A commenter at Ace of Spades HQ made the astute and pithy observation after a global warming post that (and I'm paraphrasing here, as I can't find the exact quote):
"If only there was some huge, source of energy that could explain the climate variations. It would have to be enormous, with natural fluctuations that could explain why sometimes we're warmer than other times. And it would have to be in such proximity to our planet that it could affect all areas simultaneously. I wonder..."
This headline may come as a bit of a surprise, so too might that fact that the warmest year recorded globally was not in 2008 or 2007, but in 1998.
But it is true. For the last 11 years we have not observed any increase in global temperatures.
And our climate models did not forecast it, even though man-made carbon dioxide, the gas thought to be responsible for warming our planet, has continued to rise.
But one solar scientist Piers Corbyn from Weatheraction, a company specialising in long range weather forecasting, disagrees.
He claims that solar charged particles impact us far more than is currently accepted, so much so he says that they are almost entirely responsible for what happens to global temperatures.
He is so excited by what he has discovered that he plans to tell the international scientific community at a conference in London at the end of the month.
If proved correct, this could revolutionise the whole subject.
What is really interesting at the moment is what is happening to our oceans. They are the Earth's great heat stores.
According to research conducted by Professor Don Easterbrook from Western Washington University last November, the oceans and global temperatures are correlated.
The oceans, he says, have a cycle in which they warm and cool cyclically. The most important one is the Pacific decadal oscillation (PDO).
For much of the 1980s and 1990s, it was in a positive cycle, that means warmer than average. And observations have revealed that global temperatures were warm too.
But in the last few years it has been losing its warmth and has recently started to cool down.
These cycles in the past have lasted for nearly 30 years.
So could global temperatures follow? The global cooling from 1945 to 1977 coincided with one of these cold Pacific cycles
The key here is that climate models did not predict this flattening/falling of the temperature curve. However, that doesn't stop some.
But those scientists who are equally passionate about man's influence on global warming argue that their science is solid.
The UK Met Office's Hadley Centre, responsible for future climate predictions, says it incorporates solar variation and ocean cycles into its climate models, and that they are nothing new.
In fact, the centre says they are just two of the whole host of known factors that influence global temperatures - all of which are accounted for by its models.
Generally in science, to prove a hypothesis, models need to predict future outcomes as well as track with prior measurements. If either looking forward or looking back are problematic then the model is bunk. If these models took solar and ocean influences into account then why did they not predict 11 years of cooling? Did anyone in 1998 tell us the world would cool over the next decade? If so, I don't recall it. I seem to recall there was "concensus" ... and general hysteria.
Add this to the recent information about Mann's hockey stick, and the rapid recovery of Arctic ice and record thickness of Antarctic ice, neither of which were predicted, and you have reason for serious questions.