Correlating Sunspots to Global Climate

Unfamiliar with Solar phenomena? Read what the Sun is and how it does what it does:

More about Why Solar fusion activity is the primary 
mechanism for climate change on Earth
not people!

This is a study in two observations made over the last 400 years: observed annual sunspot numbers and derived global temperatures. The sunspot numbers were recorded by various solar observers since Galileo‘s time. Temperatures have been derived from scientific evidence such as ice and earth cores, and several other valid methods. These were collected by various climate studies and were compiled by NASA scientists to produce an animation of Earth’s climate changes over 399 years between 1599 and 1998.

Climate Change

First look at the NASA video that chronicles global temperature since 1599 AD:

Red indicates warmer surface temperature while blue indicates cooler. The little year clock, although difficult to read, ticks off the years in rapid succession from 1599 through 1998.

You should notice two things as you watch the animation:

  1. The Earth has generally been getting warmer
  2. Extended periods of cooler temperatures have occurred

Annual Sunspot Count

Next, look at this graphic depicting solar cycles and the number of sunspots counted each year:

You should notice two things as you observe this graphic:

  1. The sunspot count per year has been getting generally larger
  2. Extended periods of low sunspot numbers have occurred

Correlating The Two Phenomena Together

And finally, look at this two-minute presentation that ties both observations together:

©2006 Cap’n Bob

A few additional conclusions:

  1. The media will print or broadcast sensationalized headlines to sell copy regardless of scientific value
  2. The media will print or broadcast manipulated science with half-truths and invalid conclusions to damage politicians with whom they do not agree
  3. Politicians seize on these unverified claims in order to blame their opponents
  4. Uneducated/uninformed people are as gullible as ever


Update: Read about how cosmic rays interact with solar flux to alter Earth’s climate in a subsequent article.

20 Responses to “Correlating Sunspots to Global Climate”

  1. TheLandlord says:

    I’ve been reading the global warming junk science/politics for years.
    Your presentation here is solid science, and very convincing.
    I hope this theory gets out, but I won’t hold my breath given the state of the media.
    Keep up the good work.

  2. Cap'n Bob says:


    Thanks for the comment and your remarks on our Global Warming article. It’s a topic that anyone with a scientific background will realize that the left not only has it wrong, but will try and use it’s popularity among the uneducated minions to handicap business in America and blame the administration. It’s already started in California!

    To see a listing of all articles at our site that touch on the topic, click the “Climate and Global Warming” link under the information heading in the right sidebar.

  3. Hi Bob,
    I linked your post on my moron blog but I don’t have the trackback thingy figured out.

  4. mikeslag says:

    Outstanding Post Bob, I just found your site and this is simply great. Do you know of anything further that I could look up, webpages, books to read, etc, where I can find further information debunking the People Cause Global Warming Scare?

    Have you read Michael Crichton’s State of Fear? It’s written like a research paper (with footnotes, bibliography, etc) showing how it’s all crap and hysteria, but in the form of a novel. Truly awesome.

    Where this is concerned I live by the geological motto:

    Civilization is here by geological consent, subject to change without notice.

  5. Cap'n Bob says:

    Thanks Mike — I have a work-in-progress Climate and Global Warming reference page where a number of resources are linked. It has a listing of all our GW articles as well.

    I like to visit World Climate Report and CO2 Science blogs, both of which are updated regularly. I also like to use John Daly’s Still Waiting for Greenhouse as a reference. John is passed on, but his mates in Australia keep the site going.

    Michael Crichton — what a guy — love his Aliens Cause Global Warming (PDF) speech he delivered to various audiences on the subject. A great read. I’ll have to make it a point to read “State of Fear.”

    And thanks for signing up for the Never Forget Flash. That’s a message that needs perpetuation these days.

  6. mikeslag says:

    I’m going to read that pdf shortly, definitely good stuff. Crichton is a genius. Yeah definitely read State of Fear, the bibliography has something like 100 (or more, I don’t have it in front of me) different books, essays, papers, and websites all with facts and figures on global warming. Amazing stuff.

  7. sisu says:

    “For every one that doeth evil hateth the light”…

    The dandelion in winter. Even as cherries blossom inside the Beltway during these El Nino-induced days of faux spring in the Northeast, in Chelsea-by-the-Sea a dandelion — cum opportunistic ant — shows its colors on the twelfth day of Christmas…

  8. PerStrand says:

    Actually I started to look at the cause for global warming by looking at the data. Here are my result. The leading climate scientists use misleading and deceptive methods when they analyze climate data.
    Amazingly there are no repository and comprehensive information to be found at any location on the Internet over the existing two theories for global warming.
    People should be able to make informative and objective judgment for themselves.
    Therefore I collected this information here on my website On it I have collected information and graphs covering both the greenhouse gas and the cosmic ray cloud cover theory and made analysis from the data.

  9. mpano66 says:

    I can find several dozen more if you like. And again, let me state this: its all pointless. The solution to the hypothesized threat man faces from global warming is what? Reduction in fossil fuel use, yes? I’m all for that. Anyone with a shred of braincell is for that, because dependance of a civilization on a resource that will be depleted within a century and causes brown, unbreathable air is silly. Dont buy into this Global Warming canard. DENY funding for warming research, and spend the money how it should be spent: finding alternative fuels!

  10. bob12smith says:

    The NASA video used here is not recorded global temperature of earth between 1500-1998. It’s the output of a climate model which was driven only by solar trends durign that time period, with no greenhouse gas forcings [url][/url]

    The video shows significant warming between 1900 and 1950, but no significant warming since about 1950. That’s in contrast with recorded global temperature trends which show just as much warming in the past 30 years as occured in the early 20th century [url][/url]

    In other words the video shows that solar trends do not correlate with recent global warming in the past few decades.

  11. Cap'n Bob says:

    Regarding “solar trends do not correlate with recent global warming in the past few decades.” Keep in mind that the view in the NASA video is trained on the Western Hemisphere only. The temperature reference that bob12smith invokes is shown below:

    I clearly see a strong correlation between the original sunspot chart and this graph. The run up in the first half of the 20th century is clearly evident while the cooling trend that sparked global cooling angst in the 70’s is also clearly seen. In addition, the recently discovered relationship between solar flux and the intensity of cosmic radiation supports the 1500 year theory of global warming and cooling cycles (Svensmark, et al).

    Rather than focusing on a narrow segment of history (decades), one should focus on the long-term relationship between solar activity and climate. There is far more evidence that the Earth’s climate is influenced by natural phenomena globally than there is to support anthropogenic causes.

  12. bob12smith says:

    I agree that the original sunspot graph correlates with global temperature trends, but only up to about 1970. After that the temperature starts rising again while sunspot trends show no accompanying upward trend as they did during the 1900-1950 warming period.

    According to anthropogenic global warming theory the anthropogenic signal has only broken through the natural variation in the last few decades. Prior temperature trends across geological time and in the early 20th century would therefore be expected to be explained mainly by natural phenomenon like solar variation and not any anthropogenic causes. So the sticking point for whether anthropogenic global warming is correct or not are the main causes of the warming in the last few decades which may differ from the main causes of temperature changes over geological time.

    There is a NASA movie for the entire globe, not just the western hemisphere:

    This also doesn’t contain the warming trend in the last 3 decades because neither video is showing the actual temperature of earth over time. They are the output of a climate model fed solar trends. That the video doesn’t show the warming recorded in the last 3 decades is because the solar trend fed into the model didn’t produce one, despite the good correlation before this point.

  13. Cap'n Bob says:

    Regarding the temperature increases from 1970 onward being the “anthropogenic signal,” let me quote from a September, 2006 article by Bob Carter in the London Telegraph (emphasis mine):

    “For many years now, human-caused climate change has been viewed as a large and urgent problem. In truth, however, the biggest part of the problem is neither environmental nor scientific, but a self-created political fiasco. Consider the simple fact, drawn from the official temperature records of the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, that for the years 1998-2005 global average temperature did not increase (there was actually a slight decrease, though not at a rate that differs significantly from zero).

    Yes, you did read that right. And also, yes, this eight-year period of temperature stasis did coincide with society’s continued power station and SUV-inspired pumping of yet more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

    In response to these facts, a global warming devotee will chuckle and say “how silly to judge climate change over such a short period”. Yet in the next breath, the same person will assure you that the 28-year-long period of warming which occurred between 1970 and 1998 constitutes a dangerous (and man-made) warming. Tosh. Our devotee will also pass by the curious additional facts that a period of similar warming occurred between 1918 and 1940, well prior to the greatest phase of world industrialisation, and that cooling occurred between 1940 and 1965, at precisely the time that human emissions were increasing at their greatest rate.

    Visit the site above for references that back up Mr. Carter’s comments and to view the entire editorial.

  14. bob12smith says:

    The CRU temperature record that Mr Carter references shows that the rising temprature trend (the black trendline) has not stopped at or since 1998.

    1998 was an anomolously warm year because of a strong el nino. Two consequetive years can differ a lot like this, so the multi-year average has to be used to work out any trend. It’s that average trend which is relevant to whether the climate is warming or cooling. The CRU record shows the last few years have been creeping as high as 1998 without such a strong el nino for example.

  15. Cap'n Bob says:

    I question the graphic in the last comment. It’s from the University of East Anglia whose research turns up occasionally in pro-alarmist claims of man-made warming on a global scale. Their data resembles the tail-end of the now debunked “Hockey Stick” graphic touted by the IPCC and the UN.

    Bringing El Niño into the discussion, however, brings us full-circle back to the Sun. El Niño is one phenomenon related to cyclic weather patterns dependent on insolation.

    Consider that 1998 was just before the peak of solar cycle 23. This little video from SOHO EIT x-ray imagery compares the year 1996 on the left and 1999 on the right. The increase in x-ray activity can be easily seen. Note that x-ray fluctuations occur in proportion to other solar spectra.

    Solar emissions across the spectrum are the primary cause of climate phenomena on Earth including:

    1. Triple-cell global atmospheric circulation (modified by Earth’s rotation and Coriolis)
    2. World-wide submarine ocean current circulation ( the so-called “conveyor belt”)
    3. Ionization of atmospheric molecules including ozone, which deflects ultraviolet radiation
    4. Solar particle emissions and magnetic flux which deflect cosmic radiation

    As solar activity ebbs and flows, the above phenomena respond accordingly.

    The net effects of anthropogenic contribution to warming in terms of energy must certainly be many, many orders of magnitude below the gigajoules of energy emitted by the Sun.

  16. bob12smith says:

    The University of East Anglia is the same source Bob Carter referenced.

  17. Cap'n Bob says:

    It’s interesting that Bob Carter and Bob Smith can look at the same data and come to different conclusions. I guess I have to lean toward Mr. Carter’s interpretation of the data since he doesn’t appear to have any political bias as is the case with climate alarmists.

  18. Olivia S. says:

    I just read your article you posted called “Correlating Sunspots To Global Climate.” And I just wanted to tell you how much I loved it! I cannot tell you how Refreshing it was to hear that side of the “global warming issue”. I completely agree with the ideas in the article. It disgusts me that people buy into whatever the media says about global warming! i completely believe that there are factors out there that impact the climate So much more than just humans. Thank you for an article that was not full of the usual crap I hear about global warming.

  19. Cap'n Bob says:

    Thanks, Olivia – I am glad that you enjoyed reading this article.

    I have a reference page that includes many links to resources on the topic:

  20. Cap'n Bob says:

    Now that Climategate has made it’s debut, Bob Smith’s references to East Anglia and Climate Research Unit data look kind of silly.

    Here’s some updates based on recent findings:

    A Call for Hearings on Climategate

    Media Suppression of Climategate