May 30th 2009

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Articles from this issue:

CLIMATE CHANGE: Solar inactivity points to further global cooling

EDITORIAL: Australia's biggest financial scam?

CANBERRA OBSERVED: Next generation to pay for Swan Budget

NATIONAL AFFAIRS: Fund infrastructure with a development bank

DEFENCE WHITE PAPER: Glaring flaw at heart of government defence thinking

ASIA: Will China "liberate" the South China Sea?

FOREIGN AFFAIRS: US auto industry meltdown highlights financial collapse

UNITED KINGDOM: Unrestrained greed caused banking crisis

HUMAN RIGHTS: A bill of rights will diminish our freedoms

ILLICIT DRUGS: Cannabis use linked to suicide, schizophrenia

EDUCATION: The Frankfurt School and the war on the West

OPINION: The forgotten factor: land prices

Bill of rights vs. common law (letter)

Beware of 'Plimer contrarianism' (letter)

CINEMA: Cold War metaphor encoded in vampire movie

BOOKS: THE HORNET'S STING: The Amazing Untold Story of WWII Spy Thomas Sneum, by Mark Ryan

BOOKS: HEROES: From Alexander the Great to Mae West, by Paul Johnson

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CLIMATE CHANGE: Solar inactivity points to further global cooling

by Peter Westmore

News Weekly, May 30, 2009

There has been a dramatic fall in sunspot activity, NASA scientists have confirmed. Peter Westmore reports.

The US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has released figures confirming that the sun is currently at a deep minimum in solar activity, unseen for many years. This is significant because NASA scientists have been in the forefront of the global warming hysteria.

There is a strong correlation between sunspots - which are the source of solar flares, mass ejections from the sun and intense ultra-violet radiation - and global temperatures. The Little Ice Age, which lasted from 1645 to 1715, coincided with a period of low sunspot activity known as the Maunder Minimum.

The Dalton Minimum, another period of low sunspot activity extending from 1790 to 1830, was also a period of intense cold on earth. The warm period from 1970 to 1998 coincided with high levels of sunspot activity.

Rapid decline

Since 2001, solar activity has rapidly declined and, for the past three years, there have been relatively few sunspots.

The lack of sunspot activity makes it difficult to tell when the last solar cycle (solar cycle 23) ended, and when the next solar cycle (solar cycle 24) begins.

A media release from NASA last month stated, "There were no sunspots observed on 266 of [2008's] 366 days (73%). To find a year with more blank suns, you have to go all the way back to 1913, which had 311 spotless days....

"Prompted by these numbers, some observers suggested that the solar cycle had hit bottom in 2008. Maybe not. Sunspot counts for 2009 have dropped even lower. As of March 31, there were no sunspots on 78 of the year's 90 days (87%).

"It adds up to one inescapable conclusion: 'We're experiencing a very deep solar minimum,' says solar physicist Dean Pesnell of the Goddard Space Flight Center. Another solar physicist, David Hathaway, who is an active campaigner that human activity is causing global warming, said, 'This is the quietest sun we've seen in almost a century'."

Apart from the dramatic fall in sunspot activity, according to NASA, in 2008 the sun set the following records:

• a 50-year low in solar wind pressure, meaning that more cosmic rays are bombarding the earth, causing more cloud formation;

• a 12-year low in solar radiation; and

• a 55-year low in solar radio emissions, which some researchers believe is an indication of weakness of the sun's magnetic field.

According to NASA, "All these lows have sparked a debate about whether the ongoing minimum is 'weird', 'extreme' or just an overdue 'market correction' following a string of unusually intense solar maxima."

Another American government agency which has a long track record of climate alarmism, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), has conceded that the sun is experiencing very low activity.

A statement released on May 8, 2009, quoted an international panel of solar experts, headed by NOAA's Space Weather Prediction Centre, as stating: "The panel also predicted that the lowest sunspot number between cycles - or solar minimum - occurred in December 2008, marking the end of Cycle 23 and the start of Cycle 24. If the December prediction holds up, at 12 years and seven months Solar Cycle 23 will be the longest since 1823 and the third longest since 1755."

Not surprisingly, the statement was buried in a statement full of alarmist hyperbole which described the solar cycle as "a new active period of earth-threatening solar storms".

David Deming, a geophysicist at the University of Oklahoma, wrote recently, "Global warming predictions by meteorologists are based on speculative, untested, and poorly constrained computer models. But our knowledge of ice ages is based on a wide variety of reliable data, including cores from the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets. In this case, it would be perspicacious to listen to the geologists, not the meteorologists.

"By reducing our production of carbon dioxide, we risk hastening the advent of the next ice age. Even more foolhardy and dangerous is the Obama administration's announcement that they may try to cool the planet through geo-engineering. Such a move in the middle of a cooling trend could provoke the irreversible onset of an ice age."

He added, "Earth's climate is controlled by the Sun. In comparison, every other factor is trivial. The coldest part of the Little Ice Age during the latter half of the seventeenth century was marked by the nearly complete absence of sunspots. And the Sun now appears to be entering a new period of quiescence.

"August of 2008 was the first month since the year 1913 that no sunspots were observed. As I write, the sun remains quiet. We are in a cooling trend. The real extent of global sea ice is above the twenty-year mean." ("The coming ice age", American Thinker, May 13, 2009).

It seems unlikely that even this evidence will cause any change to the alarmism which has been embraced by the media and many governments, including Australia's.

Only an observed fall in temperature, over a prolonged period of time, will do that. There is reason to believe that such a period is now upon us.

- Peter Westmore

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