Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Quiet Sun and Approaching Cold Era

Today, June 14, 2011, is an important day in the on-going debate over whether man's activities * cause the Earth's climate to change, in particular to over-heat. The reason today is important is that the AAS, American Astronomical Society, today announced publicly that the sun has entered an unexpected calm period, which could lead to the Earth's cooling similar to another Maunder Minimum (the Little Ice Age of 1645 to 1710). The lack of sunspots is the key issue. It is well-known that the Maunder Minimum period also had few, if any, sunspots.

For more on this, see Anthony Watts' excellent blog, at

* Some of man's activities definitely show up in the measured temperatures, for example, the urban heat island (UHI) effect is quite apparent in many cities. Farming activities that release huge clouds of dust also must certainly impact measured temperatures. Planting greenery and crops, as was done for decades in Southern California as the area was populated, also likely has had some effect on the local temperatures, probably downward.

The importance of the AAS announcement is that there is now a formal, leading scientific body that goes against the "consensus" that climate science is settled, that man is responsible for global warming, and that man's use of fossil fuels is the leading cause. What is more likely is that some warming was caused by the sun's very active state in the past few decades. How can one distinguish between an active sun and its effect, and CO2 and its effect (if any)? We will probably find out over the next decade or two, if the sun continues in its quiet state.

Dramatic cooling can and will cause major disruptions in the Earth's economies and the lifestyles of billions of people. Anecdotal evidence from the Little Ice Age show that growing crops is a challenge. Heating buildings and homes is also a great challenge. Keeping animals alive during brutal winters is also a problem.

More importantly, from a legal viewpoint, California's global warming law, AB 32, can now be challenged as not being based on the best science.

Roger E. Sowell, Esq.
Marina del Rey, California


Anonymous said...

"We are NOT predicting a mini-ice age. We are predicting the behavior of the solar cycle. In my opinion, it is a huge leap from that to an abrupt global cooling, since the connections between solar activity and climate are still very poorly understood. My understanding is that current calculations suggest only a 0.3 degree C decrease from a Maunder-like minimum, too small for an ice age. It is unfortunate that the global warming/cooling studies have become so politically polarizing."


Anonymous said...

Warmer surface temperatures also tend to occur during particularly active parts of the solar cycle, known as solar maximums, while slightly cooler temperatures occur during lulls in activity, called minimums.

A deep solar minimum has made sunspots a rarity in the last few years. Such lulls in solar activity, which can cause the total amount of energy given off by the sun to decrease by about a tenth of a percent, typically spur surface temperature to dip slightly. Overall, solar minimums and maximums are thought to produce no more than 0.1°C (0.18°F) of cooling or warming.

“In 2009, it was clear that even the deepest solar minimum in the period of satellite data hasn’t stopped global warming from continuing,” said Hansen.