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New Ice Age Theory

samzenpus posted more than 7 years ago | from the why-is-it-so-cold dept.

Space 272

amigoro writes "Most believe that the ice ages are the result of subtle changes in Earth's orbit, known as the Milankovitch cycles. According to one scientist, that is not the case. Robert Ehrlich of George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, has developed a model which hypothesizes a dimmer switch inside the sun that causes its brightness to rise and fall on timescales of around 100,000 or 41,000 years, exactly the same period as between ice ages on Earth. The main problem with Milankovitch cycles is that they can't explain how the ice ages go from 100,000 year cycle to 41,000 year cycle. The cycles predicted by Ehlrich's model line up with the observations."

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272 comments

I Hope (5, Funny)

Zonnald (182951) | more than 7 years ago | (#17746712)

No one tries the old venerable "Frost Post"

I'm pretty sure this was on TV (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17746714)

I saw an episode of "Andromeda" where the system's sun would go out every hundred years or so...
life imitates TV? (anyone know which epi it wuz?)

Re:I'm pretty sure this was on TV (4, Funny)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 7 years ago | (#17747266)

I saw an episode of "Andromeda" where the system's sun would go out every hundred years or so...life imitates TV? (anyone know which epi it wuz?)

That was CNN covering the Bagdad power grid.
     

Re:I'm pretty sure this was on TV (1)

shoelace_822695 (789021) | more than 7 years ago | (#17747962)

it was in season 5... possibly "One More Day's Light" i'd have to dig out the discs to be sure..

NOT GUILTY: I am NOT a Google SHILL !! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17746720)

NOT GUILTY: I am NOT a Google SHILL !! If I were, I'd say so.

Re:NOT GUILTY: I am NOT a Google SHILL !! (3, Funny)

beckerist (985855) | more than 7 years ago | (#17747226)


if (strpos("shill", $comment[text]))
  {
  echo "[Post deleted due to:] <i>User being a douchebag.</i>";
  $sql_code="delete from comments where commentID = $comment[id]";
  sql($sql_code);
  }

Human Caused (5, Funny)

_Sharp'r_ (649297) | more than 7 years ago | (#17746726)

This guy's theories are all wrong. Obviously people are causing the 100,000 - 41,000 year cycles. Someone should take away his meterology license...

Re:Human Caused (5, Funny)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 7 years ago | (#17746846)

I think you mean meatier.. meetior.. metear.. weather man license.

Re:Human Caused (5, Funny)

Undefined Parameter (726857) | more than 7 years ago | (#17747090)

Damn -- not only is Porky Pig still alive, he's posting to Slashdot!

Caused by God (3, Funny)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 7 years ago | (#17747444)

God is getting too cheap to pay the heating bill so he's turned down the thermostat.

This probably is a precursor for the Second Coming. Unlike the first kid who dropped out of carpentry class, the next kid wants to go to college and he needs to save up.

Re:Human Caused (3, Funny)

kfg (145172) | more than 7 years ago | (#17746914)

Obviously people are causing the 100,000 - 41,000 year cycles.

OMG!!! We need to save the Sun!

KFG

Re:Human Caused (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17746986)

You simple fool. How dare you mock the only true religion. Man changes nature and that is the only way it could be. Ever since evolution man has been changing or effecting the weather. And we are doing it now.

So quit stalling and lets start extor.. err.. charging companies and consumers for their emisisions. because we know they have enough money anyways and and if consumer don't they can come begging to us for help then we will be the super most powerful.. err most compasionate people that we are. Why would you care about some evil company anyways.. unless your an evil republican. Get on the band wagon with the believers or shut up.

Re:Human Caused (2, Funny)

bricko (1052210) | more than 7 years ago | (#17747056)

This is going to upset the Weather Lady to no end..... Maybe she can get a job with Vivid Entertainment. I can see her and Al together now....

SUV Caused (4, Funny)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 7 years ago | (#17747172)

Nope, it is caused by Suburbans, HMVs and Expeditions. Obviously even the dinosaurs had SUVs - the ice ages prove it.

Re:Human Caused (4, Funny)

thunderpaws (199100) | more than 7 years ago | (#17747794)

All this time I thought it was effect caused by all those politicians sticking their fingers in the air to see which way the wind blows.

Old News (5, Funny)

tignom (562076) | more than 7 years ago | (#17746730)

So the new model is heliocentric instead of geocentric. I thought we made this switch centuries ago.

Re:Old News (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17746864)

We did, but it wasn't until we declassified Pluto as a planet that all of the astrology star charts started to line up. Now they're actually accurate. Today my horoscope read: "things should be going quite well in many parts of your life." Hit the nail on the head right there!

I've heard that some expert astrologers have predicted that "the weather may get colder for a period and then warm up at a later date or it might get warmer first and then cool off at a later date." It sounds like they've got a better grip on this issue than most of the so-called climate scientists and astronomers (not real scientists since they don't have an -ology). When will people learn that the so-called physical laws are but mere manifestations of the stars and planets positions in space. You don't understand the meaning of a book by looking at the shape of the letter 's' nor should you understand the universe by playing with pendulums, springs, and nuclear fusion.

Re:Old News (1)

Propaganda13 (312548) | more than 7 years ago | (#17746876)

So when is a new model going to look past the edges of our solar system?

Re:Old News (2, Funny)

nmb3000 (741169) | more than 7 years ago | (#17747338)

So when is a new model going to look past the edges of our solar system?

The guy's on crack.

The real reason behind the ice ages is the Sun's evil sister-star: Nemesis [wikipedia.org] .

According to my scientific analysis, it just so happens that Nemesis orbits our solar system once every 100,000 or 41,000 years, exactly the same period as between ice ages on Earth. As the rouge star passes closest to the Sun, it triggers an influx of neutrino emissions in the star's inner core of dark matter. This results in an ion-theta flux imbalance which reduces the star's luminosity by a factor of omega/psi.

As everyone knows, the main problem with Milankovitch cycles is that they can't explain how the ice ages go from 100,000 year cycle to 41,000 year cycle. The cycles predicted by the Nemesis Model line up with the observations, and thus the model is proven. Now go buy my book.

Re:Old News (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 7 years ago | (#17747248)

So the new model is heliocentric instead of geocentric. I thought we made this switch centuries ago.

Haven't you ever heard of epicicles?
     

Well, plasma soul.... (1, Troll)

Nefarious Wheel (628136) | more than 7 years ago | (#17746736)

Could it be that the inner shells of the sun are bouncing a bit? Perhaps a resonance building up from fast "shell quakes" where localised fuel combinations are changing ?

Broken link to details. (2, Informative)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 7 years ago | (#17747028)

"Could it be..."

Who the hell knows...

From TFA: "In an article appearing in the journal Nature, Ehrlich describes..."

Click the nature link and you end up at NewScientist.

Even if this guy has a viable mechanisim for his "dimmer switch", I can't see that it has any implications for our current climate problems. Wake me up again iff someone finds an abstract.

To the Retard who Posted this Story (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17746750)

The climate depends more on atmospheric composition than on any variation in the sun or even our proximity to it. That's why venus is hotter than mercury. I'm not trolling, I'm just really tired of assmunches promoting the idea that the climate is changing as part of a normal cycle or some such garbage.

Re:To the Retard who Posted this Story (2, Insightful)

Zonnald (182951) | more than 7 years ago | (#17746790)

The opinion you suggest can explain differences between two bodies, but not necessarily with the same body over time. This new theory relates to the output of the sun and how it effects the one body - Earth. I would like to see an investigation of how the temperature of Venus or Mars fluctuates as a result of this cycle. Although that is still a pretty hard study as observations are a little bit restricted to the here and now.

Re:To the Retard who Posted this Story (3, Funny)

prettything (965473) | more than 7 years ago | (#17746810)

the article doesnt say that, and every ice age so far predates the industrial revolution.... if you read the article that is... you are the one who is the one who is retarded!

Re:To the Retard who Posted this Story (5, Informative)

Guppy06 (410832) | more than 7 years ago | (#17747140)

"The climate depends more on atmospheric composition than on any variation in the sun or even our proximity to it. That's why venus is hotter than mercury."

That's less "difference in atmospheric composition" and more "has an atmosphere or not."

Re:To the Retard who Posted this Story (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17747242)

Oh! Thanks! Who knew winter is actually caused by Santa's exhuast fumes?

Damn, if we could clean that atomosphere up then we wouldn't need to be bothered by seasonal weather!!!11!one!

I knew all along that slight tilt of the earth couldn't affect the weather!

70500 +/- 29500 years, easy! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17746762)

See, I learned something in all those science experiment classes.

OTOH the check word says the "contrary". Maybe the author should use this system to find the solution.

Combination (4, Interesting)

dohzer (867770) | more than 7 years ago | (#17746788)

Could it not be a combination of both Milankovitch cycles and the dimming of the sun?

Re:Combination (5, Informative)

toby34a (944439) | more than 7 years ago | (#17747564)

Yeah, it definitely could be a combination of all manners of cycles. That's the thing about climate shifts- there are so many variables interacting, that some interact in very different ways. I wrote a summary paper a few years ago for a seminar about a theory of frequency modulation of the Milankovitch cycles to help solve some of the classic Milankovitch "problems". Here's a link for it: http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/285 /5427/564 [sciencemag.org] . Looking at the followup research, Dr. Rial has done both frequency modulation to see what he can do with the three main Milankovitch cycles (that being orbital eccentricity (changing in how "oval" the Earth's orbit is, every 100,000 and 400,000 years), planetary precession (changing the location of the seasons, so that the Northern Hemisphere winter moves from January to January over the course of 21,000 years) and the planet's obliquity (changes in the tilt of the earth from 22.5 degrees to 24.5 degrees, over a course of 41,000 years). Through this frequency modulation, he was able to produce a signal very close the delta-O 18 ratios found for the Vostok core in Antartica. His theory also was able to "demodulate" the Vostok core to get peaks at 41kyr (kyr = 1000 years), 100kyr, and 21kyr as predicted by the classic Milankovitch cycles. While these solar fluctuations may exist (and I'm not an astronomer, just a meteorology/atmospheric science/climatology PhD student) I'd prefer to firm them up before they replace the classical orbital mechanisms that we know exist. Whether they cause the Ice Ages or not, they are present in the orbital path.

Re:Combination (3, Interesting)

radtea (464814) | more than 7 years ago | (#17747952)

While these solar fluctuations may exist (and I'm not an astronomer, just a meteorology/atmospheric science/climatology PhD student) I'd prefer to firm them up before they replace the classical orbital mechanisms that we know exist. Whether they cause the Ice Ages or not, they are present in the orbital path.

We do know the orbital fluxuations to exist, but we don't know that they cause terrestrial climate fluxuations. The problem is real: the dominant frequencies in the orbital fluxuations do not match well with the dominant frequencies in the climate fluxuations. Something more is going on, probably in our understanding of the global climate, which may impose frequencies of its own, like a resonant system excited by a non-resonant driving force.

Unfortunately, the kind of step-function we are giving the planet, and which it has had in the past from other natural occurences, is a pretty powerful excitation at all frequencies.

Dimmer switch? (0, Troll)

andy314159pi (787550) | more than 7 years ago | (#17746818)

Yes that's the same theory that has been proposed from the scientists at Oral Roberts University. God attached a dimmer switch to the sun so he can punish us with increasing temperatures.

Socrates would be disappointed (5, Insightful)

Volfied (307532) | more than 7 years ago | (#17746830)

sophism [sof-iz-uhm] -noun
              a specious argument for displaying ingenuity in reasoning or for deceiving someone, e.g. beginning with a conclusion and finding reasons to justify it, regardless of where the evidence points.

Re:Socrates would be disappointed (2, Insightful)

squidfood (149212) | more than 7 years ago | (#17746856)

beginning with a conclusion and finding reasons to justify it, regardless of where the evidence points.

In statistical terms also known as overfitting your data .

Re:Socrates would be disappointed (1)

peektwice (726616) | more than 7 years ago | (#17746952)

but a hole in this theory has been its inability to explain why the ice ages changed frequency a million years ago.

Obviously there are also other holes, as you eloquently stated.

Re:Socrates would be disappointed (4, Funny)

Harmonious Botch (921977) | more than 7 years ago | (#17747668)

beginning with a conclusion and finding reasons to justify it, regardless of where the evidence points.
Also known as earning tenure.

Re:Socrates would be disappointed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17746892)

"LOL LET'S DRINK HEMLOCK! :D IT'LL BE GREAT!"

I don't think I'd be much impressed by Socrates' disappointment.

Re:Socrates would be disappointed (3, Interesting)

theshowmecanuck (703852) | more than 7 years ago | (#17746942)

"Whenever you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth."
-- Sherlock Holmes

Duelling quotations. :-p

Socrates would be confused (2, Interesting)

Livius (318358) | more than 7 years ago | (#17747280)

I don't know that 'sophism' is fair. The Milankovitch cycles don't explain two different period lengths. The actual paper (http://arxiv.org/PS_cache/astro-ph/pdf/0701/07011 17.pdf) suggests a mechanism giving a periodic behaviour in the interior of the sun having multiple period lengths. Unless it was arbitrarily calibrated to give the same cycles as Ice Ages (I concede I couldn't follow all the math), it looks pretty reasonable as a hypothesis. If there's a periodic behaviour on the Earth, and a behaviour inside the Sun with same period lengths, and they coincide, that's worth looking into. (Pity we can't observe the interior of the sun as easily as the Earth's orbit.)

Re:Socrates would be confused (1)

32Na (894547) | more than 7 years ago | (#17747840)

We do have one good way to look inside the sun: neutrinos penetrate all the way from the sun's core despite the dense atmosphere, and make it to the earth. So, if we wanted to look for variations in reaction rates in the core, we could look at solar neutrino flux and be very patient.

(Extra emphasis on the very: we only see a few solar neutrinos/day, and of course his theory is talking about changes occurring over long time spans anyways)

It can only be the result of a higher power... (-1, Troll)

CrackedButter (646746) | more than 7 years ago | (#17746838)

... when God decides to turn the dimmer switch down to save electricity for the next miracle! Religion always provides an answer, not fucking scientists with their peer reviewed ideas.

Er, what? (1, Insightful)

mqduck (232646) | more than 7 years ago | (#17746840)

Man... Where have I been? I'm no science geek and I guess it shows. What happened to that big asteroid that was supposed to start the Ice Age?

Re:Er, what? (1)

dokhebi (89124) | more than 7 years ago | (#17746910)

Big asteroids have been know to cool things down a bit, but an asteroid large enough to start an ice age will kill most life on the surface before the temperature could start falling.

From the little I have gleaned in the science classes I've taken over the years (high school and college) it is probably a combination of factors that start an ice age: temperature of the sun, orbit of the Earth (distance from the sun), and lack of green house gasses. The green house gasses in the atmosphere determine how much heat is retained and when there is to liitle of these gasses the heat escapes from the Earth into space.

Just my $0.02 worth.

Re:Er, what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17747482)

What big asteroid? Are you talking about the big impact that occurred at the Cretaceous/Tertiary boundary that might have been responsible for the extinction of dinosaurs? If so, you're way off, because the most recent Ice Ages didn't occur until, oh, 20 or 30 million years later.

Long term variations (tens or hundreds of millions of years) are thought to be controlled by continental positions and isolation of polar oceans (e.g., the modern Arctic Ocean is almost surrounded & cut off from the other oceans). If there isn't a continent at or near the poles, no ice ages are likely. Once the continents are in the right configuration, the ice comes and goes at shorter time scales (100k), traditionally, due to the variations in solar insolation from Milankovitch cycles (this produces glacial/interglacial climate phases). The article talks about another possibility -- fluctuations in the Sun itself.

Asteroid impact? You're confused. Very short term cold (say, years) is all they would do. After that the dust settles out. They don't cause multi-thousand-year ice ages.

Re:Er, what? (1)

saforrest (184929) | more than 7 years ago | (#17747626)

What big asteroid? Are you talking about the big impact that occurred at the Cretaceous/Tertiary boundary that might have been responsible for the extinction of dinosaurs? If so, you're way off, because the most recent Ice Ages didn't occur until, oh, 20 or 30 million years later.

Actually, about 60 or so. The KT extinction was 65 million years ago, and the ice ages didn't start until recently.

Dimmer switch? (0, Troll)

andy314159pi (787550) | more than 7 years ago | (#17746862)

Yes that's the same theory that has been proposed by the scientists at Oral Roberts University. God attached a dimmer switch to the sun so he can punish us with increasing temperatures.

Re:Dimmer switch? (1)

Phoobarnvaz (1030274) | more than 7 years ago | (#17747852)

God attached a dimmer switch to the sun so he can punish us with increasing temperatures.

Can't be...since according to these same "scientists"...the universe is only 6000 years old & with their god creating the universe in 6 days...rather than the several years it took electrical engineers to create a dimmer switch for lights on earth. Plus...if the 10,000 years time frame is right...their rapture will happen a lot sooner than the 4,000 years or so we have left.

NOTE...will be too busy shaking hands in hell to get burned & running away from these same folks who believe this the earth is only 6000 years old.;)

Misleading grammar (5, Insightful)

p0ss (998301) | more than 7 years ago | (#17746872)

Ice ages are not caused by planet Earth's orbital variations as once thought, but by the dimmer switch inside the sun that causes its brightness to rise and fall on timescales of around 100,000 years which is exactly the same period as between ice ages on Earth, according to a radical new theory proposed by renowned astrophysicist Robert Ehrlich of George Mason University.

shouldn't that be:
According to a radical new theory proposed by renowned astrophysicist Robert Ehrlich of George Mason University, Ice ages are not caused by planet Earth's orbital variations as once thought, but by the dimmer switch inside the sun that causes its brightness to rise and fall on timescales of around 100,000 years which is exactly the same period as between ice ages on Earth.


that's like writing
THE EARTH IS FLAT!!!! according to some guy somewhere.
instead of
some guy somewhere thinks the earth is flat!!

Re:Misleading grammar (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17747036)

Why would people be concerned with misleadnig grammar. Oh yea, I places jepordy on som of thier old theories and customs.

But nobody gives a rats ass when it is anti church, anti republican, or anti microsoft, or anti whatever is popular to bash nowadays.

Good god, (grief whatever). The guy is trying to claim the theory is corect not that he has some unprovable measn to conclude how the earth went through several histroical periods that might threaten the new religion of global warming and man's influence.

Re:Misleading grammar (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17747244)

What?

Re:Misleading grammar (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17747390)

exactly!

Re:Misleading grammar (1)

p0ss (998301) | more than 7 years ago | (#17747704)

you'll find no arguement from me on that front, no one should ever stop questioning their beliefs. I only take issue with reporters who allow opinion to be interpreted as fact.

Real source (3, Interesting)

edwardpickman (965122) | more than 7 years ago | (#17746886)

It doesn't explain the cycles but the ice ages are generally believed to be caused by a shift in the jet stream that was caused by the Himalayan Mountains. The cycle's start parallels the rise of that mountain range cutting into the jet stream and causing the shift. The trigger is still up for debate but the cold air is being caused by the jet stream shifting south.

Re:Real source (0)

tgd (2822) | more than 7 years ago | (#17746922)

Not sure why you got modded up.

Clearly there are people with mod points that don't know geology or understand the timeframes in which mountain ranges like them rose.

Re:Real source (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17746996)

Oh for Christ's sake, really, those mountains HAVE to be less than 6,000 years old. Don't you know anything?

Re:Real source (2, Insightful)

RenderSeven (938535) | more than 7 years ago | (#17747878)

Not sure why you cant do some reading yourself. According to wikipedia, the Himalayas are the youngest mountains on earth and geologically active, growing 5mm per year. Over 100000 years, thats 500 meters, assuming the growth rate is constant, which it probably isnt. The jet stream does in fact pass directly over Everest.

Is that enough to trigger a shift in the Jet Stream? I dont know and neither does anyone modding the parent a troll. While the parent may not be definitive or even correct, I sure as hell think its interesting.

Re:Real source (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 7 years ago | (#17747206)

It doesn't explain the cycles. . .

Well, so much for that hypothesis.

. . .the cold air is being caused by the jet stream shifting south.

And you might want to read up on the difference between convective and radiative heating. Winter is not caused by cold air.

KFG

Re:Real source (3, Interesting)

edwardpickman (965122) | more than 7 years ago | (#17747560)

I went from a five to a troll? Some people need to read more. The jet stream is the likely source. Check maps of the Glaciers and you'll see they matched the position of the jet stream during the last ice age. The jet stream acts as a wall to the cold arctic air. Other factors keep the frost line in northern Canada but during an ice age the Jet Stream marks the limit the cold will shift. A study of glacerial sediments helped prove the process began around the time the Himalayan Mountains started to form. Maybe the theory is wrong but it's not my theory. I felt like I just got trolled because I made a pro evolution post on a Christian web site. Might help to do some reading before you troll. Another FYI the earth isn't flat and evolution isn't just an unlikely theory.

Re:Real source (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 7 years ago | (#17747902)

Uhhh, soooo, every 50 million years or so, the Himalayas appear or disappear?

This is ridiculous (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17746888)

If most scientists believe that the Milankovitch cycles cause Ice Ages, then it must be true. This is just like the consensus on Global Warming. If this guy doesn't believe that the Milankovitch cycles are the cause, then he's obviously being paid off by some corporation for some reason. Milankovitch cycles are SETTLED SCIENCE. This guy needs to stop being a skeptic and start researching how we can stop these cycles!

Re:This is ridiculous (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17746930)

how we can stop these cycles!

Why? We will all be dead. we have a few thousand years to worry about it.

Re:This is ridiculous (1)

ougouferay (981599) | more than 7 years ago | (#17747190)

...Milankovitch cycles are SETTLED SCIENCE
There's no such thing as 'settled science' - thats the whole point of the scientific method - nothing is sacred. If a new theory fits all the available evidence better than the current theory then it doesn't matter if a million scientists don't like it - they either have to accept it or prove its wrong.

Re:This is ridiculous (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 7 years ago | (#17747570)

It is amazing that some people don't understand this.

I have often made the comparison of people who think if science is settled when we are still working with theories and religions inability to accept something against their creed. It is almost interchangeable. I'm not sure if it a cause and effect of the creation verses evolution debate or if some sciences have just jumped in to fill the gap of no religion for all the religious theories it has proven wrong. One of the most notable instance is were that weather channel chick wanted to remove the membership/certification status for anyone who publicly disagreed with the official religion of global warming.

But if you ask many of the so called anti religious zealots anywhere, you will see the exact qualities that they claim turns them off of religion and religious people in them. Not all of them but close.

sex with 4 tr0ll (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17746950)

and shouting t4at

Luckily... (3, Funny)

jpellino (202698) | more than 7 years ago | (#17746956)

there's a Home Depot just an a.u. down the road - we should ve able to swap that out with a longer cycle dimmer and all will be well.

Conclusion! (4, Funny)

Xybot (707278) | more than 7 years ago | (#17746978)

Obviously mans careless use of the environment on earth is the root cause of this heliocentric dimming phenomenon. I call for an immediate halt to deforestation and burning of fossil fuels that initiate the anti-dimming process via subatomic sympathetic astrological particles (SSAP)!!

Ingorance or carelessness (1)

mdsolar (1045926) | more than 7 years ago | (#17747648)

Actually I just blogged on this. For global warming it is very hard to blame carelessness. http://mdsolar.blogspot.com/2007/01/knowing-warmin g.html [blogspot.com]

But, you can still do something about it: http://mdsolar.blogspot.com/2007/01/slashdot-users -selling-solar.html [blogspot.com]

hmm (2, Funny)

minus_273 (174041) | more than 7 years ago | (#17746982)

natural global cooling? with scientific backing? this sounds like a global warming denier. he should lose his licence and prosecuted in nuremberg style war crimes courts! quick, someone tell al gore!

Re:hmm (1)

mateomiguel (614660) | more than 7 years ago | (#17747174)

god damn hydrocarbons polluting our suns! Next thing you'll be telling me solar radiation is causing the ozone layer to be destroyed!

Re:hmm (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 7 years ago | (#17747408)

You forgot that once the Ozone layer is gone, It will never be replaced.

Re:hmm (1)

limecat4eva (1055464) | more than 7 years ago | (#17747620)

Move Los Angeles to the South Pole. Everyone wins, except the penguins.

Re:hmm (4, Funny)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 7 years ago | (#17747454)

Since folks like you think the earth is only 6000 years old, I'm surprised you're paying any attention at all.

Re:hmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17747762)

Since we've given you so many nobel prize winners, we decided to give free advice

Ice Age Frequency (5, Interesting)

Convector (897502) | more than 7 years ago | (#17746994)

It's a neat idea. Are there any observations to support it? Peter Huybers from MIT just presented an alternative model which explains the 40 ky - 100 ky switch nicely without resorting to solar fluctuations. The basic idea is that you start out with ice ages every 40 ky, but at some point the ice accumulation retards heating, and one or even two thawing cycles get skipped. This gives you longer cold periods and a warm period every 80 ky or 120 ky. If you randomly distribute cycles with these two intervals, you can get a peak at 100 ky (but you can't just superimpose the sine curves with those two frequencies). He suggests that the 100 ky cycle isn't real, and just an effect we see from skipping some thaws. This is supposedly supported by oxygen isotope measurements, but I'm not enough of a geochemist to verify that.

Re:Ice Age Frequency (1)

vondo (303621) | more than 7 years ago | (#17747106)

How are the times of ice ages more than a million years ago determined? Do ice cores go back that far? And how far back can we tell there are ice ages every 40K years?

Re:Ice Age Frequency (2, Informative)

theodicey (662941) | more than 7 years ago | (#17747624)

Antarctic ice cores do [wikipedia.org] , and you can see the ice ages in the linked charts.

Re:Ice Age Frequency (1)

vondo (303621) | more than 7 years ago | (#17747716)

Thanks.

The furthest back I saw referenced there was 730k years (before the shift in periods). Did I miss something.

Re:Ice Age Frequency (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17747384)

The fact that Venus, mars and Jupiter are all showing signs of "global warming" are a tiny speck of evidence....

Anyone have graphs of observed solar energy output that is unaffected by atmosphere?

Re:Ice Age Frequency (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17747692)

Anyone have graphs of observed solar energy output that is unaffected by atmosphere?

Observed over the last few hundred thousand years?

Republicans and Corporations Are To Blame (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17747048)

They must be. They're the cause of everything wrong in the world.

Being John Milankovitch (3, Funny)

Neo-Rio-101 (700494) | more than 7 years ago | (#17747058)

Milankovitch, Milankovitch, Milankovitch, Milankovitch, Milankovitch, Milankovitch (Drops onto New Jersey Turnpike)

Frost p1st (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17747102)

Models, Theories & Proof (5, Insightful)

BoRegardless (721219) | more than 7 years ago | (#17747112)

I thank God the scientists keep looking for patterns and physics to try to explain what we see in the geologic and solar record & current observations of the sun, as that is the ONLY WAY we will ever have a chance of really knowing what long term cycles are caused by. There may be 50 models and theories, but it will likely be a stew of dozens of researchers that finally get a theory that is solid enough to be verified and called a Proof, or tentative Proof.

Fact is, no one can yet show a proof of why, but we do know that Ice ages occurred dozens of times and when, but we can not yet prove what the underlieing factor is that causes the repetition (excluding the major "accidental" supermassive volcano or mega-asteroid).

That is what true science is for, which is to keep digging, sometimes literally, until you uncover the data and principals that can be independently verified and eventually acknowledged as fact.

But that is not convenient for politicians who want power, and bureaucrats who can manage whole new divisions of government if they get funding to try to act on something with the citizens money, when there is only speculation as to what is going on and to what degree, let alone whether we can actually do anything about it.

Re:Models, Theories & Proof (1)

jonabbey (2498) | more than 7 years ago | (#17747386)

But that is not convenient for politicians who want power, and bureaucrats who can manage whole new divisions of government if they get funding to try to act on something with the citizens money, when there is only speculation as to what is going on and to what degree, let alone whether we can actually do anything about it.

Amen, and amen.

I just pray to God that the scientists keep looking for patterns and physics to try to explain what we see in atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations as well, while they're at it.

Re:Models, Theories & Proof (2, Insightful)

-=Moridin=- (131596) | more than 7 years ago | (#17747676)

There may be 50 models and theories, but it will likely be a stew of dozens of researchers that finally get a theory that is solid enough to be verified and called a Proof, or tentative Proof.

You are making the classic mistake: you are assuming that science is about trying to prove that something is true. It's not. Science cannot prove anything; science can only disprove.

If you want a concise definition of science, it is this: science is the methodology by which we identify and discard beliefs and theories that are false. This process does not produce facts; it does not produce proof. At best, it produces theories that have withstood enough attempts to knock them down that for now, we tentatively assume that they are accurate. But we're still standing on quicksand.

People who look to science to give them facts and absolute truths are inevitably frustrated [answersingenesis.org] , because science can't give them what they want.

Re:Models, Theories & Proof (1)

pipingguy (566974) | more than 7 years ago | (#17747802)

With all the "weird weather" over the past 12 months or so, are we experiencing another El Nino or is the world just going to hell in a handbasket yet again if we don't Do Something About It?

BS (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17747152)

This is such BS. Everybody knows that the sun has been a constant source of heat and light since the beginning of time and that the only cause of disruption in the universe is Western Civilization. To say otherwise is to blaspheme.

Hallowed be the Al Gore.

Dimmer switch...a competing viewpoint. (5, Funny)

nixkuroi (569546) | more than 7 years ago | (#17747162)

One competing viewpoint with this theory is that these events were caused by a solar "Clapper" which flipped the sun when bombarded with echoes and reverberations from the big bang. This non-viewpoint is endorsed by non-dimmer switch oriented non-scientists but these non-scientist find it more plausible...in lots of ways.

Cycle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17747166)

Ok... Lets go with the whole cycles thing. Were is the human race with in the current 41k / 100k cycle?

This is an inference -- not a prediction (4, Informative)

stephanruby (542433) | more than 7 years ago | (#17747228)

"The cycles predicted by Ehlrich's model line up with the observations."

Shouldn't this be? The cycles predicted by Ehlrich's model were inferred from observations. Implying that a prediction is lining up with observations is not the same as a prediction that's inferred from observations. And besides, the article is claiming it's an inference based on past observations, not a prediction which has been verified with observations.

The article itself makes no such wild encompassing claim.

Re:This is an inference -- not a prediction (3, Informative)

doubletruncation (939847) | more than 7 years ago | (#17747702)

I guess it's a bit of a symantics issue, whether it's a prediction or a post-diction. It's true that this "prediction" was made after the cycles themselves were observed in the temperature. However, the theory itself makes no reference to these observations, that is it doesn't use them for calibration (it's calibrated with observations of the sun only). The theory, instead, is that there is an oscillation in brightness that should be present in the Sun and other stars that hasn't been considered before. Ehrlich calculates the frequencies of the oscillation for the Sun (using only the solar model which is calibrated to observations of the sun without any reference to the paleotemperature record) and lo-and-behold the n=2,3 and 4 modes lie right on top of the three broad peaks in the fourier amplitude spectrum of the paleotemperature record. I don't think he can say exactly what the amplitude of the oscillation would be (a typical problem with modeling variable stars), though he does demonstrate that the oscillation would grow in time (i.e. it's unstable). The fact that the periods of this variation line up with the periods in the Earth's temperature is, at the very least, quite striking. In a sense, the periods could easily have been predicted by this theory before they were observed. If you're interested, you can see a pre-print for his article at http://xxx.lanl.gov/abs/astro-ph/0701117 [lanl.gov]

Re:This is an inference -- not a prediction (2, Interesting)

mdsolar (1045926) | more than 7 years ago | (#17747906)

One problem with asking for predictions in this case is that it would be very hard for you to confirm that the next two cycles occured or not. So, one is pretty much stuck with trying to account for the past. This is in the nature of observational science as opposed to experimental science. However, it is possible that the model will have consequences which explain other observations, or which suggest new observations which could help to test the validity of the theory. This is a theory about the solar interior. This is probed by heliosiesmology and observations of solar neutinos. It seems a little hard to guess but perhaps a tomogaphic result might test the theory. Certainly, local temperature fluctuations should lead to some scattering of sound waves, a sort of mirage effect.

I'm actually mulling over writing a proposal to use the billing data from the solar power systems we're selling to study the five minute solar oscillation. If we achieve our goal of 25% of the residential power market, power production data with sufficent time resolution would make an increadibly sensitive photometric instrument. Basically you can scrub clouds out of the data completely.
----
Get solar! http://mdsolar.blogspot.com/2007/01/slashdot-users -selling-solar.html [blogspot.com]

Dooh, there goes my funding. (1)

mgburr (993834) | more than 7 years ago | (#17747240)

A little while later at the bank..... Robert: "What do you mean I don't have any funds?" Teller: "I'm sorry sir, the account seams to have been frozen." Robert: "Oh, man! I knew I should have wated to cash the check before talking about the dimmer switch theory...." Proof that the Ice-Age theory works. If you hit the correct switch. Everything gets cold.....

Doesn't match solar timescales. (-1)

Michael Woodhams (112247) | more than 7 years ago | (#17747578)

It is very hard to get the sun to do something on 40-100kyr timescales.

There are three fundamental timescales for stars:

The nuclear timescale, which is the total energy available from 'fuel' divided by the luminosity of the star (i.e. the rate at which it radiates energy.) For the sun, this is about 10 billion years - the expected lifetime of the star.

The thermal timescale is the total thermal energy of the star divided by its luminosity. This is the rate at which the star can react to changes in the energy production rate. For the sun this is on the order of 10 million years. (Before we knew about nuclear energy, physicists thought the sun couldn't be much older than this.)

The dynamic timescale is the time it would take the sun to collapse to a black hole if somehow all the gas pressure were removed, or equivalently the time it would take to orbit the sun at its surface. Vibrations (helioseismology) occur on this timescale, and it is the period of variability for pulsating variable stars. I think for the sun it is on the order of a few hours or less.

(Yes, there's also the 11 year sunspot cycle. I haven't studied that - it must have something to do with the amount of energy held in magnetic fields. It is inconsequential in terms of solar luminosity.)

I'm going on memory for the times, so they won't be exact. Also, the timescales are a somewhat fuzzy concept, and different definitions can give results out by a factor of a few. In any case, none of them are at all close to 100,000 years, so variations on that timescale would be quite surprising. (Maybe something to do with the kinetic energy in convection could do it, but that's just a wild guess.)

I'm no scientist... (3, Insightful)

KKlaus (1012919) | more than 7 years ago | (#17747654)

But come on. "The cycles predicted by Ehlrich's model line up with the observations." The summary says that like its some type of verification. They line up (duh) because he picked the cycles that way. What a stupid end to the summary.

Fwiw, I like the line of thinking - that the ice ages are an action of the sun rather than the earth, but its entirely unsubstantiated and to go _holy crap_ the model that he crafted to fit historical data fits historical data is fantastically disingenious.

Dimmer Switch theory would explain . . . (4, Funny)

StefanJ (88986) | more than 7 years ago | (#17747684)

. . . that damn annoying hum.

So... (1)

kn0tw0rk (773805) | more than 7 years ago | (#17747938)

What would be the smallest size of object would have to collide with the sun to produce a change in the amount of solar radiation we receive on earth?

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