A recent answer by Camilo Rada for "What place on Earth is closest to the Sun?" inspires this question. He makes clear that significant changes in the wander of the earth through its orbit results in striking effects on how close the closest distance is between these two bodies. In the same thread others point out the height of solar flares relative the the baseline surface of the boiling hydrogen ball are likely even larger effects. It is intuitive to me that the distance to the main producer of heat on the Earth SHOULD be a much larger effect than concentration of a gas in our atmosphere. Is this a reasonable intuition?

So my questions has four parts:

1) Generally, do the big dog scientists modeling for climate change in the next 100 years take these apparently very large effects into account in their models and how big of an effect is this compared to CO2 ppm levels? It would be nice to have an answer in some sort of statistical level of confidence.

2) Another way to consider this is how big of an effect is this variable compared to the expected CAUSES of CO2 ppm levels: combustion on earth of various kinds, respiration and farting of living species, chemical processes, etc

3) Can the sun's energy level, solar flare activity be modeled and used to predict, in the absence of CO2 ppm level changes, the temperature on earth in the future 5 years.?

4) As Mr. Rada points out in the referenced thread is this distance changed on such a limited timeline as to make it NOT as relevant or a lot smaller effect than it first seems?


1 Answer 1


The changes Camilo Rada discusses repeat annually so they average out over longer timescales and have no effect on climate. The flares reach less than $1\%$ of the distance to earth and they are a recurring effect so they also average out.

Greenhouse gases have a cumulative effect.

Solar activity is included in the IPCC.

  • $\begingroup$ Makes sense. Apparently my 4th question was also a partial answer! thanks. $\endgroup$
    – Schreib
    Jan 24, 2019 at 3:32
  • $\begingroup$ Orbital variations do have effects, but they happen on the order of tens of thousands of years. See Milankovitch Cycles for details. The Sun's energy output has been measured by satellites since the 1960s, and other than the regular (11 year?) sunspot cycle, varies very little. Though it does increase on timescales of 100 million years or more. See "faint young sun". $\endgroup$
    – jamesqf
    Jan 25, 2019 at 6:45

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