Thursday, November 11, 2010

Blame it on the Sun

In the article, "Lack of Sunspots May be Sign of Colder Climate Coming" (11 November 2010) Mike Hoffman, the reporter makes numerous claims about the climate of Earth. First and foremost, he predicts that atmospheric temperature will drop due to a direct correlation with a decreasing amount of sunspots on the sun. Specifically, the author claims, "…astronomers have been looking at the sun for centuries and with telescopes they have seen a recent change in sunspots. Sunspots are actually large energy bursts from the middle of the Sun that pop onto the surface, showing up as dark patches. So these large magnetic fields, or sunspots actually cause the Sun to be slightly stronger, which creates a bit more heat here on Earth," (Hoffman, 2010). The author’s varying arguments also include: a) “The sunspots have been out of whack lately,” b) “Global climate change that include man-made effects have not been accurate”, c) “Sunspots actually cause the Sun to be slightly stronger, which creates a bit more heat here on Earth,” and d) “We are heading into a time where the Sun may be slightly weaker.” The major flaw in the article is that there is no scientific evidence or explanation to justify the author’s claims; they are just assumed to be true.

A primary issue I had with this article was the absence of fact and evidence amid many assertive statements and claims. When writing in a scientific context, especially about a sensitive subject such as global warming, it is necessary to provide evidentiary support for every claim. Why are sunspots causing the sun to be stronger? What are sunspots in the first place? Hoffman fails to provide the reader with the 5 simple W’s of writing. Throughout the article he makes big claims of questionable truth and support. He claims that “we are heading into a time where the sun may be slightly weaker.” Questions posed for this statement could include, at what time frames is the suns energy being compared? Why is it weaker? Furthermore, the defining of key terms in an article is necessary to firstly, keep the audience from losing track of article, and secondly, to bring awareness to the topic being discussed. In addition, the author uses a very casual tone which does not fit with the intended target audience. A paper of such important and deep claims should be written in a formal tone followed by deep and strong evidentiary support ("Using a scientific," 2006).

Regarding the content of the article, Hoffman believes, as previously mentioned in point b), that observed results of Global climate change have not been influenced by human interactions with the environment. According to National Geographic, there are natural cycles and events that are known to influence climate. However, the amount and pattern of warming that has been measured cannot be explained by these factors alone. The only way to explain the pattern is to include the effect of greenhouse gases (GHGs) emitted by humans.When Hoffman considers the lack of sunspots making Earth’s climate cooler, he is being ignorant and making an irrational argument. There are many natural events changing the climate of planet Earth; regardless, man-made effects have also been a contributing factor. One of the first things discovered by scientists is that there are several greenhouse gases responsible for global warming; humans emit them in a variety of ways. The most common way of pollution is from combustion of fossil fuels in cars, factories and electricity production. The gas highly responsible for global warming is carbon dioxide ("What causes global," 2010). With every breath we take an amount of CO2 is released; multiply that by 6 billion people and growing. As population increases, so does the level of CO2 released into the atmosphere (Geerts, & Linacre, 2006). Before we start blaming everything and anything other than ourselves, we should look at our lifestyles and accept our mistakes and the damages we inflict on the natural environment.

To conclude, Hoffman’s arguments are based on a very minor amount of topics that only include the effects of natural processes of our planet. The claims made were mostly correct but lacked much needed evidentiary support. The denials of arguments and facts, made by Hoffman, are less than justifiable to say the least. He manages to deny the full claim of human tampering with the climate change which is completely false. Nevertheless, it is difficult and nearly impossible to predict the effects of human tampering vs. naturalistic causes.


Geerts, B., & Linacre, E. (2006). Sunspots and climate. Retrieved from < >

Hoffman, M. (2010). Lack of sunspots may be sign of colder climate coming. Retrieved from

Using a scientific journal article to write a critical review. (2006). Retrieved from

What causes global warming?. (2010). Retrieved from

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