Global Warming and Predictions of an Impending Ice Age

A four-part series examining the connection between the sun, sunspots, and climate.
Written by Bill Chameides

The skeptics are squawking again, their blogs achatter with talk about solar variability and sunspots. According to them, anybody who is anybody in climate science now knows the sun is to blame for global warming.

Even the New York Times recently wrote about the low level of solar activity this year and the possibility of a coming ice age.

Can any of this be true?

Part 1: Solar Variation
Of course the sun affects climate and there is little doubt that variations in the sun’s energy have caused significant climate swings in the past. But just because these changes have caused climate variations in the past does not mean they are the cause of global warming today. Let’s look at the data.
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Part 2: Sunspots
Sunspots and cosmic rays are not the cause of the recent warming. How do we know? It’s all in the data.
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Part 3: Global Warming Since 1998
You don’t have to search too hard to find a skeptic’s blog proclaiming that global warming “stopped” in 1998. Oh happy day if it were true, but sadly it is not. Why do I say this? I’ve looked at the data.
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Part 4: Predicting Future Climate
Where is the climate headed? The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predicts continued warming [pdf]. But others proclaim that an ice age is just around the corner (like this editorial from the online paper the Australian). Who’s right?
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