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Imagine That! - Don't Blame It on the Sun

Imagine That!
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Imagine That! - Don't Blame It on the Sun

Credit: NSF/Finger Lakes Productions International

Audio Transcript:

The planet's heating up. But don't blame it all on the sun. It's mostly those fossil fuel burning bi-peds. You know who I'm talking about.

Imagine that!

(SOUND: roaring fire)

The earth is warming; that much we know. But what fraction of that is caused by human beings and what fraction might be owing to natural processes? In recent years, a lot of people have theorized that the sun could be responsible for a large part of global warming -- due to variations in the sun's intensity. But now, researchers have discovered that's not the case.

Tom Wigley is a senior scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado.

Wigley: "About 75 percent of the change that's occurred over the 20th century is due to human influence. That's not to say that the sun is not important, but it's relatively less important than things that we are doing ourselves."

Fossil fuels are the main culprit. Wigley says temperatures over the next century could increase by as much as eight degrees. Chill, dudes. There's still something we can do about it. I'm Eric Phillips.

"ImagineThat!" covers projects funded by the U.S. government's National Science Foundation. Federally sponsored research -- brought to you by you! Learn more at

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