by Wallace Thornhill
15 February 2007
"As for the promised control of
nature, it is in rout before nature unleashed."
Science: the glorious
"Next we come to a question that everyone, scientist and
non-scientist alike, must have asked at some time. What is
man's place in the Universe?"
The Nature of the Universe
Global warming has been deemed a fact.
However, the inconvenient truth is that humans are not causing it.
Al Gore has been given poor advice. Like
Darwin's theory of evolution
and Big Bang cosmology, global warming by greenhouse gas
emissions has undergone that curious social process in which a
scientific theory is promoted to a secular myth. When in fact,
science is ignorant about the source of the heat — the Sun.
The really inconvenient truth is that we cannot control Nature. But
we can begin to learn our true place in the Universe and figure out
how to cope rationally with inevitable change. Clearly, reducing air
pollution is an admirable goal in itself. But we must not be deluded
into thinking it will affect climate significantly.
The connection between warming and
atmospheric pollution is more asserted than demonstrated, while the
connection with variations in the Sun has been demonstrated.
The Sun is
undergoing a power surge
Since the late 1970s, three Sun-watching satellites recorded
surprising changes in heat, ultraviolet radiation, and solar wind.
Dr. Sami Solanski, director of the renowned Max Planck
Institute for Solar System Research, said,
"The Sun has been at its strongest
over the past 60 years and may now be affecting global
"The Sun is
in a changed state. It
is brighter than it was...."
Dr. Solanski admitted to not knowing
what is causing the Sun to burn brighter. A leading authority,
Eugene N. Parker, adds,
"...we really do not properly
understand the physics of the varying luminosity of the Sun."
This highlights the fundamental problem
with the global warming verdict from climate experts. It is based on
profound ignorance about how the Sun really "ticks" and what forms
of energy are input to a planet's climate. For this they can blame
Although the historical climate records tie climate to variations in
the Sun's output, the solar variation is considered too small to
have much effect on global warming.
As John Gribbin wrote in
"Statistical evidence links changes
in our weather to changing solar activity. But no one has ever
come up with a convincing explanation of how the link works."
"The puzzle is that the overall
brightness of the Sun varies by less than 0.1 per cent during
the 11-year cycle, too little to explain the observed changes in
Slowly, the consensus has shifted
politically in favor of this view.
A recent report concedes that there could be more influential
effects on the climate, such as cosmic rays causing cloudiness, or
ultraviolet radiation affecting the ozone layer. These factors
change more markedly during the solar cycle. But are these merely
more side effects of solar variability and not the real cause?
As for warming caused by mankind's production of so-called
"greenhouse gases," Professor Nils-Axel Mörner wrote in a
submission to the UK parliament on global warming,
"The driving idea is that there is a
linear relationship between CO2 increase in the
atmosphere and global temperature. The fact, however, is that
temperature has constantly gone up and down.
From 1850 to 1970,
we see an almost linear relationship with Solar variability; not
CO2. For the last 30 years, our data sets are so
contaminated by personal interpretations and personal choices
that it is almost impossible to sort up the mess in reliable and
Underlying the bogeyman of the global
greenhouse is the belief that something went wrong on our sister
planet, Venus, and a "runaway greenhouse effect" occurred, turning
it into a furnace hot enough to melt some metals. It is another of
the secular myths of our age. In
Venus isn't our twin! I wrote,
"Comparisons with the Earth will lead nowhere."
Nothing "went wrong" on Venus or "went
right" on Earth. The two planets are not the same age and are only
There is no message for us from the
study of Venus for an imagined evolution of Earth's climate into a
"It is my firm belief that the last
seven decades of the twentieth century will be characterized in
history as the dark ages of theoretical physics."
What do we need to know before an
informed judgment can be made in the global warming debate? What are
the science myths holding us back?
It is crucial that we know what is really going on in space-and in
particular how the Sun really works. By historical accident the
theory of what makes the Sun shine was developed at the time nuclear
energy was discovered and when plasma physics was in its infancy.
The Sun, instead of being an aboriginal campfire in the sky with
limited fuel, became a "thermonuclear campfire" with practically
Not such a big advance over Stone Age thinking!
It seems very satisfying-and safe. We don't need to put coins in the
meter to keep it burning.
However, the reactions which are thought
to generate heat in the Sun's core are hypersensitive to temperature
variations, and mechanisms to control the reactions are difficult to
devise. In view of this, the steadiness of the Sun's output is a
puzzle. Furthermore, if thermonuclear reactions generated all the
Sun's energy, a certain number of subatomic particles called
electron neutrinos would be produced.
And critically — the number of electron
neutrinos coming from the Sun is woefully inadequate.
Astronomers appealed to particle physicists to help patch things up.
Particle physicists responded with a clever subterfuge, saying that
all is well if you add up the different neutrino "flavors" and
propose that some were electron neutrinos that swapped flavors
en-route to the detectors on Earth. Astrophysicists grasped this
lifesaver like drowning men and women. It became "proof" of their
"thermonuclear campfire" model overnight. Unfortunately, it cannot
be proven without a neutrino detector close to the Sun. Occam's
razor recommends that we take the neutrino data at face value
and re-examine our assumptions about the Sun.
Meanwhile astronomers discovered that the Sun is an amazingly
complex magnetic body — while campfires are not noted for their
magnetism. So heroic attempts have been made to conjure up a
"dynamo" inside the Sun to match its weird magnetic behavior. Not
surprisingly, all attempts have failed. It is simply assumed there
must be a hidden dynamo because the magnetic fields are there and no
one believes they could come from outside the Sun.
The mysteriously generated magnetic
fields are called upon to explain most of the puzzling observations
about the Sun. It fits the astrophysicists' maxim,
"when we don't understand something,
we blame it on magnetism."
They then show their ignorance of
magnetism by describing electric discharge phenomena in terms of the
'snapping' and 'reconnection' of imaginary field lines.
The father of plasma physics, Hannes
Alfvén, wrote concerning the mistreatment of magnetism by
"Magnetospheric physics and solar
wind physics today are no doubt in a chaotic state, and a major
reason for this is that part of the published papers are science
and part pseudoscience, perhaps even with a majority in the
The view of the Sun as an isolated,
self-sufficient, self-immolating, magnetic body is the chief
peculiarity and drawback of the campfire Sun.
But the refutation of this theory blazes down on us in plain view.
Nothing seen on or above the Sun conforms to the "campfire" model! -
the odd solar magnetic field, the remarkable photospheric
granulation, dark sunspots, the filamentary sunspot penumbrae, the
sunspot cycle, the variation of rotation rate across the surface and
with depth, the blisteringly hot corona above a cool photosphere
(like boiling the kettle on a cold campfire), the solar flares and
coronal mass ejections, the acceleration of the solar wind.
Simply put, we do not understand the Sun. And if we do not
understand the Sun we have no basis for understanding its influence
on the Earth's climate.
But there is a way to understand the Sun, if only we can step
outside the traditional astrophysical assumption that gravity alone
operates in space. The generation and transmission of power for
electric lights involves magnetism. And unlike any campfire, the Sun
manifests an abundance of magnetic phenomena. Those phenomena
suggest that the Sun is an electrical body. The magnetic field of
the solar wind shows that electric currents flow within the solar
system. The million-degree temperature of the solar corona points to
an external power source for the Sun.
The polar plume and equatorial plasma
torus show that the Sun, like all stars, is the focus of galactic
currents "pinching" naturally into an hourglass form with an
equatorial current sheet.
The hourglass shape is made visible in
many beautiful planetary nebulae.
puzzle is how planetary nebulae acquire their complex shapes and
since stars and the
gas/dust clouds surrounding them are mostly round.
The Hourglass Nebula,
is a young planetary nebula located about 8,000 light-years away.
As revealed by
Hubble, it does not fulfill some crucial theoretical expectations.
But just as a neon
tube is evenly lit from end to end, the nebula remains evenly lit at
great distances from the central star.
Credit: R. Sahai & J. Trauger (JPL),
the WFPC2 Science Team & NASA.
Stars are elements in galactic circuits.
They trace the power lines like electric streetlights along the arms
of the Milky Way. The solar magnetic and sunspot cycle is due to the
DC power input to the Sun. This variability of power
input to the Sun can be clearly seen in X-rays and UV light.
Sun - Our Variable Star."
Above is a montage of
X-ray images of the Sun captured 4 months apart between 1991 and
1995 by the Yohkoh spacecraft.
switching of the solar magnetic field is induced by the varying
galactic DC input current.
It has been shown that the Sun's
constancy of light and heat output is due to a natural transistor
action of the plasma sheaths forming the photosphere and
chromosphere of the Sun. A very small voltage between the body
of the Sun and the underside of the photosphere controls the
enormous current that lights the Sun. Nature, as we have come to
expect, has found a beautifully simple method of steadying the light
output of main sequence stars.
A star is the focus of a galactic "glow discharge." The electrical
energy that courses through the solar system and powers the Sun is a
subtle form of energy that all of the planets intercept to some
degree. Planets orbit within this discharge and intercept some of
the electrical energy. Planets are minor "electrodes" within a
stellar discharge envelope.
The electrical energy is delivered to
stars and planets in the manner of a simple Faraday motor.
Schematic of the
Faraday motor effect upon a planet (or star).
The electromotive power is deposited
mostly in the upper atmosphere at mid to low latitudes and gives
rise to fast upper atmosphere winds and even "super rotation." That
is, the wind races around the planet faster than the planet turns.
It is a phenomenon observed on Venus and
Titan and remains
unexplained by atmospheric physics, which relies on solar heating.
It is the cause of the extraordinary winds on the gas giant planets
in the outer solar system, where solar heating is weak. It has
implications for the jet streams and weather patterns on Earth as
Notably, the polar current streams take
the form of twin Birkeland current filaments, which give rise
to the enigmatic "double vortexes" seen at the poles of Venus. It is
apparent that electrical energy from space doesn't merely light up
auroras. It has a profound influence on upper atmosphere winds and
An expert on the dynamics of planetary
atmospheres, F.W. Taylor, has admitted,
"the absence of viable theories
which can be tested, or in this case [Venusian polar vortex] any
theory at all, leaves us uncomfortably in doubt as to our basic
ability to understand even gross features of planetary
Meanwhile, electrical energy appears
nowhere in any climate model.
Around 1900, the
famous Norwegian scientist, Kristian Birkeland, performed
electromagnetic terrella [magnetized metal sphere] as one of the
electrodes in a gas-discharge apparatus.
He created an
artificial Aurora around the poles of the terrella,
effects of the solar wind on the magnetic Earth.
He also simulated
other cosmic phenomena, such as
corona, sunspots, and the rings of Saturn, using other small metal
Note that the
experiments use external electrical power!
The era gives a
measure of how far we must backtrack from the current dead end to
bring astrophysics in tune with reality.
The electrical model of the Sun and its
environment answers the question of how the solar cycle can have
more effect on the weather than expected from solar heating alone.
Because the planets are minor electrodes in the Sun's circuit, they
are subject to the full variation of the galactic electrical input.
It explains the simultaneous warming of other planets and changes in
Even distant Pluto (at the time still a
planet) baffled astronomers by continuing to warm up eighteen years
after its orbit began to take it further from the Sun. Electrical
energy may constitute a major energy source for the outer planets.
And, of course, on Mars there are no
SUVs or farting cows to explain its warming.
What about the
global El Niño-Southern Oscillation?
The El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is a set of interacting
parts of a single global system of coupled ocean-atmosphere climate
fluctuations that are believed to come about as a consequence of
oceanic and atmospheric circulation. ENSO is the most prominent
known source of inter-annual variability in weather and climate
around the world (~3 to 8 years), though not all areas are affected.
ENSO has signatures in the Pacific,
Atlantic and Indian Oceans. Scientists are unable to explain this
global weather and climate feature.
In normal, non-El
Niño conditions (top panel of schematic diagram),
the trade winds blow
towards the west across the tropical Pacific.
These winds pile up
warm surface water in the west Pacific,
so that the sea
surface is about 1/2 meter higher at Indonesia than at Ecuador.
During El Niño (bottom panel of the
schematic diagram), the trade winds relax in the central and western
Pacific leading to a depression of the thermocline in the eastern
Pacific, and an elevation of the thermocline in the west. The
weakening of easterly trade-winds during El Niño is evident in this
figure as well. Rainfall follows the warm water eastward, with
associated flooding in Peru and drought in Indonesia and Australia.
The eastward displacement of the atmospheric heat source overlaying
the warmest water results in large changes in the global atmospheric
circulation, which in turn force changes in weather in regions far
removed from the tropical Pacific.
What has the electrical model of the Sun-Earth connection have to
offer for our understanding of ENSO?
Climatologists base their predictions on Coupled General
Circulation Models. These are computer models that try to mimic
the interplay of the atmosphere and the ocean with energy coming
from the Sun. The contradictory results prompted the Chairman of the
World Climate Conference in 2003, Prof. Yuri Izrael, to ask,
"What is going on, on this planet —
warming or cooling?"
Now some geologists are beginning to
take a broader look at climate drivers, from the perspective of
Aristotle's four elements: earth, water, air, and fire. In other
words, it seems that what goes on inside the Earth also affects
The possibility that something internal to the Earth affects climate
was raised by Daniel Walker first in 1988 and then again in
1995 and 1999. He pointed out that increased tectonic activity
(seismicity, magma upwelling and hydrothermal venting) along
portions of the East Pacific Rise (EPR), precede (by
up to six months) each El Niño event studied since 1964. The
association was so significant that Walker called the increased
seismicity along the EPR "Predictors of El Niño."
Geophysicist Bruce Leybourne has found a link between global
climate oscillations and small changes in the Earth's gravity, which
alters storm tracks and affects sea levels.
"The evidence so far available
indicates that tectonic events precede ocean/atmospheric
changes. The evidence comes from gravity measurement studies...
These studies indicate strong correlations or 'teleconnections'
between barometric pressure change and the force of gravity...
This establishes an unmistakable link between gravity
fluctuations and ocean-atmosphere dynamics."
It would be preferable to find a cause
that doesn't rely on tectonics—the science of hypothetical activity
within the Earth. I have already made the connection between
earthquakes and solar activity.
"The missing link between the
sunspots and earthquakes is the fact that the electric
discharges to the Sun that cause sunspots can also affect the
Earth's ionosphere. The ionosphere forms one "plate" of a
capacitor, while the Earth forms the other. Changes of voltage
on one plate will induce movement of charge on the other. But
unlike a capacitor, the Earth also has charge distributed in
rock beneath the surface. And if the subsurface rock has become
semi-conducting because of stress, there is an opportunity for
sudden electrical breakdown to occur through that rock.
We should expect similar processes to occur underground as are
found in atmospheric lightning.... in a large earthquake, the
entire circuit may be involved, from below the Earth, through
the atmosphere to the ionosphere. This would explain the massive
disturbance of the ionosphere over a large area accompanying a
major earthquake. Subterranean lightning causes earthquakes!
Seismic waves are the rumble of underground thunder."
The 'weather' beneath the ground is
linked to the weather above. So what is the connection with the
fluctuations in gravity?
This brings us to one of the most intransigent myths of the 20th
century: that Einstein gave us a real understanding of gravity. He
did not. He was the most significant physicist to cross the line
between physics and metaphysics. His imaginary description of
gravity in terms of matter curving space, in some non-physical extra
dimension, explains nothing. How can you curve nothing?
Newton had shown that gravity is related directly to mass.
But what causes matter to exhibit mass remains a fundamental
mystery. Also, Newton's gravity operates instantaneously (time does
not appear in his gravitational equation). Yet Einstein would
have us believe that the Earth has no information about where the
Sun is until 8 minutes after. He bequeathed us a disconnected,
incoherent universe that simply cannot work or give rise to life.
That is why cosmology reads like science fiction. This
the real nature of gravity may have significance in relation to
Einstein published his theory of gravitation, or general theory of
relativity, in 1916. And so a new paradigm, or set of beliefs, was
established. It was not until 1930 that Fritz London
explained the weak, attractive dipolar electric bonding force (known
as Van der Waals' dispersion force or the 'London force')
that causes gas molecules to condense and form liquids and solids.
Like gravity, the London force is always attractive and operates
between electrically neutral molecules. And that precise property
has been the most puzzling distinction between gravity and the
powerful electromagnetic forces, which may repel as well as attract.
So it seems the clue about the true nature of gravity has been
available to chemists — who are not interested in gravity — and
unavailable to physicists — who are not interested in physical
chemistry (and view the world through Einstein's distorting
spectacles). Look at any average general physics textbook and you
will find no reference to Van der Waals or London forces.
What a different story might have been told if London's insight had
come a few decades earlier? Physics could, by now, have advanced by
a century instead of being bogged in a mire of metaphysics.
The London force originates in fluctuating electric dipoles caused
by slight distortion of otherwise electrically neutral atoms and
molecules. The tiny electric dipoles arise because the orbiting
electrons, at any given instant, cannot shield the positive charge
of the nucleus equally in all directions. The result, amongst a
group of similar atoms or molecules is that the electric dipoles
tend to resonate and line up so that they attract each other. An
excellent illustrated lesson on the London force, or Van der Waals'
dispersion force can be found here.
Obviously, gravity is distinct from the London force. It is much,
much weaker. That should be a clue. What if we are looking at
gravity being due to a similar electrostatic distortion effect in
the far smaller constituents of each atom, in the electrons, protons
and neutrons? Of course, this is heresy because the electron is
supposed to be a fundamental particle, with no smaller constituent
particles. However, there are experiments that challenge this
If gravity is an electric dipolar force, we can understand why the
so-called "universal constant of gravitation" is so infernally
inconstant. There is no reason to assume it is universal. Changes in
charge distribution within the Earth contribute most of the
variability in gravity. And sudden changes in charge distribution
within the Earth cause earthquakes and thermal, volcanic events.
They will occur most often in regions having peculiar electrical
properties. The common thread can now be seen. The Sun's radiant
output remains fairly steady while the electrical power in its
galactic circuit has a superimposed cyclic "hum."
The Earth receives
the hum plus the
static from solar flares, which simply adds "noise" to our average
climate and earthquake activity.
A final word about our place in the
We live with the fable of Newton's
clockwork solar system and the constancy of the Sun over past aeons.
Scientists chart past climate and blithely assign periodicities to
various warming and cooling episodes extending back millions of
years into the past. All of the numbers and charts bestow the
appearance of being in control of the facts. But it is mere wishful
Here, science unconsciously takes on the
mantle of religion—providing assurance in an uncertain universe.
Where does this powerful urge for
certainty come from?
Underlying the global warming debate is an
unacknowledged fear—a subconscious, irrational fear of THE END OF
THE WORLD. A few decades ago climate experts were warning us
that we were facing another ice age. Now we are told that we face a
catastrophe of global warming. All the while, there is a Greek
chorus of scientists whipping up our innate fear of an apocalyptic cometary impact.
All of these anxieties are irrational. We have no
modern experience of them.
But there does seem to be an archetypal memory of doomsday. Fossil
strata record several of them. Ancient myths and legends describe
one or more at the dawn of civilization. The Earth sciences will
remain hamstrung for as long as it takes to understand that we live
in an electric universe and the solar system we see today is not as
old as the human race.
Meanwhile, human behavior will continue
to be irrational until we understand our true history and place in
an electric and sometimes catastrophic universe.