global climate. This is not true, and is the reason there there is active debate to this date, even among responsible, non-oil funded scientists over the degree of the effect.

        At any rate, this effect *is* secondary to the effect of the sun's output...it is the largest source of energy for our planet, and any change in its output, even small ones, makes a large difference in our climate.

        This is why we have seasons...and seasonal changes are quite large and result from small changes in the sun-earth distance.

        If this report is true, and the sun's output has in fact increased over the last decade, it would be an important factor to account for, that to my knowledge, has not previously been considered.

        And it is at the same time bad news. If true, then human behavior may not be as responsible for climate change as we all have thought, and that makes the effects we would like to avoid that much harder to avoid....

        • by js7a (579872) <james@bovikBOHR.org minus physicist> on Sunday March 23, 2003 @08:34PM (#5580402) Homepage Journal
          seasonal changes are quite large and result from small changes in the sun-earth distance.

          You may be a chemist, but you are no meteorologist.

          Seasonal changes result from the angle of solar radiation incidence, not changes in sun-earth distance. When it is winter in the northern hemisphere, it is summer, not winter, in the southern hemisphere.

          • by orichter (60340)
            It scares me to think that someone who claims to be a chemist (and therefore supposedly educated) thinks that seasons are caused by changing distance between the Sun and the Earth. This isn't like misunderstanding the fine points of quantum mechanics. It's like telling people that on the moon things float away, or that rockets can't travel in space, because they have nothing to push against. Is it really possible that a person can get a chemistry degree without realizing what causes summer and winter?
      • Actually ... (Score:4, Interesting)

        by j_w_d (114171) on Sunday March 23, 2003 @10:32PM (#5580870)
        it could be read as underlining the importance of controlling the output of greenhouse gases by technical civilization. The greenhouse gases are not just capturing more of the available solar radiation, they may be capturing more of the INCREASING solar radiation. Consequently, this would indicate that it is more important than ever to control greenhouse output. Facts are not apologist crap. Interpretations however may be.
    • by TedCheshireAcad (311748) <`ude.tir.cf' `ta' `det'> on Sunday March 23, 2003 @06:34PM (#5579916) Homepage
      A Hotter Sun May Be Contributing To Global Warming

      Really. Did they figure this out themselves, or do they have a team of monkeys working on it?
    • by Pharmboy (216950) on Sunday March 23, 2003 @07:38PM (#5580206) Journal
      The sun has been causing global warming? Now who would have ever expected a giant ball of uncontrolled nuclear explosions to change at all and have any effect on the warming of our planet.


      Its a lie. Its the Republicans, plain and simple. And if it IS the sun, then the Republicans are who made the sun hotter. And if the sun is hotter due to a natural phenomenon, then the Republicans sped it up with their capitalism. If we didn't drill for oil, the sun wouldn't be so hot. The sun is heating up because of greenhouse gases. Its the Conservative's fault the sun is hotter, it was the tax cut that caused it. SUV's. Too many in on the planet causes more tidal friction on the sun, so its the SUV's fault, which is the Republican's fault because they own stock in the companies that make the SUV's, who are being irresponsible for giving the public what it wants, since everyone knows only Hollywood types should drive SUV's, not these damn soccer moms and farmers. Its because of the decline of endangered species. The sun is warming up because of drilling in ANWR, which hasn't started yet. The sun is part of the vast right wing conspiracy. Its the Republican's war causing it. Its because the sun is angery at us for our ways.

      Ok, did I leave any out? Just wanted to help and get the new talking points out for the libs ;)
  • Double take (Score:5, Funny)

    by redGiraffe (189625) on Sunday March 23, 2003 @05:13PM (#5579518) Homepage
    Sun Microsystems is WHAT?!
  • by StandardCell (589682) on Sunday March 23, 2003 @05:14PM (#5579525)
    No matter how much we humans think we can figure out about our world and the universe, there's always some phenomenon that we don't account for yet we plod forward anyway. This is not to say that humans are not contributing to global warming, but we should be looking more into the natural physical phenomena that could be contributing to a problem that affects us.

    And no, this isn't an excuse for the rabid dogs on either side of the environmental debate to start jumping up and down either for or against human contributions to global warming, nor is it our only problem. I hope this discussion doesn't turn into this, though I fear it will.
    • by hackstraw (262471) on Sunday March 23, 2003 @06:20PM (#5579849)
      No matter how much we humans think we can figure out about our world and the universe, there's always some phenomenon that we don't account for yet we plod forward anyway. This is not to say that humans are not contributing to global warming, but we should be looking more into the natural physical phenomena that could be contributing to a problem that affects us.

      How about looking at the geological and fossil record for some evidence? In the recent past (geologically speaking) there have been 4 ice ages and 4 "thaws", and before that the temperature of the Earth was erratic at best. Also, homo sapiens are only 40,000 or so years old, and industrialism that we think is causing global warming and whatnot has only been around about 100 years.

      The Earth and life was here before humans, and most likely will go on after we are gone.
  • arrogance (Score:5, Insightful)

    by doce (31638) on Sunday March 23, 2003 @05:14PM (#5579530) Homepage
    i always thought it was arrogance to suggest that, to the exclusion of all other factors, humans had the greatest impact on global warming.

    don't think me a corporate whore or anti-environmentalist; i'm willing to bet that we have some impact... i just think we don't know enough about our ecosystem and it's interaction with the universe around us to automatically assume that it's all our fault.
    • Re:arrogance (Score:5, Interesting)

      by sql*kitten (1359) on Sunday March 23, 2003 @05:28PM (#5579596)
      don't think me a corporate whore or anti-environmentalist; i'm willing to bet that we have some impact... i just think we don't know enough about our ecosystem and it's interaction with the universe around us to automatically assume that it's all our fault.

      You know, back in the 1970s, the Green movement was most worried about global cooling. We're overdue for another ice age, they apparently come every 10,000 years or so. The Green's prescription for staving off this threat was to burn less fossil fuel, cut down fewer trees and so on. Fast forward to the 90s and global warming is in vogue. The cure? Burn less fossil fuel, etc.

      It's beginning to look like their agenda all along was to slow economic activity, and concern about the environment was only ever a vehicle for pushing that agenda. So don't feel bad about questioning the Green orthodoxy, because it's changed 180-degrees in the not too distant past, and they probably don't even believe it themselves.

      Not that we shouldn't conserve fossil fuels; they're going to run out sooner or later. And pollution is bad, it just makes cities unpleasant. And I like furry animals as much as the next man, and I'd rather they weren't driven to extinction. But fight these things for a real reason, not one that doesn't hold stand up to scrutiny.
      • Re:arrogance (Score:5, Insightful)

        by dubl-u (51156) <2523987012NO@SPAMpota.to> on Sunday March 23, 2003 @05:47PM (#5579700)
        So don't feel bad about questioning the Green orthodoxy, because it's changed 180-degrees in the not too distant past, and they probably don't even believe it themselves.

        I'm all for questioning orthodoxy!

        But I also question your ability to read the minds of people you apparently haven't met. I know a number of people who do environmental work for a living. As in everything else, some are clueless and some are happy to take somebody else's word for things that fit their prejudices. (Thanks goodness that doesn't happen here on Slashdot.) But many are smart and sincere, and have the kinds of science background to be able to evaluate the claims well.

      • Re:arrogance (Score:5, Informative)

        by sheldon (2322) on Sunday March 23, 2003 @05:47PM (#5579701)
        "And pollution is bad, it just makes cities unpleasant."

        Unpleasant? Isn't that a bit of an understatement? [npr.org]

        Or is death merely an unpleasant experience, like having to stand in line too long at the grocery store?

        "But fight these things for a real reason, not one that doesn't hold stand up to scrutiny."

        You've got a long way to go buddy if you are seeking out real reason. Claiming pollution doesn't cause any harm... Ha!

        I'm not an environmentalist, but it's quite clear you've drank the anti-Environment koolaid.
      • Re:arrogance (Score:3, Informative)

        by Ptraci (584179)
        I was an adult during the seventies (still am, for the most part), and I don't remember anything about global cooling coming up. People were most concerned about the possibility of running out of fossil fuels, and the loss of habitat for many species of animals. Since then there has been much speculation about the possibility of global warming causing glaciation in some parts of the world by changing the ocean currents.
      • It's beginning to look like their agenda all along was to slow economic activity,

        Of course it is, at least as far as many current industries are concerned. This is not a deep dark secret, it's a simple fact.

        Beyond that there are two camps. The first believe that green industries will more than make up for the reduction in economic activity in polluting industries. The second (much smaller) believes that reduced economic activity in general is desirable.

        So don't feel bad about questioning the Green

    • Re:arrogance (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Keebler71 (520908) on Sunday March 23, 2003 @05:31PM (#5579612) Journal
      Exactly... any school child can tell you about ice-ages, periods of dramatic climate change and associated ocean levels. Why is it that those are natural but a 2 degree change in temperature must be caused by man?
    • by CemeteryWall (587346) on Sunday March 23, 2003 @06:30PM (#5579906)
      some of this is from an earlier post earlier post [slashdot.org]

      Let me say it again. Look at these graphs. The data, taken from ice core studies, shows four ice-ages in the past 400k years. For each dip of the CO2 graph [ornl.gov] there is a similar dip in the temperature graph [ornl.gov] showing a high degree of correlation. The extended CO2 graph [faxfn.org] shows an enormous increase in CO2, over the past century, well outside the range of the past 400k years. This recent rise is almost a vertical jump, indicating we may be changing the climate drastically.

      It is possible that the sun has some effect in triggering these cycles but these graphs show such a large correlation between CO2 and temperature that it is impossible not to believe the scientists of the IPCC. Yes, human activity is causing global warming. (In the UK we experience this now as global wetting - with increased heavy rainshowers).

      To me your reaction sounds just like those "smoking doesn't cause cancer" line from the 1960s. Don't kid yourself.

  • by BitwizeGHC (145393) on Sunday March 23, 2003 @05:16PM (#5579537) Homepage
    Watch the environmentalists whinge about how all our use of fossil fuels is contributing to solar warming.

    I think Al Gore has a new plank for 2004...
  • by arcite (661011) on Sunday March 23, 2003 @05:16PM (#5579539)
    The EVIL sun and its weapons of mass destruction must be stopped! If the sun does not capitulate and give up its weapons of mass destruction, a coalition of the willing will be led to rid the earth of this tyranny! Support Earth! Donate your Ice cubes. If you are not with us, you are with the EVIL Heat producing SUN!
  • by worst_name_ever (633374) on Sunday March 23, 2003 @05:17PM (#5579544)
    We've got to force the people who live on the sun to stop using styrofoam boxes for their Big Macs!
  • by Tailhook (98486) on Sunday March 23, 2003 @05:17PM (#5579545)
    Due to the large amount of ore that must be refined to build SUV for Americans, the magnetosphere of Earth has deformed and is now causing the Solar Corona to expand. This expansion is causing increased radiation, and hence, higher ambient temperatures on Earth.
  • Too short a baseline (Score:5, Interesting)

    by David Kennedy (128669) on Sunday March 23, 2003 @05:18PM (#5579549) Homepage
    I strongly doubt that there is enough evidence to support such a claim at the present time. The era of satellite observations of the sun has only really just started, and any rise may be simply noise from a short duration sample, or due to the decreasing minimum signal capable of being detected.

    It's an interesting claim, but the authors are going to have to do a lot of convincing, and in the meantime this news will be twisted to support those opposed to, say, the Kyoto treaty.
  • yet another excuse (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Ubi_NL (313657) <joris@ideee l . nl> on Sunday March 23, 2003 @05:19PM (#5579554) Journal
    Is this just another saying that we son't need to cut down on oil consumption? That air pollution really isn't a problem? No matter whether global warming is due to excess CO2 production or increased solar output, fact remains that our addiction to oil is completely fucking up our climate

    now let the americans mod this down.
    • by Guy Harris (3803) <guy@alum.mit.edu> on Sunday March 23, 2003 @05:45PM (#5579681)
      Is this just another saying that we son't need to cut down on oil consumption?

      No. The article cites the leader of the study as indicating that you shouldn't draw such a conclusion from it:

      That does not mean industrial pollution has not been a significant factor, Willson cautioned.

      so he explicitly says that this does not show that you can't blame it on greenhouse gases.

      That air pollution really isn't a problem?

      No, because there are forms of air pollution other than CO2, and they also cause problems.

      No matter whether global warming is due to excess CO2 production or increased solar output, fact remains that our addiction to oil is completely fucking up our climate

      So, if global warming is not at all due to excess CO2 production (as opposed to being due to increased solar output and excess CO2 production, which is one possibility), what part of climate fuckage is caused by our use of oil?

    • by Jason Earl (1894) on Sunday March 23, 2003 @05:52PM (#5579723) Homepage Journal

      There are plenty of good reasons to cut down on oil consumption. Heck, cutting down on oil consumption would even *gasp* save money, which is always a good thing. Decreased oil consumption would certainly help out with our problems in the Middle East. Not to mention that limiting oil consumption would decrease other harmful side effects such as smog and acid rain. In short, using less oil is clearly in the U.S.'s best interests. You don't need to be a rocket scientist to realize that.

      That being the case, why the environmentalists put so much emphasis on global warming is beyond me. The science behind global warming is iffy at best. Even the scientists with the most dire predictions (and the biggest axes to grind) are quick to point out that they are making a lot of assumptions. Instead of focusing on the many clearly measurable reasons to limit our use of oil the environmentalists have jumped straight for the doomsday scenario. In my opinion this loses their movement a great deal of credibility. Instead of focusing on the science, the have jumped headfirst into the sensational. In many ways they are just short of the homeless guy with the "The End is Near!" sign around his neck. Until they have better evidence they should stick to the arguments that clearly can't be refuted.

      This article is a good example of how difficult it is to predict global weather trends. There are simply too many variables and not enough information. It's entirely possible that the earth is getting warmer because *boggle* the sun is burning hotter. Does this mean we shouldn't cut down on our use of oil? Of course not. We should just stop focusing on global warming as the primary reason to limiting oil production.

  • by PseudoThink (576121) on Sunday March 23, 2003 @05:21PM (#5579567)
    The sun is increasing output just to keep up with our solar power demands. Soon the oceans will start rising from our wave-power harvesting generators, and the earth is already spinning slower due to wind powered turbines! People of the earth unite: stop using these dangerous alternative fuels! Petroleum-based fuel sources are the only way to keep our planet safe for our cihldren and their SUVs!
  • by Doctor Fishboy (120462) on Sunday March 23, 2003 @05:22PM (#5579572)
    There has been a suggestion that weather is tied in with long term variability of the Sun, and many astronomers cite the case of the Maunder minimum [stsci.edu] back in the 1700's where a lack of sunspot activity was linked to a succession of very cold winters in the Northern hemisphere.

    The problem is that solar-type stars may vary on timescales of hundreds and thousands of years (in addition to the known sunspot cycle of our Sun of about 11 years), dominating the long term weather patterns here on Earth. It's still a highly debated point, though, mostly because we've only head modern instruments doing accurate solar flux monitoring for the past 50 years or so, and before that we have to rely on indirect methods, such as historical records of large groups of sunspots seen with the unaided eye.

    One of the longest running experiments in modern astronomy has been the monitoring of solar-type stars at the Mount Wilson Observatory in Southern California. I was fortunate enough to meet the people who run this experiment - it's not too often you see papers with 40 years of data from the same instrument!

    Dr Fish

  • by bigberk (547360) <bigberk@users.pc9.org> on Sunday March 23, 2003 @05:23PM (#5579576)
    Since there's enough evidence to suggest that burning fossil fuels affects climate change, and also the sun is getting hotter, this is all the more reason that we must control our consumption (the former variable, within our control). Anything less would be reckless.
  • by Zoop (59907) on Sunday March 23, 2003 @05:24PM (#5579577)
    If the Sun is indeed warming, then we may still need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The last thing you want to do on a hotter stove is clamp the lid tighter.

    Sigh. If Greenies had just concentrated on the fact of global temperature increase or decrease, the debate would be simply on technical solutions. Instead they made it a religious issue. Now any time something like this comes out, those of the other religion will start demanding sacrifices of oil.
  • Ohhhh Yeah (Score:4, Funny)

    by ihatewinXP (638000) on Sunday March 23, 2003 @05:27PM (#5579587)
    What's that? It wasn't the ozone layer and freon gasses and stuff? Well before we get into where we are going to pollute first let me say that i've been sitting on a crate of XTRA-CRA-Z Brand hair spray for about a decade now and tomorrow that 12" mowhawk is back man. The 80's bad hair will live again!
  • Palm Trees (Score:5, Informative)

    by smillie (30605) on Sunday March 23, 2003 @05:28PM (#5579590) Journal
    One of the more interesting things my geologist friend pointed out to me was the fossel recond in Michigan (for our European friends, Michigan is a state on the border with Canada). We have palm tree fossels all over Michigan. Our current climate won't support palms now but some time long ago Michigan was much warmer than it is now.

    He also mentioned that Michigan was buried under about a mile of ice at one time too.

    These weather changes were long before man came on the scene. I'm all for Michigan becoming tropical again but that is likely to cause problems for the southern part of the US.

    • Re:Palm Trees (Score:3, Informative)

      by barakn (641218)
      Unfortunately that doesn't rule out the possibility that Michigan has changed latitude. You have heard of plate tectonics?
  • by Guy Harris (3803) <guy@alum.mit.edu> on Sunday March 23, 2003 @05:33PM (#5579624)

    The article says

    That does not mean industrial pollution has not been a significant factor, Willson cautioned.

    so, no, this

    • is not just some evil US/oil company plot to discredit the idea that greenhouse gases contribute to global warming;
    • is not an indication that all those people saying that greenhouse gases contribute to global warming were wrong and we don't have to worry about continuing to burn fossil fuels.

    Note, for instance, that the article also says

    In what could be the simplest explanation for one component of global warming, a new study shows the Sun's radiation has increased by .05 percent per decade
    since the late 1970s.

    The increase would only be significant to Earth's climate if it has been going on for a century or more, said study leader Richard Willson, a Columbia University researcher also affiliated with NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies.

    (emphasis mine).

    I.e., they have only observed it over a approximately 20-year period, so they don't know whether it's been going on for a century or more, but if it hasn't, it wouldn't make a significant difference to the climate.

  • could it be (Score:4, Insightful)

    by iggymanz (596061) on Sunday March 23, 2003 @05:36PM (#5579637)
    that man's activities have had little or no effect on the climate of the earth, and the fossil record *proves* the average temperature of the earth has been much higher and much lower in the past, that the size and shape of ozone hole is purely due to solar cycles, and insolation is the key to climate?
  • by Bodhidharma (22913) <jimliedekaNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Sunday March 23, 2003 @05:44PM (#5579677)
    The oceans are suspected of contibuting to global humidity.

  • by Penguuu (263703) on Sunday March 23, 2003 @05:44PM (#5579679)
    Quick! Call Mr. Burns!
  • by outsider007 (115534) on Sunday March 23, 2003 @05:53PM (#5579732)
    but I need hot pockets and spongebob videos.
  • by Progman3K (515744) on Sunday March 23, 2003 @05:59PM (#5579754)
    Scientists have been studying sunspot activity since the 1300's. For the past few hundred years there has been a regular pattern of peaks and quiet.

    In the last few decades though, that pattern has changed to where the sun's sunspot activity is MUCH higher than it has ever been and the activity period has been going on without stopping or having very short quiet periods.

    The whole "global warming is caused by humanity" argument has a few merits, of course, but it's a miniscule drop in the bucket compared to the power of the sun.

    On the plus side, it gives humanity something they can combat, instead of watching helplessly while the sun goes nova and wipes out life on earth.

    It might actually explain why earth has had no contact from alien civilizations: If you extrapolate even a very conservative version of the Drake Equation, and then look at the amount of time it would take for even ONE space faring civilization to completely colonize the galaxy, we should be bumping into aliens constantly.

    The fact that we haven't might mean that even on a planet where intelligence eventually evolves, that habitability-period of the planet is never long enough for the beings living there go get off of their world before either their sun goes nova, they get wiped out by a killer asteroid or they destroy themselves.

    If we look at the earth as being an average planet in the universe, then we know that all those scenarios are possible.

    Sort of makes you reflect that we should be developing ways to colonize space and spread our proverbial eggs from this one basket instead of waging useless wars on each other that only produce suffering.

  • Sol... (Score:3, Funny)

    by Repugnant_Shit (263651) on Sunday March 23, 2003 @06:29PM (#5579895)
    now powered by AMD
  • Easy to fix (Score:5, Funny)

    by Nemus (639101) <astarchman@hotmail.com> on Sunday March 23, 2003 @06:42PM (#5579975) Journal
    All we have to do is file a patent on global warming, then sue the sun to stop violating our patent. Easy as pie.
  • by Shuh (13578) on Sunday March 23, 2003 @06:44PM (#5579982) Journal
    Yes, now we know it's not cow farts, but the fact that the sun is getting hotter.

    But why is it getting hotter? Well, here's one to send in to your local "science" reporter:
    There's more people on Earth now, and the extra weight is drawing our planet closer to the sun!
    ;)
  • by barakn (641218) on Sunday March 23, 2003 @06:51PM (#5580011)
    The following links have graphs and images. Here [nasa.gov] and here [space.com].
  • by DancingSword (412552) on Sunday March 23, 2003 @08:05PM (#5580291) Homepage Journal

    New Scientist [newscientist.com] published, in their paper weekly, years ago, that *Earth's temperature disconnected from the Sun's temperature/cycle in the mid '80s*.

    Also, it seems that in natural temperature-cycling of Earth's climate, temperature-change happens-before CO2-change, but we poured billions-of-tonnes of CO2 ( I can't even imagine that correctly ) into our atmosphere lately, so...

    using this as 'proof' that global warming is just some liberal propaganda, as some other propagandists would want/need to do, don't wash... ( I'm using world-context, rather than just some specially-limited context, for this discussion, obvaneously )

    Solar temperature and Earth-climate-temperature cannot be defined out of being actual.

    It's like how someone who actually measured the current-flow in the northern Atlantic discovered that in '99 it was flowing in .. the wrong direction ..
    ( originally N m/s one way, now some other 'n' cm/s the other direction ).

    -shrug- change the thermal masses, change the way they interact, displace one-another, flow, etc.

    making-believe that our long-committed actions don't have capability to touch us, because .. what, because our make-believe is immoveable power?

    our climate is crashing.

    El Nino broke from a 6-8y cycle in the '70s, now is on a 2-4y cycle.

    Previous 400 000 years we know it hadn't been on a 2-4y cycle ( from entrapped atmosphere taken from ice-cores off Vostok Antarctica ).

    Some thermal energy shunted from thermal, to kinetic, energy in the '70s: the bottom of our atmosphere became violenter.

    That means that looking at the planetary temperature doesn't show the energy-increase, it only shows the energy-that-remained-thermal increase...
    This one was discovered by seismographs(sp?), showing the background waves-pounding-against-continents noise jumped, globally, then.

    The disconnect from Solar cycle, in the '80s, I already mentioned.

    The loss of 2000 cubic kilometres of ice from Antarctica, between '95 and '02 ( inclusive, I believe ) means our planet isn't reflective so much as it was...

    IIRC Antarctica lost 215km of radius of ice, in the ?70 years before 1950 ( profound loss of reflectivity of heat, perhaps? )...

    There's a particularly huge ice-plain that's now expected to collapse quickly, but They don't know when, but They know it'll rather-likely mean a 6m or 7m increase in ocean-level.

    It's now believed very likely that there isn't going to be ANY ice in the Northern hemisphere, in the summer, by the end of this century ( again, lower reflectivity? also, earthquakes from the melting glaciers, and rebounding Greenland, and Iceland crustal plate, etc. )

    'Deal with it' seems the only choice now...
    Either proactively, or, after we've had our WWIII/tantrum, what's left of us will deal-with/be-in what remains.

    ...

    Coupla reasons for knowing the tantrum's perfectly inevitable:

    1. ecology-break instantiates 'wars', always.
    Look at Uruk, now Iraq, ~5000 years ago... huge metropolis, that broke its local ecology, and it broke sooo quick, some have gone through the Iraqi desert picking up coins, that've lain there for ... ~5000 years. This suggests that few remained to loot thoroughly, without getting dead ( contrast with the huge temple in Egypt, that's totally missing, now: every last speck of it is gone, except for the twin quartzite statues that once stood astride its doorway ).

    2. Political Religions, Intolerance of Community/Harmony, And Other Predator/Agression-addiction/Cancer-modes:
    If one cell-type within your body decided "Me First!", say muscle-tissue, and it killed-off your bones, kidneys, and neurons, YOU wouldn't be likely to survive. This is usually called cancer, when it happens within one's body.

  • I dont buy it. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by cybercuzco (100904) on Sunday March 23, 2003 @08:08PM (#5580300) Homepage Journal
    This cant be a sustained effect. If the sun were continuously increasing its output by .05% a decade, the sun had a total output of 1 watt ~ 1.25 million years ago. Therefore, the solar variance is not continuous, it must be cyclical. We dont know where in the cyccle we are except to know were in the upswing portion. In 10 years it may go down again. The fact that the sun is contributing to global warming should be seeen as something that points us TOWARDS restricting carbon emissions, not away from it. If global warming has multiple causes, its even more important to restrict the human controllable ones to prevent environmental change.
  • May or may not (Score:3, Informative)

    by InodoroPereyra (514794) on Sunday March 23, 2003 @08:09PM (#5580306)
    Despite the tone of Yahoo's article, and despite the fact that unfortunately physicists are resorting more and more into spectacular announcements (and I am a physicist), the issue is not settled. This search at the NASA's ADS [harvard.edu] will show you a bunch of papers on the topic (even tough some entries are unrelated). Just browse the abstracts, you will see that not everyone in the astrophysics community agrees that variations in solar radiation are the main cause of global warming.
  • by LordZardoz (155141) on Sunday March 23, 2003 @08:56PM (#5580484)
    "Total radiation output has increased .05% per decade since the 1970s. -- Though .05% may not seem like much, "

    The problem with percent measurements is that the frame of reference matters a whole lot more then you think. A Half percent of a million is still $5000, and for some people, myself included, that is a nice chunk of cash.

    A quick shot on google gets me the information that the tempurature of the Sun is about 15 million
    degrees celsius. When you consider that for human usage, our comfort range is from about -40 to 40 celsius, a .05% solar temp increase is pretty damn scary when converted to real numbers for us.

    Luckily, there are a great many factors to take into account that effect the earths temp, so an increase of 55 000 degrees is not going to fry us. Despite that, a half percental change is probably alot signifigant then you expect it to be.

    END COMMUNICATION
  • Mars icecaps (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ManuelKelly (446655) on Sunday March 23, 2003 @09:06PM (#5580529)
    I have wondered when this would make the news. There have been numerous stories in the past of the Mars icecaps shrinking. Easy hits available on Google.

    It seemed to me that the earth would be even more effected with its much closer orbit.
  • by SysKoll (48967) on Monday March 24, 2003 @01:11AM (#5581536)

    It's about bloody time that the "hotter sun" concept breaks into the mainstream. That's what I have been repeating over and over about the reason why the best computer climatology models fail to reproduce known climating history, and hence prove their uselessness. It's because they are based on a "solar constant" (about 900 W/m2 at equatorial peak if I remember correctly) but the solar output is not a constant.

    (Hey, sounds like this old Murphy's law of programming: "Constants aren't".)

    Two years ago, the Science magazine [sciencemag.org] carried a paper explaining how researchers examined sediments in Yutacan and proved that solar output increase, with a cycle of about 208 years, forced a drought on the Maya that was probably the last straw and destroyed their empire. Findings are correlated with other data. See "Solar Forcing of Drought Frequency in the Maya Lowlands" [ufl.edu] by David Hodell et.al. Very important paper for anyone who wants to understand climatology.

    -- SysKoll
  • by smagruder (207953) <stevem@webcommons.biz> on Monday March 24, 2003 @01:29AM (#5581584) Homepage
    So maybe now the global warming activist kooks will proceed to go after the Sun's government and leave the US alone. I will help fund the construction of a spaceship to send all these kooks as ambassadors to Sun-land.
  • by psychofox (92356) on Monday March 24, 2003 @12:27PM (#5583647)
    The BBC is reporting that the UK is thinking of launching a probe to investigate this hypothesis.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/2880845.stm [bbc.co.uk]

    Two interesting points here:

    It is intended that this will be the UKs first 'UK only' space mission.

    The mission is not slated to take place until 2023.

  • maybe... (Score:4, Funny)

    by Hubert_Shrump (256081) <cobranet@gmai l . com> on Monday March 24, 2003 @01:42PM (#5584141) Journal
    maybe we're all just getting smaller and easier to heat?

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