Cold October (and now November) in perspective

Reblogged from Icecap.us

See references to Maunder and Dalton Minimums.

By Joseph D’Aleo, CCM

Starting in January 2019, unusual and at times record cold has been locked in over the north central states.

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Though there was heat in late summer in the southeast and eastern Gulf to the Mid-Atlantic, the cold held in the north central. After a very cold spring with late snows, which significantly delayed or prevented grain planting, a cool summer followed and gave way to a very early cold shot in late September that brought early deep freezes and even record snows in the north central leading to significant crop losses.

There have been 90 all-time record lows versus just 44 all-time record highs this year. That included the all time state record low of -38F in Mount Carroll in Illinois on January 31st.

The cold central deepened in October and pushed to the east bringing very early snow into the Midwest. October saw 3680 record daily lows, 32 all time record lows for the month and no all time record monthly highs (NOAA NCEI).

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After bringing heavy snows to the Rockies and high plains the cold rolled south with temperatures 30 to 50 degrees below normal.

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Temperatures dropped to a record of -35F at Logan County Sink in Utah and -46F in Peter’s sink, record coldest for the U.S. for the month of October.

The temperatures the first 9 months have tracked the last 120 years well with multidecadal cycles in the ocean.

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The cold also follows the solar activity. We are currently in a century or more quiet sun.  In the period in and following the last 11 year cycle low (2007-2011), we had brutal cold and snow here in the U.S. and Europe.

December in 2010, the Central England Temperature (longest continuous record going back to 1659), was the second coldest December.  Snow, which was forecast to be a thing of the past, instead buried the UK for long periods reminiscent of the Dalton solar Minimum of the early 1800s as evidenced by Dicken’s novels.

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In the US, record cold and snow in the Snowmageddon Mid-Atlantic winter of 2009/10, was eclipsed with the record winters of 2013/14 and 2014/15. Which brought the coldest and snowiest winter and modern day peaks of Great Lake ice.

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The snow in the hemisphere is increasing very rapidly and is above normal, which should expand and enhance the cold. Note how the fall record for snow extent was at record levels last fall.

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Given the projection by Russian scientists and many in the west including some at NASA, we could be heading into a deep and long solar minimum like the Maunder Minimum with a major cooling. Whether it is a several decade Dalton like period or a Maunder, this is no time to abandon cheap, available energy.

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Even in the warmer interlude we have enjoyed, cold weather kills 20 times as many people as hot weather, according to an international study analyzing over 74 million deaths in 384 locations across 13 countries.

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A New Run of the CLOUD Experiment Examines the Direct Effect of Cosmic Rays on Clouds

“Direct effects of cosmic-ray ionisation on the formation of fair-weather clouds are highly speculative and almost completely unexplored experimentally,” says Kirkby. “So this run could be the most boring we’ve ever done—or the most exciting! We won’t know until we try, but by the end of the CLOUD experiment, we want to be able to answer definitively whether cosmic rays affect clouds and the climate, and not leave any stone unturned.”

The full Phys.org article is HERE

Stay Tuned, November is going to be an interesting month, though it may be months before the report is published.

Do you think cosmic rays impact the earth’s climate?  Please answer in the comments.

Potential role of low solar activity this winter as solar minimum deepens and the wide-ranging impacts of increasing cosmic rays

Reblogged from Watts Up With That

Guest post by Paul Dorian

*Potential role of low solar activity this winter as solar minimum deepens and the wide-ranging impacts of increasing cosmic rays*

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The sun is blank again today and for the 200th day in 2019 as the solar minimum deepens; image courtesy NASA

Overview
The sun continues to be very quiet and it has been without sunspots on 200 days during 2019 or 72% of the time which is the highest percentage since 2009. We have entered into a solar minimum phase of the solar cycle and sunspot counts suggest this could turn out to be the deepest of the past century. Low solar activity has been well correlated with an atmospheric phenomenon known as “high-latitude blocking” and this could play an important role in the upcoming winter season; especially, across the eastern US. In addition, one of the natural impacts of decreasing solar activity is the weakening of the ambient solar wind and its magnetic field which, in turn, allows more cosmic rays to penetrate the solar system. The intensification of cosmic rays can have important consequences on such things as Earth’s cloud cover and climate, the safety of air travelers, and as a possible trigger mechanism for lightning.

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Daily observations of the number of sunspots since 1 January 1900 according to Solar Influences Data Analysis Center (SIDC). The thin blue line indicates the daily sunspot number, while the dark blue line indicates the running annual average. The recent low sunspot activity is clearly reflected in the recent low values for the total solar irradiance. Data source: WDC-SILSO, Royal Observatory of Belgium, Brussels. Last day shown: 30 September 2019. Plot courtesy “climate4you.com”.

Background

Solar cycle 24 was the weakest sunspot cycle with the fewest sunspots since cycle 14 peaked in February 1906. Solar cycle 24 continued a recent trend of weakening solar cycles which began with solar cycle 21 that peaked around 1980. The sun is blank again today for the 200th day this year and the last time the sun was this spotless in a given year on a percentage basis was 2009 during the last solar minimum when 71% of the days were without visible sunspots.  That last solar minimum actually reached a nadir in 2008 when an astounding 73% of the year featured a spotless sun – the most spotless days in a given year since 1913 – and this year has a chance to match or exceed that quietest of years in more than a century.

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Low solar activity years are well correlated with abnormally high geopotential height anomalies at 500 millibars over high-latitude regions such as Greenland and Iceland (shown in red, orange, yellow); data courtesy NOAA/NCAR

Low solar activity and “high-latitude blocking”

As any snow lover and weather enthusiast knows living in the I-95 corridor, it takes many ingredients to fall into place for a snowstorm to actually take place; especially, in the urban areas of DC, Philly, New York City and Boston. One requirement for accumulating snow is, of course, cold air near or below freezing, but it can be a little more complicated than that. It is one thing to have cold air around at the beginning of a potential storm, but the best chance for significant snow comes when there is sustained cold air; otherwise, you could end up with a snow-changing-to-rain type of event; especially, in the big cities and areas closer to the coast. One of the ways to sustain a cold air mass in the Mid-Atlantic/NE US is to have “high-latitude blocking” and that type of weather phenomenon is well correlated with low solar activity.

“High-latitude blocking” during the winter season is characterized by persistent high pressure in northern latitude areas such as Greenland, northeastern Canada, and Iceland. If you look back at years with low solar activity, the upper-level geopotential height anomaly pattern is dominated by high pressure over these high-latitude regions during the winter season (December-to-February). Without this type of blocking pattern in the upper atmosphere, it is more difficult to get sustained cold air masses in the eastern US during the winter season.

In addition to the increased chance of sustained cold air during low solar activity years, “high-latitude blocking” in the upper atmosphere tends to slow down the movement and departure of storms along the Mid-Atlantic/NE US coastlines and this too increases the chances for significant snowfall as long as there is entrenched cold air. In fact, some of the greatest snowstorms in the Mid-Atlantic/NE US regions took place in low solar activity winters including, for example, those in February 2010, December 2009, and January 1996. There are, of course, other important factors in addition to solar activity to consider in the prediction of accumulating snow along the I-95 corridor including sea surface temperatures in the western Atlantic and the positioning of polar and sub-tropical jet streaks. The 2019-2020 “Winter Outlook” by Perspecta Weather will be released shortly and low solar activity will certainly be one key factor among several.

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Data source: The Sodankyla Geophysical Observatory in Oulu, Finland. Plot courtesy Spaceweather.com

Low solar activity and cosmic rays
Galactic cosmic rays are high-energy particles originating from outside the solar system that can impact the Earth’s atmosphere. Our first line of defense from cosmic rays comes from the sun as its magnetic field and the solar wind combine to create a ‘shield’ that fends off cosmic rays attempting to enter the solar system. The shielding action of the sun is strongest during Solar Maximum and weakest during Solar Minimum with the weakening magnetic field and solar wind.  The intensity of cosmic rays varies naturally during the typical 11-year solar cycle with about a 15% variation because of the changes in the strength of the solar wind.

Evidence of an increase in stratospheric radiation
One way to monitor cosmic ray penetration into the Earth’s upper atmosphere is to measure stratospheric radiation over an extended period of time.  “Spaceweather.com” has led an effort for nearly four years to monitor radiation levels in the stratosphere over California with frequent high-altitude helium balloon flights.  These balloons contain sensors which detect X-rays and gamma-rays in the energy range 10 keV to 20 MeV and are produced by the crash of primary cosmic rays into Earth’s atmosphere. These energies span the range of medical X-ray machines and airport security scanners.  The findings confirm the notion that indeed cosmic rays have been steadily increasing over California as we climb into the solar minimum.

During the last solar minimum in 2009, radiation peppering Earth from deep space reached a 50-year high at levels never before seen during the satellite era – and we’re getting very close to those same levels and a new record is certainly on the table in the near future. Ground-based neutron monitors and high-altitude cosmic ray balloons are registering the increase in cosmic rays. Neutron monitors at the Sodankyla Geophysical Observatory in Oulu, Finland show that cosmic rays are just percentages away from a new record in the satellite era which was set in 2009. Data has been measured at this observatory in Finland since 1964. When cosmic rays hit Earth’s atmosphere, they produce a spray of secondary particles that rain down on Earth’s surface. Among these particles are neutrons and the detectors at the observatory in Oulu count them as a proxy for cosmic rays.

Consequences of increasing cosmic rays

1) Cloud cover/climate
The correlation between cosmic rays and cloud cover over a solar cycle was first reported by Svensmark and Friis-Christensen in 1997. A more recent study by Svensmark published in the August 2016 issue of Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics continues to support the idea of an important connection between cosmic rays and clouds.

In this publication, the authors found that “the observed variation of 3–4% of the global cloud cover during the recent solar cycle is strongly correlated with the cosmic ray flux. This, in turn, is inversely correlated with the solar activity. The effect is larger at higher latitudes in agreement with the shielding effect of the Earth’s magnetic field on high-energy charged particles. The above relation between cosmic ray flux and cloud cover should also be of importance in an explanation of the correlation between solar cycle length and global temperature that has been found”.

2) Threat to air travelers
Not only can an increase of cosmic rays have an impact on Earth’s cloud cover and climate, it is of special interest to air travelers.  Cosmic radiation at aviation altitudes is typically 50 times that of natural sources at sea level. Cosmic rays cause “air showers” of secondary particles when they hit Earth’s atmosphere. Indeed, this is what neutron monitors and cosmic ray balloons are measuring–the secondary spray of cosmic rays that rains down on Earth. Secondary cosmic rays penetrate the hulls of commercial aircraft, dosing passengers with the whole body equivalent of a dental X-ray even on ordinary mid-latitude flights across the USA. International travelers receive even greater doses (source). The International Commission on Radiological Protection has classified pilots as occupational radiation workers because of accumulated cosmic ray doses they receive while flying. Moreover, a recent study by researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health shows that flight attendants face an elevated risk of cancer compared to members of the general population. They listed cosmic rays as one of several risk factors.

3) Possible lightning trigger
Finally, there has been some research suggesting there is a connection between cosmic rays and lightning (paper 1paper 2).  When cosmic rays smash into molecules in our atmosphere, the collisions create showers of subatomic particles, including electrons, positrons, and other electrically charged particles. This shower of electrons would collide into still more air molecules, generating more electrons. All in all, cosmic rays could each set off an avalanche of electrons and trigger lightning.

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Circled areas on plot indicate locations that experienced the northern lights during the Carrington Event of 1859.

Final Thoughts
While the frequency of solar storm activity generally lessens during periods of low solar activity (e.g., during solar minimum phases), there is actually some evidence that suggests the severity does not diminish.  In fact, the most famous solar storm of all now known as The Carrington Event took place in 1859 during an overall weak solar cycle (#10).  In addition, other solar activity, such as coronal holes that unleash streams of solar material out into space, can amplify the auroras at Earth’s poles.  The bottom line, a lack of sunspots does not mean the sun’s activity stops altogether and it needs to be constantly monitored – even during periods of a blank sun.

Meteorologist Paul Dorian
Perspecta, Inc.
perspectaweather.com

Galactic Cosmic-Rays Research Rains On Man-Made Climate Change Parade

A pair of new international studies which punched holes in the absoluteness of man-made climate change have gotten little-to-no attention in the corporate media.

Researchers from Kobe University in Japan found that high-energy particles from space known as galactic cosmic rays affect the Earth’s climate by increasing cloud cover, causing an “umbrella effect.”

A second study, a paper published by researchers from the University of Turku in Finland, concluded that even though observed changes in the climate are real, the effects of human activity on these changes are insignificant. Such findings create cognitive dissonance for celebrity and media actors committed to the narrative that human behavior is killing the planet.

“We have to recognize that the anthropogenic climate change does not exist in practice,” the study concluded.

Professor Masayuki Hyodo, who led the research team at Kobe University, said: “The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has discussed the impact of cloud cover on climate in their evaluations, but this phenomenon has never been considered in climate predictions due to the insufficient physical understanding of it.”

Professor Hyodo continued: “This study provides an opportunity to rethink the impact of clouds on climate. When galactic cosmic rays increase, so do low clouds, and when cosmic rays decrease clouds do as well, so climate warming may be caused by an opposite-umbrella effect. The umbrella effect caused by galactic cosmic rays is important when thinking about current global warming as well as the warm period of the medieval era.”

Continue reading HERE.

During a Grand Minimum, there are fewer sunspots and more cosmic rays increasing cloud cover, reducing temperatures by 1-2 degrees C. This temperature reduction shortens the growing season by 10 days for every 1/2 a degree according to some estimates.  On the other hand, fewer cosmic rays would increase warmth and extend growing seasons allowing agricuture at higher latitude, expanding the global food supply.  This is why we monitor sunspots and cosmic rays at the Next Grand Minimum.

The strongest summer jet stream ever observed over the Pacific Northwest.

Reposted from the  Cliff Mass Weather and Climate Blog

An extraordinary weather event has been occurring above our heads during the past 24-hour.   A record that was not only broken, but shattered to little pieces.

The strongest summer jet stream ever observed over the Pacific Northwest.  

The jet stream is a narrow current of strong winds in the upper troposphere (roughly 25,000 ft to 35,000 ft above sea level).   It is often the conduit for storms and is associated with a large temperature gradient (change in temperature with horizontal distance) in the middle and lower troposphere.   Winds in the jet stream are westerly (from the west) and aircraft like to fly in the jet stream going east, while avoiding it going west.   You are now Jet Steam certified!

The ECMWF 12-h forecast for 5 AM this morning for the wind speed at the 250 hPa pressure level (about 35,000 ft) clearly shows the jet stream, with the orange/red colors being the strongest winds.

This is a HUGE and very zonal (east-west oriented) jet stream…as shown by the next map at the same time.  This looks like January, not July.

But now I will really impress you. 

The wind this morning at the radiosonde site at Quillayute (UIL) was 140 knots (161 mph) at the 250 hPa level (again around 35,000 ft).   This is amazingly fast for this time of the year.

The plot below shows the climatology of the winds at this level throughout the year at this location, with the red lines being the all-time record for each date (the black lines are average winds for the date, blue lines, the record low winds).   Vertical soundings at Quillayute go back to the late 1960s…so we are talking about a half-century of observations.   The previous record was around 110 knots…so the 140 knots observed today absolutely shattered the record.     In fact, the wind over us right now is greater then the records for any date from April 1 to mid-October.

Record, but lesser winds, are being observed at the next upper air station to the south:  Salem, Oregon (see below)

A truly unusual event.   And one that should not be pinned on global warming.  In fact, several of the global warming jet stream papers (e.g., by Jennifer Francis and others) suggest that global warming will bring a weak and wavy jet stream.  This is just the opposite.

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Reading climate history during Grand Minimums, there is a plethora of stories, journal entries and letters written about unusual climate activity.  This could just another example.  We just have better detection tools today, than the speed of the clouds moving over head.

Cosmic Ray Update: New Results from the Moon

By Dr Tony Phillips

July 16, 2019: Note to astronauts: 2019 is not a good year to fly into deep space. In fact, it’s shaping up to be one of the worst of the Space Age.

The reason is, the solar cycle. One of the deepest Solar Minima of the past century is underway now. As the sun’s magnetic field weakens, cosmic rays from deep space are flooding into the solar system, posing potential health risks to astronauts.

NASA is monitoring the situation with a radiation sensor in lunar orbit. The Cosmic Ray Telescope for the Effects of Radiation (CRaTER) has been circling the Moon on NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft since 2009. Researchers have just published a paper in the journal Space Weather describing CRaTER’s latest findings.

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“The overall decrease in solar activity in this period has led to an increased flux of energetic particles, to levels that are approaching those observed during the previous solar minimum in 2009/2010, which was the deepest minimum of the Space Age,” write the authors, led by Cary Zeitlin of NASA’s Johnson Space Flight Center. “The data have implications for human exploration of deep space.”

This always happens during Solar Minimum. As solar activity goes down, cosmic rays go up. The last two Solar Minima have been unusually deep, leading to high cosmic ray fluxes in 2008-2010 and again in 2018-2019. These are the worst years since humans first left Earth in the 1960s.

“It’s a bit counterintuitive,” says one of the authors, Nathan Schwadron, a space physicist at the University of New Hampshire. “Solar Minimum may actually be more dangerous than Solar Maximum.”

In their paper, Zeitlin, Schwadron and co-authors describe an interesting experiment by NASA that highlights the relative peril of solar flares vs. cosmic rays. In 2011, NASA launched the Curiosity rover to Mars. Inside its spacecraft, the rover was protected by about as much shielding (20 gm/cm^2) as a human astronaut would have. A radiation sensor tucked inside kept track of Curiosity’s exposure.

The results were surprising. During the 9-month journey to Mars, radiation from solar flares (including the strongest flare of the previous solar cycle) accounted for only about 5% of Curiosity’s total dose. The remaining 95% came from cosmic rays.

Why the imbalance? “Solar flares of the size we’ve seen during the Space Age can be largely mitigated by achievable depths of spacecraft shielding(1),” explains Zeitlin. “We can’t stop the highest energy cosmic rays, however. They penetrate the walls of any spacecraft.”

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Solar flares are still a concern. If an astronaut were caught outside on EVA during an intense, unexpected flare, acute effects could include vomiting, fatigue, and low blood counts. A quick return to Earth might be required for medical care. Cosmic rays are more insidious, acting slowly, with maladies such as cancer or heart disease showing up years after the exposure.

As 2019 unfolds, Solar Minimum appears to still be deepening. Cosmic rays haven’t quite broken the Space Age record set in 2009-2010, but they’re getting close, only percentage points from the highest values CRaTER has ever recorded.

“No one can predict what will happen next,” says Schwadron. “However, the situation speaks for itself: We are experiencing a period of unusually weak solar cycles. We have to be prepared for strong cosmic rays.”

END NOTES:

(1) According to Zeitlin, “achievable” shielding depths will be at least 20 to 30 gm/cm^2. “Vehicles carrying humans into deep space will likely have storm shelters that will provide this much shielding or more, and that would indeed be sufficient – even for an event like the great solar flare of August 1972 during the Apollo program – to keep the accumulated dose below the 30-day limit.”

REFERENCE:

“Update on Galactic Cosmic Ray Integral Flux Measurements in Lunar Orbit With CRaTER”, by C. Zeitlin, N. A. Schwadron, H. E. Spence, A. P. Jordan, M. D. Looper, J. Wilson, J. E. Mazur, L. W. Townsend. https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2019SW002223

Link to the original post is HERE

 

Grand Solar Minimum at work – Colorado snowpack more than eight times normal in places

And still rising !!!

After a historically snowy spring, Colorado’s snowpack currently stands at 473% of normal (almost 5 times normal), with highs peaking at 846% (more than 8 times normal!) in the San Juan Mountains, according to the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

Continues reading HERE
Gee and we thought the Sierra at 200% was special.  The melt, which is a month late should fill Boulder Dam.

Current Solar Cycle Among Weakest On Record. Potentially Cloud-Seeding Cosmic Radiation Near Highest Level Since 1950s

The Sun in April 2019

 

This is reblogged from the No Tricks Zone. The original is HERE  Comments included.

 

Dimmer Sun, Colder Weather?

Coldest February on record in many communities, the first time in 130 years Los Angles never broke the 70 degrees mark in February. Phoenix shatters a 122-year-cold record. Monthly snowfall records being broken across the country.

Spaceweather.com

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The sun has just passed an entire calendar month with no sunspots. The last time this happened, in August 2008, the sun was in the nadir of a century-class Solar Minimum. The current stretch of blank suns shows that Solar Minimum has returned, and it could be as deep as the last one.

The last time a full calendar month passed without a sunspot was August 2008. At the time, the sun was in the deepest Solar Minimum of the Space Age. Now a new Solar Minimum is in progress and it is shaping up to be similarly deep. So far this year, the sun has been blank 73% of the time–the same as 2008.

Solar Minimum is a normal part of the solar cycle. Every ~11 years, sunspot counts drop toward zero. Dark cores that produce solar flares and CMEs vanish from the solar disk, leaving the sun blank for long stretches of time. These minima have been coming and going with regularity since the sunspot cycle was discovered in 1859.

My friend Anthony Watts does some analysis HERE and comes to this conclusion:

It seems the sun has dimmed more than the usual amount at the end of solar cycle 24, and it could be a factor in the severe winter we are experiencing in many parts of the northern hemisphere.

Your thoughts?  Could we be on the cusp of a major global cooling?

On the Cusp of the Next Grand Minimum?

Definition — cusp: a point of transition between two different states

The transition from the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age was punctuated by extreme climate events, intense storms, floods, and droughts according to Lynn Ingram and Francis Malamud-Roam writing in The West Without Water. According to the authors, the transition from the Little Ice Age to the Modern Warm Period also experienced erratic weather extremes. Wolfgang Behringer, writing in the Cultural History of Climate, found similar transitions to more extreme weather. These extreme record-setting events are a signal that the overall climate is moving to a different state, in other words on the cusp of climate change.

Some recent record events:

Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido: Record cold temperatures, minus 24.4 C, the lowest seen since it began compiling such data in 1957.

Seattle: Coldest February in 30 years, the 4th coldest in 75 years, the 3 years that were colder were 1989, 1949 and 1956. “This month has been so snowy that it is now setting records for daily and monthly totals,” says the National Weather Service.

Minnesota: Minus 38 degrees recorded in Melrose, Minnesota, The nation’s coldest wind chill factor, minus 70, was reported in Ely, Minnesota on 30 January 2019.

Moscow: the Strongest snowstorm in 140 years, 13 Feb 2019

Siberia: Many record lows, details HERE.

Australia: Hottest December since recording started, with Adelaide hit nearly 116 degrees Fahrenheit the last week in January 2019, breaking an 80-year-old record high set in January 1939.

Sierra Nevada: June Mountain picked up 72 inches of snow in 24 hours, 96 in 72 hours. The official record for 24-hour snowfall record is 67 inches, on Jan. 5, 1982.

The proponents of anthropogenic global warming are attributing these extreme weather to human emission of greenhouse gases. However, after looking back through climate history, such as the Cultural History of Climate and The West without Water, I am inclined to attribute these record-breaking events to the transition point for the Next Grand Minimum.

Your thoughts, are we on the cusp, or is it just climate change weather?