The Sun’s Influence On Climate And Why The Evidence Is Ignored By The IPCC

Posted on Mon 08/23/2021 by


By Dr. John Happs ~

I’m often asked:

“Why do so many people still believe that we are facing a climate crisis?”


“Why is so much money being spent on reducing carbon dioxide emissions when many other factors control climate change?”

My answers to these questions rest with the following facts:

  1. The general public has little understanding of science and do not appreciate the complexity of climate science. Few understand that climate alarmism is essentially driven by politics and financial opportunism.
  2. Media reporters (there are few investigative journalists) are always looking for alarmist headlines. Unfortunately, the public largely obtains its (dis)information about climate change through newspapers, radio and television.
  3. Politicians are always “sniffing the breeze” to see which way public sentiment about climate change is going. If the public is alarmed, they can reassure us that they can save us from climate Armageddon. This usually entails the wasting of vast amounts of taxpayer’s money.

Since its inception in 1988 the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has followed the directive it was given by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). This stated explicitly that the IPCC’s brief is to:

“Assess the scientific, technical and socioeconomic information relevant for the understanding of the risk of human-induced climate change.”   (My emphasis) (UNFCCC, 2020)

In other words the IPCC was specifically tasked with emphasising human-induced climate change, defined by the UNFCCC as:

“A change in climate which is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity.”

Should the IPCC find no evidence for human-induced climate change there would be no reason for the IPCC to continue, so we can understand the efforts that have been made over the years for those on the IPCC gravy-train to secure a link between carbon dioxide emissions and climate change.

Not surprisingly, the IPCC could find no evidence for human-induced climate change because there is none so, in the IPCC Technical Report (1995), contributing scientists made clear that:

“None of the studies cited above has shown clear evidence that we can attribute the observed [climate] changes to the specific cause of increases in greenhouse gases.”


“While none of these studies has specifically considered the attribution issue, they often draw some attribution conclusions, for which there is little justification.”

In other words, despite searching through the literature, the IPCC could find no evidence to show there has ever been:

“A change in climate which is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity.”

Of course this would never satisfy the political/ideological UN. So, to promote the climate alarm needed, the IPCC produced the 1995 Summary For Policymakers (SPM) and ensured this document, produced by UN officials and government representatives, was made available to the media and politicians. This SPM, in contradiction to the scientific findings, stated:

“There is evidence of an emerging pattern of climate response to forcing by greenhouse gases and sulfate aerosols …  These results point toward a human influence on global climate.”


“The body of statistical evidence in chapter 8, when examined in the context of our physical understanding of the climate system, now points to a discernible human influence on the global climate.”

Why wasn’t this sleight of hand reported by the media and made known to politicians?

Without any evidence, the IPCC’s second report (SAR, 1996, P4) promoted the view that:

“The balance of evidence suggests a discernable human influence on global climate.”

In the IPCC’s 3rd Assessment Report (TAR, 2001), Working Group 1: The Scientific Basis, we see the clear admission:

“The climate system is a coupled non-linear chaotic system and therefore the long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible.”

Again, this would never promote climate alarm so the IPCC’s 2001 Summary For Policymakers totally ignored this statement.

Why wasn’t this sleight of hand reported by the media and made known to politicians?

Accompanying the IPCC’s 3rd Assessment Report (TAR, 2001), we saw the introduction of the infamous Dr. Michael Mann’s fanciful “Hockey-Stick” graph. This appeared on page 3 of the Summary For Policymakers.

The “Hockey-Stick” graph came under fire by so many scientists that the IPCC quietly withdrew it from later reports. But the damage was done with the media and politicians believing that it showed no global warming for 1,000 years prior to the Industrial Revolution. It also showed there was no Medieval Warm Period or Little Ice Age.

(After Mann and Bradley (1999) in IPCC 2001, p. 3)

This sleight of hand and presentation of the discredited “hockey-stick” graph were certainly noted by many IPCC contributing scientists, including the late Dr. Vincent Gray.  A climate scientist, long-standing member of the New Zealand Royal Society and expert reviewer for the IPCC, Gray was adamant that:

The IPCC’s climate change statement is an orchestrated litany of lies.

There are many examples of questionable behaviour, if not blatant deception, from the IPCC and these have been well documented:

Why were these many examples not reported by the media?

Questionable IPCC behaviour certainly didn’t escape the attention of the many contributing scientists who resigned from the IPCC process. They resigned when they realized that a better understanding of the science behind climate change wasn’t the main game for the IPCC, whereas politics was.

Why were these criticisms and resignations of IPCC scientists not reported by the media?

It has been argued that the most deliberate piece of malfeasance from the IPCC was the manner in which the voluminous evidence for the sun’s influence on global climate continues to be dismissed. Solar activity variation received only a cursory consideration by the IPCC AR5 report and was virtually ignored as a climate-changing factor, despite over 100 peer-reviewed, published papers pointing to the sun as being an important driver of global climate.

NASA: aurora borealis

Most stars are variable in that they vary in luminosity over time and our sun is no exception, varying in brightness by about 1% over an 11 year cycle. This variation means that the solar wind, characterized by strong electrical currents and magnetic fields, also changes in intensity. The solar wind is responsible for the impressive aurora borealis near the North Pole and aurora australis near the South Pole.

The solar wind interacts with the main gases in the Earth’s atmosphere with Nitrogen glowing blue and purple whilst oxygen glows green and red.

Fortunately the Earth’s atmosphere and magnetic field shield us from much of this incoming solar energy:


The IPCC’s dismissal of the sun’s role in climate change became evident when AR4 Lead Author Dr. Judith Lean concluded:

“These results indicate that direct solar total irradiance forcing is unlikely to be the cause of global warming in the past decade, the acquisition of a much longer composite solar irradiance record is essential for reliably specifying the role of the sun in global climate change.”

 She enlarged on this:

 “Detection of long-term solar irradiance trends and validation of historical irradiance reconstructions rely on the acquisition of a much longer irradiance time series than is presently available.”

The IPCC’s conclusion is curious given that satellite data show increasing solar activity between 1980 and 2000 coinciding with measurable global warming. This was observed by Scafetta and Willson (2014) who reported:

“The implications of increasing TSI (Total Solar Irradiance) during the global warming of the last two decades of the 20th century are that solar forcing of climate change may be a significantly larger factor than represented in the CMIP5 general circulation climate models.”

Despite the links between TSI and global temperature, the IPCC’s Dr. Judith Lean ignored the satellite data whilst admitting to NASA’s Dr. Rebecca Lindsay that this was a “political” decision.

The IPCC’s use of computer modeling certainly suits its political needs since computer outputs depend on their inputs and modelers can ignore or play down the role of the sun or any factor they choose to discount. This is especially true if such factors contradict the IPCC’s political goal of finding evidence for catastrophic anthropogenic global warming.

In chapter 8 of the IPCC AR5 report we see:

“Nevertheless, even if there is such decrease in solar activity, there is a high confidence that the TSI RF variations will be much smaller in magnitude than the projected increased forcing due to GHG.”      (GHG = Greenhouse Gases)

After further comments about solar irradiance, the IPCC (AR5) dismissed the sun as having significant impact on global temperature. Dr. Henrik Svensmark pinpointed the problem with the IPCC considering solar influence as being negligible:

“If you ask the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) which represents the current consensus on climate change, the answer is a reassuring “nothing”.  But history and recent research suggests that it’s probably completely wrong.”

So what exactly is that history?

There was very high solar activity at the time known as the Medieval Warm Period, a period shown to be a global event.

There was low solar activity at the time of the Little Ice Age and scientists from the universities of Gloucestershire, Aberdeen and Plymouth have shown this period to also be a global event.

The International Satellite Cloud Climatology Program (ISCCP) has been measuring global cloud coverage since 1983, finding that the decrease in global cloud cover between 1987 and 2000 ranged from 69% to 64%. This coincided with the period when satellite data showed increasing solar activity and some global warming.

As Dr. Roy Spencer observes:

“Clouds are the Earth’s sunshade and if cloud cover changes for any reason, you have global warming  – or global cooling.”

There is little argument when the IPCC claims that the TSI change is too small to have a significant direct effect on global temperature but they fail to mention that TSI does have a marked effect on global temperature because of the knock-on mechanism that has been validated and widely published.

Data show good correspondence between global temperature and solar radiation for the temperature rise between 1910 and 1940 and the temperature drop between 1944 and 1980. This linkage is clear and:

“The entire 0.8°C temperature rise of the last 100 years, for which part or all of it gets attributed to CO2, can be explained by the impacts of the effective solar radiation at the Earth’s surface without any CO2 effects.”…r-solar-surface-radiation-intensity-but-then-ignores-and-buries-it/

The temperature rise between 1910 and 1940 cannot be explained by the impact of anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions since atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide increased trivially from 298 to 307 ppm during this period.

By the same token, the temperature fall between 1944 and 1980 cannot be explained by the impact of anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions since atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide did not decline.

But none of this evidence should come as a surprise to those solar physicists who don’t have a political agenda and it is widely accepted that solar activity definitely impacts global climate.

NASA: 2003 solar flare seen from the SOHO spacecraft

Over hundreds of years, scientists have observed and recorded the changing numbers of sunspots and we now know that the darker sunspots are cooler regions on the sun where magnetic lines push through on to the solar surface. This activity is often accompanied by huge explosions, leading to solar flares.

The Italian scientist Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) studied sunspots and noted their movement across the face of the sun, concluding that the sun was not the flawless orb described by Aristotle and promoted by the church.

The Chinese had records of sunspots in 364 BC, well before Galileo or the English astronomer Thomas Harriot (1560-1621) who observed sunspots in 1610.  Unfortunately Harriot only shared his sunspot information with friends and didn’t publish any of his findings.

In 1611 German astronomer Johannes Fabricius (1587-1616) and his son produced the first record of sunspot observation in his Narratio de maculis in sole observatis et apparente earum cum sole conversione or the Account of Spots Observed on the Sun and of Their Apparent Rotation with the Sun).

German born astronomer William Herschel (1738-1822) observed the changing numbers of sunspots and noted the correlation between sunspot numbers, climate and wheat prices. In summary, Herschel concluded that low sunspot numbers lead to a cooling climate and this led to poor wheat yields and higher wheat prices.

British astronomer Edward Maunder (1851–1928) suggested that sunspots were not being observed and recorded between 1645 and 1715 because there were no sunspots on the surface of the sun during that time.

This “quiet” solar period and cooling between 1645 and 1715 was named the Maunder Minimum by the American astronomer John Eddy (1931–2009) after his study of historic sunspot records.

The Maunder Minimum represented the coldest part of what is referred to as the “Little Ice Age” when the River Thames in London froze over and the Vikings abandoned Greenland. London Frost Fair

At the same time the Baltic Sea froze to the extent that hotels were built on the ice for people crossing the sea in coaches. The River Seine and Dutch canals were also frozen.

The Maunder Minimum resulted in much reduced agricultural output, disease, widespread human suffering and many premature deaths.

Swiss astronomer Rudolf Wolf (1816–1893) discovered that the sun went through a sunspot cycle and noted its link with geomagnetic activity on Earth and auroras. Wolf suspected that there was regularity in the sunspots and devised what is now known as “Wolf’s sunspot numbers” involving the numbers of sunspots and sunspot groups.  Wolf’s sunspot counts continue today since his record of solar activity reaches further back than other records.

The 11 year sunspot cycle is known as the Schwabe cycle after German astronomer Samuel Schwabe (1789–1875) who discovered that sunspots vary in number in a cycle of about 11 years. Interestingly, scientists at the Helmholtz Centre in Dresden noted that every 11 years, the Earth, Venus and Jupiter align precisely such that their gravitational forces act collectively on the sun’s surface plasma.

The Dalton Minimum is another period (1790–1830) in which there was reduced sunspot activity. This was named after the English meteorologist and chemist John Dalton (1766–1844). There were cooler temperatures around the world at this time with the Northern Hemisphere recording heavy snow and frosts throughout July and August, 1816. This became known as “The year without a summer.”

It took a while before there was a satisfactory explanation for the sunspot-climate change link. This was initially provided in 1991 by Friis-Christensen and Lassen in their publication:

Length of the Solar Cycle: An Indicator of Solar Activity Closely Associated with Climate.

In 1996 Friis-Christensen and Svensmark published:

Variation of Cosmic Ray Flux and Global Cloud coverage – A Missing Link in Solar-Climate Relationships.

Those papers and others that followed explained how:

  1. Cosmic rays (essentially high-energy protons and atomic nuclei) and other particles such as electrons, neutrons and neutrinos originate outside our solar system. They are accelerated towards the Earth by supernova explosions and continuously impact our atmosphere at almost the speed of light.
  1. These cosmic rays are deflected by the sun’s magnetic field, the strength of which changes, as does the number of sunspots.
  1. Cosmic rays enter the Earth’s atmosphere and collide with molecules in the air to form charged particles (ions). These become condensation nuclei around which water vapour condenses to form water droplets and clouds.
  1. With high solar activity (more sunspots) fewer clouds are formed. When more clouds form (fewer sunspots) they reduce the amount of sunlight reaching the surface of the Earth such that the level of sunspot activity controls global temperature.

In 2009 the sunspot–global temperature hypothesis was put to the test and validated at the CERN  (Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire) or the European Council for Nuclear Research) particle accelerator where beams of particles were boosted to almost the speed of light before they collided with their target in what was called the CLOUD experiment.

Dr Eigil Friis-Christensen, director of the Danish National Space Institute, DTU noted that:

The evidence has piled up, first for the link between cosmic rays and low-level clouds and then, by experiment and observation, for the mechanism involving aerosols. All these consistent scientific results illustrate that the current climate models used to predict future climate are lacking important parts of the physics.”

Further confirmation of the Svensmark theory came from the work of Pustilnik and Yom Din who looked at the influence of solar activity on the state of the wheat market in medieval England.  They considered the price of grain from early records and also looked at the concentration of beryllium-10 in Greenland ice sheets. The beryllium-10 isotope is produced when cosmic rays enter the Earth’s atmosphere and they provide a record of solar activity. Pustilnik and Yom Din found that for all solar cycles between 1600 and 1700 high wheat prices coincided with low solar activity and vice versa.

Pustilnik, L. A. & Yom Din, G. (2003). Influence of solar activity on state of wheat market in medieval England. Preprint,

Dr. Andrew Smith from the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) has examined samples in the Antarctic ice sheet to learn more about the variability of the Sun. He explains:

“On entering the Earth’s atmosphere, cosmic rays collide with gas atoms, initiating a cascade of atomic and subatomic particles. These energetic secondary particles continue the process, smashing apart atomic nuclei all the way to the Earth’s surface and a few metres below, producing the element beryllium – fragments of oxygen and nitrogen nuclei that have been smashed into the smaller beryllium nucleus.”

In other words beryllium-10 is a proxy for the sun’s activity and Smith added:

“Earth’s climate results from energy the Sun deposits on Earth which is a balance between how brightly the Sun shines (solar irradiance) and how reflective the Earth is (albedo).”


Science writer Dr. Nigel Calder observed that experimental proof of Svensmark’s hypothesis was achieved at CERN and how politics reared its head again:

“The Director General of CERN stirred controversy last month, by saying that the CLOUD team’s report should be politically correct about climate change. The implication was that they should on no account endorse the Danish heresy – Henrik Svensmark’s hypothesis that most of the global warming of the 20th Century can be explained by the reduction in cosmic rays due to livelier solar activity, resulting in less low cloud cover and warmer surface temperatures.”

Despite repeated attempts to suppress evidence in support of the Svensmark theory, evidence rejecting the catastrophic anthropogenic global warming mantra continues to accumulate. By the year 2016 there were more than 130 peer-reviewed, published papers that pointed to a definite solar influence on global climate.

Dr. Habibullo Abdusamatov, head of the space research laboratory at the St. Petersburg-based Pulkovo Observatory has described the solar influence on global temperature. Abdusamatov points out that:

“The upper layers of the world’s oceans are, much to climatologists’ surprise, becoming cooler, which is a clear indication that the Earth has hit its temperature ceiling already, and that solar radiation levels are falling and will eventually lead to a worldwide cold spell.”

Abdusamatov predicts that the Earth will experience a “mini Ice Age” in the middle of this century, caused by low solar activity, with the coldest period taking place 15 to 20 years after a major solar output decline, between 2035 and 2045.

The Belgian astronomer Dr. Dirk Callebaut has predicted a “grand minimum” similar to the Maunder Minimum (1650-1700) and colder than the Dalton Minimum (1790–1830).

The late Dr. Theodor Landscheidt agreed, saying:

“Analysis of the sun’s varying activity in the last two millennia indicates that contrary to the IPCC’s speculation about man-made global warming as high as 5.8C within the next hundred years, a long period of cool climate with its coldest phase around 2030 is to be expected.”

American astronomer Scott Forbush (1904-1984) determined that the intensity of  galactic cosmic rays reaching the Earth varies inversely with sunspot number (Forbush, SE. (1958), Cosmic Ray intensity Variations During Two Solar Cycles.   Journal of Geophysical Research, vol. 63, issue 4, pp. 651-669.)

The plot below shows the sunspot cycle in yellow and cosmic ray intensity in blue, indicating that cosmic rays are at a minimum when solar activity is at a maximum.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has revealed pictures of the sun at solar minimum in 2019 with no visible sunspots, compared to the sun in 2014 with numerous sunspots:

NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory/Joy Ng

NASA has predicted cooling this century, as has Dr. Mike Lockwood from Reading University who says that solar activity is now falling more rapidly than at any time in the last 10,000 years and:

“We are already beginning to see a change in our climate – witness the colder winters and poor summers of recent years – and that over the next few decades there could be a slide to a new Maunder minimum.”

In 2015, solar physicist Dr. Valentina Zharkova reported to the Royal Astronomical Society:

“A new model of the sun’s solar cycle is producing unprecedentedly accurate predictions of irregularities within the sun’s 11-year heartbeat. The model draws on dynamo effects in two layers of the sun, one close to the surface and one deep within its convection zone. Predictions from the model suggest that solar activity will fall by 60 per cent during the 2030’s to conditions last seen during the mini ice age” that began in 1645.”

It should be remembered that we are currently living in a mild period of an ice age (interglacial) and for 80% of geologic time global temperature has been around 10oC higher than the current level.

Temperature data from Antarctic Vostok ice cores reveal 5 interglacial periods over the last 400,000 years:

We might expect the current interglacial period to end before long and research from a number of countries suggests that cooling, is already underway.

In 2018, NASA reported that the sun is entering one of the deepest Solar Minima of the Space Age and that the sun’s ultraviolet output has dropped sharply. NASA research shows that Earth’s upper atmosphere is responding with Dr. Martin Mlynczak saying:

“We see a cooling trend.”


“High above the Earth’s surface, near the edge of space, our atmosphere is losing heat energy. If current trends continue, it could soon set a space age record for cold.”


Some examples of temperature stasis or a cooling trend are already being reported. Dr. Willie Soon commented:

“What we predict is that the next 20-30 years will be cold.”


“It will be a very interesting thing for the IPCC to confront.”

South America is currently experiencing an unusual cold period with widespread frosts and snow in southern Brazil.

The Japan Meteorology Agency (JMA) (2019) reported that Ireland has been cooling over the last 30 years.


Bjorklund et al. (2020) have shown no net warming in Northern Finland since the 1930’s.

Lara et al. (2020) have shown that the 1700’s and 1800’s in South America were warmer than current temperatures.

Martin et al. (2020) have shown a 3oC cooling in France over the last 200 years.

In 2020 the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) showed no warming in Japan over the last 80 years.

In 2020 the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) showed cooling in Sweden, Norway and Finland.

When any hypothesis is tested and empirical data validate it by showing that the hypothesis stands up to experiment, then it becomes a theory and has predictive value. Theories with predictive power are widely embraced by the scientific community.

Results from the CLOUD experiment at CERN are now the main threat to carbon dioxide obsessed climate alarmists. Surprisingly, many are now starting to admit that their computer model predictions are wrong since dangerous global warming forecasts have simply not happened.

The IPCC’s Dr. Ben Santer has acknowledged that computer models have exaggerated global warming:

“In the early twenty-first century, satellite-derived tropospheric warming trends were generally smaller than trends estimated from a large multi-model ensemble.”


“We conclude that model overestimation of tropospheric warming in the early twenty-first century is partly due to systematic deficiencies in some of the post-2000 external forcings used in the model simulations.”

Even climate alarmist, Dr. Gavin Schmidt has now conceded that computer models used to estimate how much the world will warm with rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are exaggerating global warming.

Despite these admissions, Dr. Eigil Friis-Christensen isn’t optimistic about the IPCC embracing the solar-climate theory anytime soon, saying:

“The IPCC refused to consider the sun’s effect on the Earth’s climate as a topic worthy of investigation. The IPCC conceived its task only as investigating potential human causes of climate change.”

True to form, the latest IPCC Summary For Policymakers all but ignores the role of the sun in climate change leaving astrophysicist Dr. Willie Soon to comment:

“It is no wonder that the draft SPM report has sold everyone yet another blatant untruth, that it is all about the CO2 that has driven all the temperature change on Earth, while they continue to hide the fact that our new and comprehensive research paper concludes that all these conclusions are not only premature but factually misleading & confusing.”


“Our scientific review shows that the changes in the Sun’s irradiance are a plausible & important factor that can explain most of the observed changes in the thermometer data,” added Soon. “So now why is IPCC still playing this childish hide-and-seek game while thinking that we can all be permanently hoodwinked by their one-trick agenda?”

We can certainly expect the CLOUD evidence to be ignored or rejected by the many vested interests that need to keep the carbon dioxide/global warming narrative alive. After all, reputations would be destroyed, politicians would lose face and the media would lose its climate alarm narrative.

Perhaps of more significance, large amounts of money would no longer be made available to so many if carbon dioxide emissions were no longer seen to be the principal driver of climate change.

Dr. John Happs M.Sc.1st Class; D.Phil. John has an academic background in the geosciences with special interests in climate, and paleoclimate. He has been a science educator at several universities in Australia and overseas and was President of the Western Australian Skeptics for 25 years.