As sun warms slightly, earth cools slightly — wha?

The always helpful MIT/Knight Science Journalism Tracker points to a slew of stories about a counterintuitive, to say the least, study in Nature that finds that during a three-year period from 2004-2007, when solar radiation rose a little, global temperatures slightly declined.

In the measured words of The Independent:

The sun's role in climate change may have been overplayed, according to a study indicating that the Earth could actually get slightly cooler, rather than warmer, as the activity of the 11-year solar cycle increases.

The researchers stress this does not mean that global warming is not real. Nor does it suggest that the sun has no influence on earth's atmospheric temperature.

"We cannot jump to conclusions based on what we have found during this comparatively short period," Dr [Joanna] Haugh, [of the Imperial College of London] said."However, if further studies find the same pattern over a longer period of time, this could suggest that we may have overestimated the Sun's role in warming the planet."

But publishing a study like that in Nature is in an invitation to reach a conclusion, isn't it?

Published by Kit Stolz

I'm a freelance reporter and writer based in Ventura County.

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