Solar Science

A blog of solar physics

Where is global warming when you really need it?

with 2 comments

Philip K. Chapman

This one could be filed under “Solar Cycle 24 pessimism”

Lawrence Solomon in the Financial Post (Canada) writes:

You probably haven’t heard much of Solar Cycle 24, the current cycle that our sun has entered, and I hope you don’t. If Solar Cycle 24 becomes a household term, your lifestyle could be taking a dramatic turn for the worse. That of your children and their children could fare worse still, say some scientists, because Solar Cycle 24 could mark a time of profound long-term change in the climate. As put by geophysicist Philip Chapman, a former NASA astronaut-scientist [pictured above] and former president of the National Space Society, “It is time to put aside the global warming dogma, at least to begin contingency planning about what to do if we are moving into another little ice age.”

The sun, of late, is remarkably free of eruptions: It has lost its spots. By this point in the solar cycle, sunspots would ordinarily have been present in goodly numbers. Today’s spotlessness — what alarms Dr. Chapman and others — may be an anomaly of some kind, and the sun may soon revert to form. But if it doesn’t – and with each passing day, the speculation in the scientific community grows that it will not – we could be entering a new epoch that few would welcome.

It’s interesting that not everybody has swallowed the idea that cooling down the Earth is Good Idea.

The Little Ice Age was no fun at all

The consequences of the Little Ice Age, because they occurred in relatively recent times, have come down to us through literature and the arts as well as from historians and scientists, government and business records. When Shakespeare wrote of “lawn as white as driven snow,” he had first-hand experience – Europe was bitterly cold in his day, a sharp contrast to the very warm weather that preceded his birth. During the Little Ice Age, the River Thames froze over, the Dutch developed the ice skate and the great artists of the day learned to love a new genre: the winter landscape.
In what had been a warm Europe , adaptations were not all happy: Growing seasons in England and Continental Europe generally became short and unreliable, which led to shortages and famine. These hardships were nothing compared to the more northerly countries: Glaciers advanced rapidly in Greenland, Iceland, Scandinavia and North America, making vast tracts of land uninhabitable. The Arctic pack ice extended so far south that several reports describe Eskimos landing their kayaks in Scotland. Finland’s population fell by one-third, Iceland’s by half, the Viking colonies in Greenland were abandoned altogether, as were many Inuit communities. The cold in North America spread so far south that, in the winter of 1780, New York Harbor froze, enabling people to walk from Manhattan to Staten Island.

Actually the Viking colonies were not abandoned. The colonists were marooned on Greenland because a) the Viking boats could no longer get to them because of advancing glaciers and sea ice and b) they had no wood to spare to make boats.

So they dwindled and eventually starved to death.

By complete coincidence this coincided with a solar minimum lasting around 70 years.
Solar activity events recorded in radiocarbon.

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Written by John A

June 1, 2008 at 6:13 am

2 Responses

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  1. If the AMO flip to negative holds off until 2025, or toward the end of the cycle 25 minimum, then I predict we’ll get to see Lake Superior freeze over, last seen 1941 I believe.

    Gary Gulrud

    June 2, 2008 at 7:17 pm

  2. Lake Superior froze over a couple of winters ago. And Huron, Erie and Ontario.

    And despite the warm waters from Chicago, most of lake Michigan froze over as well.

    It happens more often than you’d believe.

    John A

    June 3, 2008 at 4:02 am


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