Sunspot science throws wrench in favorite climate denialism claim


The moon landing was fake! Aliens did crash in Roswell! Tupac and Elvis are living in your basement! Chemtrails are causing your Netflix addiction! AHHH!!!!

Sorry — just giving climate change deniers a bit of a warmup. Last week, at a meeting of the International Astronomical Union, Frédéric Clette, an astronomer at the Royal Observatory of Belgium in Brussels, announced that sunspot activity has not, in fact, increased over the past century, as some scientists believe. According to Clette, those little bursts of magnetism on the sun’s surface have actually remained pretty constant since 1715.

If true, this news would be a huge downer for people who don’t believe in anthropogenic climate change. After all, if there was a gradual increase in sunspot activity culminating in a peak sometime near the end of the 20th century, then obviously that would’ve been causing global warming this whole time, not humans (scientists would disagree, but who cares?).

Scientists have been tracking sunspots ever since Galileo pointed a telescope…

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