back to article Much of recent global warming actually caused by Sun

New data indicates that changes in the Sun's output of energy were a major factor in the global temperature increases seen in recent years. The research will be unwelcome among hardcore green activists, as it downplays the influence of human-driven carbon emissions. As the Sun has shown decreased levels of activity during the …


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  1. Peter Ford

    Surely ...

    ... ALL of the *warming* comes from the sun (OK, there's a bit of geothermal and human heat generation): the problem is insufficient *cooling* - that's where the CO2 etc. gets in the way!

  2. jake Silver badge

    Get back to me when ...

    GBTMW ... either there are decent vineyards up around Hadrian's Wall, or there is a Frost Fair on the Thames ... until then, we are still within historical norms, climate-wise. All else is ignorant hand-wringing, and/or political hay making.

    1. Chemist

      Re : Surely ..

      Quite correct - would the downvoters care to explain ?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Are you saying

        You can't grasp how an increase in incoming intensity (In the right area of the em spectrum, i know overall intensity is down) can cause an overall increase in temperature?

        1. Cheapster

          Gosh, the perspicacity

          Actually it says "may even have increased".

          Bit like the news "Earth might not be quite six billion years old" being greeted with "told you it's only six thousand years old"

          It's a chaotic system, being forced. With any luck there may be unknows which may work in our favour, such as this.

          But it's a very long shot according to the reliable sources - I wouldn't count on it.

      2. Chris 3

        ... I know it is difficult to understand, but let me try to explain

        Well done. All global warming is caused by the sun. I expect you also point out that it isn't *actually* "raining cats and dogs" when people have the temerity to use that phrase, In general discussions about climate change, the words 'global warming' are usually ... and I hope you follow this ... used to describe the phenomenon of increasing global temperature when compared to recent historical norms.

        1. Chemist

          @Chris 3 & AC

          Not sure what your points are. Guy was positing that it's correct that almost all warmth on Earth comes from the sun - I agree

          You both seem to have missed the simple point and veered off onto other things - in the case of Chris 2 in rather a patronising manner too.

          You can't grasp how an increase in incoming intensity (In the right area of the em spectrum, i know overall intensity is down) can cause an overall increase in temperature?"

          I can grasp it quite clearly - just don't know what it's got to do with this thread - the article & research yes

          By the way "The Greenhouse Effect" is conjectured to increase the amount of HEAT retained by the Earth system. How that happens to relate to temperatures is probably a lot more complex.

    2. AGirlFromVenus

      willl need new bridges...

      ... for a frost fair, to provide the same number of piers as the middle ages bridges had, as they helped obstruct the flow, and made freezing easier.

    3. Anonymous Coward


      Yeah right so local extremes in climate reflect the global climate! This sort of thinking is typical of climatards and makes the arguments circle back and forth endlessly. How far back for historical norms do we go - especially as we have ice at the poles and are hence in an ice-age? Nothing less than no ice on earth or the climate of 20,000 years ago with an extensive ice sheet will be enough to convince you. Shame you'll be long gone before any change got that far.

      Who gives a flying f*** if global warming 'exists' or not, it just makes sense to use renewable energy sources long term either way so stop arguing over a billion little details and get on with it.

      1. heyrick Silver badge

        @ AC

        It makes sense to consider renewable energy, but this doesn't necessarily mean covering the planet with wind farms. Take a look at - and starting on page 32 is an analysis showing the rather starting lack of efficiency of wind power. Couple that with the impact of the turbines, plus the production, plus the running of them, and you have to question if it provides sufficient gains to be worthwhile in the long run? One thing is for certain, with our current power requirements, fossil/nuclear power will be around a while yet.

        To be honest, I understand that most of the traditional style power plants heat water to make steam to drive a turbine to generate electricity. How much raw energy is being lost in this process? Maybe our next big breakthrough will be some way of harnessing nuclear activity in a more direct manner than steamy-spinning?

      2. Misoriented
        Black Helicopters

        I hate to say this, but...

        You're right. Not very nice, but right. Global warming is basically a scare tactic. It either exists or it doesn't, and if it does it's caused by humans, the sun, or Girls Gone Wild videos, but really none of that make any difference. Either way we should be doing the same thing: weaning off of oil and reducing pollution.

        By the way, the reason we're not doing much about it is not caused by arguing over a billion little details. It's that rich people like to stay rich, so they argue over a billion little details as a delaying tactic. If you own an oil company, it just makes good financial sense to confuse the conversation with trivial questions.

    4. Kubla Cant Silver badge

      Let's make it simple for you

      Consider the car analogy used in the article.

      Now would you expect the interior of your car to get hotter on a sunny day or an overcast day? The increased visible-spectrum radiation is analogous to a sunny day.

      1. heyrick Silver badge

        @ Kubla Cant

        Um... Don't wanna nit-pick, but there aren't rainclouds around the earth. Alternatively, you could put alu foil over your windows and the car want get anything like as hot despite the sunny weather.

        The original post, as I see it, didn't so much ask for an explanation as to point out the comedy in the revelation that the sun is responsible for "global warming" when, um, the sun has pretty much been responsible for our warmth long before we existed on this lump of rock. Well, that's my take on it, anyway...

        Beer 'cos, it is Friday now. Or as we say around here, TFIF.

    5. Yamal Dodgy Data

      Surely... who to believe ?

      The Grauniad has enthusiastically come to the opposite conclusion to the Reg ?

      So which journalist/editorial team has the better judgement here ?

      Since the graun journos are already in the mindset where they giggle at the splattergate kiddy snuff flick and don't even seem to notice the horrifying authoritarian message behind it.

      It's obvious really.. Lewis and the Reg staff have the true story.

      explosive icon: well thats obvious too, can we have an Andrew Orlowski article please

      .. no pressure ;-)

    6. Anonymous Coward

      Get back to me when ...

      Surely you mean vineyards well to the North of Vineland and 3 kilometer thick ice over the Thames..........? (although the former is "historical-ish", the latter is of course "pre-historical", but both within the evolutionary span of human existance).

    7. RoboJ1M

      CO2 causes other problems

      CO2 causes other problems, like the acidification of the ocean, which is our main CO2 sink.

      This in turn does horrible things to everything living in it, like the great barrier reef.

      Killing the biodiversity of the oceans is bad news.

      The sun don't do that, we do.

      1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge


        But CO2 also adds to plant life by giving it more resources to grow with. It is all checks and balances. There have been periods of history when there was much more CO2 in the atmosphere than now (in fact, we are at an unusually low level of atmospheric CO2 compared to the overall history of the planet), and life didn't vanish.

    8. AlexJ


      Indeed, Peter.

      I think the reporter needs to re-read the paper and the author's comments. His article is a non-sensical (though perhaps convenient) interpretation of the study. Assuming this finding pans out in re-analysis and review, you have it backwards Mr. Page. The modest "warming" they're talking about would be during solar minium (the opposite of conventional expectation), every 11 years or so, followed by cooling. In other words, a cyclical source of fluctuation, not an explanation for the nascent TREND over decades:

      As Haigh suggested, the overall effect on the averages of recent decades would be a slight COOLING.

      @Intractable Potsherd, much of Earth's history would've been inhospitable to large human societies and their agricultural systems. The issue today is the risk of accelerated climate change and ocean acidification during the populous, biodiverse holocene. Apparently there's already more than enough CO2 for today's plants to work with, considering how much is accumulating in the atmosphere and oceans. And net uptake seems subject to reduction with strong, protracted warming.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Headline grabbing attention much?

    "Much of recent global warming actually caused by Sun"

    "We cannot jump to any conclusions based on what we have found during this comparatively short period and we need to carry out further studies to explore the Sun's activity," says Haigh.

    Do you read what you actually type?

    1. Chris Miller

      Depends what you mean by 'recent'

      The research is based on 2004-7, so if that's recent the headline is correct. "Further study is needed" = "please renew our grant for next year", I bet Newton's papers to the Royal Society ended with the same phrase.

      Interestingly the Beeb's report begins: "The Sun's influence on modern-day global warming may have been overestimated, a study suggests." How to resolve this dispute - may I suggest a bare-knuckle fight between the Beeb's Richard Black and our own Lewis Page?

    2. Anonymous Coward

      So much for...

      ....the science being "settled".

    3. Anonymous Coward


      The same could equally be said about man's influence (or not) on climate change.

      All this reveals is that we know far less about the complexity of the earth's climate than is assumed. More research is needed before stating unequivocally that man is (or indeed is not) causing climate change.

      Yet, the more research that is carried, the more we find that we know very little about it. Still, when has a lack of proof ever stopped "believers"?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        It's about time that it's recognised there are other uncontrolled variables bar CO2 that govern the temperature of the planet.

  4. Anonymous Coward

    Speaking as Al Gore....

    .. I find this disturbing. Why have these so called 'scientists' not accepted the undeniable truth that CAGW is real.

    Such research throws doubt upon on our tax revenue, i mean environmental goals. This is likely to lead to a reduction in my income. This cannot go unpunished.

    I shall contact Richard Curtis immediately, for he knows how to deal with traitors.

  5. Robinson
    Thumb Down


    "may exercise an influence as powerful as that of greenhouse gases"

    You mean not a very powerful one at all?

  6. Pete 2 Silver badge

    The spanish could've told them that

    > sunlight readings taken from 2004 to 2007 ... emitted more in the key visible-light

    Just pop over to your local Andalucian weather station[1], where they record the amound of daily incident sunlight in and you'll see that early in the decade (there's data from 2001/2) the numbers were about 30MJ/m²/day. Ver the same datos for 2009 and you'll see numbers up around 32MJ/m²


  7. Mike 140
    Thumb Down

    Sun, Pope etc.

    Sun affects temperature.

    Don't miss next week's study on the species Ursidae and their defecatory behaviour in an arboreal environment.

  8. Lloyd

    At the end of the day

    I'm more concerned about overfishing, general destruction of the rainforests/seas and mankind's environmental behaviour in general. It's all very well patting yourselves on the back after achieving your 75% recycled target but when all you're doing is shipping your recyclables off to a 3rd world country where they sit in landfill I don't think that constitutes environmental sustainability.

  9. Neil Paterson


    Surely as a Murdoch rag The Sun is highly sceptical of AGW? How can it be to blame for it then?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      At the end of the day...

      ...who cares if the room is unlocked if space continues to host a riot between you and all exists.

      And if I may, I'd like to add a further worry to Lloyd's pile; unless these findings of atypical solar emissions lead to Solar power being feasible for large parts of the world I'll still be wanting answers as to how much oil is there? 20 years? 50 years? I don't like taking long journeys with no petrol indicator.

      1. Charles Manning

        re: At the end of the day...

        Agreed there is a need to address oil oil dependency for the long term, but using a CO2 boogey-man to frighten people into doing things is not helpful.

        Engineering is challenging. Every time you add a constraint you cut down on viable solutions. Adding fake constraints, such as reducing/eliminating CO2, eliminates some solutions that are otherwise viable.

        The Big CO2 Worry, has completely taken over Green thinking. While people get silly about CO2, real environmental problems are getting ignored and are getting worse. Until 5 years ago or so, there way a lot of concern about river quality, over fishing and other causes. Now these causes don't get any airtime unless they can be linked to AGW. THis really distorts the "science" and public awareness.

        For example, here in NZ there has been warning that the tuatara (lizards from the dinosaur era) will breed less effectively if AGW warms things. Of course that is dubious logic: If the tuatara have survived tens of millions of years (and thus many extreme temp cycles), the AGW temperatures should be nothing to them. Joe Stupid lacks critical thinking so thinks that fixing AGW is needed to save the tuatara. In reality there are far more serious threats to tuatara such as predation by rats etc and loss of habitat. These far more serious issues get lost in the overwhelming barage of AGW messages.

        1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

          Bravo, Charles...

          ... bravo indeed!

          <--- Have one on me

    2. John Bailey


      Excessive amounts of hot air circulating from the offices.

    3. bugalugs

      @Sun, Pope etc. Mike 140

      Would that not be be " a sylvan environment " ?

      Unless bears climb trees to do number 2s.

  10. Tom Paine Silver badge

    Still with the denialist trolling :(

    This is an appalling piece of journalism; it completely misrepresents the paper. Sad.

  11. Anonymous Coward

    Ask the paper's author what it means...

    Quote: Haigh said the discovery could have far-reaching consequences. "If further studies find the same pattern over a longer period of time, [then] we may have overestimated the sun's role in warming the planet," she said.

  12. brale
    FAIL fails at reading comprehension

    You better read "Sun's role in warming the planet may be overestimated, study finds"

    If climate issues are being trumped as it is shown, what can we expect with IT issues from TheRegister?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      What it means is...

      ...that we can trust The Register to RTFA, and not be held captive by fringe groups.

      Simple, really.

    2. TeeCee Gold badge

      @Tom Paine

      " completely misrepresents the paper."

      You mean it actually *is* the Sizzling, Soaraway version that's responsible for GW and not that large, thermonuclear furnace the thick end of 100 million miles over thataway?

    3. Anonymous Coward


      Have you read the same paper I did ?

    4. Anonymous Coward


      Ban the Sun, better still, burn it.

  13. Blake St. Claire

    boffins working in London (and one in Colorado)

    This is nearly as good as using both imperial and metric measurements in the same sentence.

    One's a city, one's a state. I wonder how it would go over if, e.g. you'd written 'boffins in London and Wales...' Would your Welsh brethren have taken offense?

    In case anyone was wondering, it's Boulder, Colorado; and London, England, lest anyone confuse it with London, Ontario.

  14. Anonymous Coward

    The Gravy Train now leaving Platform 4...

    That's that, then. The scientists didn't know what they were talking about.

    Anyhows. Isn't Biodiversity the new Global Warming?

  15. oliversalmon

    Same report two conclusions

    Amazingly the Guardian reported the same in exactly the opposite manner

    What does the actual report say?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      London, England

      Oddly, most people will assume the capital city is being referred to.

      So nope, London and Paris don't need to mention which country they are in. Only Paris, Texas and London, Ontario do.

      1. heyrick Silver badge
        Paris Hilton

        London, England; Paris, France

        I know several Americans who say things like that. Maybe it is how they are taught it in geography and they think that these places are actually called that?

        Icon? Obvious. Paris, France... Paris, Texas... Paris, Hilton... Duh!

        Bootnote: Ever tried "paris hilton" in Just above the first link (David Letterman!?) is a space where you can enter a check-in date and choose how many nights you would like with her. Apparently she can be yours for a whole week.....

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Oh no it isn't

      We need large mirrors to direct the light to the poles where more mirrors will send it back out into space through the hole in the ozone layer. About 3 trillion dollars for research, development and a proof of concept will do, all raised from green taxes of course.

    3. Ben Bawden

      Or, more accurately

      Journalists don't know what they're talking about.

    4. Anonymous Coward


      That's 7 people who realise the GCMs have been invalidated.

      Gentlemen, seize your wallets - and hold on tight!

  16. fLaMePrOoF


    "Haigh thinks, however, that while recent temperature rises may well have been down to the Sun as much as anything humanity has done, over long periods of time solar warming probably has little effect on the Earth's temperature one way or the other, as solar activity cycles up and down regularly."

    I'm afraid "Haigh thinks" just doesn't cut it; data from many sources shows that the Sun doesn't just 'cycle up and down regularly', but that in addition to a fairly regular cycle it can and does swing to great extremes, causing for example the 'mini ice age' of the middle ages and equaly extreme hot periods.

    Furthermore, it has also been shown that the suns heating effect on the oceans and resulting changes in oceanic CO2 is displaced by several hundred years as such a vast heat sink takes so long to heat and cool, so the increase in oceanic CO2 today is the result of a heating period 300-400 years ago.

    The problem with all of these climate studies is that everyone thinks they have the golden goose and anyone reading the rresults with an agenda just picks the bits from here and there which tend to agree with their oparticular bias.

    It's about time ALL of the studies and ALL areas were brought together and the results STRICTLY interpreted within a full and complete context, something which sadly, (even in the dear old Reg), has yet to happen.


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