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Sunspots of the Twentieth Century

Mean Temperatures

Sunspots and Earth's Temperature

Posted on July 05,2010

Like most everyone, I just accepted that the reason for the increase in the Earth’s temperature was due to an overload of CO2 in the atmosphere. The ‘greenhouse effect’ was making the Earth hotter and unless we curbed our use of fossil fuels, the Arctic and the ice and glaciers on the land mass would all melt and flood the low-lying areas of the world.

The human created global warming is called ‘anthropogenic’ global warming. Well, there are certain events that have caused me to change my mind about our impending CO2 Earth warming disaster. At this point I want to acknowledge that the Earth has been warming, but other causes have got to be considered.

Sometime back (not sure how long ago) I got these pimple-like sores around my nose. The dermatologist explained to me that those little sores were none other than basal-cell cancers. Further, I learned that my skin cancers were the result of a lifetime of lengthy exposures to the sun. After several treatments the cancers were removed, but it started my thinking about the Sun and how sunburn and tanning were accepted as healthy when I was growing up.

None of my aunts, uncles, father, mother, or any of the other older people that were a part of my world growing up had developed skin cancers (that I am aware of), so why are skin cancers so common today. There had to be a common thread so I started looking for answers.

There is a wealth of information and data on the internet about the Sun and solar radiation. There are also many opinion blogs that express one opinion or the other. Some of the blogs are just opinion, while others refer you to other sites that bolster whatever opinion they have. Most opinion blogs like to refer to the experts or cherry pick data and build an opinion on the cherry picked data.

With the exception of a comment or two, the material presented here is data from the 20th century and I will leave it to you to make the determination about the increase in Earth’s temperature. We will start with a look at the sunspot activity from 1900 with cycle 14. Solar flux (radiation) received on Earth varies in amplitude with the number of sunspots. Meaning, the Earth receives more flux during periods of high solar activity. Higher solar flux results in more heat for the Earth. If you are interested in more detail than I am presenting, I recommend that you do your own research about solar heating. But I caution you to stay away from the blogs, as most blogs (not all) are agenda oriented and may give wrong impressions about solar heating and global warming. Try to stay with the data – without all of the opinion that goes with it and draw your own conclusions.

Sunspot Data from:

Cycle 14

Solar cycle 14 started in 1902 and continued until 1913. As you can see, the solar activity was very low and represented the coldest mean temperatures of the twentieth century. See graph of mean temperatures below.

Cycle 16

Solar cycle 16 is my best guess for the start of Earth’s warming period. Cycle 16 had a sustained active period above the smoothed sunspot number of 60 from 1926 until 1930 whereas cycle 14 never peaked above a smoothed sunspot number of 65. Again I refer you to the mean temperature chart lower down on the page.

Cycle 17

Solar cycle 17: The 1936 North American heat wave was the most severe heat wave in the modern history of North America. Source: 1936 North American heat wave solar cycle 17 was one of the first solar cycles of the twentieth century to have such an active Sun. The smoothed sunspot number doubled that of solar cycle 14. The smooth sunspot number stayed above 60 from 1936 until 1940.

Cycle 18

Solar cycle 18 continued the upward activity of cycle 17. Cycle 18 had a smoothed sunspot number above 60 from 1946 until 1951 and the maximum was 2.3 times higher than the smoothed SSN of cycle 14. Compare each cycle to the mean temperature chart lower down.

Cycle 19

Solar Cycle 19 continued its assault on the Earth with a smoothed sunspot number above 60 from 1955 to 1961. The smoothed sunspot number soared to 3 times that of the smoothed sunspot number of cycle 14.

Cycle 20

Solar cycle 20 was a bit milder but still held a smoothed sunspot number above 60 from 1966 until 1972. The maximum smoothed number was 1.7 times that of cycle 14.

Cycle 21

Solar cycle 21 continued radiating the Earth with high flux values with a smoothed sunspot number above 60 from 1977 until 1983. The maximum smoothed SSN in cycle 21 was 2.5 times that of cycle 14.

Cycle 22-23

Solar cycles 22 and 23 are shown side by side.
Cycle 22 held above the smoothed sunspot number of 60 from 1987 until 1993. The maximum smoothed SSN was 2.46 times greater than that of solar cycle 14.
Solar cycle 23 is obviously lesser in magnitude and may be signaling an end to to a century of high solar activity. Cycle 23 held above a smoothed sunspot number of 60 from 1998 until 2003. The maximum smoothed sunspot number was still high and was 1.8 times more than cycle 14.

Mean Temperatures

The mean global temperature chart is from NOAA, the recognized official source and keeper of such information in the USA. I added the solar cycles in green for the benefit of comparing them to the mean global temperatures.

There is no doubt that the Sun has been assaulting the Earth for the last century with high radiation.

This Presentation

This Presentation: The reason I put this presentation together was to make you aware that the Sun radically increased its output during the twentieth century. Man is not responsible for this assault from the Sun. The global warming alarmists have made CO2 out to be the bad guy. – While CO2 may be a minor contributor, whatever CO2 is contributing is dwarfed by the the activity coming from the Sun. Solar flux from the Sun in the twentieth century was 3 and sometimes 4 times the values of past centuries.

Currently: Recent solar activity has been unusually low. We may be entering a period of low solar activity which will have climate implications for us.

It will take several more years of low solar output for the mean temeratures to retreat. The big difference maker is the world’s oceans. Our oceans make up at least two-thirds of the Earth’s surface and act as a buffer that prevents radical swings in global mean temperatures.

For instance, it took over 70 years of intense solar activity to get a one degree increase in the mean temperature. It is only my opinion, but my gut tells me that cooling the oceans with a less active Sun will also take time – maybe several years. Our oceans also draw heat from the thermal subsurface of the Earth's fissures and sub-sea volcanoes. CO2 may play a part but probably a minor part in the grand scheme of things.

Speaking of CO2 The oceans also play a major role in the amount of CO2 that gets distributed into the atmosphere. A warmer ocean surrenders CO2 while a colder Ocean absorbs CO2. The oceans of the world are responsible for most of the atmospheric CO2 levels. Ocean activity dwarfs the amounts of CO2 in and out of the atmosphere compared to that of human activity.

We need alternate fuel sources. But coming up with a good solution to the polluting fossil fuels is not going to be easy. I have put together a little information concerning the fuels that we use and how they affect and impact on our way of life and the prospects for a cleaner greener Earth.

Fossil Fuels: No one will be happier than me to see alternate energy sources developed. Not from the global warming perspective, but from the viewpoint of the pollution that is a by-product from burning these fuels. But for now, every alternative fuel that we are counting on has unsavory qualities or are limited due to location and available resource.

Wind: Limited to the mid-plains and offshore (Wind dependability). Wind will help but cannot supply a large percentage of our power requirements. A new distribution grid will need to be developed to transport the wind energy from the windmills to the bulk of the energy consumers.

Nuclear: Probably a leading contender for the supply of electrical energy. But the nuclear option brings back into focus the questions about nuclear waste and heating of the river and lake waters that they use for cooling and emergencies. Add the ten plus years it will take to add nuclear power to the national grids, we need to start the approval process now for it to be an effective alternative. A bloated bureaucracy is to blame for most of the delays.

Palm-nut Oil, Corn and other Vegetation: Palm-nuts have proved to be devastating to the rain forest in the equatorial countries involved in producing palm-nuts. These countries have been clearing the rainforest for raising palm-nuts. Besides, the fuel derived from palm-nuts, corn, and other plants is not a very big improvement in combating pollution.

Corn is in direct competition with the food chain. The same lands we use too produce groceries can also be used for the production of ethanol – and yields a better return on the investment for the farmers. Growing fuel may be too high of a price to ever be anything except a marginal player in the energy scheme of things.

Remember, any land capable of growing fuel crops is potentially a piece of land that could be used for growing food.

Batteries: At the present, lithium batteries are the most mentioned type of battery for power. We might be OK with the amount of lithium we are currently using, but if lithium ever becomes mainstream, there is a potential ecological nightmare awaiting us. The drilling, water pollution, and large concentration ponds necessary for the production of lithium on a large scale will not be tolerated. Lithium itself is considered a trace element on Earth. Our most productive deposits of lithium produce very small quantities of the stuff per ton of dissolved effluent from a lithium producing well. Lithium is not found in areas that we can just discard, no – it is found in some of our most pristine areas. Ancient lake beds are a prime source for lithium deposits. As we increase our needs for lithium, the call from environmentalists will only get shriller as the word gets out how environmentally destructive it is to produce lithium.

Natural Gas: Gas is an option that pollutes less than burning gasoline. However, like all LP fuels, placing millions of pressurized and potentially explosive tanks on our cars and trucks will present a danger that will be hard to overcome. Plus natural gas is not as thermally efficient as gasoline or diesel.

Hydrogen and Fuel Cells: Fuel cells and burning hydrogen have water and water vapor as a by-product. The negatives against using these sources for fuel are many. First is the minor annoyance of millions of vehicles constantly dribbling water on the roads. It may not be anything but an annoyance, but having perennially wet streets may bring both biological hazards as well as adding to the most potent greenhouse gas that we have – water vapor.

Being Negative: I hope you get the idea. There is no panacea to our energy problems. All of the above have positives as well as negatives. I would like to see a solution from our scientists. They managed to overcome the problem of lead in our gasoline, and just maybe if they stay at it, they can deliver a clean burning gasoline. There are other proposals such as nuclear fusion, but they are years away from bearing fruit. The immediate future looks Like we are going to need fossil fuels until an alternative is found that will meet our needs.

A Tree will help. If you are really concerned about anthropogenic global warming, plant a tree – it will make you feel better and you won’t be screwing things up for the rest of us.

"A good listener is not only popular everywhere, but after a while he gets to know something."
-Wilson Mizner



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Here is another article by Robert about Sun Activity.

Coming Ice Age---Solar radiation plays more of a part in climate change than the rise in CO2. Empirical data points more to global cooling than warming.