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Solar Influences by Dr. David Whitehouse
Tuesday, July 6th 2010, 5:22 PM UTC
Co2sceptic (Site Admin)
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In the early 1990’s a paper by Christensen was published that showed a striking correlation between the length of the sun’s sunspot cycle and the global average annual temperature, Fig 1. The shorter the cycle (short cycles are more intense) the higher was the earth’s annual temperature. It seemed to indicate that the sun was the dominant influence on the earth’s temperature variations.

It is certainly striking that since the later part of the 19th century and throughout the 20th century there has been a general increase in the Earth’s global average temperature at the same time that the strength of the solar cycle was increasing in intensity as measured by the number of sunspots. In the last half of the 20th century four out of the five most intense solar cycles occurred (the second largest cycle was around 1780) including the strongest ever which was in the 1950’s.

Christensen linked these two together in what appeared to be a pleasing way. However, a few years after the work was published others found flaws in the way the final four (out of 24) data points were plotted. In Christensen’s paper the length of the solar cycle decreased between 1950 – 1990 with the last data point showing that the cycle length shortened at the same time that the recent global warming period started (post 1980). When this was corrected the concordance between the solar cycle length and the earth’s rising temperature broke down as it became apparent that the length of the solar cycle showed no trend as the earth’s temperature rose post-1980.

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