Just before Scott and I wrote our 1992 paper on global warming, the first studies correlating sunspot activity with temperatures on earth were published. The correlation as graphed at that time was striking, and subsequent research has confirmed the relationship. Recent research has also added to our understanding of secondary effects that help to explain the impact on the Earth of the Sun’s energy output, which varies according to cycles of various lengths.
Canadian geologist R. Timothy Patterson warns that:
…by 2020, the sun will be starting into its weakest Schwabe solar cycle of the past two centuries, likely leading to unusually cool conditions on Earth. Beginning to plan for adaptation to such a cool period, one which may continue well beyond one 11-year cycle, as did the Little Ice Age, should be a priority for governments. It is global cooling, not warming, that is the major climate threat to the world, especially Canada.
Will it happen that way? I don’t know; ask me in 20 years. Climate science is, as Dr. Patterson says, in its infancy, and nothing is settled. It is unquestionably true, however, that the threat posed by global cooling, should it occur, exceeds any possible danger of global warming.
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