Tuesday, July 14, 2015


Some of you may have heard the new climate change theory that made some papers recently. A mathematician believes sunspots are going to decline until 2030 causing a mini- ice age. She claims her models are 97% accurate. Reason science correspondent, Ron Bailey- whom I've gotten the impression is a Believer- takes a look at that one. 

I suppose their [educated] guess is as good as anybody's, but I couldn't help but question earlier stories I'd read about this, mostly in the British papers (not PC enough for the U.S.). The theory is based in large part on a period in the 1700s where there were virtually no sunspots. That supposedly caused global cooling. Whatever.

Being an equal opportunity skeptic, I had to wonder how they knew how many sunspots there were in the 1700s? I know they had telescopes way back then, but could they accurately count sunspots for a long enough time to create an accurate database? 

This web site on sunspot observation tells us the Chinese were observing sunspots as early as 800 BC. But even after telescopes were developed it's hard for me to believe people back in the 1700s had the time to sit around looking at the sun. Oh, well. Maybe they did, and that web site did remind me that sunspots can sometimes be seen with the naked eye. I saw a couple myself back around '92ish.  

That was at the Port of Dammam in Saudi Arabia. Back then the air was all smokey from the Kuwaiti oil fires. You could usually look straight at the sun without protection.

We were sitting along a seawall after being up all night. The sun was a big orange ball. I looked at it and could swear I saw a large hourglass shaped sunspot with a small dot next to it. I grabbed my mini- binoculars and took a closer look. Yep, a very large hourglass shaped sunspot with a smaller circular one of to its left. Pretty neat, so I passed around the binoculars so everyone else could see.

Neat stuff. A life experience. Whether sunspots affect the earth's temperature remains to be seen.


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