Climate scientists at Switzerland’s renowned ETH Zurich and the University of Bern have long warned of the risks of man-made global warming.
But in a brand new study their results now appear to have compelled them to postpone the expected global warming – by a few decades!
They now claim that a weaker sun (now expected over the coming decades) could reduce temperatures by half a degree Celsius.
Moreover the scientists clearly concede that the earth’s climate system is nowhere near as well understood as some scientists would like to have us believe and that the sun indeed plays a major role after all – enough so to override and postpone the effects of the often hyped greenhouse gases.
This will be hugely disappointing news for the catastrophe-hopers and cheerleaders, who hold front row tickets to the announced climate catastrophe, which according to some should be happening already.
The Swiss scientists say that sun’s impact on climate change has now been quantified “for first time” (see postscript below).
The Swiss scientists say that their model calculations show a plausible way that fluctuations in solar activity could have a tangible impact on the climate. The Swiss National Science Foundation-funded studies now expect human-induced global warming to tail off slightly over the next few decades. A weaker sun could reduce temperatures by half a degree.
There is human-induced climate change, and there are natural climate fluctuations, the scientists acknowledge, and say 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 the earth’s surface. Previously IPCC reports assumed that recent solar activity was insignificant for climate change, and that the same would apply to activity in the near future.
However, 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 now provide a robust estimate of the contribution that the sun is expected to make to temperature change in the next 100 years and a significant effect is apparent.
They expect the Earth’s temperature to fall by half a degree when solar activity reaches its next minimum.
Project head Werner Schmutz, who is also Director of PMOD, says this reduction in temperature is significant and believes it could win valuable time if solar activity declines and slows the pace of global warming a little.
Strong fluctuations could explain past climate
At the end of March, the researchers working on the project will meet in Davos for a conference to discuss the final results. The project brought together various research institutions’ capabilities in terms of climate effect modelling. PMOD calculated what is known as “radiative forcing” taking account of particle as well as electromagnetic radiation, ETH Zurich worked out its further effects in the Earth’s atmosphere and the University of Bern investigated the interactions between the atmosphere and oceans.
Revamped the models
The Swiss researchers revamped the commonly used models, which were criticized for overstating CO2’s impact, and assumed a greater fluctuation in the radiation striking the Earth than previous models had done. According to their press release, Schmutz is convinced “this is the only way that we can understand the natural fluctuations in our climate over the last few millennia.” He says that other hypotheses, such as the effect of major volcanic eruptions, are less conclusive.
Huge uncertainty: Sun’s future behavior unknown
Exactly how the sun will behave over the next few years remains a matter of speculation, however, since appropriate data series have only been available for a few decades and they reveal no evidence of fluctuations during this time. “To that extent, our latest results are still a hypothesis,” says Schmutz, “and it remains difficult for solar physicists to predict the next cycle.”
Warnings of a little ice age?
But since we have been observing a consistently strong phase since 1950, it is highly likely that we will experience another low point in 50 to 100 years’ time. It could be every bit as intense as the Maunder Minimum, which brought particularly cold weather during the 17th century.
The research project also placed great importance on the historical perspective. The Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research at the University of Bern compared data series on past solar activity with other specific climatic conditions. People have been recording the number of sunspots, which correlates well with solar activity levels, for some three centuries now.
However, it is much more difficult to quantify exactly how cold it was on Earth back then. “We know that the winters during the last minimum were very cold, at least in northern Europe,” says Schmutz.
Science in its infancy
The researchers still have a fair amount of work to do before they have a detailed understanding of the relationship between solar activity and the global climate both in the past and in the future.
It needs to be noted that other scientists have already quantified the sun’s impact to a lesser or similar extent, but were ignored. The latest Swiss studies merely confirm what dozens of other skeptic scientists have been saying over the past 10 years. Claims of being “the first” are a bit fake.