I thought I’d follow up the current JD thread as it seems to have worried the warmists enough to send a few new trolls over; some of the new crop even appear to be scientifically literate.
The thing was sparked by a press release from Southwest Research Institute’s Planetary Science Directorate, which was picked up and reprinted here by Anthony Watts at WUWT. Basically, three different aspects of solar activity—the solar jet stream, changes in sunspot activity, and reduced movement at the solar poles—point to a greatly reduced Solar Cycle 25, and possibly a repeat of the Maunder Minimum of 1645-1715, during which almost no sunspot activity was observed. This period was characterized by exceptionally low temperatures, and as James noted, Frost Fairs and ice skating on the Thames.
The announcement is significant, insofar as that in the battle between man and sun for control of the earth’s atmosphere, we are at a considerable disadvantage—and that’s putting it mildly. I’ve already explained back here how the earth’s cycles of glaciation correlate closely with the 100,000 year oscillation of the eccentricity of the earth’s orbit around the sun. While correlation doesn’t imply causation, a causative mechanism (the persistance of winter ice across a succession of summers due to reduced insolation caused by increased distance at the aphelion) is regarded as compelling. That, and the currently poorly-understood mechanism of the cloud formation due to cosmic ray fluctuations, caused in turn by magnetic field anomalies related to sunspots, may well have a lot to do with the onset of ice ages.
The correlation (between sunspots and climate) has been common scientific knowledge since at least 1801, when astronomer William Herschel published a paper relating sunspot activity to grain prices on the London commodities markets. In 1843, Heinrich Schwabe demonstrated that sunspot activity fluctuates in a fairly stable 11-year cycle.
We’re currently in an interglacial anyway, and in terms of history, we’re overdue for it to get cold again. Crown tells us that woolly mammoth steaks are particularly tasty, and I see an opportunity for an entrepreneurial meeting of minds between genetic engineers and steak house chain proprietors.
That being said, and at the risk of appearing to “offer aid and comfort to the enemy”, I’m taking this latest announcement with a grain of salt or two. I don’t know about you, but over the last few years I’ve grown rather weary of big new announcements from the scientific community; particularly in the areas of atmospheric physics and “climatology”. This latest one does appear prima facie to have merit, but we should all be aware of the seductive effect of confirmation bias; it behoves us to treat it with the same scepticism we reserve for the incessant, braying announcements of impending catastrophe which constitute the overwhelming coverage of climate-related issues in the MSM.