[NAFEX] Worries on the Vine (NY Times)

Lon J. Rombough lonrom at hevanet.com
Tue Feb 19 12:09:58 EST 2008

The Sun Also Sets
By INVESTOR'S BUSINESS DAILY | Posted Thursday, February 07, 2008 4:20  
Climate Change: Not every scientist is part of Al Gore's mythical  
"consensus." Scientists worried about a new ice age seek funding to  
better observe something bigger than your SUV — the sun.
Related Topics: Global Warming

Back in 1991, before Al Gore first shouted that the Earth was in the  
balance, the Danish Meteorological Institute released a study  
using data that went back centuries that showed that global  
temperatures closely tracked solar cycles.
To many, those data were convincing. Now, Canadian scientists are  
seeking additional funding for more and better "eyes" with which to  
observe our sun, which has a bigger impact on Earth's climate than all  
the tailpipes and smokestacks on our planet combined. 
And they're worried about global cooling, not warming.
Kenneth Tapping, a solar researcher and project director for Canada's  
National Research Council, is among those looking at the sun for  
evidence of an increase in sunspot activity. 
Solar activity fluctuates in an 11-year cycle. But so far in this  
cycle, the sun has been disturbingly quiet. The lack of increased  
activity could signal the beginning of what is known as a Maunder  
Minimum, an event which occurs every couple of centuries and can last  
as long as a century. 
Such an event occurred in the 17th century. The observation of sunspots  
showed extraordinarily low levels of magnetism on the sun, with little  
or no 11-year cycle. 
This solar hibernation corresponded with a period of bitter cold that  
began around 1650 and lasted, with intermittent spikes of warming,  
until 1715. Frigid winters and cold summers during that period led to  
massive crop failures, famine and death in Northern Europe.
Tapping reports no change in the sun's magnetic field so far this cycle  
and warns that if the sun remains quiet for another year or two, it may  
indicate a repeat of that period of drastic cooling of the Earth,  
bringing massive snowfall and severe weather to the Northern  
Tapping oversees the operation of a 60-year-old radio telescope that he  
calls a "stethoscope for the sun." But he and his colleagues need  
better equipment.
In Canada, where radio-telescopic monitoring of the sun has been  
conducted since the end of World War II, a new instrument, the  
next-generation solar flux monitor, could measure the sun's emissions  
more rapidly and accurately.
As we have noted many times, perhaps the biggest impact on the Earth's  
climate over time has been the sun.
For instance, researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Solar  
Research in Germany report the sun has been burning more brightly over  
the last 60 years, accounting for the 1 degree Celsius increase in  
Earth's temperature over the last 100 years.
R. Timothy Patterson, professor of geology and director of the  
Ottawa-Carleton Geoscience Center of Canada's Carleton University, says  
that "CO2 variations show little correlation with our planet's climate  
on long, medium and even short time scales."
Rather, he says, "I and the first-class scientists I work with are  
consistently finding excellent correlations between the regular  
fluctuations of the sun and earthly climate. This is not surprising.  
The sun and the stars are the ultimate source of energy on this  
Patterson, sharing Tapping's concern, says: "Solar scientists predict  
that, by 2020, the sun will be starting into its weakest Schwabe cycle  
of the past two centuries, likely leading to unusually cool conditions  
on Earth."
"Solar activity has overpowered any effect that CO2 has had before, and  
it most likely will again," Patterson says. "If we were to have even a  
medium-sized solar minimum, we could be looking at a lot more bad  
effects than 'global warming' would have had."
In 2005, Russian astronomer Khabibullo Abdusamatov made some waves —  
and not a few enemies in the global warming "community" — by predicting  
that the sun would reach a peak of activity about three years from now,  
to be accompanied by "dramatic changes" in temperatures.
A Hoover Institution Study a few years back examined historical data  
and came to a similar conclusion.
"The effects of solar activity and volcanoes are impossible to miss.  
Temperatures fluctuated exactly as expected, and the pattern was so  
clear that, statistically, the odds of the correlation existing by  
chance were one in 100," according to Hoover fellow Bruce Berkowitz.
The study says that "try as we might, we simply could not find any  
relationship between industrial activity, energy consumption and  
changes in global temperatures." 
The study concludes that if you shut down all the world's power plants  
and factories, "there would not be much effect on temperatures."
But if the sun shuts down, we've got a problem. It is the sun, not the  
Earth, that's hanging in the balance.

On Feb 19, 2008, at 8:51 AM, Brungardt, Sam wrote:

Worries on the Vine    In the coming decades, might oenophiles be  
debating the subtle aromas and delicate flavors of all the great new  
wines coming out of Saskatchewan?     
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