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Saturn, Venus, and the Sun

25 September 2010

At www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.cfm?release=2010-313&cid=release_2010-313 for a NASA story, images, and a video clip of Saturn’s shimmering aurora over a two day period (www.nasa.gov/cassini and http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov )

At www.planetary.org/blog/article/00002679 there is a series of images of the vortex at the south pole of Venus – it is constantly changing.

New Scientist September 23rd … has a peculiar leading piece under the title, ‘the Sun joins the climate club’ – as if it wasn’t always a factor in climate (see www.newscientist.com/article/mg20727793.100-the-sun-joins-the-climate-club/ ) in which we are assured by an atmospheric scientist at Reading Univesity that changes in activity on the surface of the Sun can influence climate – but note the word is can and not do. He adds, these findings do not suggest as climate sceptics frequently claim that we can blame the rise of global temperatures since the early 20th century on the Sun. Really. These are extravagant claims apparently, solar effects may only influence ‘regional’ weather patterns (note the use of the word climate is at this point avoided). Over its 11 year cycle the Sun’s brightness varies by just 0.1 per cent – too small a change to impinge on the global climate system. In fact, solar effects hae been left out of climate models, he says, quite unabashed by such an absurdity. Climate scientists have been forced to have a relook at clouds, solar influences, and cosmic rays – but they are protesting loudly at the moment. Such fun.

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