Climate Change: Global Warming vs Global Cooling
There has been a never-ending controversy in recent years between the supporters of Global Warming Theory and its opponents.
The supporters point to the rapidly rising carbon dioxide level in the atmosphere, along with methane – another even more powerful greenhouse gas, and claim these gases will trap heat that would normally radiate out into space, thus gradually warming the earth. The warming will be particularly noticeable in sea surface temperatures, and night-time temperatures in land areas.
Opponents claim the earth normally goes through heating and cooling cycles, depending on events like volcanoes and solar output, out of the control on man, and also claim that what man does has little effect. They have little actual science on their side, and connections with the fossil fuel industry. Nevertheless, they do have some valid points, as no one is certain what extent of climate change is caused by man and what is natural, and no one can provide any guarantees as to what extremely expensive environmental actions to stop global warming will actually slow or stop it.
The supporters of Global Warming have more scientific facts on their side, but have badly damaged their own cause by their willingness to manipulate data to support the theory. The recent adjusting of historical rural temperatures upward to match urban ones is a prime example. Cities are artificial heat islands, which have been rapidly growing in both size and population. Rural temperatures are taken in locations which have seen little change, and therefore reflect actual global temperature changes more accurately. Urban temperatures should scientifically have been adjusted down to match rural ones, but doing the opposite provided more dramatic data that they could use to produce urgency to do more to support their cause. The leaked emails of a few years ago also seriously damaged their reputation. And just recently a major study supporting Global Warming has been discredited due to “math mistakes”. And then there is the continual promotion of mickey mouse solutions like stopping eating meat and eliminating cattle that just serve to alienate the people they need support from.
This fight has been going on for years now and has become heavily politicized in America, with the Democrats taking the warming side and the Republicans the other. Both sides use temporary weather events to push their points, even though that argument is scientifically invalid.
However, now a monkey wrench has been thrown into the works. In recent years, scientists have been concentrating on studying the sun, to the point of even sending satellites to monitor it. It has been obvious for a number of years now that the “normal” sunspot cycle has come to a near stop. There are almost no sunspots, and year after year the cycle refuses to start up again. This means that solar output is remaining at a low point, and as it continues the earth will cool, perhaps leading to a mini ice-age. This has happened before, in the Dalton Minimum of 1790 to 1820, Maunder Minimum of 1645 to 1715, and the Sporer Minimum of 1450 to 1530. These three episodes spurred very cold periods in the already cold “Little Ice Age” lasting from 1300 to 1870, also producing hunger, disease, and social instability. After 1870 a warming sun drove temperatures up to what we consider normal today. This period ended about 1940. So there is a lot of normal “climate change”! New research indicates that the Little Ice Age was triggered by four massive tropical volcanic eruptions and sustained by ocean ice and sea currents.
Volcanic activity seems to be climbing at the present time also.
One would think that declining solar activity combined with increasing greenhouse gas levels would result in a situation where they canceled each other out and there would be no problem. A new average would be reached, probably somewhat warmer or cooler than at present, and life would go on as usual. I thought this myself at first.
In reality, though it doesn't seem to be happening that way, and the combination of the two trends may have much different effects. Here in the Northern Hemisphere summers seem to be getting hotter and winters colder.
It struck me that another possibility exists that would explain what is going on. Due to the tilt of the earth’s axis, it seems to me possible that greenhouse gasses may be dominant in the summertime when solar radiation falls more directly on the northern hemisphere (even if it is weaker than usual), while in the winter already already dim sunlight has even less heating effect than usual, snow reflects a lot into space, and the result is the lower solar effect outweighs greenhouse gasses. This could be augmented by the fact that most large land masses are north of the equator, and land heats and cools quickly compared to the large bodies of water that exist south of the equator.
Add to that the shape of the Analemma, the figure 8 path traced on the globe by a spot where the sun’s radiation falls most directly as the earth travels around the sun. This figure 8 is much broader in the southern hemisphere during their summer than it is in the northern hemisphere during ours. It also stays at the extreme in December in the southern hemisphere longer than it does in the northern hemisphere in June. This would suggest the sun normally exerts a stronger effect on slowly heating the oceans south of the equator, while less in the northern, where it quickly heats the land areas and as quickly lets them cool with less effect on the oceans. This pattern may well be amplified by the conflict between accumulating greenhouse gases and a cooling sun.
Of course, this is all just a theory. I don’t have the resources to research it, much less prove or disprove it. And even if it is correct, some major volcanic eruptions could throw the earth into an ice age despite greenhouse gases – or on the other hand the solar cycle suddenly resuming and solar output increasing could very rapidly push global temperatures up far above what is expected. In any case, even without those catastrophes, it is likely to produce ever more severe weather. May you live in interesting times!