May 12, 2008
The Effect of the Sun on Earth’s Climate
Regarding your Friday article in the Vancouver Sun, you made mention of the effect of the Sun on Earth’s climate.
Another article appeared in one of the national papers a year or two ago, in which the writer had consulted with experts on what effects the Sun had on the planet.
The accepted belief is that Solar Radiation (read heat) is significant. Just as we accept that gravitational forces from the proximity of the moon has an effect on tides.
As put forth in that article, the Earth’s position relative to the Sun changes as part of the mechanics of the solar system. At present, the Earth is supposedly as close to the Sun as we can usually get and we will begin moving away around 2010 or 2011. It is postulated that we are being bombarded with the highest intensity of solar heat given our proximity and that this has an exacerbating effect on atmospheric temperatures. As our orbit begins to shift away from the Sun, the theory is that the solar heat will become less intense.
Now, does that mean that our CO-2 discharges don’t affect our climate? If you have ever been to a bar before smoking was banned, think of yourself in a small room filled with a cloud of cigarette smoke for 4 hours. Of course there is an effect. I also believe in the solar heat idea. Stand back from a boiler and it’s not so bad. Move closer and you get hotter. Duh!
But I was interested in the theory that we are experiencing a combination of effects exacerbated by the level of solar heat.
We have to wait a few years to see if the solar heat proponents are correct, but there is no doubt that our proximity to the Sun will change. That is one thing that everyone knows to be a proven fact.
Personally, when I was a young dreamer, I always figured that we would have two cars per home. One would be our Carbon Car for hauling the wife’s over packed, honking-giant of a suitcase over the mountains to the in-laws, and an electric car for all our urban driving. As a Transit Bus driver in Vancouver, I see those 230 hp Japanese and European cars trying to blast through clogged streets and keep thinking how really useless they are for city driving. No one is going anywhere fast, so why not save those machines for the long out-of-town drives.
Anyway, I digress.
Matt Maisonneuve North Vancouver, BC
The Frontier Centre for Public Policy
is an independent public policy think tank whose mission is "to broaden the debate on our future through public policy research and education and to explore positive changes within our public institutions that support economic growth and opportunity."