A study from NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland looking at climate data over the past century has concluded that solar variation has made a significant impact on the Earth's climate. The report concludes that evidence for climate changes based on solar radiation can be traced back as far as the Industrial Revolution.
Past research has shown that the sun goes through eleven year cycles. At the cycle's peak, solar activity occurring near sunspots is particularly intense, basking the Earth in solar heat. According to Robert Cahalan, a climatologist at the Goddard Space Flight Center, "Right now, we are in between major ice ages, in a period that has been called the Holocene."
Thomas Woods, solar scientist at the University of Colorado in Boulder concludes, "The fluctuations in the solar cycle impacts Earth's global temperature by about 0.1 degree Celsius, slightly hotter during solar maximum and cooler during solar minimum. The sun is currently at its minimum, and the next solar maximum is expected in 2012."
The clips shown from the "Earth 2100" premiere painted a devastating picture that resembled the science-fiction movie "The Day After Tomorrow." The cartoon of Lucy and her family showed an invasion of dragon flies, people migrating away from climate-ravaged areas for a better life, and, of course, New York City flooding. Clips from previous natural disasters were shown as well.
After the preview, "Good Morning America's" Diane Sawyer responded and tried to pretend the whole program had some news value. "Amazing someone born into 2009. We're not talking about sci-fi here and to come up with a human voice for it, a family voice, for it." ABC left out the necessary crystal ball from the segment, so the audience was left to guess how they could predict 2100 so accurately.