November 7, 2015 at 1:03 pm #45129
Scientists claim we are in for a decade-long freeze as the sun slows down solar activity by up to 60 per cent.
A team of European researchers have unveiled a scientific model showing that the Earth is likely to experience a “mini ice age” from 2030 to 2040 as a result of decreased solar activity.
Their findings will infuriate environmental campaigners who argue by 2030 we could be facing increased sea levels and flooding due to glacial melt at the poles.
However, at the National Astronomy Meeting in Wales, Northumbria University professor Valentina Zharkova said fluctuations an 11-year cycle of solar activity the sun goes through would be responsible for a freeze, the like of which has not been experienced since the 1600s.
From 1645 to 1715 global temperatures dropped due to low solar activity so much that the planet experienced a 70-year ice age known as Maunder Minimum which saw the River Thames in London completely frozen.
The researchers have now developed a “double dynamo “model that can better predict when the next freeze will be.
Based on current cycles, they predict solar activity dwindling for ten years from 2030.
Professor Zharkova said two magnetic waves will cancel each other out in about 2030, leading to a drop in sun spots and solar flares of about 60 per cent.
Sunspots are dark concentrations of magnetic field flux on the surface that reduce surface temperature in that area, while solar flares are burst of radiation and solar energy that fire out across the solar system, but the Earth’s atmosphere protects us from the otherwise devastating effects.
She said: “In cycle 26, the two waves exactly mirror each other, peaking at the same time but in opposite hemispheres of the Sun.
“We predict that this will lead to the properties of a ‘Maunder minimum”.
“Over the cycle, the waves fluctuate between the Sun’s northern and southern hemispheres. Combining both waves together and comparing to real data for the current solar cycle, we found that our predictions showed an accuracy of 97 per cent.”
Research colleagues Simon Shepherd of Bradford University, Helen Popova of Lomonosov Moscow State University and Sergei Zarkhov of the University of Hull used magnetic field observations from 1976 to 2008 at the Wilcox Solar Observatory at Stanford University.
A Royal Astronomical Society spokesman said: “It is 172 years since a scientist first spotted that the Sun’s activity varies over a cycle lasting around 10 to 12 years.
“But every cycle is a little different and none of the models of causes to date have fully explained fluctuations.”
The “double dynamo” theory appears to support claims of researchers who argue Earth will soon experience major global cooling due to lower solar activity as the sun goes into a sustained period of hibernation.November 7, 2015 at 10:01 pm #45130
good . . . we could use a little break/offset from the man-made global warming that is causing so much damage, even if it is only temporary! SNovember 9, 2015 at 1:22 pm #45132
July 24, 2015 by Michael J. I. Brown, The Conversation
This month there’s been a hoopla about a mini ice age, and unfortunately it tells us more about failures of science communication than the climate. Such failures can maintain the illusion of doubt and uncertainty, even when there’s a scientific consensus that the world is warming.
The story starts benignly with a peer-reviewed paper and a presentation in early July by Professor Valentina Zharkova, from Northumbria University, at Britain’s National Astronomy Meeting.
The paper presents a model for the sun’s magnetic field and sunspots, which predicts a 60% fall in sunspot numbers when extrapolated to the 2030s. Crucially, the paper makes no mention of climate.
The first failure of science communication is present in the Royal Astronomical Society press release from July 9. It says that “solar activity will fall by 60 per cent during the 2030s” without clarifying that this “solar activity” refers to a fall in the number of sunspots, not a dramatic fall in the life-sustaining light emitted by the sun.
The press release also omits crucial details. It does say that the drop in sunspots may resemble the Maunder minimum, a 17th century lull in solar activity, and includes a link to the Wikipedia article on the subject. The press release also notes that the Maunder minimum coincided with a mini ice age.
But that mini ice age began before the Maunder minimum and may have had multiple causes, including volcanism.
Crucially, the press release doesn’t say what the implications of a future Maunder minimum are for climate.
Filling in the gaps
How would a new Maunder minimum impact climate? It’s an obvious question, and one that climate scientists have already answered. But many journalists didn’t ask the experts, instead drawing their own conclusions.
The UK’s Telegraph warned:
[ ] the earth is 15 years from a mini ice age that will cause bitterly cold winters during which rivers such as the Thames freeze over.
Pictures of glaciers and frozen rivers loomed large.
News Corp’s Andrew Bolt used the mini ice age to attack climate science. Many climate sceptic bloggers readily accepted the story, despite climate never being mentioned in the peer-reviewed paper.
The media failed in its duty to investigate and inform. It didn’t seek expert comment to put the research into context. Instead journalists tried to answer technical climate science questions themselves, and mostly got it wrong.
As discussed previously, the impact of a new Maunder minimum on climate has beenstudied many times. There’s 40% more CO2 in the air now than during the 17th century, and global temperature records are being smashed. A new Maunder minimum would slow climate change, but it is not enough to stop it.
The scientist at the centre of the media storm, Valentina Zharkova, told USA today:
In the press release, we didn’t say anything about climate change. My guess is when they heard about Maunder minimum, they used Wikipedia or something to find out more about it.
While Zharkova was surprised by the media coverage, she and others continued to discuss a new mini ice age.
If a mini ice age is at odds with the prior literature, why does Zharkova continue speculating about it? In personal correspondence with Zharkova, she told me it was only after the media coverage that her research was connected to climate change and the Maunder minimum. However, she said that once the connection was made, it did make sense to her.
Zharkova also told IFLS: We didn’t mention anything about the weather change, but I would have to agree that possibly you can expect it [a mini ice age].
So it seems Zharkova’s justification is based on media extrapolation of her own press release and Wikipedia, not the extensive peer-reviewed literature on the Maunder minimum itself.
I emailed Zharkova and she sent me two studies that support her views, but they aren’t representative of the literature and I don’t believe she has critically evaluated their content.
Is there any quantitative basis for claims of a mini ice age? Zharkova and her colleagues have cited a 1997 article by Judith Lean, who showed the sun’s brightness (quantified by solar irradiance) was 3 W per m2 less during the Maunder minimum than today. More recent studies, including those by Lean, find the solar irradiance varies less than was thought in 1997.
In plain English, the small change in sunlight reaching the Earth during a new Maunder minimum wouldn’t be enough to reverse climate change. For the technically minded, even a 3 W per m2 change in irradiance corresponds to a radiative forcing of just 0.5 W per m2 (because the Earth is a sphere and not a flat circle), which is less than the radiative forcing produced by anthropogenic greenhouse gases.
To be blunt: no mini ice age for us. The real story of the impending mini ice age isn’t about climate at all. It is a cautionary tale, of how science should and shouldn’t be communicated.
The lessons to be learned from this is scientists must communicate their science concisely and accurately, especially if we are to avoid the media frenzy highlighted by the ABC’s Media Watch. If scientists, science organisations and media aren’t careful, they can inadvertently end up promoting dangerous misinformation.November 10, 2015 at 10:06 am #45134
Science cannot agree on a single thing. If you look in the small print under each scientific theory you will see many other different theories explaining the same phenomena. Which theory becomes dominant is just a question of power and group dynamics, fear, and which university you study at. Nothing objective to it.
The giant hoopla about global warming / climate change … if you step back just shows that science cannot solve mans problems, because mans problems are caused by his state of consciousness and science does nothing for that.
Taking into consideration mankind’s history, his present state, and what global agendas are being put into place for the imminent future … I think this species is finished. How could it not be ?
Even if everyone on the planet started meditation right now it takes a long time to reach somewhere peaceful because man is deeply rooted in the subconscious. And so even a change on that magnitude would likely not have enough of an effect to change much.
As the environment, culture, society degrades, many excuses and mitigating things will arise to make the planet bearable for those that can affort it. Pills to keep the richest healthy in a deeply polluted atmosphere for instance. And for the masses there will be broadcasts to help them “feel good”, by telling them they are free, or that the 2nd coming technological or religious is “just around the corner”. This is already happening. 4 nuclear reactors in meltdown in Japan … but according to official sources, everything is just dandy.
Even an actual 2nd coming of Jesus or someone else would likely not last long, judging by history. The CIA would take care of it … “he accidently brutally killed himself whilst shaving”.
The fact is that only a few people have ever woken up on this planet, because the consciousness here is very low and the distance very far. No blame.
Only individuals will escape.November 20, 2015 at 6:02 am #45136
Forget asteroids: Solar storm could ’cause apocalypse on Earth with just 12 hours warning’
THE UK government has alarmingly admitted it is “woefully underprepared” for a major solar storm which could cause plane crashes, train derailments, huge fires, mass power blackouts and satellite disruption.
By JON AUSTIN
PUBLISHED: 10:53, Fri, Jul 31, 2015 | UPDATED: 11:41, Fri, Jul 31, 2015
Modern technology that relies on satellites such as mobile phones, the internet, banking systems, and sat navs, could go down and some experts fear the loss of power could quickly lead to anarchy on the streets if they could not quickly be reconnected.
The threat of asteroids hitting Earth and wiping out life on the planet have been in the headlines since celebrities and scientists joined forces for World Asteroid Day last month.
Yet a campaign following World Asteroid Day on June 30 to get global governments to do more to prepare for such a strike, was near dismissed by Whitehall.
The Cabinet Office told Express.co.uk,it does not see the danger of such a strike as an imminent threat.
However, more worryingly, the UK Government has admitted it – and the rest of the world – has done next to nothing to prepare for a major solar storm – which could hit us with as little as 12 hours notice.
A solar storm follows eruptions of mass and energy from the sun’s surface, including flares, sunspots, and coronal mass ejections which send huge amounts of X-rays and radiation towards Earth.
It is not exactly clear what would happen if a major solar storm struck us, but among the most alarmist predictions are that nuclear weapons and power plants could be detonated, leading to the end of the world.
There is a one per cent chance of a major solar storm happening in any given year – odds which are much greater than a direct strike from a large space rock that could devastate a town or dirt or cause tsunamis in the ocean.
A report from the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) recalls the 1859 “Charrington Event – the most powerful coronal mass ejection on record which left phone telegraph poles sizzling with electricity.
There have been less powerful storms, albeit still strong ones, experienced in 1989 in Quebec, 2003 in Sweden, and 2005 globally, although none reached Carrington levels.
After 2005 a global strategy was proposed, but so far nothing meaningful has resulted.
With those the only major technology of the day to be impacted, it is anticipated if one of the same magnitude were to strike today the results would be catastrophic and could cost the global economy at least $2trillion (£1.3trillion).
The Carrington Event was named after British Astronomer Richard Carrington who monitored the shock occurrence.
The BIS report said “modern society would be woefully underprepared to handle such a storm”, which it said were “difficult to forecast accurately”.
The BIS report on the Space Weather Preparedness Strategy said: “The short 12-hour warning time would leave major urban areas ill-prepared, and there is currently a lack of capability to monitor the effects of severe events once they start.
The BIS report said the worst possible scenario would be a coronal mass ejection of plasma from the sun, during which the corona the bright glow seen encircling the sun during total solar eclipses came off, sending X-rays and high-energy particles directly to Earth.
Solar storms are difficult to predict, but they tend to become more powerful every 11 years as the sun reverses its magnetic field at this time.
The last time this happened was 2012, meaning the next most volatile period expected is 2023.
The BIS report said: “The main challenge we face is that awareness of the risk is low.
Much more needs to be done to encourage potentially vulnerable sectors to adopt measures to mitigate the likely impacts.
Earlier this year the USA government released a report detailing how it needed to do much more about the threat.
And this month, a UK consortium, led by Airbus Defence and Space, proposed a new mission to develop an early-warning system for potentially hazardous storms.
Named Carrington-L5, after the Victorian event, it hopes to allow a five-day warning, giving much more time to prepare.
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