“Solar Cycles” or Climate Denial?


Original appeared at johnenglander.net

“Solar Cycles” or Climate Denial?

John Englander
By John Englander and 02/24/21

Comments on my blog posts and social media bring up some very good questions, but also expose many “theories” and misinformation that defy basic scientific fact.

On LinkedIN there were a lot of positive comments to my last blog post, but also a few that actually disputed the established causes of global warming.

These particular commenters preferred to blame solar variations. Are natural solar variations really the cause of the warming?

Two of the phenomena most frequently pushed as minority theories to explain climate change, aka “global warming” are 11-year solar cycles and the Grand Solar Minimum, or GSM.

Both are real, but do not explain what is happening with climate. Pointing to them is a distraction from the critical problem the world now faces. Such sham science must be corrected and dismissed as it undermines the mainstream understanding of planetary warming and climate destabilization.

Climate deniers do not want to accept that the warming planet tracks with the long term increase in greenhouse gas levels. They grab onto obscure contrarian articles pushing theories such as solar cycles causing us to enter a new dramatic global cooling era, which will be catastrophic. [NOT TRUE.]

One of the best resources for climate change information and to separate fact from fiction is www.skepticalscience.com Their chart below clearly shows  that global average temperature (red) is warming despite a normal but modest cooling phase of incoming solar energy (blue).

Global Temperature Compared to Solar Energy Variation (www.skepticalscience.com)

There are several variations in solar energy that do affect Earth’s weather and temperature. The best documented one is the 11-year solar cycle, first described by Galileo in 1609. (FYI, there are also other repeating orbital patterns that result in the Ice Age cycles, but the timing of these are in the tens of thousands of years)

The Grand Solar Minimum has been observed over the centuries but is not predictable and not well understood, fertile ground for conspiracy theories.

The facts are clear: Despite entering the lower temperature phase of the eleven year cycle and possibly entering a grand solar minimum, global average temperature keeps rising – and accelerating.  As the 11 year-cycle turns to warming, as it will, temperature will increase even more.

As pointed out in another recent post here, even with the Covid-19 lockdowns and restricted travel, carbon dioxide levels are still increasing, just a little slower than pre-pandemic.

Skepticism is healthy. But just denying obvious scientific fact to distract people from deadly-serious threats needs to be called out.  Global warming and climate destabilization demand that we tackle the problem with full commitment and clarity.

Make no mistake, we are in an existential challenge. This is no time to sow and share contrarian confusion.