Solar Warming

Solar Warming

ambience: Solar oscillations

The surface of the sun is in constant motion, and scientists have translated the movement of these ever-changing solar oscillations into the sounds we’re hearing now. I’m Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet. The temperature of the sun is changing too, and over a long period of time, it will bring new meaning to the phrase “global warming.” Astronomer Bob Berman is author of The Sun’s Heartbeat.

Berman: “There are four factors that affect the warmth of our planet, and one of them is the strength of the sun. One of them is, of course, our manmade carbon dioxide output into the Earth’s atmosphere, and the other two are whether or not there are a lot of volcanos, which tend to cool things, or El Nio, which are Pacific Ocean currents that tend to warm things. The four factors that all decide whether we’re going through a period of greater warmth or not, but the sun is one of them, and during the 2000’s, it acted to suppress global warming a bit. It was coming to our aid. The sun was kind of giving us a break.”

But ultimately, our sun is not going to give us a break.

“The sun becomes 10 percent brighter every billion years, and this produces tremendous changes. In the last 3 billion years, the 30 percent brightening of the sun and the sun’s intensity has had profound effects that, fortunately, Earth was able to compensate with. Unfortunately, there’s no possible mechanism where we can block the next 10 percent of the sun’s brightening, which is why it’s now estimated that Earth will be sterile in just a mere 1.1 billion years from now.

With that as a real incentive, over the scale of a billion years, we can hope that the ever-resourceful human race will have found a cooler planet to inhabit one outside our solar system. I’m Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.

Solar Warming

Life on earth has a billion year window until things heat up quite a bit.
Air Date:07/10/2015
Scientist:
Transcript:

Solar Warming

ambience: Solar oscillations

The surface of the sun is in constant motion, and scientists have translated the movement of these ever-changing solar oscillations into the sounds we're hearing now. I'm Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet. The temperature of the sun is changing too, and over a long period of time, it will bring new meaning to the phrase "global warming." Astronomer Bob Berman is author of The Sun's Heartbeat.

Berman: "There are four factors that affect the warmth of our planet, and one of them is the strength of the sun. One of them is, of course, our manmade carbon dioxide output into the Earth's atmosphere, and the other two are whether or not there are a lot of volcanos, which tend to cool things, or El Nio, which are Pacific Ocean currents that tend to warm things. The four factors that all decide whether we're going through a period of greater warmth or not, but the sun is one of them, and during the 2000's, it acted to suppress global warming a bit. It was coming to our aid. The sun was kind of giving us a break."

But ultimately, our sun is not going to give us a break.

"The sun becomes 10 percent brighter every billion years, and this produces tremendous changes. In the last 3 billion years, the 30 percent brightening of the sun and the sun's intensity has had profound effects that, fortunately, Earth was able to compensate with. Unfortunately, there's no possible mechanism where we can block the next 10 percent of the sun's brightening, which is why it's now estimated that Earth will be sterile in just a mere 1.1 billion years from now.

With that as a real incentive, over the scale of a billion years, we can hope that the ever-resourceful human race will have found a cooler planet to inhabit one outside our solar system. I'm Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.