Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Is It Cold In Here?

A message for anyone who feels guilty for burning carbon:

......for the first time in 95 years, a month has gone by without a single spot forming on the sun’s surface.

While this may appear to interest only scientists who rarely leave their laboratories, the level of solar activity has an impact on climate conditions that affect everyone on the planet. Indeed, the absence of sunspots has caused commentators to revisit an unpublished paper from 2005 by a pair of astronomers from the National Solar Observatory in Arizona.

Dr William Livingston and Matthew Penn predicted that, by 2015, sunspots would vanish for ever, stoking fears that a mini ice age would be in store, severely impacting life on parts of the globe.

If this is the case, it will not be the first time a lack of sunspots has been linked to cooler temperatures. In the second half of the 17th and the early 18th century, few sunspots were recorded – there were 50 when one thousand times that number would have been expected. The weather was so cold the River Thames in London froze over for weeks and harvests throughout Europe failed, all because of the unpredictable behaviour of a star almost two hundred million kilometers away from Earth.

So if we're ice skating on the Thames, will Al Gore give us a refund on the carbon credits he sold? I'm thinking he'll offer a coupon good for the equivalent number of global-cooling credits, you know, just to balance everything out.