Sun spots and Climate Change

Could the Nuclear Furnace in the sky have anything to do with climate on earth?

But sunspots aren’t the only indicator the upcoming maximum will be stronger than the last. In March, the thermosphere — the second-highest layer of Earth’s atmosphere — reached its highest temperature for almost 20 years after soaking up excess energy from solar storms that hit our planet in early 2023.

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No, no, no, no, it’s all CO2!

The Captain


We can’t control sunspots. But we can control our CO2 emissions.


Of course, no one is claiming it is all CO2.

Lots of things are known to affect climate, solar forcing, El Niño-Southern Oscillation and other ocean currents like the PDO and AMO, Milankovitch cycles (tilt of the Earth), other greenhouse gasses (like water vapor), and so on.

None of those things are sufficient to explain the current rise in global temperatures we have observed. Despite what you may have read, the role of CO2 in global temperature is well understood. After correcting for all other factors, we would expect to global temperatures increasing as CO2 concentrations increase, and that’s exactly what we are seeing. The scientific controversy is all down in the weeds. The pro-fossil fuel lobby uses the the controversy over details and uncertainty over grey areas to create doubt about the larger issues. If this sounds like the tobacco lobby, you’d be correct. Literally, some of the exact same people and organizations became climate deniers after working for the tobacco industry. Hill & Knowlton Inc., Theodor Sterling, SRI International, etc.

I realize saying the role of CO2 in global temperature is well understood is a bold statement, but I’m willing to show the receipts.

I’ve posted this before, but it is a great illustration of how well this issue is understood. Believe it or not, much of the early climate science work as conducted by oil companies starting in the 1960s. In 1982 Exxon scientists wrote a summary of research into the possible effects of CO2 on global temperatures and climate.

Their predictions for the future–which is now the present–were pretty much spot on. The paper talks a lot about uncertainty over the details, but they nailed the big picture. It is a technical paper, but it is well written and designed for people outside the field, so it is not a tough read. I recommend anyone who has interest in this topic take a few minutes and read it. It still holds up today as a good climate overview and the predictions are uncanny.


There are lots of dissenting voices about CO2. Well understood by whom?

Including the dissenting voices?

The Captain


Are those dissenting voices credible? Or flat earther types?


By the vast majority of climate scientists. Whether anyone else understands it or not is irrelevant to the facts and the science.

Are any of those dissenters scientists trained in climate science? If not, their dissent is noted but worthless.

The existence of dissent by itself does not disprove the science.



You just ruined a good conversation.

The Captain

Yeah. Bringing facts and logic tends to ruin a lot of “conversations” these days.




Of course it does. The Sun sets the stage for everything else. If the Sun varied wildly in its output, CO2 wouldn’t matter. Climate scientists and solar physicists know this and have been measuring the Sun as best they could for centuries. In the modern era, we make satellite measurements.

Fortunately we live in the neighborhood of a quiet star. Observations show the Sun is relatively steady apart from a sunspot cycle which makes the output vary by about 0.1% with no net change over longer times. Meanwhile, the Earth’s temperature keeps climbing despite the Sun not getting hotter. Something else is at work.

This is how we know it’s CO2. The detective work has been done. Every alternative has been tested and found wanting. Meanwhile, the Earth is behaving as expected if it was CO2.


If it were that simple!

The Captain

Nice video! Thanks.

You’re right, volcanoes and nuclear explosions create aerosols that can blot out the Sun. Maybe the recent warming is due to aerosols, not CO2. It’s certainly possible. So more detective work.

Climate scientists have been on the case for decades. They track and reconstruct aerosol concentrations into the distant past. Some of them were featured in the video. Their conclusion is that, yes, some past climate change was caused by aerosols. These same scientists also conclude that aerosols are not the cause of recent climate change. If you trust them about 536 AD, then you should trust them about 2023 AD.

Here’s one comparison of estimates of industrial era temperature with only natural forcings, natural plus human forcings, and the observed warming. Without human influence, the Earth wouldn’t have warmed.