The issue of vulcanism and cool are of interest to readers of this blog and to me. Cooling and vulcanism seem to go together, but it is not clear what the real connection is. I suspect that a quiet sun can create conditions for eruptions. Not sure the mechanism. As Willis point out most cooling comes before the eruptions.

Watts Up With That?

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

Richard Muller and the good folks over at the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature (BEST) project have released their temperature analysis back to 1750, and are making their usual unsupportable claims. I don’t mean his risible statements that the temperature changes are due to CO2 because the curves look alike—that joke has been widely discussed and discounted, even by anthropogenic global warming (AGW) supporters. Heck, even Michael Mann jumped on him for that one, saying

It seems, in the end–quite sadly–that this is all really about Richard Muller’s self-aggrandizement 😦

And if anyone should know about “self-aggrandizement”, it’s Michael Mann … but I’m not talking about Muller’s claim that humans caused the warming. No, I mean the following statement:

The historic temperature pattern we observe has abrupt dips that match the emissions of known explosive volcanic eruptions; the particulates from such events reflect sunlight and cool the…

View original post 535 more words


Early Snow in Alaska – Yes I know it’s Summer, but does Mother Nature?

Average snowfall in July for Talkeetna is… 0. Average snowfall in August is less than .05″.

Today – Scattered snow showers before 1pm, then rain showers likely. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 34. South wind around 10 mph. Chance of precipitation is 60%. Little or no snow accumulation expected.

Tonight – Rain showers likely before 7pm, then snow. Low around 25. South wind around 10 mph. Chance of precipitation is 90%. New snow accumulation of 1 to 2 inches possible.

Monday – Snow. High near 27. South wind around 5 mph. Chance of precipitation is 90%. New snow accumulation of 2 to 4 inches possible.

Monday Night – Snow showers likely, mainly before 1am. Cloudy, with a low around 22. South wind around 5 mph. Chance of precipitation is 60%.

Tuesday – A 40 percent chance of snow showers. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 29. South wind around 5 mph.

Tuesday Night A slight chance of snow showers after 1am. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 24.

Wednesday – A 30 percent chance of snow showers, mainly after 7am. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 28.

Wednesday Night – A chance of snow showers.Mostly cloudy, with a low around 23.

Thursday – A chance of snow. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 26.

Thursday Night – A chance of snow. Cloudy, with a low around 22

Friday – A chance of snow showers. Cloudy, with a high near 24.

Friday Night-  A chance of snow showers. Cloudy, with a low around 24.

Saturday – A chance of snow showers. Cloudy, with a high near 24.

H/T to Ice Age Now

Little Ice Age began with a bang

Russ Steele

I have alway had this nagging suspicion that when sun spots are lowest the volcanic activity is higher,  but have not found the data to confirm my suspicions.This paper reported on in Science News may prompt me to redouble my effort.

Frozen moss suggests climate cooling kicked off fast, possibly with help from volcanoes

The Little Ice Age, a centuries-long spell of cold summers in Europe and elsewhere, began suddenly late in the 13th century, a new study finds. A string of volcanic explosions may have set off this change in climate by belching particles that reflected sunlight and allowed Arctic sea ice to reach epic proportions, researchers report online January 31 inGeophysical Research Letters.

“We’ve been able to identify the beginning of the Little Ice Age, something that’s been very difficult to do in the past,” says Gifford Miller, a paleoclimatologist and geologist at the University of Colorado Boulder. “This cooling wasn’t gradual; it was an abrupt shift.”

It’s long been known that much of the globe became chillier during the Renaissance. By the 17th century, temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere had fallen by half a degree Celsius compared with medieval times. Ice skating on London’s frozen River Thames became popular.

To pin down when this climate change began, Miller’s team traveled to Baffin Island on the northern fringes of Canada. Small glaciers in this region tend to respond quickly to temperature changes. Carbon dating of moss entombed in Baffin’s ice revealed two sudden advances of the snow line that killed off the vegetation: a sudden cold spell between 1275 to 1300, followed by intensifying cold between 1430 and 1455.

Testing whether this chill extended beyond Canada took the researchers to the Langjökull glacier, the second largest ice cap in Iceland. Layered sediments from a nearby lake appeared progressively thicker in the 14th century — exactly what would be expected if the glacier expanded and ground away the landscape.

These chillier conditions began during an especially active time for volcanoes. “The second half of the 13th century had the most volcanism of any period of the past 1,500 years,” says Alan Robock, an atmospheric scientist at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, N.J.

Miller and his colleagues may not have noticed, is that both cooling periods occurred in sync with low sunspot activity. Those two periods of low sunspot activity are known respectively as the Wolf Minimum and the Sporer Minimum.

Alice Springs, On the Cusp?

Russ Steele

In September 2003, Ellen and I visited Australia and one of the more memorable areas we visited was Alice Springs.  We arrived by air the day after a rain storm, the first one in 14 years according the driver that drove us from the Airport. As we walked about the town in the heat, you could almost see the evaporation taking place as the huge puddles vanished into the clear sky.

When ever we read stories about Alice Springs we recall our visit to the transportation museum, the historic telegraph station, the spring that is not really a spring but a rocky ledge in an under ground river, the flying doctors and the school of the air, to name a few.  Life is hard in Alice Springs and a recent extended cold spell is not improve things.

Ice Age Now has some details:

“Burst water pipes all over town are keeping local plumbers busy as a new cold weather record is set in Alice Springs (Australia),” says this article by Emma Sleath.

By Saturday (when we hit a chilly -5.2 degrees), Alice Springs had endured five nights in a row of minimum temperatures below -4, a new record in the region.

Warren Thompson, who owns a plumbing company in town, says he’s been run off his feet.

“I was getting calls from about 8am [on Saturday morning] with people ringing up saying that they had no water coming out of their taps…then by about 9.30am everything started to thaw out and then all of the burst pipes appeared,” says Warren. “We just weren’t able to cope with the amount of calls that I was getting.”

More on the event from Ice Age Now HERE.   Thanks to Ray Baney who writes from Australia:

“I’ve been living here off and on since 1978, and we appear to be going full circle back to the colder times of the 1970’s.”

“Overnight temps have been dipping below freezing almost every night for weeks …. We haven’t done that in many years.”

The Southern Hemisphere is having a rough winter. It is weather now, but if the trend keeps up, it could be come climate change.

Cold Winter and Summer Have Some Ready to Leave Alaska

Russ Steele

Ellen and I are fans of Flying Wild Alaska and the adventures of the Tweto family on the Discovery Channel.   Jim Tweto and his family-run airline Era Alaska and each week we get another episode on how they battle the arctic elements to transport supplies and passengers to some of the most inaccessible areas on the planet, winter and summer. Link to Flying Wild Alaska web page is HERE.

This season includes numerous references to the some of the worst winter flying they have ever encountered, with lots of visuals to back up the claim.  The article below reminded me of a conversation between Jim Tweto and his youngest daughter Ariel about the declining population of the remote villages in a recent program.  Jim Tweto concluded that the increased isolation was the issue, the weather was making travel more difficult and earning or harvesting a living was becoming more of a challenge, thus people were leaving the villages for warmer places.  It appears everyone is questioning life in Alaska.

ANCHORAGE – After a record-breaking winter, we are now headed for one of the coldest months of July on record.  And it has some Alaskans thinking it may be time to leave the great land.

By Alaska summer standards, it’s been a pretty cool and gloomy start to the beginning of July.

The temps may be setting records, but it’s not the first summer that’s been less than sunny – and some people say they’ve had enough.

Link to the KTVA article is HERE

According to the US Geological Survey (USGS) survey the glaciers in Alaska are growing again. As the summers cool, and the winter ice does not melt, the glaciers will continue to grow, like they did in the 1800s. Could this be a signal that we are on the cusp of an ice age?

New paper finds Medieval Warming Period was ~1°C warmer than current temperatures

Russ Steele

A few year ago my wife and I traveled to Orkney  Scotland to observe the Bronze and Iron Age archeological sites on the island. We as many sites we came across archeological digs underway by researchers.  Here is an example of one that we missed:

A paper published today in Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology finds that the Medieval Warming Period “was warmer than the late 20th century by ~1°C.”

Marine climatic seasonality during early medieval times (10th to 12th centuries) based on isotopic records in Viking Age shells from Orkney, Scotland


Seasonal sea-surface temperature (SST) variability during the Medieval Climate Anomaly (MCA), which corresponds to the height of Viking exploration (800–1200 AD), was estimated using oxygen isotope ratios (δ18O) obtained from high-resolution samples micromilled from archaeological shells of the European limpet,Patella vulgata. Our findings illustrate the advantage of targeting SST archives from fast-growing, short-lived molluscs that capture summer and winter seasons simultaneously. Shells from the 10th to 12th centuries (early MCA) were collected from well-stratified horizons, which accumulated in Viking shell and fish middens at Quoygrew on Westray in the archipelago of Orkney, Scotland. Their ages were constrained based on artifacts and radiocarbon dating of bone, charred cereal grain, and the shells used in this study. We used measured δ18OWATER values taken from nearby Rack Wick Bay (average 0.31 ± 0.17‰ VSMOW, n = 11) to estimate SST from δ18OSHELL values. The standard deviation of δ18OWATER values resulted in an error in SST estimates of ± 0.7 °C. The coldest winter months recorded in the shells averaged 6.0 ± 0.6 °C and the warmest summer months averaged 14.1 ± 0.7 °C. Winter and summer SST during the late 20th century (1961–1990) was 7.77 ± 0.40 °C and 12.42 ± 0.41 °C, respectively. Thus, during the 10th to 12th centuries winters were colder and summers were warmer by ~ 2 °C and seasonality was higher relative to the late 20th century. Without the benefit of seasonal resolution, SST averaged from shell time series would be weighted toward the fast-growing summer season, resulting in the conclusion that the early MCA was warmer than the late 20th century by ~ 1 °C. This conclusion is broadly true for the summer season, but not true for the winter season. Higher seasonality and cooler winters during early medieval times may result from a weakened North Atlantic Oscillation index.

Please note last two sentences. It is clear that the PDO and he AMO have a broad cyclical influence on our climate. I am working on another post on these two factors in our coming climate change.

H/T to the No Tricks Zone for this link.


Grand Minimums Do Not Happen Overnight, it Takes Generations

Russ Steele

Doubt that I will be around to see the depth of the next Grand Minimum, as they take place over generations and I am over 70.  From the start of the Little Ice Age in 1300 to the depth of the LIA it it was about 350 years, at that time about ten generations. Today with our health care systems about 4.5 generations.

However, when you look at this chart by Climatologist Cliff Harris & Meteorologist Randy Mann, you can see there was rapid cooling that increases year by year.

Initially these changes are seen as weather, but progressively average temperatures decline and cold weather events become more numerous and more intense. Reading letters and journals of historical figures during the Maunder Minimum and the Dalton Minimum we discover that back yard gardens and local framers suffered huge crop losses which resulted in poor nutrition. In turn this poor nutrition lowered resistance to life threatening diseases. Millions died from malnutrition and disease during these cold periods.

Where are we now? We are the cusp of the decline, but the signals are still weather events like these:

  • Canberra has shivered through its coldest stretch of winter mornings in 47 years.

The mercury dropped to a chilly minus 4.8 degrees at 6.51am this morning, topping off eight consecutive mornings below minus 2.3 degrees.

The eight-day cold spell, with an average minimum temperature of minus 4.9, is the coldest string of July mornings since 1965. The all-time record was in July 1962, when the average temperature over an eight-day period was minus 7.

  • Heavier than expected ice in Arctic waters off Alaska will likely delay until August Shell’s long-anticipated exploration drilling in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas, said company spokesman Curtis Smith on Friday.

Sea ice is “the number one reason we won’t be drilling in July,” said Smith. “At this point, we’re looking at the first week of August.”

  • Piles of snow at Whistler form a maze on mountain trails. Highly unlikely this show will melt before it starts snowing again in the fall.

  • Something strange going on. Last night the BBC reported birds that normally migrate in the autumn are arriving in the UK now. In mid July! The report said the birds were mainly from Iceland.

July is normally the warmest month of the year on average in Anchorage. This July is the coldest on record (so far) by more than 1.5º with an average monthly temperature of 52.7º. The coolest July on record occurred in 1920 with an average monthly temperature of 54.4º.

“Brutal sea ice conditions that northwest Alaska battled all winter haven’t receded in parts of northern Canada,” says this article from CBC News.

“Two resupply ships are stuck waiting at the mouth of Frobisher Bay in Iqaluit because of tough ice conditions. Frobisher Bay is an inlet of the Labrador Sea.

“In June, winds and currents pushed heavy ice in to the area, CBC News reported on Wednesday.

“Now, two Canadian Coast Guard icebreakers are trying to punch a path through for the resupply vessels. However, the ice is so thick that it’s closing in around the icebreakers before the other ships can follow.”

Our concern should be the slope of the decline. Each year will be colder than the next, with some variation as the result of El Niño warming events, but made more intense by colder La Niña events.  Two steps colder and one step toward warning, but the long term tend is rapid cooling. Look at the slope of the graphics above.

While our political leader prepare for warming, taxing our CO2 emissions, the world is cooling and has been for thousands of years. A new tree ring study shows 2000 years of cooling – previous studies underestimated temperatures of Roman and Medieval Warm Periods.

This was confirmed by this 1993  study covering 3,500 years.

As you can see every warming period was followed by a cooling period. We has the Modern Warming Period and not it is time for a cooling period.  The Pacific PDO has flipped to cool and the sun spots are historically quiet.  While it could be a Maunder level quiet period, which led to the LIA, we may be blessed with a Dalton level quiet period. Stay Tuned.

Giant Solar Storm On the Way

Russ Steele

Image: An orbiting spacecraft called the Solar Dynamics Observatory captured this view of the sun about an hour before it launched an X-class solar flare. The purple coloring shows the strength of magnetic fields of the sun. (NASA/SDO/AIA)

Wired Online has some details:

A giant solar flare shot out of a sunspot Thursday, hitting Earth with a powerful burst of X-ray and ultraviolet radiation. Solar researchers expect a small geomagnetic storm to follow and strike Earth this weekend, causing minor satellite glitches and major northern lights shows.

At 12:11 p.m. EDT, the flare began unleashing about a billion hydrogen bombs’ worth of energy. Radiation temporarily jammed some radio frequencies for about an hour.

Right behind the flare is a belch of solar atmosphere called a coronal mass ejection, or CME, which is now traveling toward Earth at about 3.1 million mph. The resulting solar storm should start on Earth on Friday and conclude by Saturday’s end.

Spaceweather has an interactive graphic showing the the path of the CME as it strikes the Earth HERE.  According to a forecast track prepared by analysts at the Goddard Space Weather Lab, the CME will hit Earth on July 14th around 10:20 UT (+/- 7 hours) and could spark strong geomagnetic storms.


The UV pulse partially ionized Earth’s upper atmosphere, disturbing the normal propagation of radio signals around the planet. Monitoring stations in Norway and Ireland recorded the sudden ionospheric disturbance.

The solar protons accelerated by the blast are swarming around Earth. The radiation storm  ranks “S1” on NOAA space weather scales, which means it poses no serious threat to satellites or astronauts. However, there is always the threat of more powerful events, with a more signifiant out come, with a powerful CME pealing off the protective magnetic shield. exposing satellites, power grids and other sensitive electronic equipment.

National Geographic had an article on the history of the these more powerful radiation storms and my friend George Rebane did some Bayesian Analysis on the history of the more powerful events and concluded we would be more vulnerable in Solar Cycle 25, estimated to peak around 2022 “The probability is 0.967 that in the next sunspot cycle we will have an ‘extreme storm’ as defined in the . . . data you sent.” Other scientist predict that we have a 1-8 chance of a more powerful event by 2020.

The question is not if we are going to have more violent solar storms, but when will they arrive. More from Nat Geo HERE.

Cross Posted at NC2012.

Volcano Climate Impact

Russ Steele

Ice Age Now has a interesting article on the impact of small volcano eruptions.


An international research team has found that aerosols from relatively small volcanic eruptions can affect global temperatures.

Odin Satellite – Image credit: Swedish Space Corp

Until now it was thought that a massively energetic eruption was needed to inject aerosols all the way through the troposphere and into the stratosphere, says Adam Bourassa, from the U of S Institute of Space and Atmospheric Studies.

But when the team looked at the June 2011 eruption of the Nabro volcano in Eritrea in northeast Africa, they found that wind had carried the volcanic gas and aerosol – minute droplets of sulfuric acid – into the path of the annual Asian summer monsoon.

The monsoon lofted volcanic gas and lighter liquid droplets into the stratosphere where they were detected by the Swedish research satellite Odin.

“Once (an aerosol) reaches the stratosphere, it can persist for years, and with that kind of a sustained lifetime, it can really have a lasting effect,” says Bourassa, who led the research.  “That effect is the scattering of incoming sunlight and the potential to cool the Earth’s surface.”

For example, the massive eruption of Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines in 1991 temporarily dropped temperatures by half a degree Celsius world-wide.

The research appears in the July 6 issue of the journal Science. ding-to-satellite-research/


Note all eruptions on this graphic during our coldest periods.