Solar Climate Change Could Cause Colder Climate on Earth

Russ Steele

The main story is at the Space Daily and it about the impact of solar changes on communications satellites, spacecraft, and high altitude flyers. However, this latest research on reduced solar activity could have a major impact our climate. First the research and then the climate impact.

Recent research shows that the space age has coincided with a period of unusually high solar activity, called a grand maximum. Isotopes in ice sheets and tree rings tell us that this grand solar maximum is one of 24 during the last 9,300 years and suggest the high levels of solar magnetic field seen over the space age will reduce in future.

Graduate student Luke Barnard of the University of Reading will present new results on ‘solar climate change’ in his paper at the National Astronomy Meeting in Manchester.

The level of radiation in the space environment is of great interest to scientists and engineers as it poses various threats to man-made systems including damage to electronics on satellites. It can also be a health hazard to astronauts and to a lesser extent the crew of high-altitude aircraft.

The main sources of radiation are galactic cosmic rays (GCRs), which are a continuous flow of highly energetic particles from outside our solar system and solar energetic particles (SEPs), which are accelerated to high energies in short bursts by explosive events on the Sun.

The amount of radiation in the near-Earth environment from these two sources is partly controlled in a complicated way by the strength of the Sun’s magnetic field.

There are theoretical predictions supported by observational evidence that a decline in the average strength of the Sun’s magnetic field would lead to an increase in the amount of GCRs reaching near-Earth space.


By comparing this grand maximum with 24 previous examples, Mr. Barnard predicts that there is an 8% chance that solar activity will fall to the very low levels seen in the so-called ‘Maunder minimum’, a period during the seventeenth century when very few sunspots were seen.

Livingston and Penn have been observing the strength of the magnetic fields on the sun, especially around sunspots and have predicted that by Cycle 25 the sunspots will vanish, resulting in another grand minimum.

According to Henrik Svensmark’s cosmic theory of climate change, which was validated in experiments in 2006 and then reconfirmed in 2011 in the CLOUD experiment at CERN, cosmic rays coming from old supernovas can indeed make molecular clusters that can grow nearly a million times in mass to be large enough to become “cloud condensation nuclei” on which water droplets can form. Just a 10% increase in cloud cover from significantly reduce the earths temperature, and could bringing on a little ice age.

Readers can learn more about cosmic rays and climate change in The Chilling Stars: A New Theory of Climate Change by Nigel Calder and Henrik Svensmark.

If Luke Barnard’s solar climate change research is correct, a quiet sun will allow more cosmic ray reach the earth. And, if Henrik Svensmark is correct then these cosmic rays will produce more clouds , and we can expect a much cooler world.

The question is will be have another little ice age?  You thoughts are most welcome in the comments.


Maunder Minimum and Fall of Ming Dynasty

Russ Steele

Doing some research for another project, I came across this bit of China history during the Maunder Minimum.

A Prolonged drought in Norther China during the Maunder Minimum is credited with the fall of the Ming Dynasty.

In June 1644 the great Ming Empire that had ruled China since 1368 came to an end when Manchu tribesmen from the north took Beijing and founded the Qing rule.

“There is no easy way to explain how the Manchus with a population of about one million, could by 1644 seize the throne of China”

Huang,R., China: A Macro-History M.E. Sharpe, Inc., Armonk, New York (1988)

However there was a climatic explanation for this event according to Sultan Hameed, Institute for Terrestrial and Planetary Atmospheres, at Stony Brook University and Gaofa Gong at the Institute for Geography, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing

  • Northern China experienced droughts lasting15 years (1628-43) prior to the dynasty change.
  • The resulting famines led to an extensive breakdown of social order and a large number of peasant rebellions.

The Authors cite the following from  Van Loon, Meehl & Arblaster (2004)

  • There is deficiency of precipitation in North China with low solar activity is consistent with the results an extended drought.
  • Their explanation is that the Hadley circulation weakens with decreasing solar activity and vice versa.
  • There may be a temperature related effect also. The annual average temperature in China was about 1oC colder during the Maunder Minimum.
  • The Subtropical High in the north Pacific shifts southward with decreasing temperature.

In Summary:

  • Droughts of multi-year durations dominated northern China during 1628-1644, associated with the low solar activity and cold conditions of the Maunder Minimum.
  • The Droughts led to widespread famines,a general collapse of social order and political change.

My question is, if we have another grand minimum like the Maunder, will we have long term drought and a general collapse of social order when millions are starving?

Watts Up With That?

NASA reports in Bering Sea Teeming with Ice that “…the Bering Sea has been choking with sea ice. ”

Bering Sea Teeming with Ice

acquired March 19, 2012 download large image (12 MB, JPEG, 6800×8800)
acquired March 19, 2012 download GeoTIFF file (95 MB, TIFF)
acquired March 19, 2012 download Google Earth file (KMZ)

For most of the winter of 2011–2012, the Bering Sea has been choking with sea ice. Though ice obviously forms there every year, the cover has been unusually extensive this season. In fact, the past several months have included the second highest ice extent in the satellite record for the Bering Sea region, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC).

The natural-color image above shows the Bering Sea and the coasts of Alaska and northeastern Siberia on March 19, 2012. The image was acquired by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite. Black lines mark…

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NASA Satellite Debunks Melting Glacier Myth

Russ Steele

Doug L. Hoffman writing at the Resilient Earth has the details:

One of the claims put forth by climate change alarmists is that Earth’s glaciers are rapidly melting. This supposedly causes all sorts of problems, from rising sea levels to failing water supplies. A recent report in the journal Nature uses NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellite to measure the loss of glacial ice around the globe. Analysis of the satellite data on Earth’s changing gravity field delivers some unexpected results and the results have surprising implications for both the global contribution of glaciers to sea level and the changes occurring in the mountain regions of Asia.

The story of melting glaciers has been told ad nauseam by climate catastrophists and the scientifically gullible news media for years. This blog has reported on the purported “rapid melting” of the Himalayan glaciers several times before (see “Himalayan Glaciers Not Melting” and “Himalayan Glacier Disappearance Overstated”). It is true that glaciers melt, they are the primary source of water in a number of regions around the world.

As I have often stated, this is an interglacial period, ice is supposed to melt. Otherwise there would still be a mile of ice on top of New York City. But despite evidence to the contrary, warmists continue to claim that glaciers are disappearing at an alarming rate. According to an accompanying News & Views article appearing in the same issue by Jonathan Bamber, from the Bristol Glaciology Centre:

Continue reading “NASA Satellite Debunks Melting Glacier Myth”

Grand Minimum of Maunder Category Possible

Russ Steele

I received a nice comment from Jan-Erik Solheima letting me know that the following paper has finally been published and it is available HERE. A pdf version is also available.


Relations between the length of a sunspot cycle and the average temperature in the same and the next cycle are calculated for a number of meteorological stations in Norway and in the North Atlantic region. No significant trend is found between the length of a cycle and the average temperature in the same cycle, but a significant negative trend is found between the length of a cycle and the temperature in the next cycle. This provides a tool to predict an average temperature decrease of at least from solar cycle 23 to solar cycle 24 for the stations and areas analyzed. We find for the Norwegian local stations investigated that 25-56% of the temperature increase the last 150 years may be attributed to the Sun. For 3 North Atlantic stations we get 63-72% solar contribution. This points to the Atlantic currents as reinforcing a solar signal.


Highlights from an article at ICECAP:

* A longer solar cycle predicts lower temperatures during the next cycle.

* A 1 C or more temperature drop is predicted 2009–2020 for certain locations.

* Solar activity may have contributed 40% or more to the last century temperature increase.

* A lag of 11 years gives maximum correlation between solar cycle length and temperature.

Our analysis shows the variation in the length of solar cycles, we realize that short cycles like the one that ended in 1996, have only been observed three times in 300 years. After the shortest cycles, sudden changes too much longer cycles have always taken place, and thereafter there is a slow shortening of the next cycles, which take many cycles to reach a new minimum. This recurrent pattern tells us that we can expect several long cycles in the next decades. Analysis of the SCL back to 1600 has shown a periodic behavior with period 188 year, now entering a phase with increasing SCL the next (Richards et al., 2009).

de Jager and Duhau (2011) concludes that the solar activity is presently going through a brief transition period (2000–2014), which will be followed by a Grand Minimum of the Maunder type, most probably starting in the twenties of the present century. Another prediction, based on reduced solar irradiance due to reduced solar radius, is a series of lower solar activity cycles leading to a Maunder like minimum starting around 2040 (Abdussamatov, 2007). [ My emphasis added ]

See the entire study which goes into great detail for many Northwest Europe and arctic region temperatures. They find little correlation with the current cycle but significant correlation with the following cycle. There work suggests temperatures should accelerate down this decade – an 11 year lag with the minimum of ultra long cycle 23 (12.5 years) was in 2008 would mean significant cooling by 2018.

The real issue for me is, are our political leaders paying any attention.  If David Archibald is right, and this cooling significantly reduces agricultural out put, then millions may starve. Our current food production is being stressed due to increases in global population. While is true farmers have been tools than they did in the 1600s, there are far more mouths to feed to day, than during the Maunder. More in Archibald’s prediction in a future post.

Solar Cycle Prediction: NASA/Marshall Solar Physics


Click on image for larger version.

The current prediction for Sunspot Cycle 24 gives a smoothed sunspot number maximum of about 59 in early 2013. We are currently over three years into Cycle 24. The current predicted size makes this the smallest sunspot cycle in about 100 years.

via NASA/Marshall Solar Physics.

Watts Up With That?

Monckton vanquishes Union College “Greens too yellow to admit they’re really Reds”

Guest post by Justin Pulliam

THE NEWS that Lord Monckton was to give his “Climate of Freedom” lecture at Union College in Schenectady, New York, had thrown the university’s environmentalists into a turmoil. The campus environmentalists set up a Facebook page announcing a counter-meeting of their own immediately following Monckton’s lecture. There is no debate about global warming, they announced. There is a consensus. The science is settled. Their meeting would be addressed by professors and PhDs, the “true” scientists, no less. Sparks, it seemed, were gonna fly.

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