Here’s some “inconvenient” news. According to a new theory proposed by renowned astrophysicist Robert Ehrlich of George Mason University, Ice ages are not caused by planet Earth’s orbital variations as once thought, but by a “dimmer switch” inside the sun that causes its brightness to rise and fall on timescales of around 100,000 years which is exactly the same period as between ice ages on Earth,
Ehrlich modeled the effect of temperature fluctuations in the sun’s interior and showed that while the temperature of the sun’s core is held constant by the opposing pressures of gravity and nuclear fusion, slight variations are possible.
His research builds upon the work of solar physicists Attila Grandpierre and Gábor ÿgoston who calculated that magnetic fields in the sun’s core could produce small instabilities in the solar plasma inducing localized oscillations in temperature.
In an article appearing in the journal New Scientist, Ehrlich describes how some of these oscillations reinforce one another and become long lasting temperature variations, with the sun’s core temperature to oscillating around its average temperature of 13.6 million kelvin in cycles lasting either 100,000 or 41,000 years.
According to Ehrlich, random interactions within the sun’s magnetic field could flip the fluctuations between the two cycles which correspond to the Earth’s ice ages.
Over the past million years, ice ages have occurred roughly every 100,000 years and before that roughly every 41,000 years.
The currently accepted theories attribute the ice ages to subtle changes in Earth’s orbit, known as the Milankovitch cycles, one of which describes the way Earth’s orbit gradually changes shape from a circle to a slight ellipse and back again roughly every 100,000 years.
As I’ve always said, the sun is the “Big Kahuna” of climate change on Earth. Everything else is secondary, even though man’s opinion of his own self importance in the scheme of things often dictates otherwise.
If you have ever studied how the magnetic dynamo of the sun is so incredibly full of entropy, yet has cycles, you’ll understand this new theory proposed by Ehrlich. The sun’s magnetic field is a like a series of twisted and looped rubber bands, mostly because the sun is a fluid gas, which rotates at different rates between the poles and the equator. Since the suns magnetic field is pulled along with the gas, all these twists, bumps, and burps occur in the process as the magnetic field lines get twisted like taffy. You can see more about it in the Babcock model.
The Babcock model says that the differential rotation of the Sun winds up the magnetic fields of it’s layers during a solar cycle. The magnetic fields will then eventually tangle up to such a degree that they will eventually cause a magnetic break down and the fields will have to struggle to reorganize themselves by bursting up from the surface layers of the Sun. This will cause magnetic North-South pair boundaries (spots) in the photosphere trapping gaseous material that will cool slightly. Thus, when we see sunspots, we are seeing these areas of magnetic field breakdown.
Sunspots are cross connected eruptions of the magnetic field lines, shown in red above. Sometimes they break, spewing tremendous amounts of gas and particles into space. Solar flares and coronal mass ejections (CME’s) are some examples of this process. Sometimes they snap back like rubber bands. The number of sunspots at solar max is a direct indicator of the activity level of the solar dynamo.
Its been known for years that the sun has cycles, the shortest being 11 years…it only makes sense that far longer cycles exist. The point is, we are going through a cycle now, as shown below, indicated by sunspot counts.
Which looks a lot like earths temperature plots as we come out of the last little ice age.
Sometimes the sun is quiet, as during the Maunder Minimum, other times its much more active, such as now in the Modern Maximum. The next 11 year solar cycle is projected to be very large. So I have no doubt we’ll see a warm climate to go with it. You could think of it like the “rouge wave” phenomenon in the ocean. Smaller waves occasionally align to make larger ones, and sometimes huge ones. Be it waves or sunspot cycles the same thing can apply to almost any periodic event. Oscilation will eventually produce a big wave or bigger oscillation, which is usually followed by an immediate dampened reaction once the peak is hit. 100,000 years in the 10 billion year life of the sun is a blink, so it’s not at all surprising that this could be one of our long term climate drivers.
Of course, the folks who would have you believe that our climate is driven by increasing CO2 and nothing else, will continue to ignore the sun, as it serves their agenda to do so.