Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Global Cooling

I have been a skeptic of the whole global warming thing. Not so much a skeptic of whether the earth is getting warming. There seems to be a bit of evidence that things warmed up a tad during the 90's.

Rather, my skepticism concerns the causes (I doubt it's principally man-made), and the alleged disastrous results if the earth's temperature should rise a few degrees.

Al Gore, of course, has had no such doubts on either point. He is so convinced, that he is encouraging young people to engage in civil disobedience in the cause of global warming.

But is the earth really getting warmer?
Scientists involved in NASA's Ulysses project reported that the intensity of the sun's solar wind was at its lowest point since the beginning of the space age — one more indication that the sun, the biggest source of energy affecting the Earth, is getting quiet. The weaker solar wind appears to be due to changes in the sun's magnetic field, but the cause is unknown. Sunspots, which normally fluctuate in 11-year cycles, are at a virtual standstill. In August, the sun created no visible spots. The last time that happened: June 1913. The results of the Ulysses spacecraft's mission, according to Jet Propulsion Laboratory project scientist Ed Smith, show that "we are in a period of minimal activity that has stretched on longer than anyone anticipated." The consequences for Earth are enormous. The lack of increased activity could signal the start of what is known as a Maunder Minimum, an event that occurs every couple of centuries and can last as long as a century. It leads to extended periods of severe cooling such as what happened during the Little Ice Age. It may already be happening. The four major agencies tracking Earth's temperature, including NASA's Goddard Institute, report that the Earth cooled 0.7 degree Celsius in 2007, the fastest decline in the age of instrumentation, putting us back to where the Earth was in 1930. (See Investor's Business Daily).
If things should ever begin moving in the other direction it will probably be due to all the hot air coming from Al Gore.

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