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Rhodes Fairbridge and the idea that the solar system regulates the Earth’s climate by Richard Mackey
Saturday, September 18th 2010, 4:57 PM UTC
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MACKEY, R., 2007. Rhodes Fairbridge and the idea that the solar system regulates the Earth’s climate. Journal of Coastal Research, SI 50 (Proceedings of the 9th International Coastal Symposium), 955 – 968. Gold Coast, Australia, ISSN 0749.0208

Rhodes Fairbridge died on 8th November, 2006. He was one of Australia’s most accomplished scientists and has a special connection with Australia. In July, 1912 his father Kingsley established Fairbridge Village near Perth. It contains a chapel of elegant simplicity designed by one of the world’s most famous architects of the time, Sir Herbert Baker, as a labour of love to commemorate Kingsley. Rhodes is one of the few scientists to research the sun/climate relationship in terms of the totality of the sun’s impact on the earth (i.e. gravity, the electromagnetic force and output and their interaction). When the totality of the sun’s impact is considered, having regard to the relevant research published over the last two decades, the influence of solar variability on the earth’s climate is very strongly non-linear and stochastic. Rhodes also researched the idea that the planets might have a role in producing the sun’s variable activity....


The impact of the sun on the earth’s climate has been an active area of scientific inquiry ever since Sir William Herschel presented a series of papers on the subject to the Royal Society in London in 1801. He saw a relationship between solar activity and the series of wheat prices in Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations that was published 25 years earlier in 1776.x

During the 1960s and ‘70s there were several major international scientific conferences devoted to the thesis that the sun has a major role in the regulation of the earth’s climate((FAIRBRIDGE, 1961b); (BANDEEN and MARAN, 1974),xi (MCCORMAC and SELIGA, 1979)).

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During the 1980s and ‘90s when Rhodes Fairbridge was publishing papers about possible relationships between solar inertial motion, the sun’s activity cycles and the earth’s climate, the thesis did not attract much scientific interest, although EDDY (1976) had created new interest in the thesis.xii

To the extent that the sun regulates the earth’s climate, it would do so in three major ways: variations in the quantity, intensity and distribution over the earth of the solar output, including electromagnetic radiation, matter and the sun’s electromagnetic field; the variable gravitation force the sun exerts on the earth, the moon and the moon and the earth as a system; and interactions between some or all of these processes. Rhodes Fairbridge emphasised that the answer to the question “Does the Sun affect the Earth’s climate?” has to be in terms of these three processes.

In this regard, he seems to have been a relatively lone voice. Research published in the last five years shows that the sun may have had a much greater role in generating climate change during the last century up until the 1970s than previously considered possible.xiii

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