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!

    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. Kubla Cant

      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.

    3. 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 ;-)

    4. 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


        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.

    5. 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.

  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. 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.

    2. 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.

    3. 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).

  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.

    1. bugalugs

      @Sun, Pope etc. Mike 140

      Would that not be be " a sylvan environment " ?

      Unless bears climb trees to do number 2s.

  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.

    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

          Bravo, Charles...

          ... bravo indeed!

          <--- Have one on me

  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. John Bailey


      Excessive amounts of hot air circulating from the offices.

  10. Tom Paine

    Still with the denialist trolling :(

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

    1. 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?

    2. Anonymous Coward


      Have you read the same paper I did ?

    3. Anonymous Coward


      Ban the Sun, better still, burn it.

  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.

  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.

    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.....

  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?

    1. 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.

    2. Ben Bawden

      Or, more accurately

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

    3. Anonymous Coward


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

      Gentlemen, seize your wallets - and hold on tight!

  15. oliversalmon

    Same report two conclusions

    Amazingly the Guardian reported the same in exactly the opposite manner

    What does the actual report say?

  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.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      What we need is..

      ..some kind of International Panel on Climate Change who could bring together all of the available evidence in a unified way to come to a general consensus.

      Of course such a panel (lets call them the IPCC for brevities sake) would be distinctly separate and would be above petty politics and vested interests.

      Just so long as they dont bring in some of the utter bollocks in climate science such as that himalayan glaciers bullsh1t. ANy such nonsense would destroy the credibility of such an organisation. And for christs sake get someone in charge who knows what they are doing!


      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        "Of course such a panel (lets call them the IPCC for brevities sake) would be distinctly separate and would be above petty politics and vested interests."

        This made me laugh. It was also where your sarcasm epically failed, since the IPCC is firmly entrenched in the petty politics and vested interests of the greentards. The leaked emails of faking 95% of their data to match whatever they wanted it to say proves it pretty solidly.

  17. nemenator

    Warmists rejoice

    Then how come the BBC's Richard Black is claiming the Sun's influence has been overestimated?

    1. Eponymous Howard


      ...everybody who is reporting the paper accurately recognises that this is what it says, while the hit whoring denialists at El Reg are, well, hit whoring.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Because it depends on your belief at the start of writing the article, your agenda, the evidence and scientists you choose to cherry pick in support of your views.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Then how come the BBC's Richard Black is claiming"

      How come the Pope is claiming to be a Catholic?

      Black is an eco-warrior who runs seminars to ensure the rest of the BBC's news department turns out the same climate propaganda as he does.

    4. TeeCee Gold badge

      Re: Warmists rejoice

      I dunno. Maybe because, being a Beeb reporter, he has his tongue up the arse of some AGW evangelist?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        An intimate relationship

        Michael Mann is on speed dial.

  18. Bluenose

    Don't ya love politics and personal agendas

    For an alternative take on the research try the BBC ( they state that the sun had little to do with the warming and that the evidence does not detract from the impact "fact" that human activiy has had the greatest impact. Oh and don't read to much into the results.

    This article and the BBC show why climate science and those in favour of and against the human factor or even whether there is or isn't climate change are so discredited. How can two such variant views ever be reconciled reasonably to determine the truth. But then again there is never one truth.

    1. Nightkiller

      Sorry, there is only one truth

      There are, however, gazillions of interpretations based on incomplete knowledge and intellectual laziness. Please, let's get past this Post Modernist propaganda. It's a disease that's crippling us from the inside.

  19. John Murgatroyd


    "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.

    So we respectfully submit our application for a £4,000,000.00 grant for further research.

  20. David 18

    Burn the heretics

    Burn them all! How dare they embrace the possibility that there are other factors than the demon Fossil Fuel.

    1. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
      IT Angle


      there will be no heretic burnings here or anywhere else.

      It adds far too much CO2 to the atmosphere to be allowed

      Instead we're removing the central heating and windows from the homes of the heretics over the next 4 weeks and then lets nature have its way with them over the coming winter months............... come to think of it, removing central heating from everyone will reduce CO2 emissions!

      Ban central heating!

      Think of the enviroment!

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Good article

    Well done for not jumping in to some "this proves there's no anthropocentric global warming" bollocks.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      One AC to another

      It takes fare less than that to earn a "denialist" label... as the comments here clearly show.

      Merely stating the obvious, IMO at least, that there is the potential that something/anything other than GHG emissions - even other anthropogenic causes like UHI - contributing in any meaningful way to the increases in the temperature record would get you the eco-equivalent of burning at the stake if some wing-nuts had their way about it.

      I'd tend to say that most "non-CAGW-believers", speaking at least for myself, don't take issue with the concept of the greenhouse effect in general, or the idea that - all other things being equal! - increased GHG concentration should result in *some* increase in equilibrium temperature.

  22. not sure


    That is all

  23. Anonymous Coward

    A new low in reporting

    A slightly more accurate summary can be found here:

    "The effect is slight, but it could call into question our understanding of the sun's subtle effects on climate. Or could it? ..."

    Note: "the effect is slight" - warming by about 0.05 °C in the current minimum - rather than "much .. actually caused by sun".

    1. Anonymous Coward

      A new low in misquoting?

      ...or maybe it was just an unfortunate and completely unintended accident that you fail to mention the categorization of the effect as "slight" was the result of GCM analysis and, as such, at least somewhat questionable.

      Unless of course, you feel the GCMs are reliable enough to be considered authoritative for analyzing new phenomenon.

  24. Ku...

    I actually used to work in this field of research

    20 years ago we were mapping global temperatures against solar activity. There is a period called the Maunder Minimum which was the lowest solar activity recorded. The Thames froze every year during this period.

    Now that said, increased solar activity means additional heat input into the system, but "greenhouse" gasses can cause more of that heat to be retained which amplifies the effect of the additional heat from the sun.

    If we had a period of very low solar activity we may welcome the greenhouse effect! However there is a real risk of damage to ecosystems in the mean time due to high temperature effects.

    Remember that solar activity is cyclical.

    Climate science is hard and there are no easy answers to explain all the effects away in one go. Also too much politics in it.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "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?"

    Oh get over yourself.

  26. Graham Marsden

    Once again...

    ... amidst all the "Hah! We were right all along!" gloating from both sides I put in a bid for us simply trying to use the available energy resources *more efficiently* thus reducing emissions of greenhouse gasses/ soot/ other pollutants and extending the lifespan of limited fossil fuel supplies whilst we try to find viable alternatives.

    But I doubt anyone will pay attention as usual.

    1. Intractable Potsherd
      Thumb Up

      I'm paying attention, Graham ...

      ... because I agree (and have agreed with you) on this before. Moving our energy-use to more efficient, cheaper, more sustainable means is worth it for its own sake.

  27. sli
    Thumb Down

    And for an article that suggests the complete opposite...

    see the ft...

    "If further studies find the same pattern over a longer period, this could suggest we may have overestimated the sun’s role in warming the planet, rather than underestimating it"

    I'm often appalled by the stance the register's obiviously biased stance on global warming. Lewis I don't know what qualifies you to make such profound statements... Certainly nothing I know about you.

    This is an IT site.

  28. Andrew the Invertebrate

    Journo, not in the gutter, but drilling for the centre of the Earth

    Scientist says :

    "We cannot jump to any conclusions based on what we have found during this comparatively short period "

    "If the climate were affected in the long term, the Sun should have produced a notable cooling in the first half of the twentieth century, which we know it didn't,"

    "It does require verification, but our findings could be too important to not publish them now,"

    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.

    Journo with axe to grind says :

    All that can be said with any certainty is that through 2004-2007, the Sun warmed the planet much more powerfully than had been thought.

    Much of recent global warming actually caused by Sun.

    Lewis stop writing anything about climatology, as you just embaress yourself every time you do

    1. Sir Runcible Spoon


      As I think has already been mentioned somewhere above..

      "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."

      is a very unscientific statement. What if we removed the warming effect of the Sun completely - can we therefore expect 'little effect' in the temperature of the Earth?

      Not a dig at you, just getting fed up of all the blithering 'statement'. I'd like to see a nice graph - pictures or it didn't happen :)

      1. Chemist

        Re : Sir → #

        Unfortunately the experiment you ask for should really be to replace the sun with something similar that has a constant output and then see what all the shenanigans on Earth does to the temp/climate etc

        It's not coming out of my research budget by the way !!!

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Look at the science, not the soundbites

      Which part of "the models are wrong" don't you understand.

      I'll repeat that: the research invalidates today's GCMs. I don't really care what the researchers say, but what they're research shows.

      You chose your user name well, it seems Mr L'Invertebrate. If you had a bit spinal chord, like us mammals, you would be able to think for yourself.

      1. Andrew the Invertebrate

        Irony, yes we've heard of it

        Oh I agree that no-one knows exactly what's going on, and the science is far from "settled".

        But crappy pieces of so called journalism where the article contains any number of contradictions and distortions really don't help. So Lewis should just shut up about climate change and go back to writing his twice weekly piece about how the world would be so much better if the MoD just bought all thier kit from the yanks.

        Also two minor points :

        1 - being called spinless by someone hiding behind the A\C is a little rich.

        2 - and the Invertabrate moniker is in "honour" of someone who used to be seen round these parts, but took his ball home some time ago.

  29. Bodincus

    Sun activity NOT changing, just "swinging" up and down?

    From the point of view of a total ignorant, it appears that the Sun is not changing intensity of the output, but simply changing up and down in the spectrum of rays it emits.

    At a period of higher activity, the light spectrum shifts up, to the blue side of the spectrum, and during lower activity shifts back to the lower part of the spectrum, towards red.

    As our atmosphere filters out the rays in the upper, blue range of the spectrum (that's why our sky is blue), when the energy of the sun is emitted more in that range, we overall get less energy, so the climate is cooler.

    When the spectrum concentrates on red instead, there's less filtering done, and more energy hits the surface of the planet, thus more heat.

    It happens the same with an electrical bulb, when the current intensity (energy) is low the light emitted from the burning filament is reddish, and becomes whiter and whiter (to our untrained eye) when the current intensity grows.

    Also, we physically perceive more heat from a red flame than from a blue flame, try that empirically.

    Light a candle and put the palm of your hand at one side of the flame at a safe distance.

    Now turn on a gas flame (e.g your kitchen hob) and do the same as above.

    Which flame do you perceive as hotter, obviously proportionally to the size of the flame?

    You got it. Now go ask for more funding.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    The climate will change regardless of the actions of humans, I've always seen the problem as being that of the rampant and unchecked growth in human population figures.

    Sadly, it's easier to talk about reducing carbon emissions than to broach the thorny issue of too many humans on the planet. You can reduce and reduce the amount of CO2, but if you're increasing the numbers of people you're simply adding more upwards pressure. That's without getting into the issue of feeding all of those hungry mouths.

    Sadly, there's only a few solutions to that problem that don't involve an Illuminati-esk genocide.

    1) Begin to reclaim space under the Earth and use that for living while the surface is returned to a natural state and specific areas marked out for food production.

    2) Institute technology that actively inhibits reproduction, you then grant everyone a window of 2 or 3 years in which to reproduce within a 50 year time frame. Miss out on that window, tough luck.

    3) begin mass space based colonies to act as an overflow and peg Earth population at about 1billion people, give of take a few hundred million. Those in space will spend their time exploring for resources, producing food and energy and conducting scientific research.

    Either way, we're staring over the precipice of human civilisation as we know it. Whether we find a bloodless way around this population issue or we push the envelope of our extinction. Kinda glad I won't live to see the real suffering.

    1. Sir Runcible Spoon


      You missed one off your list..

      pre-1) Establish world peace and a single world government to manage the funding and control of all the other bits you want

      Personally I'm hoping we all go out with a bang rather than be slowly cooked.

    2. Nick Collingridge

      We CAN cope with parallel issues

      Why do they have to be either/ors? That's just silly. Both of these issues are crucial and no-one that I am aware of is saying the population issue is not a problem and that we only have to fix carbon emissions.

      The problem is that reducing the population is politically MUCH harder than all of us using energy less wastefully. Unless you want to station cops in everyone's bedrooms so they don't get up to any population-increasing activities without having some protection in place?

      No, the answer is to pursue both in parallel but we should be able to get more immediate traction on the carbon issue as long as we don't all continue to act like particularly stupid lemmings.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        Did you bother to read my post or did you just skim it? I never said we shouldn't do both, you jumped to that conclusion yourself. I was pointing what the root issue was. Plus, I did say that dealing with the population issue is much harder than improving our energy efficiency, I'm also saying that reducing our energy footprints is a bit like using a bilge pump on a river - you can empty it all you want, but that water is still gonna come rolling along.

        I guess I should have worded things a bit better tho, since I do think that reducing our pollution, environmental destruction and energy consumption are good things(tm)... it's just not a longterm solution to the issue of too much pollution and too much energy consumption if the population is just gonna continue to grow. And that's a point many will jump through hoops to distract away from.

        It's as with everything we do, when you increase capacity, demand will grow swallow it up.

        Of course, nature will eventually put a boot to that issue on its own... it's whether there'll be much left of anything by the time that comes along.

  31. Bryce 2

    Read the news release from Imperial College

    And you can see where the guardian et al take the "overestimating" out of context.

    From what I can tell, El Reg has it correctly written here.

    Here's the news release at Imperial:

    1. Tim Parker
      Thumb Down


      The Guardian

      'While they only have three years of satellite data so far, 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.'

      The press release

      "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, and the patterns that we have uncovered, on longer timescales. However, if further studies find the same pattern over a longer period of time, this could suggest that we may have overestimated the Sun's role in warming the planet, rather than underestimating it."


      .. The Guardian, and other reports i've read, have not stated there is anything unequivocal about the *possibility* of over-estimation, in general they seem to have reported it reasonably fairly and/or completely. What is your point ?

  32. Andy 18


    Please get yourself a science reporter with an O level in something other than hyperbole or stop reporting on it.

    1. Intractable Potsherd


      ... if you know you aren't going to like it, don't read it!

  33. AlistairJ

    Whether you read it one way or the other

    You have to accept that climate change is a continuous process that's been going on as long as the Earth has had an atmosphere.

    Man-made global warming caused by fossil fuels has yet to be proven.

    1. Nick Collingridge

      The science is sound

      I don't think you can have really looked into the science, which rather invalidates your assertion here. The physics of the greenhouse effect is pretty incontrovertible - it's physics after all, even if some of it is quite complex. No-one has disproved it, however much they've tried.

      The only thing that is really in question is exactly what is likely to happen in the future, and the worrying thing is that it seems like it is more likely to be worse than projections so far than better.

      The frustrating thing to truth-seekers is the pathetic dissembling that goes on all the time, and the sheep out there who don't want Human-caused climate change to be true just lap it all up without questioning it or looking into things in any depth at all.

  34. Anonymous Coward

    jumping to conclusions

    So the author of the paper says :

    "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"

    Then the author of this article immediately jumps to a conclusion.


  35. Ben M

    back to the drawing board...

    When you drill down on catastrophic AGW arguments, there are several crucial but highly suspect assumptions. One is called "attribution". Why did the 20th century warm up as much as it did?

    And even the high priests of AGW will say that CO2 is the culprit BECAUSE THEY DON'T KNOW WHAT ELSE IT COULD HAVE BEEN... Well, chaps. Back to the drawing board. Call me when you have perfect knowledge of the way everything works in our universe. Then you can blame CO2 by elimination.

  36. Efros


    Just the thought of all the tree huggers choking on the muesli as they read their morning news on their iPads.

    1. Nick Collingridge

      Just why would they choke on their muesli?

      This doesn't change anything at all if you actually tried to understand it rather than just soak up the incredibly ignorant twist the contrarians are trying to apply. Come on, people, why not just TRY a little bit? If this does turn out to be valid (and everyone is admitting it's much too early to know) then it would reinforce the position that AGW were true, not defeat it. This is a fantastic example of how ignorant the contrarians are and they've really shot themselves in the foot over it by trying to claim that it supports their views.

  37. Anonymous Coward

    a blog post for people who don't understand science

    And anyway, even if you think climate change is something made up by every scientist on the planet, do you still think it's a good idea to just rape the planets resources, throw as much pollution as possible into the atmosphere, and destroy as many species of wildlife as possible in our never-ending race to be the biggest arseholes ever to walk the earth?

    Just asking yeah?

    1. Nexox Enigma


      """And anyway, even if you think climate change is something made up by every scientist on the planet, do you still think it's a good idea to just rape the planets resources, throw as much pollution as possible into the atmosphere, and destroy as many species of wildlife as possible in our never-ending race to be the biggest arseholes ever to walk the earth?"""

      Oh right, there's no middle ground between $green_fad and planet raping. Good thing you eliminated any possibility to both A) Not trust every scientist and B) Not rape the planet at the same time.

      I'll go ahead and make my own decisions, factoring in any conflicts of interest that might motivate research and the researchers behind it. I'm reasonably sure that doesn't automatically mean I partake in planet raping on a regular basis.

      But damn, your description sounds like fun, so I may have to pencil some in for this weekend - I wonder how much pollution I could get my hands on this short notice...

  38. The Other Steve

    Oh honestly, extinction would be a blessing

    The climate changes, it is not and never has been stable. It's entirely likely that human activity has some impact on the climate, if only because we're so fond of burning shit. But we don't know exactly how much, because planetary ecosystems are bloody complicated and we don't really understand them yet. But we're working on it.

    We think CO2 might be a problem so we'd like to reduce it. Most likely we can't because the developing world would quite like to live inside, have nice hygienic hospitals, and drive cars. Just like us. And who's going to stop them ?

    Long term we can probably do something about our emissions - if we still think that's a problem when we understand better - because efficiency generally equals a reduction in cost, and we're smart. We'll also eventually run out of shit to burn, so this is desirable in any case.

    Short term we probably have to display some adaptability, the trait for which us bald apes are most renowned.

    That's fucking it, that's all of it, and yet somehow we have managed to fracture off into warring factions 'warmists', 'denialists', 'alarmists' and what the hell ever else, and are currently engaged in such a bitter internecine quarrel that the actual facts and the actual science have disappeared under a humongous pile of ill informed bullshit.

    And the really sad thing is a good proportion of the people involved in this monumental and pointless bitch fight are the fucking climate scientists themselves.

    No wonder the other thing apes are well known for is flinging poop at each other.

    Bring on the extinction level event, this shit is getting old.

    1. Stevie


      But the point about the debate is: If no-one actually gets off their arse and does something to look into the issue, should it turn out that yes indeed those Carbon Emissions are a problem we'll get the confirmation by boiling to death.

      My experience has been that the key trait for which "we bald apes" seem to be adapted is to pretend nothing is happening until it hits us in the face, then howl loudly about how no-one (else) was doing anything to warn everyone of the danger.

      I don't know whether or not industrial activity is a climate killer (although my first hand observation of the Athabasca Glacier leads me to suspect it isn't as benign as some would like to pretend it is), but anecdotal evidence from the UK in the period following WWII suggests that if you don't keep an active eye on things the atmosphere can turn out to be a tad more fragile (at least as far as being people-friendly) than anyone's "common sense" would suggest, and that expecting industry to "self regulate" is akin to placing your wallet on a table in a pub with a "full of money please don't steal" sticker on it and going for a pee. The end result will be disappointment when you get round to checking on things in both cases.

      Another trait said Bald Apes have is not wanting any pessimistic message to hang around too long, even if it hasn't been properly addressed by anyone. You already covered that though. The desire on all sides to reduce the issues to sound bites and catch phrases stems from that.

      I blame Al Gore. If he hadn't invented the internet, none of those e-mails from UEA would have been written.

  39. Maty

    It's a big solar system

    If the sun is responsible for global warming, then it has not just warmed the earth. Surely it's been possible to check the thermal signatures of other planets for a while?

    So if Mars and Venus are heating up, its not human activity. If those planets are as cold or hot as before, then its us not the sun.

    1. Anonymous Coward


      ...some little while ago that there is evidence suggesting that Mars has heated to the same degree as the earth over the same period.

      However I am not sure of that and cannot quote the reference.

      I also seem to recall that it was immediately dissmissed by those promoting AGW as bad science because we only had a few random bits of data as the temperature was not recorded over time. Again I have no idea of where I read that but the arguement sounds horribly similar to what is going on here.

      Basically we haven't got a clue but some slim logic suggests we may be screwing up the only place we have to live and that may not be a very good idea and perhaps we should seriously look at all aspects of human activity. Especially breeding.

  40. Mike Bell
    Paris Hilton

    The Sharon Osbourne Effect

    It is surely no coincidence that Sharon Osbourne made 64 appearances on the X Factor in that very same period (2004 - 2007).

    Do I get a grant to follow up this line of research?

    Paris - Celebrity Causes Climate Change

  41. The Fuzzy Wotnot


    I thought this was something to do with Larry Ellison opening his huge orifice and spouting more BS, I mean all that hot air as to go somewhere....

  42. Dino

    Le titleless

    "Much of recent global warming actually caused by Sun"

    Darn I thought it was from Daily Mail...

  43. Stevie


    Sun is "Oracle" now! Keep up!

  44. brale

    Retract the article!

    Please retract the article. It is epic fail, as if theregister is the same thing with Daily Fail.

  45. DrBruce

    And there is global dimming from aerosol particular pollutants

    There is also the phenomenon of "global dimming" to consider where aerosol pollutants kept aloft in the stratosphere have caused a diminishing of sunlight reaching the surface of the Earth as shown by long term observations of water evaporating in standardized pans located around the Earth for years of the study. This influence, more notable over industrialized countries, offsets all the global warming by all sources and so reduces global warming. Were these sources of particulate pollution reduced, that could increase global warming. In effect, making the air cleaner could, at least for a while, accelerate warming. The sources for much of this pollution comes from factory industrial fly ash and airplanes spewing exhaust gases. It is much like volcanic ash that can remain aloft for a long time and affect climate significantly, though the pollution other than volcanic ash is difficult to measure.

  46. Jim Birch

    Read the paper

    Anyone who imagines that this paper is some kind of substantive rebuttal of global warming should actually go read it. The paper basically suggests that some of the ideas about the effect of insolation may need tweaking but that's all folks. That is, of course, if you don't believe that global warming is a complete fiction invented by thousands of so-called scientists who despite years of study really haven't got any clue at all and are just saying whatever they need to so that can get their grubby fingers on those lucrative research grants. They probably communicate with secret handshakes too.

    1. Nick Collingridge

      Examination of motives needed

      Quite right.

      Now look, folks, we are meant to be intelligent beings capable of RATIONAL thought. I suggest that anyone of a contrarian bent steps back for just a few seconds and thinks long and hard about their underlying motives for their view. Are you honestly trying to approach the issue from a purely objective perspective, putting any love of consumption or political views on one side, or do you have some personal reason for holding your views?

      On top of this, how deeply have you actually looked into the science? Do you thoroughly understand the physics of the greenhouse effect? Have you read the IPC reports rather than just swallowed what the Telegraph says about them? Do you appreciate that the "climategate" emails do not change the science that has been conducted around the world, and that the few trivial errors in the IPC reports do not invalidate the vast bulk of their content? To claim otherwise is

      Scepticism is an important part of science, but outright rejection of thorough science on the basis of "I don't want it to be true" is not the same thing at all. When you actually look into the science from as objective a position as you can manage it is impossible to dismiss the weight of the internally-consistent analysis and physical evidence all pointing to the fact that our actions are causing the climate to change, with results that are currently impossible to accurately predict.

      But the fact that we cannot predict the future does not mean that we don't know enough to know that we should be very concerned indeed. There is much that never gets through to the public - an example of this is what Phenology (the study of plant and animal life cycles) is telling us about how wildlife is getting royally screwed up by the effect that the fast-changing timing of the seasons is having on the food-chain. And we know that in the past the world has "snapped" between steady states but we can't know (because we have never lived through such a change) what it takes to trigger such a change.

      We really are like children playing with a grenade which may or may not be live, and not knowing when the pin might fall out as we kick it around.

      1. Intractable Potsherd

        Yes, Nick...

        ... I have. I am sure that it is not any particular personal opinion of mine. I am damned sure that I want human progress to continue. I am damned sure that I would rather have a warmer, than a colder, planet to live on. I do understand the greenhouse effect, and get so frustrated at how people seem to be so sure that we need to preserve the levels at what they are now, because it is when we started looking at it, and not at how much more biodiverse the planet has been at significantly higher levels/average temperatures. I have also looked at the graphs, and noted that there is very little evidence for significant warming, and the trend seems to be towards cooling. I have looked at the alleged shrinking of the icesheets, and find no evidence - to the contrary, the ice seems to be growing.

        Now, someone is still going to come along and call me a "denier", as if that was a bad thing. There is no fixed science on this, there still needs to be a lot of work done on our understanding of climate, but we that doesn't alter the fact that we should be moving from an oil-based economy as quickly as possible. However, all the crap about AGW stunts, not encourages, the necessary research.

        Does that answer your question?

      2. The Other Steve

        Examination of motives needed

        "I suggest that anyone of a contrarian bent steps back for just a few seconds and thinks long and hard about their underlying motives for their view. Are you honestly trying to approach the issue from a purely objective perspective"

        One might equally ask the question of - oh FFS I can't be having with this factional bullshit - anyone who is not a 'contrarian*' the exact same question. And in a large majority of cases, the answer, if given honestly, will be _exactly_ the same.

        And this : "Have you read the IPC reports rather than just swallowed what the Telegraph says about them? "

        Could just as easily say : "Have you read the IPC reports rather than just swallowed what the Guardian says about them? "

        And what you've managed to do there, Nick, you utter prat, is to categorise anyone who doesn't share exactly your view is an ignorant tory, thereby allowing you to completely disregard their opinion. You fucktard.

        1. Nick Collingridge

          Calm down...

          Most amusing, The Other Steve, such anger! Do you really think it increases the credibility of your argument? Aggression is generally the recourse of the ignorant, and calling people names like utter prat and fucktard does not advance rational debate but is simply the approach of a bully. And bullies are not known for their rationality.

          To do you the courtesy of a measured response to your unhinged questioning, firstly the answer to my question redirected at me is that like most people I don't want to have to change my lifestyle. The only reason that I am prepared to do so is that I have put a lot of time and effort into understanding the science and the research that has been done and I have become reluctantly convinced that there really is something very worrying happening.

          It is tempting to me as to others to simply dismiss it all with assertions that it is all an invention of a vast number of dishonest scientists funded by dishonest governments and research bodies throughout the world, but I just don't believe that is credible. Particularly because the basic physics is not in question.

          I can't respond to your assertion that I have just swallowed the Guardian's views of the IPCC reports because that is not what I have done.

          You obviously feel that I am an utter prat because I find the science compelling. I can't see that can be defended as rational unless we are leaving the rational world for one of blind belief - you have not presented any rational defence of your views other than to say you don't agree with me.

          And in no way did I say anything about anyone being an ignorant Tory, unless you equate reading the Telegraph with being an ignorant Tory - which is not an assertion that I made.

          I suggest you go and make yourself a nice cup of tea and relax before you post again.

  47. aelfheld

    But, but,

    there's a consensus!

  48. Some Beggar

    So to summarise this article


  49. danbobs

    Bogus interpretation attracts heat

    You're attracting heat on this one now.

    How long can we turn a blind eye to the editorial bias el Reg regularly demonstrates on this subject?

    It's currently at the status of "FAIL". Let's not turn it into an "EPICFAIL" eh?

  50. akicif

    Oi! Lewis, learn to read!

    Clearly you never read the original paper:

  51. Duncan Hothersall
    Dead Vulture


    has El Reg become an outlet for climate change denial? Did you just stop editing the fucking site, or are you just giving up all pretensions of passing on honest information in favour of whipping up clicks with garbage science?

    Lewis should stick to writing stories on military toys, which he knows about, and stop indulging his anti-climate-change paranoia.

    1. Intractable Potsherd


      ... there are two points of view. The science is far from settled. There are data pointing towards a colder, not a warmer, global climate, at least for the next few decades. That Lewis is willing to print stories that run counter to the accepted wisdom is a good thing, not a bad one.

      It is entirely possible for two people to rad the same thing, and come up with differing conclusions. Scientists have been known to be cautious in their summaries in order to get papers published. There is garbage science on both sides - being critical does no-one any harm, and only advances the discussion.

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