Monday, December 20, 2010

Sunspots - Prediction of New "Dalton Minimum"

Global COOLING Anyone?

Nearly TWO YEARS ago (January 2009 and December 2009 [nearly FIVE years ago now]) I predicted that the now current Sunspot Cycle #24 would peak at 80. I am now revising that down to a peak of only 60, based on a great posting by David Archibald at Watts Up With That, the most widely read and respected climate website in the world.

We may be in for a new Dalton Minimum similar to the period from 1790 to 1830 when temperatures were unusually low. Indeed, we may come to welcome the cushion of warmth, perhaps 0.1 to 0.2ºC, that may be due to recent human activities. (The IPCC Climate "Team" claims 0.6 to 0.8ºC rise mostly due to human-caused Global Warming, but that is most likely an over-estimate.)

As the graphic shows, at the time I made the 80 prediction, NASA was predicting a peak of 104, having revised it downwards a couple of times from their original, wildly high estimate of a 156 peak. The most recent NASA projection is 90.

Description of the Graphic

[Click graphic for larger version] The base for the graphic is from Archibald's posting (Figure 9). The BROWN curve plots actual data from Solar Cycles #3, #4, #5, and #6 (late 1700's through early 1800's). The GREEN curve plots the corresponding actual data for Solar Cycles #22, #23, and the first part of #24, (1990 through December 2010)

I have added the annotations in RED and GRAY, indicating NASA's incredible string of highly incorrect predictions from 2006 to most recent (red hoops) and my original January 2009 prediction and my revised prediction (gray hoops).

Historical Correlation of the Dalton and Maunder Minima with Sunspot Activity

The very cold temperatures from 1790 through 1830 are usually explained as being due to increased volcanic activity, including the Mount Tambora eruption of 1815 that caused the Year Without a Summer, 1816. However, low solar activity, with peak Sunspot counts of only 45 for Sunspot Cycles #5 and #6, is most likely the major cause. Even lower Sunspot counts (below 10) occurred during the earlier Maunder Minimum (1650 to 1700). These periods of Global Cooling were marked by crop failures that are inimicable to human life.

Explanation of the Effect of Sunspot Counts on Climate

The NY Times interviewed Henrik Svensmark last year about his theory of Sunspots and Climate:

One possibility proposed a decade ago by Henrik Svensmark and other scientists at the Danish National Space Center in Copenhagen looks to high-energy interstellar particles known as cosmic rays. When cosmic rays slam into the atmosphere, they break apart air molecules into ions and electrons, which causes water and sulfuric acid in the air to stick together in tiny droplets. These droplets are seeds that can grow into clouds, and clouds reflect sunlight, potentially lowering temperatures.

The Sun, the Danish scientists say, influences how many cosmic rays impinge on the atmosphere and thus the number of clouds. When the Sun is frenetic, the solar wind of charged particles it spews out increases. That expands the cocoon of magnetic fields around the solar system, deflecting some of the cosmic rays.

But, according to the hypothesis, when the sunspots and solar winds die down, the magnetic cocoon contracts, more cosmic rays reach Earth, more clouds form, less sunlight reaches the ground, and temperatures cool.

“I think it’s an important effect,” Dr. Svensmark said, although he agrees that carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas that has certainly contributed to recent warming.

Dr. Svensmark and his colleagues found a correlation between the rate of incoming cosmic rays and the coverage of low-level clouds between 1984 and 2002. They have also found that cosmic ray levels, reflected in concentrations of various isotopes, correlate well with climate extending back thousands of years.

Before we destroy industrial economies with extreme measures to reduce carbon emissions, it will be a good idea to consider how that might not only not be effective in reducing human-caused Global Warming, but how a bit of carbon-warming could be welcome during the coming period of Global Cooling. By the way, I am still in favor of an across-the-board Carbon Tax because the steady rise in CO2 levels is unprecedented and that is the most intelligent way to utilize our market-based economic system to speed the development of renewable energy sources. However, that effort has a multi-decade time horizon and is no emergency.

Ira Glickstein


Ira Glickstein said...

New Visitors: PLEASE leave a Comment. Use the Name/URL option so we know who you are. THANKS!

Also, please look around - there is lots more here than Climate realism. While far in the shadow of the big blogs where Comments are a dime a dozen and treated that way, any serious Comments here will be answered courteously.

advTHANKSance, Ira Glickstein

PS: WOW! This posting has picked up quite a bit of traffic after being mentioned positively on a few influential Blogs, including one at an Australian newspaper.

We've totalled 50 hits over the past half-hour. Over 100 yesterday, over 300 today, and over 2000 for the month.

Russ said...

Hi Ira,

Thanks for plotting the NASA guesses over the past several years. I have been following the possibility of another Dalton level minimum since 2006. I have been posting information at The Dalton Minimum Returns. I would like to post your chart as an update.

Ira Glickstein said...

Thanks Russ, for spreading the word. Use my chart as you wish.

I'm impressed that you have been aware of the possibility of another Dalton level minimum since 2006. I've been a lukewarmer skeptic for some years, expecting the Global Warming period to peter out. But, I did not think we'd see any significant Global Cooling in our lifetimes until about a year or so ago. What tipped you off in 2006?

Ira Glickstein

Thor said...

When is this cooling supposed to take effect?

According to Roy Spencer, this year is on pace to the warmest on record...or at least a very close second:

Ira Glickstein said...

Thanks Thor for your Comment. I respect Roy Spencer and I checked your link and 2010 is indeed on track to be very close to 1998, so, strictly speaking, the predicted Global Cooling (if our time is analogized to the Dalton) has not definitively taken place.

In my original posting I said: "We may be in for a new Dalton Minimum similar to the period from 1790 to 1830 when temperatures were unusually low." No guarantees! Also, Climate is measured in multi-decades and 1998 is only a bit over a decade ago. We will have some extraordinarily warm (and cold) days, months, and years

For several decades, including this past decade, CO2 levels have continued their steady increase, while, according to CRU's (Climategate) leader Phil Jones, there has been no statistically significant warming since 1995. The IPCC argument that human-caused CO2 increase is the major cause of Global Warming would thus seem challenged, if not yet disproven.

In any case, the idea we were about to have some kind of "tipping point" seems highly unlikey.

Come back in another decade or two and we'll see if this Dalton projection holds water! I think it will, perhaps you think it will not. Either of us could be correct.

Ira Glickstein

Katabasis said...

Hi Ira,
am I incorrect in understanding that with regard to previous minimums, the lowered sunspot activity preceded the harsh weather conditions by several years?

Ira Glickstein said...

Thanks Katabasis for your Comment. You are not incorrect. It appears to take several years of low Sunspot counts before temperatures decline, assuming that low Sunspots are indicators of low magnetic activity, that reduces the deflection of cosmic rays and that that causes more clouds to form. (The theory according to Henrik Svensmark and other scientists at the Danish National Space Center in Copenhagen.)

Based on the historical record, low temperature periods are coincident with low Sunspot activity, particularly two or more nominally 11-year cycles with low (10 to 45) Sunspot peak counts.

SC#23, which ended in 2009 had a fairly high peak of around 120, but, as it declined, it was below 50 from 2004, so we have been in the Sunspot range historically associated with cooling for six years already. If SC#24 and SC#25 have low peaks, the coming decades could be on the cool side.

Ira Glickstein

messianicdruid said...

Hi Ira,

I keep thinking about the picture of George Washington crossing the Delaware River. The two guys in the front moving thick blocks of ice out of the way as the boat moves forward.

You might enjoy Jim McCanney's show on thursdays.

S.E.Hendriksen said...

The next minimum is actually allready named 'Landscheidt's minimum' in respect for his great works.

I can recommend this article:

Kind regards

Svend Erik Hendriksen

Ira Glickstein said...

Thanks Svend for the link to the Russian Astrometria site (in English, now clickable) which I join you in recommending.

They appear to say that variations in Total Solar Irradiance (TSI) are responsible for temps on Earth following Solar activity in the past (Maunder and Dalton minima) and what has been called the Landscheit minimum, a predicted 1ºC drop in average Earth temps they expect to hit bottom in the 2050's.

I do not think a TSI variation of two parts per thousand (from 1366 to 1364, -0.2%) could be responsible for these minima, but I could be wrong.

What do you think of the Svensmark theory that Solar magnetic activity indirectly affects Earth temps via modulation of cosmic rays that affect cloud formation that affects albedo?

Ira Glickstein

Anonymous said...

«e may come to welcome the cushion of warmth, perhaps 0.1 to 0.2ºC, that may be due to recent human activities.»

There is no mesurable effect of 'recent human activities' on climate. The whole co2 hysteria is a joke like the 2k bug!