ShareThis Page

The 'settled' science of climate remains quite unsettled

| Sunday, July 21, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Global warming's “pause” over the past decade-plus is an inconvenient truth that blame-mankind, “settled science” climate cluckers struggle to explain. Here's another: Sunspot formation is weakening in ways reminiscent of conditions associated with a “little ice age” about 300 years ago.

The U.K.-based Global Warming Policy Foundation ( cites an Irish Times report on solar scientists' latest findings. Sunspot activity should be peaking in its regular 11-year cycle, averaging between 90 and 140 sunspots a month, but the actual figure is just 67.

Does that portend another “little ice age” like the one in the latter half of the 17th century and the early 18th century, when sunspot activity was even lower or nonexistent? Not necessarily.

In other media reports cited by the foundation, some scientists, citing unusually cold, snowy winters in 2009 and 2010 as evidence, say the Earth indeed is heading for a similar period of dramatic cooling — not warming. Other scientists say it's more likely that sunspot activity's current low levels are related to a known, less dramatic, century-long cycle.

Such disagreement shows that the science of Earth's climate and its relation to solar activity is anything but “settled” — and that the vastly powerful natural forces involved are poorly understood. Thus, it's sheer arrogance to single out human activity as any sort of climate culprit — and outright folly to base any public policy on such shaky evidence.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.