Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Sunspot decline and sulphur shrouds

Not so long ago I wrote about global cooling. The story continues to unfold ...

Here's the latest from Lewis Page:

British scientists have produced a new study suggesting that the Sun is coming to the end of a "grand solar maximum" – a long period of intense activity in the Sun – meaning that we in Blighty could be set for a long period of much colder winters, similar to those seen during the "little ice age" of the 17th and 18th centuries.

The new research from boffins led by Professor Mike Lockwood of Reading uni says that "solar activity during the current sunspot minimum has fallen to levels unknown since the start of the 20th century" and that there is a serious chance that the Sun may be headed into another so-called "Maunder Minimum", a long period with almost no sunspots like that which was recorded by astronomers from 1645 to 1715.

What might be the impact for the UK?

According to the new study, chances that the average winter temperature will fall below 2.5°C will be around 1 in 7, assuming that all other factors, including man-made effects and El NiƱo, remain constant.

Put in context, the average UK winter temperature for the last 20 years has been 5.04°C. The last three winters have averaged 3.50°C, 2.53°C and 3.13°C, with 2009-10 being the 14th coldest in the last 160 years.

Meanwhile, Pages's colleague Andrew Orlowski writes

The refusal of the global temperatures to rise as predicted has caused much angst among academics. "The fact is that we can't account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can't," wrote one in 2009. Either the instruments were wrong, or the heat energy had gone missing somewhere.

Now a team of academics, after tweaking a statistical model to include sulphur emissions, suggest that coal power stations may be to blame for a lack of global warming since 1998.


Kaufmann et al declare that aerosol cooling is "consistent with" warming from manmade greenhouse gases. Recent studies suggest greenhouse gas emissions may be masking a long-term cooling trend as solar activity declines.

Apparently it's those nasty Chinese ...

"The political consequence of this article seems to be that the simplest solution to global warming is for the Chinese to burn more coal, which they intend to do anyway," writes Curry.

Doubtless they will. First we blame them for warming the planet, but now we blame them for cooling the planet.
Who can say? What's clear to me is that our climate isn't nearly as well understood as our masters in Westminster, and their masters in Brussels, would have you believe.

Their Gaia worship isn't a cost-free exercise; it will cost us dearly.

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