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Our Lazy Solar Dynamo — Hello Dalton Minimum? 571

Posted by Soulskill
from the ra-on-probation dept.
tetrahedrassface writes "Solar maximum is supposed to be occurring, and everything from satellite communications to your toaster or radio could be affected. The only problem is that this just isn't happening, and NASA continues to revise downward the original prediction. In fact, the new forecast for Solar Cycle 24 is a lot smaller, and is now pegged at almost 40% of what was previously predicted. Recently, two scientists at the National Solar Observatory have followed the lead of a prominent Russian scientist, who almost five years ago forecast a dearth of sunspots and the subsequent cooling of Earth for the next several cycles. With Britain currently experiencing the coldest winter in over 300 years, and no new sunspots for the last week, are we heading for a Dalton Minimum, or worse still, yet another Maunder?"
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Our Lazy Solar Dynamo — Hello Dalton Minimum?

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    Fans of data---as opposed to ideology-driven cherry-picking and quibbling---can verify (via daily satellite updates!) that far-north global warming is still accelerating. The relevant site is Arctic Sea Ice News & Analysis.

    Heck, Hudson Bay in Canada *still* hasn't frozen over ... that *never* happens.

    • by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Friday December 31, 2010 @05:48PM (#34724714)

      Fans of data---as opposed to ideology-driven cherry-picking and quibbling---can verify (via daily satellite updates!) that far-north global warming is still accelerating. The relevant site is Arctic Sea Ice News & Analysis

      Most people strongly tend to cherry-pick and then draw conclusions from it - yet when it involves an above-average hot summer almost no one concerned about global warming complains because it lines up with their ideology. Well, sauce for the goose... you better hope the Russian is wrong.

      It is dumb to draw conclusions based on one winter on one relatively tiny section of the globe. Plus local influences and normal variability often drown out the longer-term signal. Up here in the Pacific Northwest, our mid-to-late winter and (especially) spring weather are strongly influenced by the ENSO ("El Niño"). So far we've been having a colder than normal couple of months, and everyone's blaming the current La Niña - but it's probably not a significant factor given the time of year. Nor is it likely the dearth of sunspots - we just happen to be having a cooler-than-normal late fall and early winter. It happens. If February onward are cooler and wetter than normal, then we can talk.

  • Lies (Score:3, Funny)

    by commodore64_love (1445365) on Friday December 31, 2010 @05:36PM (#34724640) Journal

    The globe is warming!
    I mean cooling.
    I mean "climate changing".
    (clings to the Book of Al Gore and whimpers)
    ;-)

  • by RichMan (8097) on Friday December 31, 2010 @05:38PM (#34724650)

    Britain/Northern Europe does not owe its climate status to spot heating. Britain is usually warmer than it should be given its northern position due to the gulf stream. The oceans serve as blocks to cold air from up north coming south. There are incredible global circulation systems which see warm air rise in the mid-latitudes tot he upper atmosphere then cool and return to the ground at the poles. This is the cause of the cold winds that come down from the north. These winds find it easier to come south over land, which cools more easily than water which retains heat better, has its own top/bottom circulation as well as global circulation. Normally the warm currents keep the cold air away.

    Global Warming means global warming. The oceans make 3/4 of the surface area to 4' cooling of the land is easily offset by 2' warming of the ocean. 4 * 1/4 = 1 is less than 2 * 3/4 = 1.5. Do not take any specific location changes to mean global stuff.

    What global warming does mean is more intense weather systems. Do not go jumping onto local cooling/warming like Europes/US east coast and claim it is getting colder. You need to look at the whole globe. Not just the areas man is in.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by hsthompson69 (1674722)

      The whole globe doesn't matter -> what matters are local conditions and specific distributions. Nobody has ever been killed because the average cyclonic activity for a year was up by 2%. Plenty of people get killed by specific storms, even when average cyclonic activity for a year was down.

      Now, you may believe that an increase in average global temperature is going to specifically cause more damaging weather events where humans are -> but that's a belief system, not a fact. Put more succinctly, eve

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by feepness (543479)

      Do not take any specific location changes to mean global stuff.

      And yet how many stories of individual glaciers and polar bears do climate changers nod their heads to?

  • by MichaelSmith (789609) on Friday December 31, 2010 @05:39PM (#34724666) Homepage Journal

    give up burning oil.

  • by Beelzebud (1361137) on Friday December 31, 2010 @05:49PM (#34724724)
    What I find depressing are the amount of people that dismiss the science, because they don't like Al Gore as a politician. It's intellectually lazy and dishonest.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Compuser (14899)

      Speaking as a scientist... What science?
      Climate change occurs over decades and e.g. temperature changes per year are fractions of a degree.
      Show me a model which can accurately predict climate over a couple of decades with 0.1 degree
      precision for all available weather stations and we would have an informed discussion.

      Science is all about predictive power. Right now all climate predictions and warnings and the like are
      made by a bunch of charlatans extrapolating wildly, both climate change advocates and denier

      • by benhattman (1258918) on Saturday January 01, 2011 @03:19PM (#34731594)

        Speaking as a scientist... What science?
        Climate change occurs over decades and e.g. temperature changes per year are fractions of a degree.
        Show me a model which can accurately predict climate over a couple of decades with 0.1 degree
        precision for all available weather stations and we would have an informed discussion.

        Wow, what an arbitrary and divorced from reality idea for testing climate science. Why 0.1 degree precision? Why every single station? There are obviously a number of complex variables to be considered (like, for instance the subject of fluxuations in solar output). Here's a quick science lesson for you. To be legitimate science, something just has to be predictive of future findings. That means if climate scientists make a much simpler prediction, "the average temperature at all stations will be higher for a given year than it was 20 years ago with some statistical probability (say 9 times out of 10)" then that's a valid scientific hypothesis. If future results mesh with that prediction, then you have to give some credence to what they are saying.

        What kind of science do you study anyways? Political Science? HA!

      • by Xyrus (755017) on Saturday January 01, 2011 @04:33PM (#34732166) Journal

        Speaking as a scientist... What science?

        You're not a scientist if your asking this question. There's a metric assload of peer-reviewed articles, data, and research. Climatology is fairly cross-disciplined in the sciences.

        Show me a model which can accurately predict climate over a couple of decades with 0.1 degree
        precision for all available weather stations and we would have an informed discussion.

        Again, you're not a scientist. Or if you are, you're being disingenuous. You're not going to get that kind of accuracy in climatology. You're going to get a probability distribution, just like when modeling any other chaotic or quasi-chaotic system. I don't here you dismissing quantum mechanics because you can't exactly predict where a particle may be.

        Right now all climate predictions and warnings and the like are made by a bunch of charlatans extrapolating wildly, both climate change advocates and deniers alike.

        Bullshit. Scientists have been predicting temperature increases for decades. With the advent of more powerful computers, they are now beginning to get to the point where they can look into regional effects. This ranges anywhere from the effects of increased troposphere thickness in tropical regions to the effects of increased sea surface temperatures. You can read the research papers for other predictions if you like.

        We do need more climate research but it will not produce believable results for decades if not centuries
        and we need to be OK with that because the grand vision is a comprehensive model of all processes
        on the planet and their interrelation and impact

        Again, you demonstrate that you don't know what you are talking about. We already have comprehensive models that take into account everything from soil moisture to chemical transport and breakdown in the atmosphere. You will NEVER have an exact model. There will ALWAYS be error bars. And if you read the IPCC report they make this very clear.

        You can create a simple 0 dimension energy balance climate model that can calculate a good estimate of the global temperature average. You can even make it have a tweak-able parameter for adding and removing the influence of CO2. And this is the simplest, dumbest climate model you can make.

        Forecasting the global average temperature is relatively easy and can be done with decent accuracy. However, that doesn't tell you much. Where the bulk of the research is going now is refining HOW that temperature increase will affect regions of the globe. That's a harder question to answer and requires something significantly more complex than a simple 0 dimension model.

        Instead of being an ignorant troll you could download and run a climate model yourself. Or better yet, since you apparently think there is a global climate science conspiracy, get a couple of books on climatology and related subjects and write your own model. If you can show that increased CO2 has no impact on climate, you could win a Nobel.

  • by BoRegardless (721219) on Friday December 31, 2010 @05:59PM (#34724814)

    There were nearly no sunspots for 2 years, 2007-9 and that easily confirms we will have real hard couple of winters a bit later down the road. And then a remission of sunspots AGAIN just recently makes it look like we are "bouncing down" the activity curve, typical of a "cycle".

    Every time (since Galileo's time 1600) when we have had a minimal or near zero sunspot activity, there have been colder winters, freezing and storms. Hence we have about 400 years of well documented sunspot activity with weather records to verify what happened.

    It is amazing to me that out "news anchors", meaning writers in the "mainstream media" are so ill-educated that they can not do simple reading up on what the effects are of minimal sunspot activity.

    Instead "news anchors" and writers in the media spout political lines (Al Gore and global warming crowd), instead of pointing out specific facts and what those measureable facts mean short term (cold weather a year or so later) and what it could mean longer term.

    The last time I spoke with a person who ran the solar observations from the radio telescopes in the Mojave Desert, he noted they still were not able to predict longer term events as mentioned (Maunder or Dalton type events).

    Why are these events hugely important? I don't hear the news researcher/writers mentioning this. Sweden, Denmark and France lost 10% of their population to starvation/freezing in the Maunder minimum and Finland lost about 30%. That is the equivalent of losses in a major world war or WORSE.

  • by sdoneill (840353) on Friday December 31, 2010 @06:00PM (#34724816)
    You've destroyed the sun.
  • by pnot (96038) on Friday December 31, 2010 @06:06PM (#34724864)

    With Britain currently experiencing the coldest winter in over 300 years, and no new sunspots for the last week, are we heading for a Dalton Minimum

    Why yes, it makes perfect sense to conclude things about decadal-scale global climate trends based on a month's data from 0.05% of the Earth's surface area!

    For a global view of the temperature anomaly (vs. a 1951-1980 base period), see this GISS surface temperature analysis [nasa.gov] (that's for November; December data not available yet). So yes, there's a -1 deg C anomaly in Britain, counterbalanced by huge +4 to +10 deg C anomalies across northern Asia and the Arctic.

    For a look at the longer-term trends, try this map [nasa.gov] of annual average temperatures for the past ten years vs. the same base period. Guess what? It's getting warmer, despite declining solar activity [solen.info].

    The GISS map generator [nasa.gov] is a great tool for exploring these variations.

  • by ghostlibrary (450718) on Friday December 31, 2010 @10:12PM (#34726768) Homepage Journal
    The current one can be called the Colaninno Minimum. "Around 2006, solar physicist Robin Colaninno described the current minima as both extended and unusual, both similar to the Maunder Minimum (in that it's longer than usual in the Cycle) but also being quite different (in that it won't be the exact same length, nor have the same climate effect)." http://www.science20.com/daytime_astronomer/sunspots_colaninno_minimum_and_pascals_wager [science20.com]

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