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Big Drop In Solar Activity Could Cool Earth

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the buy-a-sweater dept.

NASA 569

coondoggie writes "Scientists say the Sun, which roils with flares and electromagnetic energy every 11 years or so, could go into virtual hibernation after the current cycle of high activity, reducing temperatures on Earth. As the current sunspot cycle, Cycle 24, begins to ramp up toward maximum, scientists from the National Solar Observatory and the Air Force Research Laboratory independently found that the Sun's interior, visible surface, and corona indicate the next 11-year solar sunspot cycle, Cycle 25, will be greatly reduced or may not happen at all."

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Global Warming is Over! (2, Funny)

PhrstBrn (751463) | more than 3 years ago | (#36441930)

Take that Al Gore!

Re:Global Warming is Over! (-1, Flamebait)

XanC (644172) | more than 3 years ago | (#36442010)

Hardly. Now the warmers will claim that anything that doesn't agree with their theory is a result of a solar abnormality.

Re:Global Warming is Over! (1, Troll)

Malties (1942112) | more than 3 years ago | (#36442062)

Or that the solar sunspot cycle is the result of humans driving big SUVs

Re:Global Warming is Over! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36442098)

I don't think you realize how close to the truth you are [youtube.com] .

Re:Global Warming is Over! (1, Troll)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#36442080)

No, they will still find a way to blame humans. Even the next Ice Age will be blamed on human activity. They've simply changed the terminology from Global Warming to Climate Change so that they can never be proven wrong, and always retain their stick with which to beat evil mankind.

Re:Global Warming is Over! (2, Insightful)

metlin (258108) | more than 3 years ago | (#36442288)

I was going to moderate this discussion, but wanted to respond to your trollish comment.

Here's the reality of the situation: we do not know the effect of mankind on the climate and the ecology. However, we do know that certain activities *have* an impact. The fact remains that complex systems, be they markets, ecologies, or climate, remain unbelievably complex, and we have no way of knowing what our actions could do.

And as far as banalities go, how about this -- do not mess with complex systems you don't fully understand. Do not mess with the ecology of the planet without understanding the consequences. Do not mess with things that could screw up the climate without understanding its effect.

"Evil mankind" is a subjective term, but meddlesome mankind is certainly not. The fact is, even in this day and age, we live in a highly complex and fickle ecosystem that can be torn asunder by the planet's forces, as shown by several of the earth's recent natural disasters. What happens if bees stop pollinating altogether tomorrow? What about hurricanes and tornadoes all over the planet?

It doesn't hurt to treat the planet with respect, because it's not just yours, but also the future generations'. And more importantly, it belongs to every single living thing growing on it.

That's not such a hard concept, is it?

Re:Global Warming is Over! (1, Insightful)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#36442418)

You should have moderated.

You would have had more effect, because after all, the only thing you accomplished by posting was to prove my point.

Bees. Hurricanes and Tornadoes! Are you sure you don't want to throw in earthquakes and volcanoes and blame them on mankind too?

Re:Global Warming is Over! (2, Informative)

Nemyst (1383049) | more than 3 years ago | (#36442564)

Never did he say that those were man-made issues, he simply used them to illustrate how fickle and changing nature can be, which is entirely appropriate and not up to questioning.

You should read what it is you're replying to, it helps.

Re:Global Warming is Over! (3, Insightful)

jojoba_oil (1071932) | more than 3 years ago | (#36442574)

You should have moderated.

You would have had more effect, because after all, the only thing you accomplished by posting was to prove my point.

How can you claim that he proved your point? What exactly is it that he says that proves your point?

Your point was that people like to blame everything (eg, any change in climate or environment) on humans. His point was that there's no way of knowing what effect we actually have on the environment.

Both lead to the idea that we should leave stuff alone, but they aren't the same point...

Re:Global Warming is Over! (0, Flamebait)

jmottram08 (1886654) | more than 3 years ago | (#36442432)

If you -actually- believed any of that you would be a vegan living in the wild. But you arent. You use electricity and cars and support the killing of the other living things on the earth just as much as the next guy. Be mature enough to admit it.

Re:Global Warming is Over! (1)

Squiddie (1942230) | more than 3 years ago | (#36442736)

If everyone did that, sure we could lessen the effect of our activities on the planet, but then there would be no point to it. The planet needs to be taken care of because it supports us, no other reason. If we did not need the planet, I couldn't care less that rain forest is being cut down or any other number of things. The fact is that we do need it to live our comfortable lives. We just need to find a way to live those lives while not shitting on the place that we eat from.

Re:Global Warming is Over! (1, Troll)

PhrstBrn (751463) | more than 3 years ago | (#36442472)

Then how about that is your talking point rather than make up stories of gloom and doom? I agree with everything you're saying about human impact, but let's make that the main part of your campaign, rather than this global warming nonsense. The problem is, Gore and company choose the latter, and lost credibility as a leader for these issues.

Let's go with the facts: Humans use a lot of resources. We don't know what effect they have on the planet, so let's try to be conservative and waste as little as possible. Let's try to use renewable resources, because that will reduce our carbon footprint, and help improve air quality in populated areas. Doesn't that sound much more reasonable than gloom and doom "we're causing the earth's temperature to rise oh no"?

It's all about getting the facts. The fact is, the impact humans can make to change global temperature is... well we really have no clue, it's all guessing.

Re:Global Warming is Over! (1)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 3 years ago | (#36442624)

I don't get that disconnect in your argument. On the one hand, you make some reasonable argument about being conservative, on the other hand, you flat out ignore every single fact, every bit of research that has been done and that shows a definitive impact of human action on global temperature. It is not all guessing, we have loads and loads of solid data - in the end, it is basic physics. What is open is only the parametrization of the feedbacks, the forcings are pretty clear - just take a look at the literature. Why does someone with a basically rational view on how one should handle the available resources suddenly jump to "it's all guessing"?

Re:Global Warming is Over! (-1, Flamebait)

PhrstBrn (751463) | more than 3 years ago | (#36442902)

I'm sorry, the facts aren't clear. I've read the research, and I find it's speculative. Isn't part of the scientific method accepting criticism from your peers? Because your acceptance of criticism reminds me more of a religious organization - if you don't believe us you're stupid. That's not science.

Re:Global Warming is Over! (3, Insightful)

BaronHethorSamedi (970820) | more than 3 years ago | (#36442600)

The fact remains that complex systems, be they markets, ecologies, or climate, remain unbelievably complex, and we have no way of knowing what our actions could do.

And as far as banalities go, how about this -- do not mess with complex systems you don't fully understand.

More than fair. The problem is, there is a HUGE political wing that not only believes it understands the complexities of ecological change, but understands them well enough to want to impose corrective measures. Those corrective measures themselves invariably involve "messing with" markets, economies, and yes, ecologies, all at public expense.

Complexity is a double-edged sword. I'm all for not meddling with things I don't understand, and treating the planet with respect; I am consequently somewhat mistrustful of those who claim to understand our gigantically complex ecosystem well enough to tell me what I should be doing to fix it.

Re:Global Warming is Over! (3, Insightful)

50000BTU_barbecue (588132) | more than 3 years ago | (#36442702)

"More than fair. The problem is, there is a HUGE political wing that not only believes it understands the complexities of ecological change, but understands them well enough to want to impose corrective measures."

And there's the wing that believes "business as usual" is just as good since, obviously, THEY understand the complexities...

Re:Global Warming is Over! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36442638)

do not mess with complex systems you don't fully understand. Do not mess with the ecology of the planet without understanding the consequences. Do not mess with things that could screw up the climate without understanding its effect.

Except that, in order to live, we have to?

You make the case that these systems are so complex it is impossible to understand. And then that we shouldn't mess with anything we don't understand, therefor we shouldn't mess with these complex systems. I'd love to be hands off of the economy, but I like to buy food every now and then. I'd love to be hands off of the environment, but I need some air the breathe. Your argument falls on its face, because its impossible not to mess with these systems unless you lack a will to live.

Meddlesome mankind isn't subjective? m-w defines meddle as: to interest oneself in what is not one's concern : interfere without right or propriety. I would tend to say that finding food for myself isn't meddlesome at all. We can certainly effect the environment in unpredictable ways while only look out for number one. I don't disagree there is a good deal of meddling that happens in humanity, but to say it's not a subjective statement is plain wrong.

It doesn't hurt to treat the planet with respect

If you're talking money, yes, it certainly does. Renewable energy is expensive (i.e., painful). Organic foods are expensive.

The planet belongs to me but belongs to everyone else? Doesn't that defeat the concept of ownership? You contradict yourself. It belongs to nobody. It does not belong to future generations. It just is. And yes, it really is a hard concept - it gets very existentialist very quickly.

Please mod this parent down. Its not insightful, its half baked at best.

Re:Global Warming is Over! (2)

binary paladin (684759) | more than 3 years ago | (#36442740)

"do not mess with complex systems you don't fully understand."

Yeah, that's gonna make for some scientific progress right there.

"And more importantly, it belongs to every single living thing growing on it."

Says who? In our cold and ultimately absurd universe, that's not really how it works. Volcanoes and hurricanes don't respect existing habitats or life, why should humans? Polar bears have no "right" to exist or to continue existing and neither do humans.

Understand that I agree with your sentiment in some regards and am certainly not a card carrying member of the Pave the Earth Society. However, the idea that there is some inherent moral obligation to give a shit about the environment is, more or less, a religious sentiment. The universe itself doesn't dictate that we care and itself doesn't have any particular care or concern about life or plastic or toxic waste. It all just is.

Besides, if there's one thing industrialized nations have made clear: they don't give a shit about future generations in political, social or economic matters (see Social Security and Medicare in the USA) so why should we, as a society that's been conditioned not to give a fuck about the future, give a fuck?

"What happens if bees stop pollinating altogether tomorrow? What about hurricanes and tornadoes all over the planet?"

Evolution will weed out the unfit and replace them with new species able to deal with the changes, the way it always has. That's how life operates.

"That's not such a hard concept, is it?"

It's hard because if I'm not religious, I have no reason to care beyond self interest and most of the really nasty "long term" environmental consequences will be playing themselves out when I'm dead or near death. Why should I care?

Re:Global Warming is Over! (5, Insightful)

engun (1234934) | more than 3 years ago | (#36442398)

Humankind has indeed proven itself to be a vile species. The great pacific garbage patch for example, was surely not created by those who was overly concerned for their environment?

There are enough precedents to indicate that it is not an excess of concern for our environment that is the fundamental problem. I just don't understand why people see it necessary to vilify the few who are.

Re:Global Warming is Over! (0)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#36442536)

Are you prepared to offer any scientific evidence that the so called "Great Pacific Garbage Patch" is any more harmful than say, the landfills of any medium to large sized city?

Re:Global Warming is Over! (0)

jdpars (1480913) | more than 3 years ago | (#36442590)

Because "the few who are" are trying to tell everyone else how to run their businesses, live their lives, and buy products.

Re:Global Warming is Over! (3, Informative)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 3 years ago | (#36442694)

Well, to be honest, we are not that exceptional in this regard. Many a species has created its own version of the great pacific garbage patch. Growing to your limits and then crashing seems to be a biological imperative. Only we do it on a global scale - well, you might hold that one to the early photosynthesizing algae, which poisoned the reducing atmosphere of early earth with oxygen. What sets us apart is only the fact that we are blessed (?) with sentience, and should be able to look into the future, at least a little bit.

Re:Global Warming is Over! (1)

MysteriousPreacher (702266) | more than 3 years ago | (#36442524)

Global warming was a clumsy name. People hear of and think they'll have nicer summers, or take a particularly cold spell as evidence against climate change. On a similar note, survival of the fittest is a poor description to use with laymen because many imagine it to mean that evolutionary processes favour the physically strongest or fastest species.

Re:Global Warming is Over! (0)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#36442714)

Global warming was a clumsy name. People hear of and think they'll have nicer summers, or take a particularly cold spell as evidence against climate change. On a similar note, survival of the fittest is a poor description to use with laymen because many imagine it to mean that evolutionary processes favour the physically strongest or fastest species.

But people can be educated, which, with regard to "Survival of the fittest", takes at most 15 minutes in the 5th grade.
After that, problem solved.

There is simply no need to start casting concepts in more obfuscating terms, especially when the primary purpose for doing so is to disguise the fact that most of the theory is as wrong as the cherry picked data used to support it.

Renaming is the last bastion of scoundrels and snake oil salesmen.
When Liberals became a pejorative, suddenly progressives were born.

Re:Global Warming is Over! (1)

H0p313ss (811249) | more than 3 years ago | (#36442154)

I do hope you were trying to be ironic.

Re:Global Warming is Over! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36442084)

A big drop in solar activity WILL cool earth, SHOULD it occur.

Re:Global Warming is Over! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36442222)

Congress needs to pass some legislation to stop this!

Re:Global Warming is Over! (3, Insightful)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 3 years ago | (#36442726)

Don't go counting your Told-you-so Chickens quite yet.

Global temperatures continued to rise during the previous, unusually long solar minimum, so this potential lack-of-solar-maximum will probably not reverse the trend, either.

Heresy! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36441938)

Somebody get Al Gore on the phone to make a powerpoint presentation to these "scientists".

How does the sun know? (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36441966)

How does the sun know how much greenhouse gas I'm generating to heat or cool the planet?

Re:How does the sun know? (0, Troll)

binarylarry (1338699) | more than 3 years ago | (#36442096)

It doesn't but Jesus does.

Global warming nuts are just the left wing's version of Creationists.

Oh good... (2, Insightful)

Morphine007 (207082) | more than 3 years ago | (#36441968)

... the global warming naysayers are going to have a field day with this one...

Re:Oh good... (2, Insightful)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 3 years ago | (#36442200)

They are all over the thread already. Can't be arsed to engage them anymore, to be honest. Well, we can bask in the warm glow of burning Al Gore strawmen....

Re:Oh good... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36442238)

They are all over the thread already. Can't be arsed to engage them anymore, to be honest. Well, we can bask in the warm glow of burning Al Gore strawmen....

I'll still feel guilty. Straw is high-carbon.

Re:Oh good... (3, Funny)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 3 years ago | (#36442298)

Don't worry, it is carbon neutral, being a biofuel. You gotta give them that, at least their flaming is environmentally friendly, if unintentionally so...

Re:Oh good... (2)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 3 years ago | (#36442346)

You're right, let's not burn it. Let's let it decompose to methane gas instead.

Re:Oh good... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36442508)

I'm going to burn extra fuel just for you. The more people like you keep pushing, the harder we'll push back.

Re:Oh good... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36442672)

I'll go away as soon as you explain the difference between the 1990 IPCC predictions for and the actual measured temperatures reported in HadCRUT for 1990-2011.

Re:Oh good... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36442788)

I'm really tired of liberals lying and calling everyone who points out their lies as stupid.
http://www.thomaspeep.com/al-gore-admits-i-was-wrong-about-climate-change/
http://newsbusters.org/blogs/noel-sheppard/2008/04/11/gore-admits-financial-reasons-advancing-global-warming-hysteria

There you go, Al Gore admits climate change is a hoax and also admits he set himself up to profit greatly from global warming hysteria. I guess that makes me smart an you the imbecile since I knew this and you still support him.

Re:Oh good... (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 3 years ago | (#36442376)

Even if global warming happens, there's not much we can do about it. If everybody stopped burning only completely, the rise in temperature would still be 2.29 instead of the predicted* 2.3 degrees. So basically: We've already acted too late.

We should be seeking alternatives, not because of GW, but because the oil will eventually become scarce. Better to prepare for it now, rather than wait until it costs $40 a gallon and causes widespread disruption (like food scarcity). Personally I'd like to trade my car for one of those 240MPG commuter mobiles from VW, but alas they only sell in germany.

*
* 95th percentile

Re:Oh good... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36442686)

Source of these numbers?

Re:Oh good... (1)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 3 years ago | (#36442790)

In the end, you are probably right there. In the short term, peak oil will hit us way harder than global warming. The fact that for every calorie of food, about 10 calories in fossil fuels are spent does not make for pleasant dreams. And as soon as peak oil really makes an impact, we will dig out every affordable ton of coal and convert it to liquid. As much as I hope to the contrary, I don't see us limiting our CO2 output in any meaningful manner. Best we can do is prepare for the consequences.

Re:Oh good... (3, Interesting)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 3 years ago | (#36442602)

This has the potential to make Global Warming so much worse. Lets assume global warming is real and we're headed for a maunder minimum level of hibernation. The expected temperature increases are pretty similar to the temperature drops associated with the last major minimum. It would convince people that global warming was all a big sham or even a blessing, and in the short term the blessing idea wouldn't even be totally incorrect, since the effects of a half century long solar minimum would almost certainly be at least as devastating to civilization as global warming.

But, that means that in 50-70 years, when the little ice age ends, we could be faced with the full force of global warming in less than a decade, instead of spread out over the course of half a century. It would be even more so to late to do anything about it, short of geoengineering at a massive scale, and even I, techno-optimist that I am, have difficulty accepting the idea that we'll be able to accurately manipulate the kinds of energy needed to alter the Earth's climate in a controlled way.

Re:Oh good... (1)

tyrione (134248) | more than 3 years ago | (#36442868)

This has the potential to make Global Warming so much worse. Lets assume global warming is real and we're headed for a maunder minimum level of hibernation. The expected temperature increases are pretty similar to the temperature drops associated with the last major minimum. It would convince people that global warming was all a big sham or even a blessing, and in the short term the blessing idea wouldn't even be totally incorrect, since the effects of a half century long solar minimum would almost certainly be at least as devastating to civilization as global warming.

But, that means that in 50-70 years, when the little ice age ends, we could be faced with the full force of global warming in less than a decade, instead of spread out over the course of half a century. It would be even more so to late to do anything about it, short of geoengineering at a massive scale, and even I, techno-optimist that I am, have difficulty accepting the idea that we'll be able to accurately manipulate the kinds of energy needed to alter the Earth's climate in a controlled way.

Global Warming/Climate Change is not about the Earth being at all time record temps and therefore when it cools all is okay. Call it Global Heat Redistribution because all the Climate Patterns are changing. It's the Change that is screwing with the Earth's general climate patterns. Sudden drops in electromagnetic energy from the Sun will provide a rapid shift in those Climate Patterns, once again, and during the change the Earth will take a beating. Repeat and rinse. Our increasing of pollution that weakens our Atmosphere makes the impact of such drastic shifts more of a reality, not less.

Re:Oh good... (4, Informative)

riverat1 (1048260) | more than 3 years ago | (#36442710)

And they're going to be sorely disappointed when the warming continues despite reduced solar output.

Even if the Sun went into a new Maunder Minimum Global Warming will continue because the forcing from increased GHG's (primarily CO2) overwhelms the change in insolation. There is a peer reviewed paper on the subject here: On the Effect of a New Grand Minimum of Solar Activity on the Future Climate on Earth (Feulner & Rahmstorf 2010) [agu.org] .

So what will the "naysayers" response be to continued warming despite reduced insolation?

But, but, but (0)

ls671 (1122017) | more than 3 years ago | (#36441972)

But, but, but...

Don't we all know the Earth is warming up due to human activity ?

P.S. This intended to be sarcastic.

Re:But, but, but (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 3 years ago | (#36442094)

> Don't we all know the Earth is warming up due to human activity ?

In what way does the possibility that the sun may reduce its output in the future contradict that?

Re:But, but, but (1)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 3 years ago | (#36442344)

You really missed the sarcasm tag out there, did you? Have a look at the other half of the thread, where exactly this argument is made, by the way. You gotta weep for humanity if this is a reflection of the nerd community.

Re:But, but, but (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36442104)

Don't worry, we not only control the Earth's atmosphere and climate, but the Sun, Jupiter and Mars too!

Re:But, but, but (1)

FirstOne (193462) | more than 3 years ago | (#36442452)

The effect of the solar flare cycle signal on earth's average temperature is already being swamped by an order of magnitude by mankind's fossil fuelish addiction.

So don't expect any respite by quiescent sun, it's going to get hot, real hot, and the first thing to go is dependable crop yields. Mass starvation is already written in the cards..

So, we should be producing more greenhouse gases? (4, Funny)

aristotle-dude (626586) | more than 3 years ago | (#36441994)

Does this mean that we should be polluting more to compensate?

Does that mean the dinosaurs will come back? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36442000)

And the arctic glaciers too?

Got to give the Global Warmists a cover (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36442006)

For when the world doesn't end. Global warming = fault of man, global cooling = fault of Sun.

Fimbulvetr anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36442008)

Just randomly doing end of the world predictions. Doesn't this sound perfect for Fimbulvetr, or the winter before Ragagnarok to happen?

Re:Fimbulvetr anyone? (1)

Kufat (563166) | more than 3 years ago | (#36442046)

Sounds more like the Year of the Jackpot to me.

Re:Fimbulvetr anyone? (1)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 3 years ago | (#36442380)

Just randomly doing end of the world predictions. Doesn't this sound perfect for Fimbulvetr, or the winter before Ragagnarok to happen?

No idea, but you should keep your battle axe handy. Never hurts - if Fimbulvetr does not come, you can still go a-viking and have some fun.

No need to buy a sweater. (2, Insightful)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 3 years ago | (#36442016)

The Europeans are going to save us by switching from nukes back to coal.

Re:No need to buy a sweater. (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 3 years ago | (#36442372)

Nahh, the French will just build more nuclear power plants. Damn and blast those French, yet again!

Re:No need to buy a sweater. (1)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 3 years ago | (#36442864)

Yup, and when they can't cool their nukes in the next dry summer, as the one that is coming up right now, we will gladly support them with some icky wind, solar and water generated energy.

Re:No need to buy a sweater. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36442538)

The Europeans are going to save us by switching from nukes back to coal.

Brilliant! You do realize that more CO2 causes the oceans to turn acid killing most of the life. Guess where most of the Earth's oxygen comes from? All those who said the Amazon just failed. The vast majority comes from the oceans so killing the oceans doesn't just mean less sushi it means most of the land based life is threatened as well. We can't pollute our way out of another ice age. The cure will be far worse than the disease. Ice ages happen for a reason. Back in the 70s and 80s the debate actually ended and it was determined we were headed for another ice age which is normal. Fighting it with CO2 is shortsighted insanity not "Insightful". We've got to stop with the reactionary solutions that cause more problems and find real solutions.

Man-made solar cooling (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36442022)

I plan on us having a completely rational and apolitical debate on the science of the causes of solar cooling.

Didn't they say this about the last solar cycle? (2)

faulteh (1869228) | more than 3 years ago | (#36442034)

This is what they said about the last solar cycle, especially since we went into a deep solar minimum, and now the sun is waking up and we have had some nice Geomagnetic storms and solar flares already.

Re:Didn't they say this about the last solar cycle (1)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 3 years ago | (#36442148)

Indeed, I haven't followed it closely, but wasn't the last cycle supposed to be exceptionally weak already? Any astrophysicist around to give us some information here?

Re:Didn't they say this about the last solar cycle (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36442256)

From the article:

The forecast is based on three indicators thought to be tied to long-range solar activity, the comparative rise and fall of sunspots over the activity cycle, as well as the brightness of those sunspots; patterns in the sun's internal "jet stream" of superheated plasma; and the pace of migration in the sun's magnetic field toward the poles, as seen in the sun's corona.

An unusually low number of sunspots have been observed during the current cycle, and the spots are fainter than average. Scientists say they have seen no sign of a characteristic east-west flow of internal plasma, which usually sets the stage for future increases in activity. And the magnetic "rush to the poles" allears to be slowing down.

The current cycle is still below average compared to what was seen recently.

Sounds like we could use some global warming! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36442036)

Cash for hybrids, anyone?

Watch for Hidden Warming (0, Troll)

scorp1us (235526) | more than 3 years ago | (#36442106)

Not content that the Earth might cool despite ever increasing CO2, the AGW people will warn of "hidden warming" which is the concept of latent CO2 in the atmosphere which will be activated when the Sun comes back up to speed. They will claim we will very suddenly find ourselves in the same position had cooling not occurred.

But it will have occurred despite the CO2, meaning that the Sun, not CO2 is the driving force of climate, thus disproving the CO2 dominance theory of AGW proponents.

I personally am eager to see what the oceans do. It would be a major to discover that the oceans have been releasing the CO2 in response to an active Sun. The oceans could even revert to CO2 sinks if the cooling is severe enough. Interesting times are ahead...

Re:Watch for Hidden Warming (5, Insightful)

i kan reed (749298) | more than 3 years ago | (#36442310)

I love this. You think the existing models don't take solar variation into account? You have reduced a complex, multi-factor system of equations to one independent variable. Congratulations on letting anything that sounds like it agrees with you at all prove all other ideas wrong even if there's nothing contradictory at all. Sun cycles are 10 year data cycles that don't explain 100 year trends in the slightest. If you look at the climate data since the invention of the thermometer, the waves produced are already quite visible. This was the same argument they made in the 70s, when global warming was first introduced as a theory(but it was far less understood then).

Instead of offering useless conjecture about what people are going to say, how about you give us a nice solid hypothesis about how much cooler it will be when, and how that relates to existing global warming projections. I dare you to actually make a meaningful falsible claim instead of putting words in the mouth of people you disagree with.

Re:Watch for Hidden Warming (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36442436)

The story that, if true, defines forum comments....

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/15/arts/people-argue-just-to-win-scholars-assert.html

Re:Watch for Hidden Warming (0)

random coward (527722) | more than 3 years ago | (#36442476)

They don't take solar variation into account. Ask your local solar astronomer if global warming is man made or sun driven and see what he says.

Re:Watch for Hidden Warming (3, Informative)

CyberBill (526285) | more than 3 years ago | (#36442716)

Local solar astronomer here - Current global warming trend is definitely not Sun driven. We went through a prolonged period of solar inactivity over the last 5 years and what do you know, temperatures kept going up. We also monitor the Sun in every conceivable wavelength and from multiple angles, so it would be pretty hard to have some significant amount of energy hitting us that we don't know about.

Re:Watch for Hidden Warming (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36442676)

I have yet heard anyone explain this: While watching a show (called The Naked Geologist, or something), desert temperatures near the equator where observed to drop precipitously during the night. The explanation was that since deserts are dry, the air has no water vapor. Since water vapor is what keeps the radiated heat from escaping the nights get cold due to lack of direct sunshine. If water vapor can have that much of a localized effect, imagine what a global increase in water vapor would do. Earth isn't warm because of CO2, it's because of H2O vapor.

Re:Watch for Hidden Warming (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 3 years ago | (#36442724)

Sun cycles are 10 year data cycles that don't explain 100 year trends in the slightest.

Uh, I take it you've never heard the words 'Maunder Minimum'?

The only place that long-term solar changes don't appear to affect temperatures is in 'Global Climate Warming Disruption Change' models. Or whatever they're calling it today.

I dare you to actually make a meaningful falsible claim instead of putting words in the mouth of people you disagree with.

I'd love to see one of the computer modelers making a meaningful falsifiable claim about 'Global Climate Warming Disruption Change'.

Re:Watch for Hidden Warming (1)

darkgrayknight (1679662) | more than 3 years ago | (#36442858)

The existing models cannot take all factors into account, because it is nearly impossible to even define all possible factors in relation to climate. Hence the whole debate around global warming/cooling/change will never be over, regardless of the current temperature. Someone will create a new model that includes some other factors, but ignores some others, therefore producing lots of data that probably doesn't mean as much as they interpret.

Re:Watch for Hidden Warming (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36442908)

The last paragraph of your statement is HIGHLY misleading. No one should be under the impression that the ocean is, or has been since the last ice age, a source of CO2 in our atmosphere. Quite to the contrary the ocean is the largest single CO2 sink in existence, absorbing anywhere from 25% to 50% of the CO2 that is currently actively removed from our atmosphere.

I believe the above poster is referring to the fact that, as of late, our oceans have been absorbing less CO2 than before. This is probably due to a few different factors. I will only mention two of them. Increasing ocean temperatures tend to mean the the ocean absorbs less CO2 then when ocean temperatures are lowering or remaining stagnant. Also, the living organisms of the ocean are in major decline. Although living organisms only play a minor role in the ocean absorbing CO2 it should be acknowledged as a contributing factor.

On second thought it isn't just your last paragraph, your entire post is misleading. No reputable source would claim that latent CO2 would be "activated" by the "sun coming back up to speed". It will just become noticeable via temperature changes once again. Much more noticeable being that a decade from now we will have again dramatically increased the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere.

Awesome (1)

tool462 (677306) | more than 3 years ago | (#36442192)

Hopefully this balances out all the environmental stuff. The question then is do we call it Global Luke-Warming, or Anthropoheliogenic Climate Constancy?

this just in (0)

screamphilling (1173499) | more than 3 years ago | (#36442218)

this just in: scientists' objective observations and speculations should be taken as fact. they ALWAYS define reality with a wholesome and complete explanation

Re:this just in (1)

evilbessie (873633) | more than 3 years ago | (#36442912)

From 10 years of data I can tell you what is definitely going to happen in 15 years, you're obviously not trying hard enough.

Sun is getting too old... (3, Funny)

gstrickler (920733) | more than 3 years ago | (#36442228)

..for all of this intense activity. It needs more time to rest between cycles these days.

No worries... (1)

almondjoy (162478) | more than 3 years ago | (#36442286)

...the hot air from the 2012 US election cycle will cancel this out.

Re:No worries... (1)

reboot246 (623534) | more than 3 years ago | (#36442746)

Amen!!

Starvation (0)

tekrat (242117) | more than 3 years ago | (#36442324)

1816 was "The Year Without A Summer".

Only a third to a fourth of the hay was cut with only 10 percent of the crop harvested in some areas. Orchard yields ranged from barren to moderate but enough grains, wheat, and potatoes were harvested to prevent a famine but hardships did occur. Farmers ended up selling their livestock as their crops didn't yield enough. There were reports of people eating raccoons and pigeons.

And this is when the global population was low. Now we are close to the breaking point of what we can produce versus how many mouths to feed. Remember the 2008 Rice Shortage?

It could be that without a continuous good harvest, there will be populations that will simply starve to death if there's not enough solar activity to grow crops.

Industrialization has already wiped out many species of plants and animals. A worldwide famine could also present a huge danger to species on the endangered list. At some point, we will chew up enough resources that the planet will not recover.

When we have fished the oceans to empty sea, and the land will no longer sustain crops, only then will we discover how foolish we've been.

Re:Starvation (1)

XanC (644172) | more than 3 years ago | (#36442422)

Remember the 2008 Rice Shortage?

No. And that tells you everything you need to know about how far we are from the food production precipice.

Two words... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36442620)

Soylent Green

Re:Starvation (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 3 years ago | (#36442772)

Remember the 2008 Rice Shortage?

No. And that tells you everything you need to know about how far we are from the food production precipice.

For certain First World values of "we".

Oh, I don't have any problem with that. If Johnny Foreigner would rather starve (said Rogerborg) he had better do it, and decrease the surplus population.

Re:Starvation (4, Informative)

riverat1 (1048260) | more than 3 years ago | (#36442534)

Solar activity had nothing to do with "The Year Without a Summer". It was the eruption of Tambora that caused that.

Re:Starvation (1)

binary paladin (684759) | more than 3 years ago | (#36442906)

"At some point, we will chew up enough resources that the planet will not recover."

What does that even mean? Not recover? It's "recovered" for worldwide fires and volcanoes and the entire planet being basically a frozen over the top. Tectonic plates shift against one another and consume and excrete land. In a billion years I doubt you'll have much of an idea that our species was even here.

"When we have fished the oceans to empty sea, and the land will no longer sustain crops, only then will we discover how foolish we've been."

And in our starvation the planet will recover. The people that survive (if any) will probably change their ways or... repeat the process but it will take a long time before it matters.

The worst we can do is make this place a nasty place for the existing species. Almost all of said species were doomed to disappear over a long enough timeline anyway. Frankly, I don't think our species is gonna get any wiser about our own impact until something horrific happens so, in a weird way, I'm kind of rooting for it.

Early to the Party (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36442330)

Al got really concerned and made a movie
about 2 years AFTER he started his carbon trading business.

wake up.

jr

Re:Early to the Party (1)

stupidllama (1323661) | more than 3 years ago | (#36442494)

dooood, your totally right, i am fully awake now, its clear that all the scientific data gathering, analysis, hypothesizing, and data reviewing were just clever ways to make al gore even richer then he already was, i had totally forgot that global climate change as a theory didn't even exist before al's little movie. Thank you sooooo much for your valuable and insightful comment, we are all that much smarting for having read your post.

So... (4, Funny)

infiniphonic (657188) | more than 3 years ago | (#36442354)

winter is coming?

Re:So... (1)

rokstar (865523) | more than 3 years ago | (#36442612)

If only I had mod points.

A quick refresher on the greenhouse effect (5, Informative)

cwebster (100824) | more than 3 years ago | (#36442402)

Decreased solar output will have an impact on global temperatures, but it will take time.

Greenhouse gasses (Water, CO2, CH4, etc) do not directly interact with incoming shortwave radiation from the sun. Rather, they interact with the longwave radiation coming from the surface of the Earth. With no greenhouse gasses, the Earth would radiate (based on its temperature) and this radiation would be lost to space. What greenhouse gasses do is absorb the emitted longwave which adds energy to the molecule absorbing it. The excited state either results in a temperature increase of the molecule, or the emission of radiation. Some of this re-emitted radiation is directed downward, toward the Earth. The net result is that some energy that would be lost to space is absorbed by molecules in the atmosphere, warming it, and some is redirected back to the Earth, increasing the net incoming radiation.

The effect can be directly observed. If you look at the measured longwave radiation emitted at the top of our atmosphere, the global average temperature you would calculate would not support life as we know it (much too cold). The difference from that and our directly observed average surface temperatures are due to the greenhouse effect (the energy based on those temperatures is not making it to the top of the atmosphere).

Decreasing solar input would change part of the energy budget, but the greenhouse effect will act as a buffer (from absorbing and re-emitting longwave radiation) that would cause a delayed response.

Note that I am not a climate scientist, just a regular meteorologist who has taken a few classes in radiative transfer.

Earth orbit changes still best explanation (1, Informative)

peter303 (12292) | more than 3 years ago | (#36442412)

Slight changes in Earths orbit over the Millennia have the best correlation of any factor. These are called the Milankovitch Cycles [wikipedia.org] . This does not rule out a co-factor like a series of large eruptions pushing the climate over the edge. There is about 20K years until the next Milankovitch susceptibility.

Re:Earth orbit changes still best explanation (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#36442540)

No they don't.

Missed the memo (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36442468)

The Global Warming team has changed their tune. Didn't you all get the memo? It's now called Climate Change. Why? Because the planet it not actually warming, there is change in different areas. So, in other words, anything that seems unusual, they will take credit for in Climate Change. Some of us have been experiencing coolers years recently....This is the only move they can make in order to say, "Yeh, we knew that would happen to you....it Climate Change."

Thank The Great Noodle! (4, Funny)

Gauthic (964948) | more than 3 years ago | (#36442630)

It's freakin' 107.1F (41.7C) in North Texas... Come on sun, cool us off!






...hmmm why does that not sound right..

Re:Thank The Great Noodle! (1)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 3 years ago | (#36442850)

As a resident of Wisconsin, I am dismayed by the idea that it might get even colder. It's already cold enough here!

fuckmesweetly (1)

GabriellaKat (748072) | more than 3 years ago | (#36442660)

What the what? I know I have heard that line somewhere before......

I guess you could say... (1)

orkysoft (93727) | more than 3 years ago | (#36442758)

Winter is coming.

Refutability (-1, Flamebait)

Caerdwyn (829058) | more than 3 years ago | (#36442796)

Why anthropogenic global warming is not a "theory":

If there is warming, it's claimed to be because of human activity.
If there is cooling, it's "climate CHANGE", and hey! That counts! And it's because of human activity anyway.
If there is no change at all, it's because the climate panickers' legislative efforts "worked", which is why they should be in charge of everything and everyone.

There is no condition which can arise which does not somehow fit into this "theory". There is no refutability [wikimedia.org] ; it is therefore not science. The scientific method requires that any hypothesis has a method of refutability; climate change/global warming as it is being peddled does not. But as long as there are research grants and "green" subsidies (big ones!) to be had, as long as it puts "white man's burden" thought into political and legal reality, and as long as it forcibly transfers wealth from the West to nations hostile to the West in the form of carbon credits... it's not about climate or science, it's about power and money. Summary of climate change politics: "I want a few tens of billions of oil company money under MY control, and the ability to pauperize anyone who dares try to stand up to me."

Don't worry, though. I'm sure the eco-tards will figure out a way to blame "solar change" on George Bush and on Republicans, then figure out a way to get some nice fat tax credits, subsidies, and "czar-level" appointments that will make the cash and power flow to them and away from the big bad boogeymen.

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