Professor's Warning Of "Global Cooling" May Have Merit
By James Donahue
Of all the papers issued by scientists and weather specialists these days
refuting the concept of global warming as a threat to mankind, a piece by Canadian geoscientist R. Timothy Patterson, a professor
at Carleton University, offers an interesting, but incomplete argument.
Writing for the Financial Post, Patterson claims that research on
tree rings, muddy ocean floors, glaciers and even ancient lake and river water lines indicate that the Earth has gone through
numerous cycles of heating and cooling. He believes there have been times in the past when this planet has been hotter than
it is today.
Rather than blame the build-up of carbon dioxide and other emissions from
the burning of carbon fuels for the current warming period, Patterson argues that the sun is the real culprit, and has been
From his own research in sediment, in which he searched diatom and fish-scale
records, he notes that there were "longer period cycles all correlating closely with other well-known regular solar variations.
In particular, we see marine productivity cycles that match well with the sun's 75-100-year Gleissberg Cycle, the 200-500-year
Suess Cycle and the 1,100-1,500-year Bond Cycle."
Patterson wrote that the variation in the sun's brightness over these longer
cycles appear to have had a major impact on marine productivity. He said his tests, as well as "hundreds of other studies"
show exactly the same thing: "The sun appears to drive climate change."
Patterson admits, however, that the explanation for climate change is not
as simple as merely examining the brightness of the sun, or the energy produced by sun storms. "Despite this clear and repeated
correlation, the measured variations in incoming solar energy were, on their own, not sufficient to cause the climate changes
we have observed in our proxies. . . Even though the sun is brighter now than at any time in the past 8,000 years, the increase
in direct solar imput is not calculated to be sufficient to cause the past century's modest warming on its own. There had
to be an amplifier of some sort for the sun to be a primary driver of climate change."
In the course of their studies, scientists have discovered that as the output
of the sun varies, so does its protective solar wind. Its reduction allows varying amounts of galactic cosmic rays from deep
space to penetrate the Earth's atmosphere. This, in turn, causes more cloud formation, which causes a cooling effect. Stronger
solar winds reduce the protective cloud cover causing the Earth to warm.
Patterson warns that extreme changes in solar activity have been a primary
cause of the Earth Ice Ages, and that it may happen again.
He devotes almost no credence to the argument that carbon dioxide contaminates
in our atmosphere are causing the planet to warm. Instead, Patterson writes that "CO2 variations show little correlation with
our planet's climate on long, medium and even short time scales."
He writes that a 2003 poll conducted by German environmental researchers
indicated that two-thirds of more than 530 climate scientists from 27 countries did not believe the "current state of scientific
knowledge is developed well enough to allow for a reasonable assessment of the effects of greenhouse gases."
Patterson argues that the study of the planet's climate and how it is effected
by solar and human activity is still in its infancy, and that it is just too early to determine if human activity is the real
cause of the current warming trend.
In fact, he warns that if the sun follows its normal cycle, by 2020 it will
be starting into its weakest Schwabe solar cycle of the past two centuries, and very likely bringing unusually cool conditions
on Earth. He warns that instead of preparing to deal with global warming, we really should be thinking seriously about how
to handle global cooling.
Patterson's abrupt dismissal of carbon dioxide emissions in our atmosphere,
and the chemical pollutants that have almost erased our protective ozone layer, as causes of the extreme climate changes occurring
on Earth, is the flaw in his paper.
Surely if an increase in cloud formations brought about by a reduction of
solar winds can have an effect on our climate, then thick clouds of smoke, ash and carbon dioxide must be affecting our climate
Except for periods of heavy volcanism, the build-up of these contaminants
in our air, and at this level, has been an entirely new factor. Humans have been burning coal and oil to heat buildings
and run machinery for only about 200 years.
This stuff hangs high in the atmosphere trapping the solar heat and gradually
warming the Earth. To make matters worse, the sun is, indeed, burning hotter now than it has in the past, consequently causing
a warming effect also noticed on other planets in our solar system.
If Patterson is correct, and the sun is about to begin a cool-down period
within the next 13 years, it may be a saving grace in that it will give mankind more time to prepare a way of escaping the
total burn-out of our little home in space.
The irony of it all is that the melting of the Arctic ice caps and the glaciers
of Greenland is filling the North Atlantic with fresh water. This, in turn, is causing the Gulf Stream, a fast flowing river
of warm water from the Gulf of Mexico that winds its way north to the shores of Europe and the United Kingdom, to slow. This
year the Gulf Stream almost came to a complete stop. Many scientists say that if this happens, Northern Europe and even parts
of Canada may be in for a dramatic cool-down if not another Ice Age.
But such a cool-down will not be caused by a solar cooling. It
will be an indirect effect of global warming.
We agree with Patterson when he concludes that we all have a lot more to
learn about the effects of the sun on our weather before we can make accurate predictions about anything.