Wednesday, December 30, 2009

How much climate change is connected with the solar cycle length?

There is a big controversy in climate science regarding the magnitude of the effect of solar variations on the earth's climate. This article discusses one of those controversial theories.

I recently found this incredibly interesting article on the internet by K. Lassen at the Danish Meteorological Institute. The article shows incredible correlations between global temperatures and solar cycle length. Interestingly the author above and a colleague published evidence for this theory in Science way back in 1991. Although not the point of the article, it strongly implies that historical temperature variations are predominantly the result of a changing solar cycle length. Plots provided by K. Lassen (see link above) imply that the solar cycle length is periodic and it appears as though we might be near a peak in the periodic signal - thus cooling would begin (we just finished an unusually long cycle). If the solar cycle length is lengthening and world temperatures are still rising then human caused global warming may be even more significant than expected! If the solar cycle length is just starting to drop and world temperatures are also dropping accordingly (or start dropping soon) then human caused global warming might be much smaller than thought.

Check out this plot I got from this site, it shows that global temperatures are highly correlated with the sun spot cycle length.

I have argued below that climate change dollars should go towards a distribution system so that we have the ability to deliver food, water, fertilizers and medicines to poorer and less arable regions hit by the negative effects of climate change. Regardless of whether climate change's cause is human based or solar cycle length based (or anything else) we all have some responsibility to help the world's malnourished peoples. If each of the world's wealthy nations were to give just 100 dollars per citizen per year to the UN World Food Programme, then we could possibly put an end to hunger. For 300 dollars per citizen per year we could probably also provide these people with medicine and some education (as many charities do), although programs designed to help people provide for themselves in a self-sustaining way are preferred.

September 24th addition: I will release my book soon and it includes many non-handout based suggestions for how to help with the food crisis.