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Surprising study: Sun’s impact on climate is greater during cooler periods

That giant ball of gas burning in the sky has a great impact on the temperatures here on Earth — and is the only reason there is heat here to begin with — but new research suggests that our sun does not have a constant effect on the Earth’s climate.

In fact, the sun’s warming rays appear to have a greater impact on the Earth when it is going through a cooling period, indicating that the sun’s effect on climate is greater than most realize, according to a new study published in the journal Geology as reported by Space Daily.

The study, which involved researchers from Aarhus University in Denmark, found that during the last 4,000 years, solar activity closely correlated with sea surface temperatures in the summer in the North Atlantic, which was not seen during the previous period.

In fact, since the last ice age ended about 12,000 years ago, the Earth’s climate has been generally warm — but not stable. The last 4,000 years have basically been slightly cooler than usual, and the ocean currents in the North Atlantic have also been weaker, according to the report.

It’s not clear to researchers just what kind of impact the sun has on the climate, but climate change does seem to be influenced by solar activity to a degree.

However, the new research does allow scientists to conclude that the sun does appear to have a greater impact during cooling periods, at least in the North Atlantic. It answers some of the questions scientists have about how the climate works.

The researchers made the findings by examining the sea surface temperatures during the summer in the North Atlantic for the past 9,300 years. Mankind has only been taking measurements for the last 140 years, but researchers were able to use studies of marine algae found in sediments in the North Atlantic sea bed to determine the fluctuations in sea surface temperatures from thousands of years ago.

The method allowed scientists to compare climate change in the North Atlantic with solar activity in the last 4,000 years, and the results are a clear correlation between the two.

It provides another piece to the puzzle as far as understand how the climate on Earth works and is influenced by outside factors.