Global Warming: The Sun is a variable star that causes the Earth’s major ice ages.

September 13, 2007 |

Global Warming: The Sun is a variable star that causes the Earth’s major ice ages.

The global warming we are now experiencing is part of a major natural cycle of increased solar energy striking the planet, a phase of the sun’s natural cycle of expansion and contractions.
This natural rhythm of the sun is the cause of the major cold glacial and warm interglacial periods that geologists have determined, happened with remarkable “reoccuring regularity” over the past million years and probably throughout much of the life of the planet.

This “reoccurring regularity” is strong evidence that our sun is a variable star that is still expanding and contracting in fairly regular cycles. These expansions and contractions cause the total solar energy striking the planet to vary over very long periods of time. This natural rhythm of expansion and contraction have been happening ever since the sun was created billions of years ago although now at a very attenuated pace. If you could have measured the sun’s disk at the height of the last glacial age it would have been slightly smaller and the total solar energy would have been less. The Earth would have been slightly cooler. It does not take much to change the Earth’s climate drastically.

Scientists at Columbia University stated – “As the nuclear reactions began to release vast amounts of subatomic energy, the Sun was a quite variable star, varying in luminosity and surface activity as the result of the development of a radiative core and convective currents in its outer layers of gas. After a period of some 30 million years, its structure stabilized into the structure of a main-sequence star of one solar mass.”

I agree with the first part of this statement but I think the strong variability of the sun lasted quite a bit longer then a mere 30 million years. I feel the first billion years was a very hectic time and the sun only stabilized into a main-sequence star during the latter part of this time. The reoccuring ice ages are strong evidence that the very long expansion and contractions are still occuring at a very attentuated pace.

The major “Nebraskan” glacial age, that occured about a million years ago, was followed by a warm interglacial age that lasted well over 100,000 years. This was followed by the “Kansan” glacial age followed by another long warm interglacial age that lasted about 300,000 years which was followed by the “Illinoian” glacial age, etc.etc.. These major glacial cycles are a worldwide phenomena effecting both the northern and southern hemispheres simultaneously.

Milankovitch’s orbital eccentricity theory while causing very cold season when the earth is far away from the sun would also cause very hot season when the earth is closer to the sun. The stronger contrasts between seasons’ overall irradiance striking the earth would cancel themselves out and remain about the same. Glaciers need very cold summers to grow. There may be other causes such as precession and obliquity that also effect the climate changes but evidence indicates that the sun is a variable star and this is the main cause of the major global ice ages.

As far as historic levels of carbon dioxide levels are concerned, a study in the May 17, 2001 issue of Nature shows that CO2 levels were much higher in the geological past. During most of the Mesozoic era (the period from 65 to 259 million years ago), carbon dioxide levels were between 1,000 and 2,000 ppm, with occasional peaks that reached levels higher than 2,000 ppm. Currently concentrations are only about 370 ppm. Results from the middle Miocene, a warm period about 10 million years ago, also failed to show high CO2 levels.

For the last 50,000 years the planet has gradually been emerging from its latest “Wisconsin” glacial age into another warm interglacial age that may last for 100,00 years more or less. World wide, this warming trend has already caused a great reduction in the amount of land that was previously covered by the glaciers. Scientists estimate that up to 20 million square miles of land, were once covered by glaciers at the height of the “Wisconsin” glacial period some 50,000 years ago. At that time the glaciers covered much of the northern regions of North America and Europe.

The sea level of the oceans have already risen drastically during this global warming trend. At one time England was connected to Europe and Alaska was connected to Siberia. Much more land area around the world was above sealevel. The coast lines of countries around the world will continue to change as the sea level rises. Evidence of this can be seen where ancient harbors around the Mediterrean that were once above sea level, are now below sea level. The coast lines around the world will continue to recede as the warming climate releases more glacial ice back into the ocean. Perhaps there really was an “Atlantis” civilization 10,000 – 20,000 years ago when a lot more ice was locked up in glaciers and the sea level was much lower.

The polar regions have already become increasingly important because of warming climate trend. With the polar sea ice disappearing, seaports and trade routes are being planned along the far northern coast lines. Already commercial shipping is beginning to use the polar routes as the Artic Ocean becomes more navigatable. Cruise ships are even beginning to explore this area. Canada is planning to build a deep-water port at Iqaluit, the Arctic territorial capital. Political friction is already beginning to heat up over land claims in the Polar region. Russia has also begun to set its claims to this area.

We live on a very dynamic planet that is constantly changing. How long this global warming will last is anyone’s guess, it may be nearly over or it may go on for hundreds of years. What ever it is, the stable, warm interglacial period that follows, if it is anything like the previous major glacial cycles, will last for at least thousand centuries. A thousand centuries of warm mild climate , now if only mankind can last through this century.

Donald Hamilton, author of “The Mind of Mankind”

13 Responses to Global Warming: The Sun is a variable star that causes the Earth’s major ice ages.

  1. Noidea January 7, 2011 at 12:30 pm #

    Jupiter and Saturn line up with the sun every 20yrs+/- that would cause a wave which the earth would pass between. The sun moves to counter the planets and stabilize.

  2. Noidea January 7, 2011 at 12:23 pm #

    The planets pull on the sun much like the moon pulls on the oceans of the earth. So when there is a close by planet such as Jupiter or Saturn on each side of Earth would cause the Sun to expand on that side. Possibly would not take much to make a difference on our little planet.

  3. Anonymous December 3, 2009 at 9:54 am #

    First, we have to know IF global warming is really occurring. Avg global temps appear to have actually dropped over the most recent years. Now, maybe that’s a short-cycle phenomenon, but it still deserves a good scientific explanation and development of a climate model that matches the real-world measurements.

    Then, if global warming is real, we have to know WHY it is happening before we can decide if there’s anything we can do about it. Because of poor mass media coverage of the GW debate, a lot of people believe GW is real and a lot of people believe that GW is caused primarily by rising CO2 levels. Unfortunately, there is too little hard evidence to support either of those beliefs.

    Once we understand why GW is occurring (if it is), only then can we look at what, if anything, we can do about it. I’d like to see at least another decade or so of hard science to develop hard data on the subject before we start to put “solutions” in place.

  4. Anonymous September 18, 2007 at 12:06 am #

    And into the socio-political. So I’m going to try and restrain myself since this is a science site…

    Fact of the matter is, I don’t think we *could* do anything about global warming even if we wanted to.

    If GW is caused by humans, then we’d have to enact a massive worldwide “Manhattan”-type project to combat the market forces which make carbon fuels so ubiquitous (they’re cheap). Since market forces are against such a project, I’m doubtful of it’s feasibility. The free market is IMO the most powerful force in the secular world.

    An even more important question is *should* we do anything

    My Liberal friends accuse me of being a Right-winger, which always amazes me… Considering I’m far more sympathetic to the plight of those in developing nations than the plight of those who can afford beachfront property…

    On the plus side – One good thing that hopefully will come out of the GW issue is a reduction in fossil fuel usage.

  5. Anonymous September 16, 2007 at 4:31 pm #

    It really doesn’t make a difference why the warming is occurring – the fact is that it IS, and the ice is melting. Underwater real estate is worthless, and we’re about to have a lot of it. Whether it’s 1 meter or 300 meters, the present infrastructure that we use just doesn’t do well underwater.

    Build a wall around Greenland…put together a giant freezer. Who cares? We need to do something about it – NOW!

  6. Fred Bortz September 16, 2007 at 8:49 am #

    Yes, Dave. If people took their disagreements less personally, we’d all be better off.

    I don’t agree that scientists are less objective than other people, but you are correct in warning about automatically invoking a cloak of objectivity.

    Scientists are human, and humans see patterns, even when there are none. That means that we can discount personal biases and still find reasons for incorrect conclusions. Add in the biases, and the conclusions seem more correct even when the evidence is inconclusive.

    On the other hand, the scientific process is self-correcting and promotes objectivity about as well as any human activity can.

    On that note, I’ll allow people to look at our previous back-and-forth on Neptune and Mars.

    The reason we are able to disagree amicably is that we agree that time will clarify which of our interpretations of the same data is valid. In the case of Mars, where our interpretations are quite different, I wouldn’t be surprised if the recent powerful dust storms have changed its albedo enough to clarify whether the recent correlations of its warming and Earth’s were coincidental. We’ll have more evidence with 5-10 years of additional observation.

    Fred Bortz — Science and technology books for young readers ( and Science book reviews (

  7. Anonymous September 15, 2007 at 10:17 pm #

    …Told ya I had more!

    Haa-vahd weighs in:

    Re: The URL below… I recall we batted Neptune and Mars around quite a bit previously, and even though I think the rationale for dismissing Neptune’s warming as inconclusive was valid, IMO the argument against Mars was even more tortured than so called “frame theory”… And there’s still the issue of Triton, Enceladus, Saturn, Pluto and Venus:

    Mars losing polar caps at “prodigious rate”:
    Martian snow is “Hard, dense… And disappearing”

    Some things about GW don’t err… Make sense.

    Some things get blamed on it and err… Aren’t GW’s fault.
    …Sorry Al!

    I know it’s a lousy reference, but it’s a good jumping off point
    Clearly, we don’t know everything there is to know Re: Solar output/Earth’s climate…

    This is much more scholarly:
    Concludes that “…contemporary solar activity has reached historically high levels as measured by sunspot number and cosmogenic isotope concentrations. The rise since the Maunder Minimum period 300 years ago has roughly paralleled the climb in global temperatures from the depths of the Little Ice Age…”
    But pays homage to the GW converts that AGW is “real”… (politics, anyone?!)

    So what else could contribute to GW? Howabout Mother Nature (don’t mess with her):
    She means it.
    She’s not kidding.
    …Seriously, DON’T mess with her
    I suppose I could dig up some references to catastrophic volcanic events, but IMO catastrophic hydrate release is a better bet…

    IMO here is an absolutely GREAT debate on AGW… Scroll down for the really juicy bits…

    M. Crichton on AGW… The point he makes about “Scientific Consensus” being an oxymoron is obvious… And brilliant:

    Feynman on the Millikan “oil drop” experiment; the dangers of “Cargo-Cult” science…

    Again, IMHOP… Beware the “objectivity” of those who assume they are more “objective” by virtue of their training (and sometimes their

    IMO there is a strong argument to make that scientists are prone to be LESS objective – Because most of them just assume they are automatically MORE objective (because after all, they’re SCIENTISTS). In reality, they’re just as biased as everyone else, but LESS AWARE of it… This applied even to Feynman, who also (on occasion) let his dogma get in the way of his curiosity (I guess he was human after all…).

    Always a pleasure Fred, you’re my favorite person to disagree with, as you manage to do it so agreeably (why can’t everyone do that?!)

    Dave Narby

  8. Fred Bortz September 15, 2007 at 7:17 am #

    The case of Neptune is particularly instructive about how people jump on a study to make a case that is unwarranted.

    The current Martian warming also has another, less radical explanation. In a few years, we should know more clearly about whether there really is a correlation in temperature patterns or just a coincidental one.

    Fred Bortz — Science and technology books for young readers ( and Science book reviews (

  9. Fred Bortz September 15, 2007 at 7:09 am #

    The global warming we are experiencing is dramatic in the Arctic. Furthermore, the projections based on the considerable CO2 increases are for similar temperature changes worldwide.

    Two very recent books and one from the year 2000 put this in excellent perspective:

    The Little Ice Age: How Climate Made History 1300-1850 by Brian Fagan (2000)

    Fiel Notes From a Catastrophe: Man, Nature, and Climate Change by Elizabeth Kolbert (2006)

    The Weather Makers: How Man is Changing the Climate and What it Means for Life on Earth by Elizabeth Kolbert (2006)

    As I noted in a comment to a previous posting of yours about Greenland, we might well still be in the Little Ice Age except for the warming that has already taken place. The projections for warming unprecedented in human history are credible, and the consequences are too serious for us to ignore them.

    On a practical level, insurance companies and re-insurers are certainly taking note of the increasing risk of severe weather, as property owners in Florida are discovering. In that case, the science is less certain but suggestive of trouble, as Chris Mooney writes in his new book, Storm World: Hurricanes, Politics, and the Battle Over Global Warming.

    Fred Bortz — Science and technology books for young readers ( and Science book reviews (

  10. Anonymous September 14, 2007 at 10:48 pm #

    I have plenty more where that came from. You have been warmed… I mean, warned.

  11. Anonymous September 14, 2007 at 3:38 pm #

    This is hardly a period of rapid global warming! Its been going on for the last 50,000 years. The planet is still emerging from the last major ice age (Wisconsin) when glaciers covered much of North America, the sea levels were lower and much more land was above sea level.

    The global warming doesn’t rise in a straight upward line, it has periods of dips and rises such as the little ice age of the middle ages and the present global warming.

    The reoccuring regularity of the ice ages is good evidence that the rhythm of solar varibility over very long periods of time is the over riding major factor of global temperature.

    Don Hamilton

  12. Anonymous September 14, 2007 at 1:29 pm #

    Is this some form of new-age data collection and analysis technique?

    The AGW denialist hypothesis that the current, relatively rapid, period of global warming is attributable to solar variance has been fairly widely debunked in the climate science community.

  13. Fred Bortz September 13, 2007 at 7:56 pm #

    This is not the conventional view. There are other more widely accepted reasons for ice ages.

    The sunspot cycle (not the 11-year period but the longer-term variations) no doubt has an effect on Earth’s climate, but it probably has less to do with ice ages than variations in the shape of Earth’s orbit and polar inclination. A scientist named Milankovich is credited with this explanation.

    As far as the current episode of global warming is concerned, the scientific consensus, as expressed in the series of reports by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, is that human activities, which are adding greenhouse gases at never-before-seen rates, are trumping these natural cycles. But that’s another story.

    For more about that, I recommend reading several of the books on weather and climate that I have reviewed for major metropolitan newspapers over the past decade.

    Fred Bortz — Science and technology books for young readers ( and Science book reviews (

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