|Cycle 24 - weakest, at bottom. Source: solen.info|
This article addresses briefly a half-dozen events (more or less) that made the news in 2014, in no particular order, then discusses the most important event of the year: Sunspot Cycle 24 (the current cycle) peaked right on schedule, but far below most previous cycles. The world-wide climate implications are grim. (see chart showing the relative activity of the four most recent solar cycles, 21, 22, 23, and 24)
1. US midterm elections - resulting in conservative majorities in House and Senate for the remaining 2 years of Liberal Obama presidency. Many of Obama's presidential accomplishments will be criticized, and a few will be reversed. The defection of some Democrat legislators to vote with conservatives will be required. However, the defection will likely save their electoral lives as they can show increasing distance from a wildly unpopular president.
2. Ebola outbreak, treatments improved, vaccines tested. The deadly virus spread to many countries with this most recent outbreak, including the US and some in Europe. Treatment systems and protocols work, at least for those who seek early treatment and are correctly diagnosed.
3. Space - first landing on a comet, successful test blastoff and return to Earth of Orion system. The comet-lander bounced a bit and landed in a shadow, which is unfortunate because the batteries are solar-powered. The solar panels are essentially useless in the shade. We may never receive data from the lander again.
Meanwhile, the Orion spacecraft was a huge success. The Orion may be the technology that carries men to other moons and planets in the solar system, and perhaps asteroids. SLB soon will carry an original article on the idiocy of a Mars manned colony. As a preview, the hard reality is that Mars has strong radiation, very little protection from meteors, an unbreathable atmosphere, and is very cold, to mention only a few deadly issues.
4. China passed the US as the world's largest economy. The diplomatic implications are staggering, as China can, and probably will, either threaten or impose economic sanctions on the US to achieve their goals.
5. OPEC caused the world price of oil to decline more than 50 percent by maintaining cartel output. Gasoline prices have dropped to under US $2 per gallon, although California in its infinite wisdom increased state gasoline sales tax as part of the futile effort to combat global warming under state law AB 32, "The Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006." Worldwide, the lower oil price has many important implications. Russia, a major oil exporter, will have greatly reduced revenues. OPEC members will also see reduced revenues. As SLB predicted years ago, this will very likely see OPEC fractured and member nations withdraw so they can pump all the oil they want. Natural gas prices in many countries will also decrease, which will make electricity prices also decrease. Consumers will have more disposable income, which will boost economic activity.
6. Nuclear power - Another US plant shutdown, Vermont Yankee; Sowell published 30 articles on SLB on Truth About Nuclear Power showing the futility of building and operating nuclear power plants, as not economic, not safe, and not sustainable long-term; as predicted, plants under construction are hopelessly delayed and have escalating construction costs; French plants are aging and are not reliable. Providers of small, modular nuclear plants failed to attract investment or orders, completely as predicted - the small plants cannot possibly hope to be economic.
7. CO2 capture plant started operating in San Antonio, Texas - a commercial scale and economically viable plant designed and operated by Skyonic, Inc. of Austin, Texas. This falsifies the statements made by many (ill-informed? Deliberately misleading?) who maintain that there is no viable technology to reduce atmospheric CO2, therefore draconian reductions in fossil fuel use are required.
8. World coal consumption passed 9 billion tons annually, further decreasing the remaining years of economically viable coal. An economically viable, and long-lasting (sustainable) source of 40 percent of the world's electricity production must be found and proven, long before the coal runs out. This should be a strong priority for planners and policy makers around the world. Economically produced coal is expected to run out in approximately 50 years.
9. Sunspot Cycle 24 had a weak peak and is now declining. This is the single most important fact of the year 2014. The sun's magnetic poles reversed, indicating the maximum has occurred. The long, slow decline in sunspot number is now underway. The Cycle 24 peak was approximately 80, compared to 120 (cycle 23), and 160 (both cycles 22 and 21) (see graph at top of post).
Some prominent solar physicists are on record calling for awareness that the weak solar activity is strongly associated with cold, sometimes bitterly cold, temperatures on Earth. They also predict a return of the cold based on the very weak Cycle 24. The winter of 2014-2015 has already started, with unusually cold events across the northern hemisphere. As just one indication, winter ice appeared on the US Great Lakes far earlier than normal. As another, Heating Degree Days for November in the US, per EIA, were 13 percent above average, however some regions experienced 30 and 36 percent greater than normal HDD. Data for HDD for December will be published by EIA soon. And yet another, the NOAA-predicted El Niño did not occur. Finally, a new media term emerged: Polar Vortex, to describe vast areas of bitterly cold air plunging southward from Arctic regions and causing ice storms, heavy snow, and cold temperatures.
As stated in other posts on SLB, there is no man-made global warming from burning fossil fuels. Tiny increases in CO2 concentration in the atmosphere have no measurable effect on Earth's temperatures, as stated (paraphrased) by the imminent climate scientist Dr. Richard Lindzen (professor emeritus at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MIT).
The area of grave concern, however, is the sudden and dramatic decrease in solar activity and the associated cold weather. More detail on the implications are at an earlier post, Warmists are Wrong - Cooling is Coming (see part II), see link.
There is no doubt about it: the sun is weaker than it has been in the past 60 years. Winter weather is earlier and colder. The implications of prolonged and bitter cold are grim. The most important event of 2014 was the weak peak of Sunspot Cycle 24.
Roger E. Sowell, Esq.
Marina del Rey, California
Copyright (c) 2015 by Roger Sowell