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Published:November 18th, 2006 04:14 EST
Global Warming or Sun Spots?

Global Warming or Sun Spots?

By Amanda Carver

Publications across the nation have been bombarded these past few years with articles debating global warming.  Are we to blame? Is it the sun’s fault? Is there really a hole in the ozone? Is our goose cooked?

Scientists, politicians, and even philosophers have gone back and forth trying to determine who or what is to blame.  I suppose its human nature.  When something goes wrong, we want to be able to point a finger, but in the case of global warming, or “climate change”, which is the new PC term, it’s far easier said than done.

Several factors contribute to the Earth’s climate change; greenhouse gases, the cooling effect of dust and aerosols, cloud cover, magnetic fields, deforestation, and somehow, I’m sure, Tom Cruise.

Yeah, I know, I should leave the poor clouds out of it, and Top Gun was a great movie. Still, the issue remains.

The facts are there, we just have not quite been able to apply those to a long-term forecast. It is true; the sun is 0.1% brighter than it was last century and the sun’s magnetic field has increased by a factor of 2.3 since 1901, but what does it mean to us? Is everything ok, or do we need to develop an SPF 8000 and fast?

Reconstruction models have shown an absolute warming of our planet, starting in the 17th century, which cannot be denied.  The increase, however, is about 1 degree F.  I’m in no hurry to break out my bikini, just yet.

In the global warming class today, it seems, there’s a new kid on the block.  The Monger Effect.  The who, you ask? Let’s just pretend he’s a foreign exchange student from a galaxy far, far away.  Now what exactly is this Monger Effect? Simply put, the Monger Effect explains the theory that sunspots, or a lack thereof, have a direct impact on the sun’s temperature and brightness, and an indirect impact on the temperature of Earth.

The Monger Effect is a new theory, and is still being thrown around in political and scientific think tanks.  However, before we get the big report when they decide what we should know, let us look at this Monger Effect for what it’s worth.

What exactly are sunspots, anyway? Sunspots are magnetic disturbances, dark spots, often visible on the surface of the sun. They act as thermal plugs and help to hold much of the sun’s heat inside. Now faculae, or bright spots, are just the opposite.  Faculae act as thermal leaks, or vents, and allow the heat to escape the inner layers of the sun.  That being said, I can see how the number of sunspots could potentially affect our climate.  Brighter sun, hotter Earth, sure, it makes sense.

We cannot forget, however, that sunspots cycle over time, peaking every 11 years. When this happens, the Earth is pelted with charged particles and the sun shines about 0.07 percent brighter. The last time this happened was in 2000. So why is it hotter now than it was in 2000?  Variables, my friend, variables; and that’s the proof I need to dismiss the Monger Effect theory.  If climate change is a direct result of these sunspots, then why wasn’t 2000 the hottest year and why isn’t the temperature fluctuating along with the sunspots?

I have my own theory, my own beliefs about the sun, climate change, the melting of polar icecaps. I’m no scientist, but I just cannot see how this proposed Monger Effect is to blame. I think our planet is heating up, albeit slowly, because of all the factors. For those out there wanting one single, simple answer, I just don’t think they’re going to find it.

 I think this is one of those times where we have to join hands across the globe, accept the responsibility, and work together to figure this thing out, instead of spending time and money trying to find out who to blame.  I have no hopes that this is going to happen any time soon, so I’ll go back inside, put on my aluminum foil hat and wait for the messages from Tom and Katie to come through my molars. Perhaps they’ll have the answers.

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