With the occurrence of the 'climategate' scandal and a monstrous snowstorm that hit the midwest United States last week, skeptics on global warming were celebrating what seemed to be proof of a "left-winged" agenda designed to strip us of our toys. The opposition's main theory was surrounding the role of the sun and its effects on our climate, especially with the activity of sunspots, blaming the sun as the sole contributor to the phenomenon of global warming. Wanting to continue with "business-as-usual," skeptics claimed that sunspots, which are the amplification of the solar magnetic field that bursts through with the rotation of the Sun's equator and poles, are behind the "natural" cause of global warming.
According to the Independent, researchers have found this theory--first raised by Friis-Christensen and Henrik Svensmakr in 1991 and then later in 1998--to be problematic and heavily ladened with flaws. Further research has found that when the errors introduced into the analysis are removed, the correlations disappear, with no link between the sunspots and global warming.
News spreads quickly with the global reaches of the internet, and soon enough this new occurence was found almost everywhere, all repearting the same thing: There are flaws in the research on the effects of sunspots on the climate and in truth it doesn't cause the harmful changes in climate that we are experiencing. But what are these flaws? The only evidence I have come across is a paper published in 2004 by Paul Damon and Peter Laut titled, "Pattern of Strange Errors Plagues Solar Activity and Terrestrial Climate Data", but this doesn't read like the last word on the subject.
The entire incident appears to be the perfect example of the tennis-match debate between the left and the right as propagated by the media, blurring the facts and exhausting the issue until all the energy needed to solve issues are spent.
The problems surrounding both arguments point to the fact that further comprehensive and cross-disciplinary research needs to continue in order to become conscious of the fact that human beings, and their actions, are apart of an intricate system in relation to the Earth, just as the Earth, the planets, and the sun are apart of an even greater interactive system governed by the laws of cause-and-effect.
Image: "Sunspot 930 from Monrovia" by RBerteig on Flickr courtesy of Creative Commons Licensing.