Controversial study blaming the Sun for climate change on Earth removed from scientific journal

A scientific journal retracted a previously published climate change study that blamed the Sun for rising temperatures on Earth

A study that cited the Sun as the main reason for the worsening climate change on Earth has been removed from a scientific journal. According to the editors of the journal, the study was retracted due to the flawed information it presented.

The study, titled "Oscillations of the baseline of the solar magnetic field and solar irradiance on a millennial timescale," was led by mathematician Valentina Zharkova of the UK's Northumbria University. It was published in June last year in Nature's Scientific Reports journal.

Blaming The Sun For Climate Change

Solar Orbiter
ESA's Solar Orbiter mission will face the Sun from within the orbit of Mercury at its closest approach. ESA/ATG medialab

According to Zharkova's study, human activity is not the primary cause of climate change on the planet. Instead, Earth's changing distance from the Sun is the main reason behind the rising global temperatures, Science Alert reported.

This notion is based on the idea that the Sun moves, which is actually true. As explained by scientists, the Sun is orbited by massive planets. Although the giant star has been regarded as the centre of the Solar System, the exact centre is actually the concentration of the entire mass of the planets and the Sun.

Pointing Out The Study's Inaccurate Information

Solar system
Solar system Pixabay

The Sun tends to move within this region, which is known as the barycenter, due to the gravitational pull of the other planets. As noted by Zharkova and her colleagues, the movement of the Sun within the barycenter over the last hundreds of years has altered its distance from Earth by up to three million kilometres.

Unfortunately, as other scientists pointed out via the online journal club PubPeer, Earth orbits the Sun, not the barycenter. This means that even if the Sun moves, Earth's distance from it will still remain constant due to its natural orbit.

Retracting The Flawed Study

Due to the inaccurate information presented in the study, the editors of Scientific Reports ruled that its conclusion was no longer viable. This prompted the journal to retract the paper.

"After publication, concerns were raised regarding the interpretation of how the Earth-Sun distance changes over time and that some of the assumptions on which analyses presented in the Article are based are incorrect," the editors stated in a retraction notice. "As a result, the editors no longer have confidence in the conclusions presented."

Related topics : Space