January 21, 2014
Earth Going To Cool From Low Sunspot Activity?
The sun emits more light energy when sunspot activity is high and sunspot activity runs in an 11 year cycle. Currently sunspot activity is low even though the sun is at a point in the 11 year cycle that ought to make sunspots and solar light emissions high. The BBC asks Is our Sun falling silent?
"I've been a solar physicist for 30 years, and I've never seen anything quite like this," says Richard Harrison, head of space physics at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in Oxfordshire.
If this keeps up a mini Ice Age is possible.
Mike Lockwood University of Reading says that the lower temperatures could affect the global jetstream, causing weather systems to collapse.
The Maunder Minimum of low sunspot activity between 1645 and 1715 occurred during what is known as the Little Ice Age. The Little Ice Age might have had multiple causes and lasted much longer than the Maunder Minimum. But the Maunder Minimum was a contributing factor.
The Sun could suddenly turn up again on the next cycle. What is it going to do? Try guessing. Just keep in mind that you have no idea. As I've previously noted we lived thru a pretty mild 20th century and the 19th century saw much more severe weather changes. The 21st century could witness greater shifts and extremes of climate, more like the 19th century. Major cooling followed by major heating is possible.
Randall Parker, 2014 January 21 10:45 PM
I'm just glad I'm living far enough South that even a little ice age won't be too cold here. Might need to build a greenhouse, though.
Alaska is warmer than much of the Lower 48. California has extreme drought. Europe is warm, Australia has extreme heat waves.
Record highs are still out-pacing record lows several to one. Any talk about "Earth going to cool" is nonsense.
Nothing about today's weather is unprecedented. Recording of planetary weather has barely begun. Humans have only had good ocean monitoring for 10 years, good satellite weather records for 40 years, fair weather records for 150 years, and mediocre records for 500 years. Proxies are notoriously unreliable for longer time scales, but all proxies indicate much warmer and much cooler periods for all parts of the globe.
So what if the sun cools down and Earth sees another Maunder period? Another doomer scenario gets shot down and life goes on. Nothing new about that.
I've been saying for 20 years that the real truth is that Earth's climate changes all of the time, for many different reasons. Volcanoes, asteroid impacts, sun cycles, you name it, climate always changes. Now, we have the possibility of man-made climate change, but it's pretty slow and small compared to what a good volcano eruption can do. We've had quite a few centuries of pretty good luck, but that's hardly enough to base policy on. Climate is GOING to change, whether caused by man or nature, it WILL happen. The important thing is: how are we going to deal with it. Pro Tip: politicians and political movements aren't going to help one tiny bit; dealing with climate change is going to take smart scientists and engineers.
Normal variation over the 11 year solar cycle amounts to about 1.3 watts of solar energy per square meter of direct sunlight on earth. If for some strange reason we had double the usual decline from the solar maximum, it would only offset the radiative forcing from AGW to set world temperatures back to around 1980 or so. I didn't notice any mini-ice age happening back in the 80s, but I suppose it would explain the popularity of leg warmers.
If the theory is correct, the main influence on climate from solar variation is not due to variation in solar radiation, but the solar wind modulating cosmic ray influx, indirectly effecting the dynamics of cloud formation.
The basic issue is that, if the forcing parameters were derived without taking into account another influence on climate, like this, they exaggerate the influence of whatever was taken into account. It's not like we understand the physics well enough to model it directly from first principles, all the models use extensive empirical constants which are perfectly capable of being wrongly derived.
If you use very expensive supercomputers to create models, then your answers have to be worth a lot more. The more expensive the computer, the better your model, no matter who writes the code. It only makes sense. The sun is too far away to have any effect on the Earth.
We know that carbon dioxide is a green house gas, and people around the world are spewing more and more carbon gases into the atmosphere. CO2 levels have risen. If we don't understand all of the constraints on climate, at least we can make good guesses and pretend we understand what is happening. We know a little bit, so we must know a lot, okay? Especially after running it through a world class supercomputer.
Let's get everybody on board so even if some important parts of our theory turn out to be wrong, nobody will dare say anything about it until we make our official revisions that make us look like we were right all along. We can keep this thing going for decades longer no matter what happens in the real world.
I keep trying to figure out if Burgundy Claire is a denier or a satirical troll (the name-link to Daily Kos is ambiguous), and I'm failing. "The sun is too far away to have any effect on the Earth."? Seriously?
There are too many Poes in the world today.
I'm pretty darned sure that it was satire.
BTW, "denier" of what? You need to be specific about that, people deny all sorts of things, sometimes things they shouldn't deny, sometimes things they should. For instance, you'll find a lot of people deny that nuclear power is "renewable", which is kind of silly given that it's good for at least until plate tectonics grinds to a halt.
It appears to be both denial and satire, through an attempt to ridicule the POV of advocates of the idea of Climate Change.
"It's not like we understand the physics well enough to model it directly from first principles, all the models use extensive empirical constants which are perfectly capable of being wrongly derived."
"Let's get everybody on board so even if some important parts of our theory turn out to be wrong, nobody will dare say anything about it until we make our official revisions that make us look like we were right all along. We can keep this thing going for decades longer no matter what happens in the real world."
Exactly. Besides, the Earth has been warming for over 300 years -- with intermittent lulls. There's no guarantee it will continue but it's the safer bet with or without carbon emissions. Personally, I think politicians are using it to push a global tax. If you'll notice the only solution they ever tout is "cap&trade". Effectively, every developed 1st world country pays every underdeveloped 3rd world country for their magic beans... ummm.. I meant "carbon credits". Those are the same people pushing a global wealth tax. They don't care about carbon emissions. They care about socialism.