Monday, July 28, 2008

The Ice Age cometh

I noticed this over at "The Reference Frame" by the unmistakable Luboš Motl - and fortunately this is something I know little about.

It seems there is a real possibility of another cooling period being imminent - or in less-precise terms, another ice age.

The problem is this. For reasons we don't understand, when the Sun is active (Sunspots, Coronal Mass Ejections, and the like) the Earth gets warmer. We have just finished a very active sunspot cycle. But some years ago there was over a hundred years when there was virtually no sunspots at all. This was called the Maunder Minimum and the Spörer Minimum. Previous to this time, the Earth had been quite warm. The Vikings were colonizing Greenland and grapes and figs were grown quite farther north than they are now. But once the these Minimums started, things got quite cold. The Greenland Vikings died off, the River Thames froze over and so on. The Maunder Minimum was called the Mini-Ice Age.

There is actually very good correlation between solar activity and climate. It is the fact the climate scientists fail to properly acknowledge this that has been my biggest issue with Global Warming.

According to a new analysis, after our next sunspot cycle, there is a good chance we could enter into another sunspot minimum - and have a new Ice Age. But as each sunspot cycle is usually around 11 years, we have a while to wait.

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