Sun Flatlining Into Grand Minimum, Says Solar Physicist

Details in Forbes:

With each passing season, the weather seems stranger and more extreme.

Who can argue with a sudden outbreak of the “polar vortex” phenomenon; unprecedented winter drought in California; and summer temperatures so torrid Down Under that even play at the Australian Open was briefly halted?

Is any of this connected to the sun’s drastically diminished recent sunspot cycles?

Weather isn’t climate, but circumstantial evidence indicates our sun may be entering a grand minimum of sunspot activity, not unlike the Maunder Minimum that some climatologists think caused record low winter temperatures in Northern Europe during the latter half of the 17th century.

“My opinion is that we are heading into a Maunder Minimum,” said Mark Giampapa, a solar physicist at the National Solar Observatory (NSO) in Tucson, Arizona. “I’m seeing a continuation in the decline of the sunspots’ mean magnetic field strengths and a weakening of the polar magnetic fields and subsurface flows.”

o o o

“If we’re entering a Maunder Minimum, it could persist until the 2080s,” said Giampapa, who points out that if such a minimum’s primary effect is cooling, it could wreak havoc by curtailing agricultural growing seasons which, for instance, could lead to lower wheat production in breadbasket economies.

But Giampapa says it could also mean a global excursion from the mean, resulting in local climate extremes in terms of both anomalous temperatures and precipitation.

Could a Maunder Minimum mitigate a warming climate?

Not likely, says Hathaway.

Although the rise of global temperatures seen in “the last decade or so seems to have currently leveled off,” says Hathaway, he notes that even a Maunder Minimum would still not be enough to counter the warming effects of anthropogenic climate change.

If anything, a Maunder Minimum may simply make existing weather and short term climate even more unusual and difficult to predict.

Note that Hathaway is a NASA Marshall Space Flight Center employee. The official position of NASA is that humans are responsible for global warming even though the science is not settled. Natural variability exceeds the 1.5F degree contribution of CO2. The climate models used by NASA have been proven to be seriously flawed. I would take Hathaway comments with some skepticism, he needs to protect his job.

I will have more on the Climate in California during the last Grand Minimum in a future post.

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Author: Russ Steele

Freelance writer and climate change blogger. Russ spent twenty years in the Air Force as a navigator specializing in electronics warfare and digital systems. After his service he was employed for sixteen years as concept developer for TRW, an aerospace and automotive company, and then was CEO of a non-profit Internet provider for 18 months. Russ's articles have appeared in Comstock's Business, Capitol Journal, Trailer Life, Monitoring Times, and Idaho Magazine.

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