If you have been reading this blog, you know that the sun has been in a deep funk the last four years which could go deeper. Few sunspots have been occurring recently and three new scientific papers are out in the last week indicating the number of sunspots could go to near zero. Here is some commentary by Dr. Don Easterbrook, professor of geology, University of Washington:
So far, my cooling prediction seems to be coming to pass, with no global warming above the 1998 temperatures and a gradually deepening cooling since then. However, until now, I have suggested that it was too early to tell which of these possible cooling scenarios were most likely. If we are indeed headed toward a disappearance of sunspots similar to the Maunder Minimum during the Little Ice Age then perhaps my most dire prediction may come to pass. As I have said many times over the past 10 years, time will tell whether my prediction is correct or not. The announcement that sun spots may disappear totally for several decades is very disturbing because it could mean that we are headed for another Little Ice Age during a time when world population is predicted to increase by 50% with sharply increasing demands for energy, food production, and other human needs. Hardest hit will be poor countries that already have low food production, but everyone would feel the effect of such cooling. The clock is ticking.
For those new to the blog, the Maunder Minimum (in sunspots) like the Dalton Minimum and others coincided with major cooling of the atmosphere. There is little doubt that humanity does worse in cooler temperatures than warmer because the shorter growing seasons mean less food production.
A major irony is the elevated levels of carbon dioxide now observed might have the beneficial effect of mitigating the cooling! What I mean by that is that temperatures (if Dr. Easterbook and others are correct about major cooling) would fall less due to the CO2 and the increased agricultural productivity enabled by elevated level of CO2 would mitigate the shorter growing seasons.
I do not know whether the atmosphere will, going forward, significantly warm or cool. Nor does anyone else.
I do know the IPCC’s forecasts of both atmospheric temperatures and ocean heat content (the more important metric of the earth’s temperature) have been far too high (i.e., the earth is cooler than forecast). So, there is reason for concern. As previously stated, it is past time to focus on ‘global warming’ when no warming is occurring and hasn’t for more than a decade. We need to be trying to understand climate and its affects on society then building a more resilient society regardless of whether temperatures warm, cool, or stay the same.