Climate Change, Solar Output, Ice Ages, The Planet Vulcan, And Old Guys With Beards

“That’s the human body raising its core temperature to kill the virus.  Planet Earth works the same way.  Global warming is the fever. Mankind is the virus.  We’re making our planet sick. A cull is our only hope.” – Kingsman:  The Secret Service


Pugsley and sand.  Yup.  Hot day.  Probably the influence of planet Vulcan!

The calculations proved it.  The planet Mercury’s orbit wasn’t quite right.  It was really, really close.  Really close.  But not quite.  How close?  If my calculations are right, Mercury was 28 miles from where it should have been.  Given its orbital velocity, that was one second.  One second in 88 days.  And this error was found in 1843.  According to the accepted physics theories, this was proof of . . . another planet!


Samuel Schwabe:  Though not commonly known, all astronomers in the 1840’s were also expected to play linebacker at a moment’s notice, hence, Schawbe appearing in full shoulderpads.

This was just the sort of proof that German astronomer Samuel Schwabe was waiting for.  In the previous 17 years, Schwabe had dutifully recorded the sunspots on every clear day.  He wanted to be able to pick out a new planet that people believed was inside the orbit of Mercury.  Heck, they were so sure it was there they even gave it a name after the god of fire – Vulcan.


Not this kind of Vulcan, silly. 

But Schwabe never lived long enough to see the discovery of Vulcan (although it was reliably spotted several times in the late 1800’s) because it doesn’t exist.  But Schwabe did notice (for the first time) that the number of sunspots varied over time.  After 17 years, he predicted that the Solar Cycle was about 10 years in length.  He was close – but it’s closer to 11.  This discovery was picked up by Swiss astronomer Rudolf Wolff (what a cool name, right?)

rudolf wolf

Rudolf Wolff:  Is it just me, or does he have the beard and hair of an NFL assistant coach?

Wolff began counting sunspots as well, but also gathered information on sunspot activity from all over Europe, as far back as he could – 1610.  Wolf also looked at the data and determined that Sunspots impacted Earth’s own magnetic field.  Wolff’s work validated Schwabe’s theory, and Schwabe was honored with the Royal Astronomical Society’s Gold Medal, the same one that Einstein and Sir Fred Hoyle (LINK) would later win (I’ve got two in my closet somewhere, I think).


CC-SA:3.0 – Robert Rohde

So, a dude named Gustav Spörer discovered a period nearly zero sunspot activity – naturally, they named it the Maunder Minimum after the NEXT people to talk about it, Edward and Annie Maunder.

Edward and Annie aren’t that interesting, but the Maunder Minimum was – especially since we discovered other things . . . like the impact the great thermonuclear reactor in the sky has on temperature.  High sunspot activity correlates to higher solar output.  I wish it correlated to me having more hair.


CC-SA:3.0 – Robert Rohde

Which makes sense if you look at other data, like this from the IPCC’s first report:

little ice age

Clearly, it was colder when there were fewer sunspots.  Is that enough?  No, there are some pretty other significant adders to the climate picture (though none are larger than the input from the Sun).  Other things that really matter?

Well, CO2 has been increasing – that’s for certain.  And, CO2 is a greenhouse gas.  That’s for certain, too, otherwise the Earth would be too cold for life.

And as the temperature goes up, (maybe due to, say, solar output?) then the ability of the oceans to store CO2 goes down.  Cool us off with, say, a new Maunder Minimum?  Yeah, then the CO2 that can be stored in the oceans goes . . . up again.

And the CO2 balance isn’t very far off from balanced.

ipcc flux

But climate is determined by a batch of things – such as the current oscillations of the North Atlantic current, the amount of Bavarian-produced PEZ®, and our Sun’s output.  The mere fact that no one can explain why we have ice ages should tell you that climate science is exceptionally incomplete – it’s as if physics couldn’t explain why STOP signs are octagons.

In the last 500,000,000 years of the existence of the Earth, the climate has been pretty steady.

All_palaeotemps.svgCC by SA 3.0, Glen Fergus

And as I looked at the graph, I noticed two data points at the end, showing projections via a mathematical model.  Certainly, they’re still in the realm of habitable.  But are they real?

Probably not.  Climate predictions have systematically overestimated the amount of global warming over time.



But when I hear people on NPR® talking about climate, what I hear is a lot of panic.  It’s as if the world sits on a global climate hill, and the people of Earth, dressed in clown suits no doubt, are nudging it downslope, where it will go out of control and fry us all.  But 500,000,000 years of climate history says that won’t happen.  And the resources that are to be diverted?  What could they do to make all of humanity wealthier with all of the money being spent on Global Warming?

Back to Vulcan.

It doesn’t exist.  At all.  The 28 mile gap?  It’s real, but the reason it exists is because of the gravitational well that bends space time – Einstein hadn’t yet explained that mass bends space . . . and time.  So given the mathematics and theories of the day, there had to be a planet.  The observations that showed a planet?  Maybe it was aliens or asteroids?  Godzilla?

So, a strong consensus of astronomers had a belief in Vulcan.  No other ideas made sense.  So, one could say that there was a strong scientific consensus, but it was based on ignorance of physical facts.  And, congratulations to the New England Patriots, Super Bowl LII champs by consensus!  Point spread was 4.5 in favor of the Pats, so they won, right?

My concern remains that there is a group of people, with almost religious fervor, who feel mankind is the source of all that is wrong in the world, the source of all that is bad.  The end point of their philosophy is a hatred of mankind.  We are all that is wrong with the world.  The irony is many of them are atheist, just replacing one religion and sin with another.  And many see climate change as a method to extract political power (and money) from the world as a whole.  I do recall that in the 1970’s that the next thing we’d see was . . . another ice age.


But we are not.  All light, all love, all beauty has been either made by us or recognized by us.  There’s no evidence a badger ever stopped and said, “Hey, beautiful sunset.”  Nope.  Without a human recognizing it, it doesn’t occur.  Badgers have notoriously poor aesthetics.

And large amounts of the CO2 went to feeding humanity.  Who decides who will suffer, sacrifice, and die so we can spend money to be carbon neutral, when there is some evidence that solar output is declining and might lead to a climate that’s actually colder, longer term (LINK)?  I’m sure somebody will be able to pin that on people.


You can see that solar output is declining.  Perhaps it’s a conspiracy?

Besides, our robot overlords after the singularity (LINK) won’t be all that tied to temperature.  They’ve got air conditioning . . . maybe solar powered?

Author: John

Nobel-Prize Winning, MacArthur Genius Grant Near Recipient writing to you regularly about Fitness, Wealth, and Wisdom - How to be happy and how to be healthy. Oh, and rich.

The food fight is ON! Comments are OPEN!