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article imageStudy: Recent global warming activity caused by the Sun

By Andrew Moran     Oct 7, 2010 in Science
London - A new study shows that the Earth's climate temperature increased recently mostly due to the Sun's solar activity. These results contradict scientific predictions that the "waning" period of the Sun's 11-year cycle cools down our planet.
Scientists have discovered that our Sun’s decline in activity actually contributed much more heating to planet Earth than previous theorized, according to Space. It was originally thought that when the Sun is in a downturn, it would heat our planet less.
This could affect climatologists’ computer models on climate change.
“Although the Sun's activity declined over this period, the new research shows that it may have actually caused the Earth to become warmer,” said the Imperial College of London in a statement released on its website. “Contrary to expectations, the amount of energy reaching the Earth at visible wavelengths increased rather than decreased as the Sun's activity declined, causing this warming effect."
The Sun goes through an up and down 11-year period known as wax and wane. The study between 2004 and 2007, led by Joanna Haigh at the Imperial College of London, shows that the amount of energy in the ultraviolet part of the spectrum declined during a solar waning period, which now asks the important question: How much does man contribute to climate change?
“Visible radiation is the only kind that, in any substantial quality, gets to the Earth's surface and heats the lower atmosphere,” said Haigh. “We found that as the sun's activity declined from 2004 to 2007, more of this radiation was entering into the lower atmosphere. In just over three years of observation, we conclude that the visible radiation was going to be warming the planet as the solar activity declined.”
Haigh further noted that if the Sun causes heating during the waning part then it would be logical to conclude that the Sun’s waxing phase would contribute cooling to Earth. Nevertheless, she concluded that we must not jump to conclusions and that the scientific community must conduct further studies.
The findings can be found in the weekly British science journal, Nature.
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