Comments and observations on social and political trends and events.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Unstoppable Global Warming from the Chilling Stars

In an earlier post I mentioned two books that challenge the popular thesis that carbon dioxide released by our burning of fossil fuels is driving up the world’s temperature. The first book is Unstoppable Global Warming: Every 1,500 Years by S. Fred Singer, distinguished Research Professor at George Mason University and Professor emeritus of environmental science at the University of Virginia. Singer does not dispute that there has been some warming in the 20th century. Instead he challenges the much-publicized theory espoused by Al Gore and his supporters. Singer claims that over the last million years the earth has experienced warm-cold cycles every 1,500 years or so on top of a longer 100,000-year cycle. His conclusion is based on a variety of sources:

  • Ice cores from Antarctic’s Vostok Glacier and from Greenland at the opposite end of the earth,
  • Sea-bed sediment cores from the North Atlantic and South Atlantic Ocean, the Sargasso Sea and the Arabian Sea,
  • Cave stalagmites in Iceland, Germany and New Zealand, and
  • Archaeological analysis of human settlements.

Singer also points out that the 1,500-year cycle correlates very closely with a similar length solar cycle (which is the result of the combination of an 87 year and a 210 year cycle).

Of course, this solar cycle does not directly refute the greenhouse theory. Carbon dioxide released by our activities could add to the natural warming cycle. Singer addresses this by showing:

  1. Warming occurred during the Roman era and the Middle Ages, well before human burning of fossil fuel would have been a significant factor.
  2. Carbon dioxide release doesn’t even explain the most recent temperature changes. The most warming of the 20th century occurred before 1940 while the most carbon dioxide was generated after 1940.
  3. Warming in previous cycles occurs 800 years before carbon dioxide levels increase. In other words, the relationship between warming and carbon dioxide is opposite of what the global warming alarmists claim.
Above I mentioned that Singer reports there is an even longer cycle to the 1,500 cycle. The Chilling Stars: The New Theory of Climate Change by Henrik Svensmark presents a theory he calls cosmoclimatology. Svensmark is a physicist and director of the Danish National Space Center in Copenhagen, Denmark. According to Svensmark, “Cosmic rays control the powerful ‘cloud valve’ that regulates the heating of the earth.” As cosmic rays pass through the atmosphere they create ions which become nuclei for cloud condensation. The clouds that form, especially below 10,000 ft, reflect the sun’s energy and thus cool the earth. In the 20th century the sun’s magnetic field more than doubled in strength and reduced the cosmic rays and, consequently rescued the cloud cover. The reduced cloud cover allowed the earth to warm.

Of course, you could argue that this is just a theory without empirical support. However, Svensmark describes a cloud chamber experiment he designed and ran that demonstrates this mechanism does create nuclei for condensation.

The Chilling Stars ties in nicely with Unstoppable Global Warming on the short warming-cooling cycles but shows there also is evidence of cosmic ray fluctuations on a 145 million year cycle as the sun wanders between the spiral arms of our galaxy.

Bottom line: these books provide a much more plausible explanation of global warming than the Inconvenient Untruth of Al Gore.

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