From meteorologist Paul Hudson at the BBC:
For as long as I have been a meteorologist, the mere suggestion that solar activity could influence climate patterns has been greeted with near derision.
Quite why this has been the case is difficult to fathom. But it’s been clear for a long time that there must be a link of some kind, ever since decades ago Professor Lamb discovered an empirical relationship between low solar activity and higher pressure across higher latitudes such as Greenland.
Perhaps the art of weather forecasting has become so dominated by supercomputers, and climate research so dominated by the impact of man on global climate, that thoughts of how natural processes, such as solar variation, could influence our climate have been largely overlooked, until very recently.
We have come full circle — that what I was taught about climate at the University of Oklahoma in the early 1970′s is now thought of as a new revelation. Here are some of the headlines out of the British Meteorological Office (until now, strong global warming advocates) this past week:
BRITAIN is set to suffer a mini ice age that could last for decades and bring with it a series of bitterly cold winters. And it could all begin within weeks as experts said last night that the mercury may soon plunge below the record -20C endured last year. Latest evidence shows La Nina, linked to extreme winter weather in America and with a knock-on effect on Britain, is in force and will gradually strengthen as the year ends. It coincides with research from the Met Office indicating the nation could be facing a repeat of the “little ice age” that gripped the country 300 years ago, causing decades of harsh winters.–Laura Caroe, Daily Express, 10 October 2011
Some scientists predict that the Sun is heading for a long slump in solar activity known as a Grand Solar Minimum. If this happens, it is possible that Britain could return to conditions similar to those 350 years ago when sunspots vanished during “the Little Ice Age”, when ice fairs were often held on the frozen Thames in London. –Paul Simons, The Times, 10 October 2011
So, what have the people of Great Britain* learned this week?
- The sun’s output affects the climate
- That if solar output drops too much, the earth could have another Little Ice Age.
Reader’s of this blog have known about the solar = climate link since almost its beginning two years ago and I, most recently, posted a three-part series on this very topic
It is important to note that significant cooling of the earth is far more serious than warming. If growing seasons shorten, given earth’s record population, mass famine may result.
|Click to enlarge. Slide from my global warming presentation.
During the latter part of the period of world cooling from 1944 to 1978, there were multiple, major crop failures that caused millions of deaths due to famine. Given the much larger population of earth today, shorter growing seasons would mean a worse repeat of the famines of the ’70′s.
*The U.S. media has largely ignored this important story.
Hat tips to: Bishop Hill and Anthony Watts