Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Maunder Minimum

What is "Maunder Minimum" I hear the cry.

Via Restoring Britain, who in turn picks up on a post from Watts Up With That (WUWT), it would appear that there has been a serious decline in sun spot activity from which it is concluded that we face what is known as another "Maunder Minimum". As Restoring Britain notes the last time this event occured it got very, very cold - aka the Ice Age.

It is sure going to be interesting to see how the 'whirly-gig' thingies manage in prolonged sub-zero temperatures and how much electricity they produce........................

Just wondering..........................


Anonymous said...

Actually it may not be that bad.
We may just experience a Dalton minimum instead.
Still ice fairs on the Thames will be a sight to see.
As will the bottom drop out of the Carbon trading market.

Jim said...

While it will be interesting to watch the global warming crew performing more and more convoluted arguments as to why its excess CO2 that's causing the world to cool down, I for one am worried. Plants tend to stop growing in colder climates, but the population shows no sign of dropping.

Feeding a world of 8 Bn people (the UN estimates world population to be 8 bn by 2020)with dropping food production could be a catastrophe. That's what Governments should be concentrating on, the very real possibility that within a decade there could be massive shortages of food, and mass starvations. Not worrying about computer models that show rises in temperature of a couple of degrees in 100 years time.

PeterCharles said...

It is potentially very serious, both for food supplies and basic heating in our higher latitudes.

Historically there seems to be around a seven to ten year time lag between falling solar activity and falling terrestrial temperatures. The current falling off of solar activity became apparent around 2000 with activity dropping by about a third and seems on course to be around a half the pre 2000 level this decade.

If this trend does continue we can expect severe disruption to crops and bitter cold deeper and for longer than we have experienced recently. To make matters worse extreme cold also coincides with a calm atmosphere, little or no wind making all those 'bird choppers' useless when they are most wanted.

To add to our potential woes we also seem to be entering a phase of increased volcanic activity, which will also depress world temperatures. The recent North African eruption was from a volcano thought extinct having been silent for several millennia. I know news reports pointed a nearby volcano that had previously erupted in the 1960s but that was an error.

During the Little Ice Age in the winter of 1739 it is estimated that near half a million people died from the cold and consequent famine in Ireland alone, and was the trigger for the first Irish exodus. It was reported that root crops froze in the clamps, the ports iced over, coal heaps were too frozen to dig and even millstones froze together.

The potential for our political masters to really bugger things up is huge. In ten years we could be facing three or even four months of temperatures dropping to -15 C every night, staying below freezing all during the day with power cuts every day, and that is assuming we could generate the same amount of electricity we can today.

Of course no one knows if any of this will come to pass, if the sun will suddenly burst forth again, or go even quieter, nor in truth if low solar activity and low terrestrial temperatures are actually linked.

That said, any reasonably competent government would put this latest assessment together with the pretty clear evidence the CO2 CAGW theory is simply wrong and stop the current climate change hysteria, even if only on a wait and see basis.

Little to no hope of that, of course, CAGW just has too many attractions of underwear creaming proportions for politicians to let it go.

That said again, there are severe cracks beginning to show in the previously solid CAGW media front which deteriorating temperatures will only widen. Eventually the politicians will be forced to concede they were wrong, or actually they will say they were right but there has been an 'unexpectable' and 'unpredictable' change, blah, blah, trust us so we can save you all again.

By the time they do, it will doubtless be too late, but hey, doesn't really matter, we only wasted a few billion pounds, destroyed a couple of million jobs, hastened the death of a few hundred thousand, ruined or energy infrastructure and destroyed the last of our manufacturing industry, nothing really. Consequences, what consequences? OK, maybe we'll lose the next election, but that was likely anyway, our time will come again. Nothing to worry about.

WitteringsfromWitney said...

A: Maybe - either way it will be bloody cold and I still want to see the whirly-gigs (as against ryan-giggs) operate at those temps.

J: Good point about feeding the population!

PC: Pleased to see you have picked-up on cold weather/lack of wind, something to which I was alluding.....

Ah, but have we ever had a reasonably competent government?

Love your last para!

PeterMG said...

If the sun does indeed drop into a period with very low magnetic activity, we are into a period of seriously unknown consequences. There is a correlation between low magnetic activity in the sun and increased seismic activity and increased volcanism. Each of the cold periods during the last 2000 years has seen a number of very large eruptions that had a marked effect on the climate. One of these eruptions back in AD186 in Taupo NZ was of super Volcano size, some 100 Km3 of material being ejected. Large eruptions have been few and far between in modern times. And we all know what devastation even moderate eruptions such as Pinatubo in 1991 can cause.

Then we have the data coming in from the cloud experiments with cosmic Rays. As Nigel Calder says 10 to 15 years is about right for a paradigm shift. So we may get a double whammy of cooling from cosmic rays and disruption from volcanic aerosols. Could this be the end our current interglacial and the start of a plunge back into normal ice age conditions that have prevailed for the last 2 million years? It’s certainly overdue.

My only hope is all the insanely stupid idiots that have been responsible for perusing the wrong policies of the last 20 years setup camp in the ice free Greenland artic coast and remain there. Then were can enjoy all the electricity from our Molten Salt Thorium Reactors whilst being warmed by Shale gas without having a guilty conscience. Perhaps we could even drive our petrol and diesel powered cars to London now and again to pay homage to the ashes of the EU’s transport policy. By then clever British engineers working under the correct regulatory environment would have squeezed the efficiency of the internal combustion engine so high that a 1 litre engine produces 200hp and does 120 mpg. (I’m being conservative here and it’s conditional on cancelation of the current absurd arbitrary emission reductions every few years that NOW have no quantifiable basis in public health benefit and are just exercises in reducing numbers, but have an adverse effect on fuel efficiency)

WitteringsfromWitney said...

PMG: Your first vist/comment? Thank you for raising some interesting and read-worthy points.