UK heading for “mini Ice Age”?

Brass monkeys

Brass monkeys

From the It’s the sun, stupid Department. Michael Mann to tweet #KochMachine in 3, 2, 1…

According to Professor Lockwood the late 20th century was a period when the sun was unusually active and a so called ‘grand maximum’ occurred around 1985Since then the sun has been getting quieter.

By looking back at certain isotopes in ice cores, he has been able to determine how active the sun has been over thousands of years.

Following analysis of the data, Professor Lockwood believes solar activity is now falling more rapidly than at any time in the last 10,000 years.

He found 24 different occasions in the last 10,000 years when the sun was in exactly the same state as it is now – and the present decline is faster than any of those 24.

Based on his findings he’s raised the risk of a new Maunder minimum from less than 10% just a few years ago to 25-30%.

And a repeat of the Dalton solar minimum which occurred in the early 1800s, which also had its fair share of cold winters and poor summers, is, according to him, ‘more likely than not’ to happen.

He believes that we are already beginning to see a change in our climate – witness the colder winters and poor summers of recent years – and that over the next few decades there could be a slide to a new Maunder minimum.

But don’t worry, warming from CO2 will save the alarmists’ careers:

Any global cooling caused by this natural phenomenon would ultimately be temporary, and if projections are correct, the long term warming caused by carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases would eventually swamp this solar-driven cooling.



Save the planet! Burn more coal!

Avoid this - drive your SUV

Environmentalists should be very careful what they wish for. Let’s look at the choices:

  1. a modest warming over the next few decades, which will eventually level out or decline as new technologies replace fossil fuels for efficient and economical energy generation (and solar and wind are neither efficient or economical, by the way); or,
  2. a rapid plunge into the next Ice Age, rendering much of the planet uninhabitable and killing much of the global population, and which is due, er, right about now.

Which would you choose?

A new paper suggests that anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gasses may be averting option (2):

Earth could be entering a new Ice Age within the next millennium, but it might not, the deep freeze averted by warming from increased carbon dioxide emissions. Humans could be thwarting the next glacial inception, a new study says.

Even in the comparatively long time scales of Earth history, we’re kind of overdue for another ice age — our current Holocene era has lasted about 11,600 years, roughly 600 years longer than the average interglacial (between-ice-age) periods of the past. If atmospheric CO2 levels were lower, the next ice age might have started sometime within the next 1,000 years, according to researchers from University College London and Cambridge University.

Their conclusion is based in part on abrupt temperature changes in the overall temperature contrast between Greenland and Antarctica, according to a Cambridge news release. The North Atlantic would cool rapidly while Antarctica warms, fluctuations that would only happen if expanding ice sheets were calving icebergs huge enough to impact ocean circulation. These temperature see-saws can therefore be used to pinpoint the activation of a new ice age, a “glacial inception.”

Chronis Tzedakis from UC London and colleagues examined our present conditions, including temperature averages and solar radiation strength, and found a close analogue to the present, an era called Marine Isotope Stage 19, or about 780,000 years ago. The eras have a similar astronomical configuration and climate, although their CO2 trajectories are pretty different (ours is on the rise).

A phenomenon called insolation was a key factor here. Insolation is the seasonal and latitudinal distribution of solar radiation, which changes a tiny bit over tens of thousands of years due to tiny variations in Earth’s orbit around the sun. These little differences are one of the factors that can help trigger a cooling event, cascading toward an ice age. The insolation minimum in the MIS19 era was similar to our own, so it’s a valid analogy, the researchers say.

The team applied their glacial inception fingerprinting method to MIS19, looking at ice core samples, plankton remains and debris that would have floated on the encroaching ice, and determined at what point the glacial inception would have started. Then they compared that time frame to the Holocene time frame.

“Taking the [current era] to MIS19c analogy to its logical conclusion implies that the current interglacial would be nearing its end,” the researchers write. If, that is, atmospheric CO2 levels were comparable to the MIS19 era. Which they aren’t. This shows that while insolation is an important ingredient, apparently it’s not as potent an ice age determinant as CO2.

“The current insolation forcing and lack of new ice growth mean that orbital-scale variability will not be moderating the effects of anthropogenically induced global warming,” the authors conclude. (source)

The GWPF links to Australian Popular Science as the source, however the article has vanished from their site (cached version still exists here). Not sure if Popsci broke the embargo (it doesn’t appear on Nature Geoscience yet), or whether the Warm-mongers have got to it…

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