Graphic: Temperature vs Solar Activity

Plot showing that as Earth's global surface temperature has increased throughout the years, solar activity has gone down.
November 30, 2019
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July 10, 2020

The above graph compares global surface temperature changes (red line) and the Sun's energy received by the Earth (yellow line) in watts (units of energy) per square meter since 1880. The lighter/thinner lines show the yearly levels, while the heavier/thicker lines show the 11-year average trends. Eleven-year averages are used to reduce the year-to-year natural noise in the data, making the underlying trends more obvious.

The amount of solar energy Earth receives has followed the Sun’s natural 11-year cycle of small ups and downs, with no net increase since the 1950s. Over the same period, global temperature has risen markedly. It is therefore extremely unlikely that the Sun has caused the observed global temperature warming trend over the past half-century.

Also find this graphic on our Causes page.