Real risk of a Maunder minimum ‘Little Ice Age’ says leading scientist

The BBC has the story:

It’s known by climatologists as the ‘Little Ice Age’, a period in the 1600s when harsh winters across the UK and Europe were often severe.

The severe cold went hand in hand with an exceptionally inactive sun, and was called the Maunder solar minimum.

Now a leading scientist from Reading University has told me that the current rate of decline in solar activity is such that there’s a real risk of seeing a return of such conditions.

I’ve been to see Professor Mike Lockwood to take a look at the work he has been conducting into the possible link between solar activity and climate patterns.

According to Professor Lockwood the late 20th century was a period when the sun was unusually active and a so called ‘grand maximum’ occurred around 1985.

Since then the sun has been getting quieter.

By looking back at certain isotopes in ice cores, he has been able to determine how active the sun has been over thousands of years.

Following analysis of the data, Professor Lockwood believes solar activity is now falling more rapidly than at any time in the last 10,000 years.

He found 24 different occasions in the last 10,000 years when the sun was in exactly the same state as it is now – and the present decline is faster than any of those 24.

Based on his findings he’s raised the risk of a new Maunder minimum from less than 10% just a few years ago to 25-30%.

And a repeat of the Dalton solar minimum which occurred in the early 1800s, which also had its fair share of cold winters and poor summers, is, according to him, ‘more likely than not’ to happen.

He believes that we are already beginning to see a change in our climate – witness the colder winters and poor summers of recent years – and that over the next few decades there could be a slide to a new Maunder minimum.

It’s worth stressing that not every winter would be severe; nor would every summer be poor. But harsh winters and unsettled summers would become more frequent.

Professor Lockwood doesn’t hold back in his description of the potential impacts such a scenario would have in the UK.

He says such a change to our climate could have profound implications for energy policy and our transport infrastructure.

Although the biggest impact of such solar driven change would be regional, like here in the UK and across Europe, there would be global implications too.

Rest of the story is HERE, plus an obligatory sop to Michael Mann and the warmers.


Long Term Cooling When AMO and PDO Go Negative?

The PDO has now turned cold, and, with the AMO still in its warm phase, temperatures are flatlining. By the mid 2020’s we are likely to see both great ocean patterns stuck together in their cold phases well into the 2030’s.

Paul Homewood has the details at NOT A LOT OF PEOPLE KNOW THAT


In my mind this is the most interesting graphic. Note the warm 1930s and cool 60-70s


Now consider what will happen when the both the AMO and PDO get in sync, as they have in the post and we had ice age scares.

HADCRUT4 Northern Hemisphere Winter Doom

Sunshine Hours has some interesting facts on winter time temperatures:

Do you live in the Northern Hemisphere.? Did anyone tell you that in the midst of record CO2 levels HADCRUT4 shows massively dropping winter temperatures?

At the bottom of this post is a graph of HADCRUT4 Northern Hemisphere only temperatures for each month for the last 7 years.

Did you know December was cooling at -.9C per decade? By 2100 December could be 8C colder?

Did you know January was cooling at -.73C per decade?

Did you know March was cooling at -.56C per decade?

Did you know February was cooling at -.19C per decade?

Did you know November was cooling at -.2C per decade?

Did you know October was cooling at -.17C per decade?

Did you know April was cooling at -.17C per decade?

average-hadcrut4-northern-last-7-yearsIf you live in the NH it might be time to check the winter woolies and make sure the moths have not eaten them full of holes.  I shop Cabelas for my woolies.

Since Dalton-Minimum 190 years ago, never has the sun been so inactive.

Currently solar activity is especially low. Solar sunspot number (SSN) in September was at 36.9, and thus was just 36% of the usual mean value 58 months into the cycle. The sun continues to remain in an unusually weak cycle 24, which was characterized by a 1-2 year delayed start in November 2008. The following graphic shows the mean value (blue) and the current cycle (red) and the very similar sunspot cycle SC5 (light gray) which occurred during the Dalton Minimum of the early 19th century:


Dark blue shows average sunspot cycle; red shows current cycle 24 and light gray shows SC5. Horizontal axis is the number of months after the start of cycle. \

See more HERE at the No Tricks Zone

During the Dalton Minimum the world cooled and weather was often more violent, shortening growing season and impacting the world’s food supply. Current crops are reporting record yields, perhaps from increased CO2. The question is with a colder climate, will the world’s farmers be able to sustain those robust yields?  Stay Tuned.

CERN’s CLOUD experiment shines new light on climate change

CERN Press Release:

Geneva, 6 October 2013. In a paper published today in the journal Nature, the CLOUD experiment at CERN1 reports a major advance towards solving a long-standing enigma in climate science: how do aerosols – tiny solid or liquid particles suspended in the air – form in the atmosphere, and which gases are responsible? This is a key question in understanding the climate, since aerosols cause a cooling effect by reflecting sunlight and by seeding cloud droplets.

The CLOUD researchers made two key discoveries. Firstly, they found that minute concentrations of amine vapours combine with sulphuric acid to form aerosol particles at rates similar to those observed in the atmosphere. Then, using a pion beam from the CERN Proton Synchrotron, they found that ionising radiation such as the cosmic radiation that bombards the atmosphere from space has negligible influence on the formation rates of these particular aerosols.

“Thanks to CERN’s expertise in materials, gas systems and ultra-high vacuum technologies,” said CLOUD spokesperson Jasper Kirkby, “we were able to build a chamber with unprecedented cleanliness, allowing us to simulate the atmosphere and introduce minute amounts of various atmospheric vapours under carefully controlled conditions – in this case amines and sulphuric acid.”

Amines are atmospheric vapours closely related to ammonia, and are emitted both from human activities such as animal husbandry, and from natural sources. Amines are responsible for odours emanating from the decomposition of organic matter that contains proteins. For example, the smell of rotten fish is due to trimethylamine. The CLOUD experiment’s unique ultra-clean chamber allowed the collaboration to demonstrate that the extremely low concentrations of amines typically found in the atmosphere – a few parts per trillion by volume – are sufficient to combine with sulphuric acid to form highly stable aerosol particles at high rates.

The measured sensitivity of aerosol formation to amines came as a surprise, and points to a potentially significant climate cooling mechanism. Moreover, since amine scrubbing is likely to become an important technology for capturing carbon dioxide emissions from fossil-fuelled power plants, this effect is likely to rise in future.

The CLOUD result adds another significant measurement in understanding the climate. But it does not rule out a role for cosmic radiation, nor does it offer a quick fix for global warming.

“This is the first time that atmospheric particle formation has been reproduced with complete knowledge of the participating molecules”, said Kirkby. “However our measurements leave open the possibility that the formation of aerosols in the atmosphere may also proceed with other vapours, for which the effect of cosmic rays may be different. This is an important step forward, but we still have a long way to go before we fully understand the processes of aerosol formation and their effects on clouds and climate.”

One step forward in the process of understanding cloud formation and the impact of cosmic rays. Stay Tuned. More to Come!!!

New paper finds another amplification mechanism by which the Sun controls climate

A paper published today in Quaternary Science Reviews reconstructs climate of the central Alps over the past 10,000 years and finds precipitation and floods were driven by changes in solar activity. The authors propose variations in solar activity and insolation cause widening and shrinking of the Hadley cell, and influence on the North Atlantic Oscillation [NAO] and Intertropical Convergence Zone [ITCZ]. The paper adds to many other peer-reviewed publications finding solar amplification mechanisms by which small changes in solar activity have large effects on climate.

The authors also find floods and heavy precipitation were more common during cold periods such as the Little Ice Age than during warm periods such as the Medieval Warm Period, the opposite of claims that warming increases precipitation and floods from increased atmospheric water vapor.

According to the authors, “We found that flood frequency was higher during cool periods, coinciding with lows in solar activity. In addition, flood occurrence shows periodicities that are also observed in reconstructions of solar activity from 14C and 10Be records (2500–3000, 900–1200, as well as of about 710, 500, 350, 208 (Suess cycle), 150, 104 and 87 (Gleissberg cycle) years). As atmospheric mechanism, we propose an expansion/shrinking of the Hadley cell with increasing/decreasing air temperature, causing dry/wet conditions in Central Europe during phases of high/low solar activity. Furthermore, differences between the flood patterns from the Northern Alps and the Southern Alps indicate changes in North Atlantic circulation.”

More here, including the graphs:

As solar activity declines we can expect more cooling, more floods and I predict more sever storms. Reading the history of the Maunders Minimum, from the scant records, life was very difficult with many sever storm events. We are now headed in that direction.

Swiss scientists now say that the Little Ice Age most certainly could have been triggered by variations in solar activity.

There’s been criticism for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) over its latest AR5 report from many quarters for many reasons. But today there’s new research focusing on one particular aspect of that criticism.

The particular part of the IPCC’s science in question is its accounting for the effects of changes in the Sun on the climate of planet Earth. Many climatologists have long sought to suggest that the effects of solar variability are minor, certainly when compared to those of human-driven CO2 emissions. Others, however, while admitting that the Sun changes only a very little over human timescales, think that it might be an important factor.

This matters because solar physicists think that the Sun is about to enter a “grand minimum”, a prolonged period of low activity.

The current 11-year peak in solar action is the weakest seen for a long time, and it may presage a lengthy quiet period. Previously, historical records suggest that such periods have been accompanied by chilly conditions on Earth – perhaps to the point where a coming minimum might counteract or even render irrelevant humanity’s carbon emissions. The “Little Ice Age” seen from the 15th to the 19th centuries is often mentioned in this context.

There are certainly plenty of scientists to say, along with the IPCC, that this isn’t so. For instance climate physicist Joanna Haigh has this to say, in tinned quotes offered alongside the AR5 release by the UK’s Science Media Centre:

“Even if the Sun were to enter a new ‘grand minimum’ state within the next century, [solar variation] would be very unlikely to provide more than a small, temporary, partial compensation for likely anthropogenic warming.”

And yet the Little Ice Age appears to have affected the climate powerfully. IPCC-leaning scientists, however, say that the Little Ice Age couldn’t have been caused by solar variability – not even solar variability combined with sky-darkening volcanic eruptions – as the effects would have been too weak.

That school of science would often suggest that the Little Ice Age was actually caused by a sequence of unusually powerful North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) atmospheric phenomena – or, in other words, that it was just a blip: rather like the current 15-year hiatus in global warming, so often pointed up by climate sceptics. Indeed, a hefty paper published in 2009 stated as much, that the Little Ice Age was caused by powerful NAO effects (and the Medieval Warm Period before it, another awkwardness for the IPCC camp as it is thought by many to have seen a warmer world than we have now, without any carbon emissions).

More HERE: