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NASA Space Science

Big Drop In Solar Activity Could Cool Earth 569

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the buy-a-sweater dept.
coondoggie writes "Scientists say the Sun, which roils with flares and electromagnetic energy every 11 years or so, could go into virtual hibernation after the current cycle of high activity, reducing temperatures on Earth. As the current sunspot cycle, Cycle 24, begins to ramp up toward maximum, scientists from the National Solar Observatory and the Air Force Research Laboratory independently found that the Sun's interior, visible surface, and corona indicate the next 11-year solar sunspot cycle, Cycle 25, will be greatly reduced or may not happen at all."
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Big Drop In Solar Activity Could Cool Earth

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  • Oh good... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Morphine007 (207082) on Tuesday June 14, 2011 @05:14PM (#36441968)
    ... the global warming naysayers are going to have a field day with this one...
  • by John Hasler (414242) on Tuesday June 14, 2011 @05:16PM (#36442016) Homepage

    The Europeans are going to save us by switching from nukes back to coal.

  • Re:Oh good... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Mindcontrolled (1388007) on Tuesday June 14, 2011 @05:27PM (#36442200)
    They are all over the thread already. Can't be arsed to engage them anymore, to be honest. Well, we can bask in the warm glow of burning Al Gore strawmen....
  • by metlin (258108) on Tuesday June 14, 2011 @05:32PM (#36442288) Journal

    I was going to moderate this discussion, but wanted to respond to your trollish comment.

    Here's the reality of the situation: we do not know the effect of mankind on the climate and the ecology. However, we do know that certain activities *have* an impact. The fact remains that complex systems, be they markets, ecologies, or climate, remain unbelievably complex, and we have no way of knowing what our actions could do.

    And as far as banalities go, how about this -- do not mess with complex systems you don't fully understand. Do not mess with the ecology of the planet without understanding the consequences. Do not mess with things that could screw up the climate without understanding its effect.

    "Evil mankind" is a subjective term, but meddlesome mankind is certainly not. The fact is, even in this day and age, we live in a highly complex and fickle ecosystem that can be torn asunder by the planet's forces, as shown by several of the earth's recent natural disasters. What happens if bees stop pollinating altogether tomorrow? What about hurricanes and tornadoes all over the planet?

    It doesn't hurt to treat the planet with respect, because it's not just yours, but also the future generations'. And more importantly, it belongs to every single living thing growing on it.

    That's not such a hard concept, is it?

  • by i kan reed (749298) on Tuesday June 14, 2011 @05:33PM (#36442310) Homepage Journal

    I love this. You think the existing models don't take solar variation into account? You have reduced a complex, multi-factor system of equations to one independent variable. Congratulations on letting anything that sounds like it agrees with you at all prove all other ideas wrong even if there's nothing contradictory at all. Sun cycles are 10 year data cycles that don't explain 100 year trends in the slightest. If you look at the climate data since the invention of the thermometer, the waves produced are already quite visible. This was the same argument they made in the 70s, when global warming was first introduced as a theory(but it was far less understood then).

    Instead of offering useless conjecture about what people are going to say, how about you give us a nice solid hypothesis about how much cooler it will be when, and how that relates to existing global warming projections. I dare you to actually make a meaningful falsible claim instead of putting words in the mouth of people you disagree with.

  • by engun (1234934) on Tuesday June 14, 2011 @05:39PM (#36442398)
    Humankind has indeed proven itself to be a vile species. The great pacific garbage patch for example, was surely not created by those who was overly concerned for their environment?

    There are enough precedents to indicate that it is not an excess of concern for our environment that is the fundamental problem. I just don't understand why people see it necessary to vilify the few who are.
  • by icebike (68054) on Tuesday June 14, 2011 @05:41PM (#36442418)

    You should have moderated.

    You would have had more effect, because after all, the only thing you accomplished by posting was to prove my point.

    Bees. Hurricanes and Tornadoes! Are you sure you don't want to throw in earthquakes and volcanoes and blame them on mankind too?

  • by jojoba_oil (1071932) on Tuesday June 14, 2011 @05:50PM (#36442574)

    You should have moderated.

    You would have had more effect, because after all, the only thing you accomplished by posting was to prove my point.

    How can you claim that he proved your point? What exactly is it that he says that proves your point?

    Your point was that people like to blame everything (eg, any change in climate or environment) on humans. His point was that there's no way of knowing what effect we actually have on the environment.

    Both lead to the idea that we should leave stuff alone, but they aren't the same point...

  • by BaronHethorSamedi (970820) <thebaronsamedi@gmail.com> on Tuesday June 14, 2011 @05:52PM (#36442600)

    The fact remains that complex systems, be they markets, ecologies, or climate, remain unbelievably complex, and we have no way of knowing what our actions could do.

    And as far as banalities go, how about this -- do not mess with complex systems you don't fully understand.

    More than fair. The problem is, there is a HUGE political wing that not only believes it understands the complexities of ecological change, but understands them well enough to want to impose corrective measures. Those corrective measures themselves invariably involve "messing with" markets, economies, and yes, ecologies, all at public expense.

    Complexity is a double-edged sword. I'm all for not meddling with things I don't understand, and treating the planet with respect; I am consequently somewhat mistrustful of those who claim to understand our gigantically complex ecosystem well enough to tell me what I should be doing to fix it.

  • by 50000BTU_barbecue (588132) on Tuesday June 14, 2011 @05:58PM (#36442702) Homepage Journal
    "More than fair. The problem is, there is a HUGE political wing that not only believes it understands the complexities of ecological change, but understands them well enough to want to impose corrective measures."

    And there's the wing that believes "business as usual" is just as good since, obviously, THEY understand the complexities...

  • by Chris Burke (6130) on Tuesday June 14, 2011 @05:59PM (#36442726) Homepage

    Don't go counting your Told-you-so Chickens quite yet.

    Global temperatures continued to rise during the previous, unusually long solar minimum, so this potential lack-of-solar-maximum will probably not reverse the trend, either.

  • by icebike (68054) on Tuesday June 14, 2011 @06:18PM (#36443074)

    How can you claim that he proved your point? What exactly is it that he says that proves your point?

    Because in in the space of one paragraph he neatly ties it all together:

    Quoting:

    "Evil mankind" is a subjective term, but meddlesome mankind is certainly not. The fact is, even in this day and age, we live in a highly complex and fickle ecosystem that can be torn asunder by the planet's forces, as shown by several of the earth's recent natural disasters. What happens if bees stop pollinating altogether tomorrow? What about hurricanes and tornadoes all over the planet?

    The subtle switch from "meddlesome mankind" to "the planets forces" fools none but the gullible.
    Bringing up the bees is nothing but a sop to the recent cell-phones kill bees junk science.
    Mentioning "hurricanes and tornadoes" is a clear play for the news of recent events (which are statistically inline with historical records).

    When warming deniers resort to these tactics, and point to the brutal Chicago winter, they are shouted down.

    Yet when the same tactics are sob-storied out here, people like you rush in to defend. Whats up with that?

    The ecosystem is not fickle. It is astoundingly resilient. Amazing robust, and self healing.
    Yet he tries to get away with blaming that all on "meddlesome mankind", and you take the bait.

    My point was that regardless of the changes from the sun swamping ALL inputs from mankind, the warmist crowd would change the terms of the discussion such that mankind was to blame. He did exactly that. And you swallowed it hook line and sinker.

  • by nomadic (141991) <nomadicworldNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday June 14, 2011 @06:23PM (#36443164) Homepage
    "More than fair. The problem is, there is a HUGE political wing that not only believes it understands the complexities of ecological change, but understands them well enough to want to impose corrective measures."

    And that political wing's corrective measures are overwhelmingly "minimize how much we mess with complex systems we don't fully understand." Which is a pretty logical approach.
  • by marnues (906739) on Tuesday June 14, 2011 @06:30PM (#36443244)
    There _is_ a reasonably middle ground. It involves taking steps in my everyday life to being a better member of planet Earth. There is a false dichotomy in your head. I use electricity, but I use less. I contribute to polluting this planet, but I also actively work with an organization that has better ideas. It's not about stopping all polluting activity, that's only possible through extinction. It's about lessening the impact. It's a real path that many are already doing. You could participate too!
  • by icebike (68054) on Tuesday June 14, 2011 @06:36PM (#36443324)

    Nature is not fickle.

    It is amazingly robust, self healing, and self preserving and resilient.
    It is consistent over eons, with constant change within limits based on energy input from the sun.

    Nothing "meddlesome man" can do will have as much effect as a 2% change in the sun's output.

    So your assertion that it is appropriate is questionable, and your claim that it is "not up to questioning" is just simply flat wrong.

  • Your post and opinion is about 15 years, or more, old.

    It's pretty simply to know the CO2 is increasing, now when it was release(in some cases where) and to look at the temperature.

    When other cycles go into a 'cooling' cycle, the temperature stops going up, but it DOES NOT return to previous temperature; which is what would happen if it was only a cycle effect and not a non cycle effect, like man spewing billions of tons of CO2 into the air.

    COULD there be another cause? well there isn't anything in the data to indicate any other cause; however in science we know that there could very well be some currently unknown for causing this, or anything. That is why nearly all studies on any subject are seldom 100%. It becomes more accurate with time and modification. Just like Germ Theory, Evolution or gravity.

  • by Ruke (857276) on Tuesday June 14, 2011 @07:00PM (#36443644)

    You're absolutely right. If you're a sociopath, if you honestly give no fucks when other human being suffer because of the things you do and the things you fail to do, you have no reason to take any action that will benefit anyone other than yourself. I don't mean this as a personal attack; I want to believe that you actually are capable of doing good things without the threat of eternal damnation hanging over your head, but if you honestly cannot, you are broken.

    I can't make you want to do good things, like save the Earth for people who aren't born yet. But, on a social level, there are still enough people who give a shit to put pressure on sociopaths to do good things. If you don't, we will use our laws to make you. If you break those laws, we will take your things and lock you up.

    Why should we, as a society, make those laws? It is the only way that the "Society" system can outlast any given member. When we reach the point where we stop making and enforcing laws that benefit the long-term stability of society over the individuals currently in it, society will collapse as a system, and something more stable will take its place. Something with a lot fewer people in it, probably. Evolution will weed out the unfit and replace them with new systems able to deal with changes, the way it always has. That's how life operates.

  • by NeoMorphy (576507) on Tuesday June 14, 2011 @07:13PM (#36443768)

    More than fair. The problem is, there is a HUGE political wing that not only believes it understands the complexities of ecological change, but understands them well enough to want to impose corrective measures. Those corrective measures themselves invariably involve "messing with" markets, economies, and yes, ecologies, all at public expense.

    And the other HUGE political wing believes...

    • Global warming is junk science.
    • Tobacco doesn't cause cancer.
    • If you don't teach Sex Education in schools, then teenagers won't have sex.
    • They still don't believe that Barack Obama was born in the United States.
    • They think Creationism should be taught in schools, as a science.
    • They are against assisted suicide, but believe in capitol punishment.
    • They are for alcohol and tobacco, but against drugs.
    • They thought Sarah Palin and Dan Quayle were great VP candidates.

    With a list like that, I would start to wonder if they understood anything.

  • by metlin (258108) on Tuesday June 14, 2011 @07:13PM (#36443774) Journal

    Not really. I had the Japanese earthquake in mind, and nowhere in my post do I try to connect the planet's forces and meddlesome mankind. Any connection that you assume is entirely in your head.

    But just so I'm clear, let me reiterate. We're dependent on the stability of the planet and its climate and ecosystem. This has been demonstrated by countless natural disasters that we've been powerless to stop, and has taken us gargantuan efforts to even get back to a semblance of normalcy. Our interference in the natural order of things without truly understanding our impact seems unwise at best, given this.

    So, how about leaving the planet the way we found it -- nicer would be great, but how about just minimizing how much we foul up the planet's ecology? It's not hard to do, and it's certainly possible with in parallel with technological progress. In fact, I'd say that it challenges our technological prowess to be sophisticated enough to coexist with nature while providing us with the fruits of our scientific and technological progress.

    That is all I meant, and in the nicest possible way -- there's no reason to be belligerent and accusational, and I certainly apologize if I offended you in some way.

  • by John Hasler (414242) on Tuesday June 14, 2011 @07:33PM (#36443970) Homepage

    > Germany is not switching to coal...

    Putin will be very happy to hear that. He'll sell you the gas you'll need. Of course, there will be a price...

    > If the political will is there...

    So you are switching to coal after all.

  • by DrgnDancer (137700) on Tuesday June 14, 2011 @07:49PM (#36444136) Homepage

    I am often confused by this attitude. Let's assume for just a moment that all research into climate change is completely bunk. There is no man made influence on the climate at all. I don't happen to think this is the case, but purely for argument's sake let's pretend that there is no argument at all. You are completely right. We can burn all the fossil fuels we want forever and it will never change the temperature of the planet by a single degree.

    What does that really change about environmental policy? We still know that these chemicals are poisonous, and that burning them as freely as we do causes health issues both for ourselves and other animals. We still know that there are limited supplies of them, and if we don't find alternatives we'll eventually run out. We still know that burning them creates unpleasant things like smog and acid rain, which, even ignoring their health affects, are not nice to have around.

    Ignoring completely the idea of climate change and the affect that we may or may not be having on the long term health of the ecosystem, shouldn't we be doing exactly what climate change research says we should be for all kinds of reasons besides climate change itself? Now add in the possibility, the very real possibility, that climate change theories are correct. It's really just one more reason on top of lots of others, not a sole driver of policy. Unless you believe that Jesus will return before the last drop of oil is burned, there's every reason to curb our dependence on fossil fuels and come up with viable and sustainable alternatives.

    (Note: I'm not a peak oil nut. I have no idea whether we're going to start running out of oil in 20 years, 50 years, or 100 years; and yes, I have every confidence that the clever buggers in the oil industry will continue to figure out new ways to extract it. However, unless you believe that the Earth is some sort of oil factory that we can crank up at our convenience, you must know that eventually there won't be anymore. Even if the entire interior of the planet is a giant vat full of the stuff, that's still a finite amount.)

  • by Hylandr (813770) on Tuesday June 14, 2011 @08:30PM (#36444502) Homepage

    There will always be global warming, so long as there is money to be made from it.

    - Dan.

  • by pixelpusher220 (529617) on Tuesday June 14, 2011 @08:53PM (#36444686)

    There does not exist on earth more carbon than the earth can process.

    That doesn't specify a time frame - that's the important part here.

    10 feet of rainfall isn't harmful spread out over 10 years. 10 feet of rainfall in a week is a wee bit troublesome for just about any ecosystem on the planet.

    +5 trolling today though, you can stop now.

  • My GW Theory (Score:4, Insightful)

    by sycodon (149926) on Tuesday June 14, 2011 @09:27PM (#36444964)

    It will get warmer.

    It will get colder.

    Repeat.

    It is irrefutable.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 15, 2011 @12:12AM (#36445960)

    Being a skeptic about global warming/climate change/whatever you're calling it today

    You'll be a much better skeptic if you learn a little about the subject. The sentence I've quoted shows you don't even know the basics. You've fallen for Official Denialist Accusation #547, "they keep changing the name". Global warming and climate change are two separate phenomenon. One causes the other (specifically, global warming causes climate change). Both have been discussed in the scientific literature for 40+ years.

    True, but we've become jaded by the false predictions of the chicken littles.

    So what? Predicting that sort of thing is hard. Very, very hard. Sombody could predict that we'll run out of it in 50 years, but 100 years later we still haven't run out. Then people will point to the fact that we still haven't run out as if that proves we never will, yet the very next day could very well be the day we do run out. Who cares about the when. What matters is that it is a finite resource, and the very fact that we don't have a handy little gauge somewhere telling us exactly how far along we are should be reason enough to act as if we're already running on fumes— because for all we know, we are.

  • by Rary (566291) on Wednesday June 15, 2011 @12:30AM (#36446046)

    You mean, aside from the fact that the last forty or fifty years we were in a grand maximum of solar activity, the highest seen on earth since the very beginning of the Holocene? And that, given the unknowns and the egregious speculation that has occurred in lieu of actual research concerning the feedback, this is a confounding factor that has been more or less completely ignored by the AGW zealots?

    Completely ignored? So responses like the three explanations listed here [skepticalscience.com], as well as all of the discussion in the comment section, is "completely ignoring" the issue? Or how about this article [stanford.edu], featuring Stanford University "completely ignoring" the impact of solar activity. New Scientist also "completely ignored" solar activity in this article [newscientist.com] as well.

    For something that the "AGW zealots" have "completely ignored", Google [google.ca] seems to find a hell of a lot of sources discussing how solar activity has some effect on global warming, but is not the primary cause.

  • Re:Oh good... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Mindcontrolled (1388007) on Wednesday June 15, 2011 @12:53AM (#36446128)
    Here we go with the usual progression of argument. Not only are the denialists in possession of the TRUTH, they are PERSECUTED for it. The same horrible kind of persecution the average white, anglosaxon protestant is hit with just for being alive, no doubt.
  • by riverat1 (1048260) on Wednesday June 15, 2011 @01:32AM (#36446266)

    Science doesn't require faith (except maybe that humans are capable of actually understanding reality on some level). If someone comes up with some actual science that explains our climate better than the current consensus then I'll happily go with that explanation as will most climate scientists. Instead we get the same tired old arguments that have been debunked time and again with the occasional new claim that quickly gets debunked. I've been following this for 30 years and practically nothing ever sticks and the occasional thing that does stick quickly gets incorporated into the science.

    So, where's the beef?!

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