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  HOME | Science, Nature & Technology

Swiss Study Examines Role of Solar Fluctuations in Global Warming

GENEVA – Solar activity fluctuations have a perceptible role on Earth’s climate, according to a group of Swiss scientists that calculated, apparently for the first time, the Sun’s influence over Earth’s global warming, according to a study funded by the National Swiss Foundation published Monday.

Although it is known that fluctuations in solar activity can modify the volume of radiation reaching Earth, one of the current leading questions in global climate research is to determine if these variations have a measurable effect on Earth’s climate.

The scientists working on the project based their study on a hypothesis that assumed a greater fluctuation in the radiation striking Earth than previous climate models had done.

The researchers argued this is the only way that they can understand the natural fluctuations in our climate over the last few millennia.

Researchers from the Physical Meteorological Observatory Davos (PMOD), the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology (EAWAG), ETH Zurich and the University of Bern were now qualifying this assumption.

Their elaborate model calculations are supplying a robust estimate of the contribution that the sun is expected to make to temperature change in the next 100 years.

The study, which has been funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation, discovered that following a period of high solar activity in 1950, they estimate that the sun’s activity will experience a low activity period in not too far a future.

The study expects Earth’s temperature to fall by half a 0.5 C (40 F) when solar activity reaches its next minimum.

This effect however will, apparently, not offset the global warming resulting from the anthropocentric activity, which according to the data provided by the scientific community, provoked a 1 C warming of the global temperature compared to data from the pre-industrial revolution era.

According to project head Werner Schmutz, who is also Director of the Physical Meteorological Observatory Davos (PMOD), this reduction in temperature is “significant” and may contribute to deal with the consequences of the global climate change.

“We could win valuable time if solar activity declines and slows the pace of global warming a little” warns Schmutz adding that “this will be no more than borrowed time since the next minimum will inevitably be followed by a maximum.”

However, the researchers have explained that “it remains difficult for solar physicists to predict the next (solar) cycle” and how it will affect our Earth.

 

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