When someone tells me that humankind is capable of artificially altering the natural cycles of interaction between the earth and the sun, I consider it the epitome of hubris.

The earth weighs 6 trillion trillion kilograms. It receives radiation from the sun at an average rate of 5 trillion quadrillion watts. The solar IR irradiation on the earth's surface varies in 100 thousand, 40,000 and 20,000 year long cycles, e.g., 18,000 years ago the last glacier age bottomed and the temperature has been rising ever since. The periods are caused primarily by variations in the orbit diameter and wobbling in the earth's rotation.

The sun has its own electromagnetic cycles, which last an average of 11 years and cause changes in its surface activity, called “sunspots.” When sunspots are frequent we experience more auroras and higher levels of IR radiation. The level of activity results in a solar maximum or a solar minimum cycle depending on the abundance of sunspots in the cycle.

In the period 1950 to 2009, we experienced a solar “grand maximum” resulting from extremely high maximums in five cycles in a row. The solar activity, measured in sunspots, over the five consecutive cycles, was the highest in 40 centuries and accounts for a rise in average temperature.

Furthermore, with the ending of a cycle in 2009, a new cycle followed and it has proved to be a solar minimum. Solar minimums historically follow previous minimums. So expect colder, not hotter, weather in the future.

Robert Stickling,

Blue Grass


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