Saturday, February 09, 2008

Sun Cycles to Cause Global Cooling?

Solar activity is on an eleven year cycle of ups and downs of solar output. Today some scientists are noting that while they are not noticing an doomsday levels yet, the sun is "disturbingly quiet." Output is at a low level and not ticking up as it should according to the cycle. Some fear that this could lead to a Maunder Minimum.

The last Maunder Minimum coincided with the worst part of the Little Ice Age. If so then the Earth is on track for years of global cooling. When studying environmental geography it is important to remember the Earth is not an "island."


nootka said...

Loved reading this! Going to be back for more.

Jason said...

The IBD editorial starts out by stating, "But so far in this cycle, the sun has been disturbingly quiet. The lack of increased activity could signal the beginning of what is known as a Maunder Minimum, an event which occurs every couple of centuries and can last as long as a century." Later on it references a study by Khabibullo Abdusamatov that disputes global warming by "predicting that the sun would reach a peak of activity about three years from now, to be accompanied by "dramatic changes" in temperatures." Abdusamatov predicted the peak would be in three years (i.e. 2008). So are we experiencing "peak activity" or the beginning of a "Maunder Minimum"? It seems like they are grasping for any studies that might weaken the case for global warming, but by my reading, both of these can't be right.

Nautonnier said...

Jason, you have muddled an 'observation' with a 'forecast'.

The study by Khabibullo Abdusamatov forecast that the sun would peak in 3 years time. In actuality observation appears to show that it has already peaked and is now entering a quiet phase.

The fact that the forecast was 3 years incorrect does not imply that the earth will not start cooling as the sun's activity enters a Maunder Minimum.
There is no 'grasping at studies' but a study forecast that appears to be being borne out by events. There are less sunspots and global warming appears to have also peaked with 1998 remaining as the hottest year since 1934.

For a forecast that was NOT borne out - the UK Met Office forecast that 2007 would be the hottest year ever and it was not indeed observation has shown that it has been colder in both hemispheres than for decades.