Solar influences on global change get their day in the sun


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Many doomsayers—including some of the world's best and brightest astrophysicists—maintain that the Sun will someday burn up the Earth and bring an end to life as we know it. Even if this prophecy were to come true, the Earth wouldn't become uninhabitable for more than a billion years, according to current estimates. A much more immediate problem that we could face is the effects the Sun may have on global climate change.

A recent report by the National Research Council (NRC) delved into this very issue, as a result of its being identified as one of seven primary science elements by the U.S. Global Change Research Program. Some of the report's authors hope that the findings (box) may help develop a strategy for coordinating climate change research in the United States.