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Old 02-05-2013, 10:47 AM   #450 (permalink)
NeilBlanchard
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Of course the sun is an important part of the climate. As is the orbit and angle of the the earth. There has been change in the past and the reasons for those changes are known. Sometimes the orbit changes drive the temperature up, which then causes the ocean to release carbon dioxide, which then increases the temperature more - this is what happened ~125,000 years ago.

That was then. This current climate change is being driven by humans burning fossil fuel, which is raising the carbon dioxide level in the atmosphere. Eventually, if the ocean warms enough, more carbon dioxide will be released from the water; which is only one of the major feedback loops.

The sun is currently in a bit of a lull, but overall, it is expected to increase slowly over time. This is part of the reason that we are not seeing a rapid increase in temperature - but the increase in carbon dioxide is tipping the balance toward warming despite the other major factors.

As I mentioned, warming is lagging behind the carbon dioxide - we will continue to see an increase in the temperature, and we will find out how much all the major feedback loops (albedo, methane, melting ice, rising ocean level, carbon dioxide absorbed by the ocean) affect things.

So far, all the climate models have been too conservative - warming has increased faster than even the worst case models indicated.
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