Solar minimums may be final piece of puzzle in fall of Western Civilisation

Sam Khoury writing in the Nation


By the 1st century BC, Rome was the most advanced and powerful civilisation on Earth and Romans’ material wealth was skyrocketing. Men and women are increasingly less interested in marriage and no-fault divorce is enacted. Birth rates start to decline below the replacement rate. The citizen soldiers are eventually replaced with professional soldiers who expect compensation and are loyal to the military itself, not the state. As the empire expands in a series of wars of choice it is becomes increasingly multicultural thanks to new citizens from conquered territories. Their loyalty is in question but Rome depends on them as mercenaries to defend the declining state. The government and the military industrial complex replace the private sector as the sole entity responsible for everyone’s well-being. There is moral decay and brutality as Julius Caesar brags about killing one million Gauls. This period could be compared our own world since 1970. By the 400s Rome is being pillaged by Visigoths and Vandals, who ensure it never makes it to the 500s.

However there was something else occurring in the 400s that wasn’t happening in the preceding centuries. Although corruption and immorality were rife, the scientific and historical record shows the climate cooled but, more destructively, it became erratic. Long dry conditions were interrupted by intense deluges. Unseasonal spells of cold weather became the norm. Although solar activity records only date back to the 1600s, these conditions were almost certainly the result of a combination of low solar activity and high volcanic activity – much like the post-medieval warm period that saw solar minimums like the so-called Maunder and Dalton and large volcanic eruptions like the Tambora which, combined with the Dalton, created freezing summers. The result during the 400s was rising food prices, which along with the other factors created deep social dissatisfaction as the economy faltered.

There are proposals on the table to turn the Afghani war over to mercenaries and bring out troops home to a land were middle-class citizens are questioning the role of government and wealth disparity created by robotic and AI technology is growing.  We are becoming more like the Roman Empire, dropping birth rates, fewer marriages, and more debauchery.  Moral decay and fear of the government rampant.  But a significant change in the climate, a highly erratic climate of droughts and floods destroyed the food supply and that was the final blow to the Roman Empire.  Is this or fate?

Enter the monkey in the wrench. After 200 years of healthy solar maximums, solar activity has been plummeting since 2010 and the first solar minimum will hit bottom around 2021. By the 2030s solar physicists now reckon that a grand solar minimum will consume most of the rest of the century. Volcanic activity has also been on the increase and more is expected as eruptions occur most often during solar cycle peaks or at solar minimums. In previous articles published in this newspaper I chronicled increasingly intense and erratic weather patterns that have coincided with the lower solar activity since 2010. The latest include a cold front that descended on the US Midwest in late June dropping temperatures to near freezing, and recent snowfall 200 kilometres south of Moscow in Tarttarastran. Wheat futures immediately rose 6 per cent. At this time the world takes cheap foodstuffs for granted. A change of this reality in the future could shake the global world order to its foundations.

Full Article in HERE.



New Study By German Physicists Concludes We Can Expect Climate Cooling For Next 50 Years!

By P Gosselin at the No Tricks Zone

German physicists: “CO2 plays only minor role for global climate”

In a just published study in The Open Atmospheric Science Journal here, German scientists Horst-Joachim Lüdecke and Carl-Otto Weiss have used a large number of temperature proxies worldwide to construct a global temperature mean over the last 2000 years, dubbed G7, in order to find out more about the sun’s role on climate change.

Their results drop a huge surprise on the laps of scientists who have long believed the earth is warming due to human-emitted CO2.

The analysis by the German scientists shows the strongest climate cycle components as 1000, 460, and 190-year periods. The G7 global temperature extrema coincide with the Roman, Medieval, and present optima, as well as the well-known minimum of AD 1450 during the Little Ice Age.

Correlation 0.84

Using further complex analyses, they constructed a representation of G7, which shows a remarkable Pearson correlation of 0.84 with the 31-year running average of G7.

The authors used extensive local temperature proxy data [2 – 6] together with Britain’s Hadley CRU temperature records since 1870 and the recent satellite measurements, and combined them to make up the global temperature time series G7 for the last 2000 years.

In accordance to the definition of climate, the blue curve in the paper’s Fig. 3, shown above, depicts the climate history as the 30-year running average of the grey curve. Noteworthy, the historically known temperature extrema are well reproduced by the blue climate curve: The Roman Optimum (~0 AD), the Medieval Optimum (~1000 AD), the Present Optimum, as well as the Little Ice Age (~1500 AD),

Also the pronounced minimum of 1450 AD, when the vines in southern France were killed by cold. Also clearly shown by the climate curve is the warming from 1850 to 1995.

The detailed analysis of the local records show in general a multitude of peaks, the authors say, and the G7 however shows only 3 dominant peaks, which correspond to cycles known from local studies, of approx. 1000, 500, 200-year periods. The combination of local records to a global record apparently averages out local cycles and emphasizes global cycles.

The sum of these three dominant cycles (red curve in Fig. 3) reproduces the measured climate (blue curve in Fig. 3) with a remarkable correlation of 0.84.

In particular the sum of the three cycles shows the temperature increase from 1850 to 1995 as a result of the three natural cycles, the German researchers say, adding: “Thus one can conclude that CO2 plays only a minor role (if any) for the global climate.”

Lüdecke and Weiss note that the present maximum of the cycle sum corresponds well with the world temperature stagnation since 1995 AD, the stagnation unexplained by current climate models. As the dominant cycles have persisted for an extended time, one can assume that they will persist for the near future. They write: “This allows to predict cooling until 2070 AD.”

References are HERE.

Is Our Sun Slowing Down in Its Middle Age?

By: Monica Bobra writing in Sky and Telescope

The Sun, now halfway through its life, might be slowing its magnetic activity, researchers say, which could lead to permanent changes in the sunspots and auroras we see.

We all slow down in middle age, has our sun reached that point?

There is evidence that Sun-like stars slow their magnetic activity after reaching middle age. And the Sun is, in fact, at just that age. But while we might be seeing some evidence of a slow-down, the process will likely happen over thousands, if not millions, of years. Furthermore, this is not the first time that the Sun has deviated from previous behavior. During a 70-year period in the 17th century, the Sun shed all but a few of its sunspots, only to right its course again.

Well maybe not! It could just be another overlapping cycle.

And maybe we’re not seeing a slow-down at all. While the strongest sunspot cycle rises and falls over the course of 11 years, there are other sunspot cycles that rise and fall over longer timespans. These other cycles could affect the 11-year cycle. So we can’t yet conclude that the Sun’s relatively recent changes are permanent. The best thing to do is just keep on looking: There are many more clues buried in the Sun’s many heartbeats.

I write about some of those cycles in a paper on the Dalton Minimum. dalton_minimum

Here is a chart from that paper showing the multiple solar cycles:

Solar Cycles

Your thoughts?  Middle age sun, or just another cycle?

As Earth Warms? The Sun Is Remarkably Quiet

Bob Henson, Weather Underground Blog

If you’re looking toward the sun to help explain this decade’s record global heat on Earth, look again. Solar activity has been below average for more than a decade, and the pattern appears set to continue, according to several top solar researchers. Solar Cycle 24, the one that will wrap up in the late 2010s, was the least active in more than a century. We now have outlooks for Cycle 25, the one that will prevail during the 2020s, and they’re calling for a cycle only about as strong as–and perhaps even less active than–Cycle 24.

While Henson tries to make the case that sunspots have little influence on the climate, citing Solar Cycle 24 low sunspot intensity, while planet experience rising global temperatures.

Newly precise measurements confirm that the total solar energy reaching Earth actually doesn’t change all that much from cycle to cycle. As a single cycle ramps up from minimum to maximum, the sun spits out as much as 10 times more energy in extreme ultraviolet wavelengths. However, the sun’s total energy output (irradiance) goes up by a mere 0.1% during a solar cycle, and this boosts global surface temperature by no more than 0.1°C per cycle, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Bolstering his argument with a chart from which seems to ignore the 20-year global warming pause in the satellite temperature measurements. I will leave that discussion for another time but it seems to me that the pause and a low solar cycle may have some connection. Moving on to more interest items in Bob Henson’s post,  the future of Solar Cycle 25.

Outlook for the 2020s: Another modest cycle
The community of solar researchers has only recently come into consensus on the “polar predictor” method of using polar magnetic fields as the best predictor of solar cycles. A decade ago, various methods produced conflicting results on how strong Cycle 24 would end up. Forecasts based on polar fields at solar minimum did remarkably well; others had more trouble in capturing the cycle’s length and strength. “One of the things we learned is that the difference between the hemispheres is critical,” said McIntosh. The north half of the sun ran about two years ahead of the south during Cycle 24, and that overlap led to the double-peaked maximum (2011 and 2014) while lessening the cycle’s overall peak strength.

Researchers are now trying to push the limits of prediction further. They’re using statistical and dynamical models, plus some data-based intuition, to predict several years in advance how the subsurface magnetic fields will look when they emerge near the poles around 2020, and what, in turn, those fields may tell us about Cycle 25.

• David Hathaway (recently retired from NASA) and Lisa Upton (NCAR and Space Systems Research Corporation) expect a Cycle 25 about as strong as Cycle 24, or perhaps slightly weaker. They published their outlook in November in the Journal of Geophysical Research. Hathaway and Upton used an ensemble model to project the polar fields from now to the end of 2019, with the ensemble showing an uncertainty by that point of about 15%. Natural solar variations in the early 2020s could add to the uncertainty, they note.

• Leif Svalgaard (Stanford University) pioneered the idea of using solar polar fields as prediction tools with colleagues in the 1970s, and he successfully pegged the eventual weakness of Cycle 24 back in 2005. Svalgaard is calling for a weak Cycle 25, but perhaps just a bit stronger than Cycle 24, based on precursors that appear slightly more active this time around.

• NCAR’s McIntosh believes Cycle 25 could extend the recent string of progressively weaker cycles. “We anticipate that the growing degree of overlap between cycles means that Cycle 25 will be weaker than Cycle 24,” he told me.

• Also at NCAR, Mausumi Dikpati will release her outlook for Cycle 25 in a paper to be published later this year. Dikpati and colleagues predicted a stronger-than-average Cycle 24 (as did Hathaway and others). This didn’t materialize, but Dikpati did correctly forecast that Cycle 24 would begin later than usual. Dikpati is now doing a post-mortem on her Cycle 24 forecast, which was based on a pioneering model of the solar dynamo (the flow of plasma that produces magnetism within the sun). As with weather models, she expects that improved data assimilation–bringing the latest observations into the solar dynamo model–will help boost its accuracy.

With several decades of quiet solar activity, we will be experiencing a “Grand Minimum.” The open question is will this Grand Minimum produce a cooler plant, similar to the Dalton Minimum or the Maunder Minimum which is associate with the little ice age. Only time will tell.  Your thoughts?

Bob Henson’s full post is HERE. It also includes an interesting discussion of the threat from solar eruptions to our electrical grid, even during a grand minimum.

David Archibald: Solar Cycle 25 Amplitude Prediction


A monthly smoothed maximum sunspot number of 62 is derived for Solar Cycle 25. This would probably be around 2025. This is almost down to Dalton Minimum levels.

[. . .]

My prediction for the peak sunspot number of Cycle 25 is a monthly count of 62.

Full report with graphics and explanation is at WUWT

David mentions the Dalton Minimum. Cycle six was a companion cycle during the Dalton Minimum. If David’s prediction is accurate, Cycle 25 will be much like Solar Cycle 6, which could bring on more Dalton like climate variation.

The climate was cooler during the Dalton Minimum.  Cycle 24 so far has produced the 18-year global warming pause. The IPCC credits the “hiatus” partly to decreased solar activity. Cycle 25 will most likely continue this cooling evident in Cycle 24.

Dalton Minimum resulted in an average temperature drop of about 1 Degree C. This resulted in shorter growing seasons, with later spring frosts and early rain and snow in the fall. Some of which was caused by the eruption of Mount Tambora in Indonesia in 1816, one of the two largest eruptions in the past 2000 years.  This mix of low sunspots and volcanic activity makes a climate prediction for more difficult. However there some speculation that reduced solar activity on the sun results in more volcanic activity on this planet. Increase vulcanization produces cooler climates.  Stay tuned, this is going be an interesting time to be climate observers.

Solar Cycles: The Bray (Hallstatt) Cycle

This is a link to a guest essay by Andy May and Javier at Watts Up With That

The evidence for a persistent irregular climate cycle with a period of 2400 ±200 years is strong. There is compelling evidence of a solar cycle of about the same length and phase; suggesting that the solar cycle might be causing the climate cycle. We will present a summary of the evidence, beginning with the original paleontological evidence, followed by the cosmogenic radionuclide (10Be or Beryllium-10 and 14C or Carbon-14) evidence. For more information, a bibliography of many papers discussing topics relevant to the Bray (Hallstatt) cycle can be found here. Only a small portion of the relevant papers are mentioned in this summary post.

This is the section that mentions solar grand minimums and maximums

The Bray cycle appears to be closely tied to tight clusters of grand solar maxima and minima. The Little Ice Age Wolf, Spörer, Maunder and Dalton grand minima are the best example of a solar grand minima cluster and they fall in a Bray low. The Greek Dark Age and the Homer grand minimum also fall in a Bray low. Significant historical events that fall in Bray lows are labeled in figure 2. A more complete picture of these events can be found here. The Little Ice Age (LIA) is a well-known cold period filled with plagues and suffering due to cold, for more details see here and in Dr. Wolfgang Behringer’s excellent book. The period labelled “GDA” is the Greek Dark Ages, during this Bray low the Late Bronze Age ended and after a period of civilization collapse, the Early Iron Age started. The “Uruk” Bray low event corresponds with the expansion of the Uruk civilization and the growth of some of the world’s first cities. Near the end of the Uruk Bray low, the Middle East transitions from the Copper Age to the Early Bronze Age and cuneiform writing appears.

You can read the full text of this interesting essay HERE. I also found the comments on this essay by Andy May and Javier very interest and worth your time to review. It is clear we have multiple solar cycles creating a complex mix of overlapping cycles, where the sum of the influence waxes and wains over time. We live in a complex universe.

A Cultural History of Climate

I am reading A Cultural History of Climate, by Wolfgang Behringer, after spotting it as one the reference used by Andy May is his Watts Up With That post on Climate and Human Civilization for the Past 4,000 Years. This a fascinating account of climate change’s impact on human history.

From the Amazon Book Review [edited]:

Global warming and the future of the climate is one of the greatest challenges of our time, but what do we know about climate variations 500 years ago, or 5000 years ago? How can we know anything at all about the history of weather? What impact has climate changes had on human prosperity and the spirit of invention?

In this major new book, Wolfgang Behringer introduces us to the latest historical research on the development of the earth’s climate. He focuses above all on the cultural reactions to climate change through the ages, showing how even minor modifications in the environment sometimes resulted in significant social, political and religious upheavals. By examining how our predecessors responded to climate changes, Behringer provides us with a fresh basis for thinking about how we might address the serious climatic challenges we face today.

I was struck by the variability in the climate even during the cold periods, including droughts, floods, extreme heat and cold as reported in the letters, journals, and sermons by those experiencing these conditions. These first-hand reports were chilling when you consider we are on the cusp of the Next Grand Minimum.