Sunday, July 12, 2015

Russian Scientists Warn of Upcoming Little Ice Age

A new study claims to have cracked predicting solar cycles - and says that between 2020 and 2030 solar cycles will cancel each other out.
This, they say, will lead to a phenomenon known as the 'Maunder minimum' - which has previously been known as a mini ice age when it hit between 1646 and 1715, even causing London's River Thames to freeze over.
The new model of the Sun's solar cycle is producing unprecedentedly accurate predictions of irregularities within the Sun's 11-year heartbeat.

It draws on dynamo effects in two layers of the Sun, one close to the surface and one deep within its convection zone.

Predictions from the model suggest that solar activity will fall by 60 per cent during the 2030s to conditions last seen during the 'mini ice age' that began in 1645, according to the results presented by Prof Valentina Zharkova at the National Astronomy Meeting in Llandudno.
The model predicts that the pair of waves become increasingly offset during Cycle 25, which peaks in 2022.
The Russians don't sweat the possibility of global warming much, except to use it as an excuse to discomfit the West. Heaven forbid Siberia become a bread basket like the Ukraine. They do, however, have good reason to fear a run of exceptionally cold weather. Fears over the future cooling weather may be contributing to Putin's expansionist push.

Beerstraten Anthonie (1637-1664) "Winter Landscape"
During Cycle 26, which covers the decade from 2030-2040, the two waves will become exactly out of synch and this will cause a significant reduction in solar activity.

'In cycle 26, the two waves exactly mirror each other – peaking at the same time but in opposite hemispheres of the Sun,' said Zharkova. 'Their interaction will be disruptive, or they will nearly cancel each other. . . .We predict that this will lead to the properties of a 'Maunder minimum''
We've been talking about the effect of solar cycles on weather now for years, but prediction of solar cycles has been beyond our ability. As recently as cycle 23, solar scientists had predicted that cycle 24, the current cycle would be record high; instead it has been the lowest in 100 years. Will this prediction be much better?  If it were easy, it would have been done already.

Beyond the question of what the state of the sun will be, there is the additional question of how much it matters. The observation that solar minimum correspond to globally cooler weather is not explained by a causal mechanism; the actual decrease in energy sent by the sun can only explain a fraction of the effect. A mechanism by which the solar magnetic field, which varies in step with the solar cycle, changes the cosmic ray impacts on earth, which, in turn, changes the rate of cloud initiation, and increased cloudiness causes cooler temperature, the "Svensmark Hypothesis" seems to be gaining ground, but certainly hasn't become an established position. Global warming advocates tend to discount it, because there's no money in it.

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