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Solar Lull Could Cause Colder Winters In Europe 320

Posted by Soulskill
from the i-blame-the-schools dept.
Taco Cowboy writes "Since September of last year scientists have been wondering what's happening to the Sun. It's supposed to have reached the peak of its 11-year cycle, but sunspot and flare activity remains much quieter than expected. Experts now think the recent cold snap that hit North America and the wet weather that hit part of Europe might be linked to the eerie quietness of the Sun. According to the BBC, solar activity hasn't been this low in 100 years, and if activity keeps dropping, it may reach levels seen during the 'Maunder Minimum,' an 'era of solar inactivity in the 17th Century [which] coincided with a period of bitterly cold winters in Europe.' It wouldn't have a big effect on global temperatures, just regional ones. Why? The sun's UV output drops during these lulls, and the decreased amount of UV light hitting the stratosphere would cause the jet stream to change course. Prof. Mike Lockwood says, 'These are large meanders in the jet stream, and they're called blocking events because they block off the normal moist, mild winds we get from the Atlantic, and instead we get cold air being dragged down from the Arctic and from Russia. These are what we call a cold snap... a series of three or four cold snaps in a row adds up to a cold winter. And that's quite likely what we'll see as solar activity declines.'"
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Solar Lull Could Cause Colder Winters In Europe

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  • Re:Not the sun (Score:4, Insightful)

    by hey! (33014) on Saturday January 18, 2014 @06:03PM (#46000875) Homepage Journal

    Seriously, you have captured the essential mindset of the denialists: there can only be one cause for anything. That assumption underlies most of the denialist arguments.

    One of the common one is, "Wasn't the Earth warmer in the past? Without industrial carbon emissions?" I've seen that trotted out by politicians against climate researchers, as if (a) that were news to them and (b) it had never occurred to them that something other than CO2 could drive climate change. The other favorite on the denialist hit parade is "carbon lagged warming in past warming periods." Again, they say this as if the climate scientists had never considered this, when the very information they're quoting *comes* from climate science.

    Or how about this one: "Mars is warming too, and there's no carbon emissions on Mars."

    These arguments are mind-boggling simple-minded, and they're all rooted in a simple, implicit proposition: CO2 either explains all warming episodes everywhere over all time, or it explains *none* of them.

  • by bill_mcgonigle (4333) * on Saturday January 18, 2014 @06:14PM (#46000929) Homepage Journal

    Weather in some places that's colder or warmer than others!

    Truly unprecedented in history.

    Regardless of the predictive value of our models, let's raise some taxes.

  • Re:Not the sun (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 18, 2014 @06:16PM (#46000943)

    To the denialist, telling them not to smoke in bed is worthless advice because they once knew somebody who had a house fire and never smoked a day in their life.

    Heck, they know plenty of people with cancer that don't smoke, so why even worry about it?

  • Re:Not the sun (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sideslash (1865434) on Saturday January 18, 2014 @06:20PM (#46000959)

    Seriously, you have captured the essential mindset of the denialists: there can only be one cause for anything. That assumption underlies most of the denialist arguments.

    Maybe it makes you feel good to think that, but the AGW skeptical material I've read certainly doesn't match that characterization. Maybe the fluff posted in the comments section on YouTube or Fox News or MSNBC etc.

    Am I wrong? Why don't you link to a post in one of the major climate skeptic websites that shows this "can be only one cause for anything" attitude you describe. Or maybe you're just making stuff up in an attempt to portray your opponents in debate as fools.

  • Re:global cooling (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Koby77 (992785) on Saturday January 18, 2014 @06:22PM (#46000967)
    It would be bad, but not for the reason you mention. It would be bad because then the alarmists don't get to tax and control the economy. Lefty socialists the world over are severely panicking that this prime opportunity is evaporating before their eyes.
  • Re:Not the sun (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Coolhand2120 (1001761) on Saturday January 18, 2014 @06:33PM (#46001035)

    On the other hand the "alarmist" logic is: "we already know the cause of the warming, it is humans saturating the atmosphere with too much CO2, we just need to gather and/or create the evidence to support this theory". That's called inductive logic, and is just as unscientific as what you describe coming from the "denialists".

    "Real" science comes from gathering evidence and basing your theories on the evidence gathered. You then determine what it might take to falsify your theory and try as hard as possible to falsify it.

    All I see from the "alarmist" camp is people trying to support their theories at all costs, calling things causation where there is barely correlation, and making very little if any effort to falsify their theories. This behavior is more akin to religion than any sort of science.

  • Re:Not the sun (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sideslash (1865434) on Saturday January 18, 2014 @07:05PM (#46001205)
    People in general are good at making fools out of themselves. That is why Doing Science Right (tm) involves disclosing your source data, frequently blurting out to the world everything that may possibly be wrong with your approach, and placing trust in an experiment or model's results only as far as commensurate with the demonstrated reliability of those results.

    For anyone keeping score, several of the alarmists have made fools of themselves as well. James Hansen comes to mind as an example of a cargo cult scientist.
  • Re:Not the sun (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TubeSteak (669689) on Saturday January 18, 2014 @07:19PM (#46001361) Journal

    On the other hand the "alarmist" logic is: "we already know the cause of the warming, it is humans saturating the atmosphere with too much CO2, we just need to gather and/or create the evidence to support this theory". That's called inductive logic, and is just as unscientific as what you describe coming from the "denialists".

    You seem to be creating a strawman for the express purpose of knocking it down.

    These "alarmist" scientists are the same type who told us that CFCs were creating a hole in the ozone layer.
    We went to great lengths to eliminate CFCs, then lo and behold, the ozone layer fixed itself.

    "Real" science comes from gathering evidence and basing your theories on the evidence gathered. You then determine what it might take to falsify your theory and try as hard as possible to falsify it.

    Holy shit! Just like what happened with the ozone layer!
    The Ozone Hole Alarmists were right!

    All I see from the "alarmist" camp is people trying to support their theories at all costs, calling things causation where there is barely correlation, and making very little if any effort to falsify their theories. This behavior is more akin to religion than any sort of science.

    Then you haven't looked very hard. [nasa.gov]
    The weight of "Real" science is behind the "alarmists" and not at all behind the "denialists".

  • Re:global cooling (Score:4, Insightful)

    by bunratty (545641) on Saturday January 18, 2014 @07:23PM (#46001397)
    Ah, finally the real objection to believing in AGW comes to light... you're afraid of your political opponents gaining power. But just for a moment consider that we may need to actually reduce carbon dioxide emissions for legitimate reasons. Can you think of a way that we could do that without the commie pinkos taking over? Let's get creative.
  • Re:Not the sun (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Orp (6583) on Saturday January 18, 2014 @07:29PM (#46001437) Homepage

    On the other hand the "alarmist" logic is: "we already know the cause of the warming, it is humans saturating the atmosphere with too much CO2, we just need to gather and/or create the evidence to support this theory". That's called inductive logic, and is just as unscientific as what you describe coming from the "denialists".

    "Real" science comes from gathering evidence and basing your theories on the evidence gathered. You then determine what it might take to falsify your theory and try as hard as possible to falsify it.

    All I see from the "alarmist" camp is people trying to support their theories at all costs, calling things causation where there is barely correlation, and making very little if any effort to falsify their theories. This behavior is more akin to religion than any sort of science.

    False equivalency is false.

    Guess what? A lot of the "alarmist" are the same scientists doing the research. Sure, people get attached to theories, but do you realize that the best possible thing to happen to a scientist is for him/her to make a discovery that tosses the widely accepted hypotheses on their head? In other words, if a scientist did a rigorously peer reviewed study which indicated that, say, it's a reduction in neutrinos from the sun somehow, oh, say tweaking aerosol concentrations, leading to a strong causal relationship between this phenomenon and observed global warming - while also showing that the greenhouse effect of CO2 was much less of a factor than previously thought - that person would be fricking king of the scientific world.

    The tired repeated bleatings of non-scientists who have not spent their careers repeatedly getting their work shredded by reviewers [this being the norm, not the exception] on the path to eventual publication do absolutely zilch to move things forward regarding understand what's really going on. The simple-minded idea that climate science is some sort of "alarmists versus skeptics" battle is laughable; this false equivalency between two imagined camps, each claiming to know the truth, is entirely imagined by ignorant people. Unless you've actually done science and gotten your work published in decent journals, these opinions mean absolute diddlyshit; nothing more than mental masturbation splooging text on the screen, masquerading as informed debate.

  • Re:Not the sun (Score:2, Insightful)

    by KeensMustard (655606) on Saturday January 18, 2014 @10:28PM (#46002495)

    Maybe it makes you feel good to think that, but the AGW skeptical material I've read certainly doesn't match that characterization. Maybe the fluff posted in the comments section on YouTube or Fox News or MSNBC etc.

    And of course, on Slashdot, where this argument and it's derivatives (e.g. referencing the medieval warm period or little ice age as evidence against CO2 induced warming) , is made multiple times in any discussion about climate here. Funny thing is, these remarks are never corrected by the more enlightened denialists. Why is it that you, recognising this fallacy for what it is (and more power to you for seeing that), don't step in and correct these erroneous arguments when they occur? Don't you see the damage this does to the credibility of the argument you think is true? Or do you think that fallacy can coexist comfortably with fact and help promote fact?

    And also: If these arguments are not the true doctrine of denialism, what are the demonstrable facts that underpin your argument?

    Am I wrong? Why don't you link to a post in one of the major climate skeptic websites that shows this "can be only one cause for anything" attitude you describe.

    You ought to be aware that people in general are not going to know who or where these websites are, since it is not a matter of who but what -

    (a) What (according to denialists) is the cause of the recent warming

    (b) What are the independently verifiable observations that underpin this hypothesis?

    Nevertheless: Here are 3 articles by denialist supremo Anthony Watts, who claims his site www.wattsupwithat.com is "the world's most read site on climate".

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/12/08/the-truth-about-we-have-to-get-rid-of-the-medieval-warm-period/ [wattsupwiththat.com]

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/10/31/new-paper-shows-medieval-warm-period-was-global-in-scope/ [wattsupwiththat.com]

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/07/18/remarkable-correlation-of-arctic-sea-ice-to-solar-cycle-length/ [wattsupwiththat.com]

    All 3 articles rely on the fallacy you say is not mainstream denialism.

    Or maybe you're just making stuff up in an attempt to portray your opponents in debate as fools.

    Is there actually debate?

  • Re:Not the sun (Score:4, Insightful)

    by bunratty (545641) on Saturday January 18, 2014 @11:04PM (#46002613)
    I clearly heard the congressman say "When you see warming, why do you automatically assume it's manmade?" and "If it was warmer during the Medieval period, how could we blame it on CO2 emissions?" He's asking questions, but they're loaded questions. They make a presumption that scientists automatically assume warming is manmade and all due to CO2 emissions. He not saying AGW is not happening, but he's implying that arguments that suggest CO2 emissions are causing warming are dumb by the way he's asking those questions. He doesn't sound like he's honestly trying to learn the science, but rather he seems to have a chip on his shoulder.
  • Re:Not the sun (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Applehu Akbar (2968043) on Sunday January 19, 2014 @12:55AM (#46003149)
    But the Church of Warminetics teaches that all observed weather "events" other than flat calm - storms, floods, droughts, blizzards, ship-crushing icepacks in midsummer - have a single cause, anthropogenic warming. And we must obey. Pay no attention to the logical contradiction behind the curtain.

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