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January 07, 2005

Comments

I agree with you about the shift from "climate change" to "climate variability," but I'm not so sure that shifting from "global warming" to "climate change" is as sneaky.

I work for an environmental NGO, and we also prefer "climate change" to "global warming." If you research pro-environment NGOs and researchers, I think you'll find that their terminology has also shifted. And I don't think that they were just following the lead of the Bush administration.

"Climate variability" would be the proper term, precisely because it does suggest the inclusion of natural variability, which any competent scientist now knows may well be explanation for the bulk of any warming that has occurred in the last thirty years.

Since the late nineties, astrophysicists have begun to figure out how it is that sunspots affect climate. The statistical correlation was always there, but the global-warming scientists (in particular, the IPCC) did not include it in their assessements because no one understood how it worked. That is changing.

The storms of solar-magnetic flux that erupt from sunspot activity shield the Earth from cosmic radiation. Cosmic radiation ionizes the atmosphere, which seems to be crucial for cloud formation, so sunspots have the effect of blowing away the cloud cover, giving the Earth a sunburn.

Add that sunspot activity has been very high since the 1940's, and any observed warming could easily be due to this effect. The alarmists jumped the gun, badly, but they will never admit it until they find some other interpretation that allows them to condemn human activity.

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