Sunspots, pie in the sky, and the man in the moon

The other day I was riding home in the car listening to a variety of news channels, as is my habit, when I heard a commentator railing about some “pie in the sky” theory about sunspots causing global warming.  I blinked again when several callers rang into the show to say, “next they will blame the man in the moon,” that you would expect from people opposed to helping the environment.   I thought about this all the way home and then went and checked my facts to make sure I wasn’t disturbed about a molehill.
  
 What I found confirmed what I thought was what I remembered from a lifetime of reading.  Sunspots are a direct measure of the energy output of the sun.  They are areas of the sun that are intensely active emitting more energy than the other cooler brighter areas of the sun.  It is a commonly held belief amongst scientist , that sunspots are our best measure of the sun's relative activity, and since every activity of the sun emits energy and radiation, a measure of how much energy it's pumping into the reaches of the solar system.   And a measure of the energy that reaches Earth from the sun.
 

  It’s also interesting to note that the “mini-ice age” also corresponds to the time called the “maunder minimum”.  This is a time period starting in around 1615 that was marked by a series of cataclysmic events, not the least of which was the religion based thirty years war that tore central Europe to shreds.  The other cataclysmic event of notice, and the one that is most germane to the topic at hand, is the mini-ice age.  It should be also noted that sunspot activity has been continuously recorded by different civilizations for literally thousands of years. The Chinese in particular have had recordings for over 2000 years.
 
  Another interesting tidbit of information is that the last two 11 year sunspot cycles have been extraordinarily active.   They poured extraordinary amounts of energy out into the solar system and hence to Earth.  In fact, a recent study concluded it was shown that sunspot activity was at the highest point in 8000 years.  )http://www.space.com/484-sunspot-activity-8-000-year-high.html)  This same site will inform you that the mini ice age that I discussed earlier had almost no sunspot activity.  Then it goes on to say that some scientists don’t think there is a connection, but if some don’t, then some do.   And given the easily gathered information about sunspots and solar activity, it seems rather silly not to include them in any serious discussion of climate change.  The observational data alone, from both the mini ice age and our recent warming trend would seem to correlate to corresponding sunspot activity. 

Every bit of energy that is used on Earth, from solar, to wind, to hydro, to the petroleum is energy that can trace it’s genesis from the sun.   solar is obvious.   Wind is generated when the sun heats the atmosphere unevenly, hydro power is water flowing downhill, the sun evaporates the water that falls as rain which then flows down rivers, and petroleum is composed of billions of prehistoric plankton that gathered energy from the sun, and then turned to fossil fuel holding that energy.
  
 Considering all this, and that our planetary climate had huge shifts long before there were SUV’s or factories belching smoke. It would be only reasonable to suspect that there are historically titanic forces that affect the climate of this planet.  And to denigrate tos “pie in the sky and man in the moon” as an argument that sunspots don't have a role in the climatology of the planet and should make any thinking person investigate the motives and knowledge of anyone making such a statement. 


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