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Solar Lull Could Cause Colder Winters In Europe

Soulskill posted about 8 months ago | from the i-blame-the-schools dept.

Earth 320

Taco Cowboy writes "Since September of last year scientists have been wondering what's happening to the Sun. It's supposed to have reached the peak of its 11-year cycle, but sunspot and flare activity remains much quieter than expected. Experts now think the recent cold snap that hit North America and the wet weather that hit part of Europe might be linked to the eerie quietness of the Sun. According to the BBC, solar activity hasn't been this low in 100 years, and if activity keeps dropping, it may reach levels seen during the 'Maunder Minimum,' an 'era of solar inactivity in the 17th Century [which] coincided with a period of bitterly cold winters in Europe.' It wouldn't have a big effect on global temperatures, just regional ones. Why? The sun's UV output drops during these lulls, and the decreased amount of UV light hitting the stratosphere would cause the jet stream to change course. Prof. Mike Lockwood says, 'These are large meanders in the jet stream, and they're called blocking events because they block off the normal moist, mild winds we get from the Atlantic, and instead we get cold air being dragged down from the Arctic and from Russia. These are what we call a cold snap... a series of three or four cold snaps in a row adds up to a cold winter. And that's quite likely what we'll see as solar activity declines.'"

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Not the sun (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46000809)

The Sun does not effect climate. Only carbon.

Only carbon.

Re:Not the sun (2)

rossdee (243626) | about 8 months ago | (#46000841)

The Sun is still working on turning Hydrogen into Helium
But it will get round to Carbon eventuallu

Re:Not the sun (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46000877)

We are stardust, man.

Re:Not the sun (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46000965)

The machines left inside the sun by earlier seeders, almost a billion years ago, are working hard to compensate the observed discrepancies to the model of their target planet. Soon they'll decide a more direct approach will be needed, suspending the order to not establish contact with the natives.

Re:Not the sun (1)

gmhowell (26755) | about 8 months ago | (#46001537)

We are golden.

And we've got to get back to the garden.

Maunder Minimum (5, Informative)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | about 8 months ago | (#46001021)

Just a link to add for the " Mauder Minimum " that was mentioned in TFA -

http://solarscience.msfc.nasa.gov/SunspotCycle.shtml [nasa.gov]

Hope this helps !

Maunder Minimum (4, Funny)

fyngyrz (762201) | about 8 months ago | (#46001331)

The Maunder Minimum is the degree of deviation from the white line allowed before the trooper cites you for being drunk. Even without exceeding the Maunder Minimum, poor performance here combined with "blowing an .08", a (very low) standard for fellatio (the theory being that you'd have to be *really* drunk to perform that poorly*), can combine to annoy the trooper into issuing a ticket. Tomorrow, we're going to re-discover "Boyle's Laws of Gasses", which dictates performance of glassware with insufficient bong fluid. Now put away your books; time for a pop quiz: Coke, or Pepsi?

* Scale normalized 0.0~~1.0 as per International Standards Req. 4:20, para 69, lines for two.

Re:Maunder Minimum (2)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | about 8 months ago | (#46001439)

The Maunder Minimum is the degree of deviation from the white line allowed before the trooper cites you for being drunk.

I understand you are trying to make light of the subject at hand, but anyway, please refer to the below graph for the real Maunder Minimum as refer to the extraordinarily quietness of the Sun, as had happened back in the 17th century -

http://solarscience.msfc.nasa.gov/images/ssn_yearly.jpg [nasa.gov]

Re:Not the sun (2)

garyoa1 (2067072) | about 8 months ago | (#46001085)

It can only get into carbon if it doesn't make too much helium. If it makes too much... it will float away! :::gasp:::

Re:Not the sun (4, Insightful)

hey! (33014) | about 8 months ago | (#46000875)

Seriously, you have captured the essential mindset of the denialists: there can only be one cause for anything. That assumption underlies most of the denialist arguments.

One of the common one is, "Wasn't the Earth warmer in the past? Without industrial carbon emissions?" I've seen that trotted out by politicians against climate researchers, as if (a) that were news to them and (b) it had never occurred to them that something other than CO2 could drive climate change. The other favorite on the denialist hit parade is "carbon lagged warming in past warming periods." Again, they say this as if the climate scientists had never considered this, when the very information they're quoting *comes* from climate science.

Or how about this one: "Mars is warming too, and there's no carbon emissions on Mars."

These arguments are mind-boggling simple-minded, and they're all rooted in a simple, implicit proposition: CO2 either explains all warming episodes everywhere over all time, or it explains *none* of them.

Re:Not the sun (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46000943)

To the denialist, telling them not to smoke in bed is worthless advice because they once knew somebody who had a house fire and never smoked a day in their life.

Heck, they know plenty of people with cancer that don't smoke, so why even worry about it?

Re:Not the sun (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46001139)

Your wife's vagina smokes in bed, after she has sex with me. But then climate change occurs and the bitch gets cold when you're close to coming home from work.

-- Ty Rone

Re:Not the sun (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46001153)

Your wife's vagina smokes in bed, after she has sex with me.

Something to take the taste away no doubt.

Re:Not the sun (4, Insightful)

sideslash (1865434) | about 8 months ago | (#46000959)

Seriously, you have captured the essential mindset of the denialists: there can only be one cause for anything. That assumption underlies most of the denialist arguments.

Maybe it makes you feel good to think that, but the AGW skeptical material I've read certainly doesn't match that characterization. Maybe the fluff posted in the comments section on YouTube or Fox News or MSNBC etc.

Am I wrong? Why don't you link to a post in one of the major climate skeptic websites that shows this "can be only one cause for anything" attitude you describe. Or maybe you're just making stuff up in an attempt to portray your opponents in debate as fools.

Re:Not the sun (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46001081)

You don't need to make anything up, heck or even say anything the denialists do a pretty good job making fools out of themselves.

Re:Not the sun (4, Insightful)

sideslash (1865434) | about 8 months ago | (#46001205)

People in general are good at making fools out of themselves. That is why Doing Science Right (tm) involves disclosing your source data, frequently blurting out to the world everything that may possibly be wrong with your approach, and placing trust in an experiment or model's results only as far as commensurate with the demonstrated reliability of those results.

For anyone keeping score, several of the alarmists have made fools of themselves as well. James Hansen comes to mind as an example of a cargo cult scientist.

Re:Not the sun (1)

djmurdoch (306849) | about 8 months ago | (#46001195)

Why don't you link to a post in one of the major climate skeptic websites

Pick one.

Re:Not the sun (1)

hey! (33014) | about 8 months ago | (#46001455)

Or maybe you're just making stuff up in an attempt to portray your opponents in debate as fools.

I won't comment on the "fools" part, but I'm definitely not making things up. If you want an example, how about a 12 term US congressman [youtube.com] ?

Re:Not the sun (1)

sideslash (1865434) | about 8 months ago | (#46001743)

That was an interesting video, thanks for posting it. The participants were obviously enjoying the exchange. I wouldn't say that anyone made a fool of themselves, though I guess I may have missed something.

Re:Not the sun (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46001761)

Why don't you link to a post in one of the major climate skeptic websites that shows this "can be only one cause for anything" attitude you describe

As if anyone would post a link to a climate change denier web site. As if anyone would want to even read their anti-science dreck...

Re:Not the sun (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46000987)

Its not the "denialists" saying that CO2 is the only cause of climate change, idiot

Re:Not the sun (2, Insightful)

Coolhand2120 (1001761) | about 8 months ago | (#46001035)

On the other hand the "alarmist" logic is: "we already know the cause of the warming, it is humans saturating the atmosphere with too much CO2, we just need to gather and/or create the evidence to support this theory". That's called inductive logic, and is just as unscientific as what you describe coming from the "denialists".

"Real" science comes from gathering evidence and basing your theories on the evidence gathered. You then determine what it might take to falsify your theory and try as hard as possible to falsify it.

All I see from the "alarmist" camp is people trying to support their theories at all costs, calling things causation where there is barely correlation, and making very little if any effort to falsify their theories. This behavior is more akin to religion than any sort of science.

Re:Not the sun (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46001127)

That's called inductive logic

The vast majority of science is based on inductive logic because deductive logic rarely gets used in the messy real world. For among other reasons, the information we have access to in the world is a subset of all information, so you can't make deductive, absolute proofs for most science theories, and instead only have varying amounts of certainty below 100% that could be changed if some day a piece of evidence contradicted a theory. Then again, that is completely unrelated to the issue of trying to find data to support a theory versus finding a theory based on the data at hand, as both of those could be done with inductive or deductive logic.

Re:Not the sun (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46001131)

Real science hasn't been able to work on the problem of global warming, anthropogenic global warming, climate change or anything else that has an effect on either side's bottom line. One has to remember that for every biased study on one side there's an equally biased study on the other.

This article tries to reconnect the activities of the Sun to the climate on Earth but another article mentioned just a few weeks ago declared that the Sun was not a significant driver of the climate on Earth. That's where you get people crying, sarcastically, that it's only man released CO2 that is having any effect on the climate.

Re:Not the sun (3, Interesting)

bunratty (545641) | about 8 months ago | (#46001277)

How is that unscientific? Warming caused by excess CO2 in the atmosphere was predicted long before it was ever observed [wikipedia.org] . Isn't that the scientific method, coming up with a hypothesis that makes predictions, then testing the predictions against observations? If we had not observed the warming, you'd have a point, but we've seen not only warming, but also melting ice and sea level rise [nasa.gov] .

Re:Not the sun (1)

seifried (12921) | about 8 months ago | (#46001547)

Or there could be something else causing global warming, like a decline in the number of beanie babies for sale on eBay, and at the same time the real cause of global climate change occurred (less beanie babies for sale) CO2 levels also happened to rise. This is why you need controls and multiple experiments, or ways to control for other factors.

Re:Not the sun (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46001665)

warmer temperature was observed in all the planets of the solar system thanks to all the probes and the analysis from nasa and the other space agencies... i doubt cow farts and hair spray have reached venus and mars... the only conclusion is the sun being the direct source of global warming and ice ages... we reached the upper temperatures and now we'll going directly to a new ice age.

you may think al gore is right and the humans are the responsible of global warming, but also 1/3 of americans still think creacionism is true... just saying

Re:Not the sun (4, Insightful)

TubeSteak (669689) | about 8 months ago | (#46001361)

On the other hand the "alarmist" logic is: "we already know the cause of the warming, it is humans saturating the atmosphere with too much CO2, we just need to gather and/or create the evidence to support this theory". That's called inductive logic, and is just as unscientific as what you describe coming from the "denialists".

You seem to be creating a strawman for the express purpose of knocking it down.

These "alarmist" scientists are the same type who told us that CFCs were creating a hole in the ozone layer.
We went to great lengths to eliminate CFCs, then lo and behold, the ozone layer fixed itself.

"Real" science comes from gathering evidence and basing your theories on the evidence gathered. You then determine what it might take to falsify your theory and try as hard as possible to falsify it.

Holy shit! Just like what happened with the ozone layer!
The Ozone Hole Alarmists were right!

All I see from the "alarmist" camp is people trying to support their theories at all costs, calling things causation where there is barely correlation, and making very little if any effort to falsify their theories. This behavior is more akin to religion than any sort of science.

Then you haven't looked very hard. [nasa.gov]
The weight of "Real" science is behind the "alarmists" and not at all behind the "denialists".

Re:Not the sun (5, Informative)

hey! (33014) | about 8 months ago | (#46001603)

Just to make it clear to folks who haven't followed this, the "ozone hole" is not a fixed feature of the Antarctic; it's like weather, it grows and shrinks in different years based on local atmospheric conditions, causing many to have declared premature victory. However the ozone levels in the Antarctic have stabilized and are expected to recover to pre-industrial levels over the coming decades.

This is not a case of the problem "fixing itself", it's a case of people deciding to take effective action [wikipedia.org] by banning ozone depleting chemicals (thank you President Reagan [ucsb.edu] ).

Re:Not the sun (4, Insightful)

Orp (6583) | about 8 months ago | (#46001437)

On the other hand the "alarmist" logic is: "we already know the cause of the warming, it is humans saturating the atmosphere with too much CO2, we just need to gather and/or create the evidence to support this theory". That's called inductive logic, and is just as unscientific as what you describe coming from the "denialists".

"Real" science comes from gathering evidence and basing your theories on the evidence gathered. You then determine what it might take to falsify your theory and try as hard as possible to falsify it.

All I see from the "alarmist" camp is people trying to support their theories at all costs, calling things causation where there is barely correlation, and making very little if any effort to falsify their theories. This behavior is more akin to religion than any sort of science.

False equivalency is false.

Guess what? A lot of the "alarmist" are the same scientists doing the research. Sure, people get attached to theories, but do you realize that the best possible thing to happen to a scientist is for him/her to make a discovery that tosses the widely accepted hypotheses on their head? In other words, if a scientist did a rigorously peer reviewed study which indicated that, say, it's a reduction in neutrinos from the sun somehow, oh, say tweaking aerosol concentrations, leading to a strong causal relationship between this phenomenon and observed global warming - while also showing that the greenhouse effect of CO2 was much less of a factor than previously thought - that person would be fricking king of the scientific world.

The tired repeated bleatings of non-scientists who have not spent their careers repeatedly getting their work shredded by reviewers [this being the norm, not the exception] on the path to eventual publication do absolutely zilch to move things forward regarding understand what's really going on. The simple-minded idea that climate science is some sort of "alarmists versus skeptics" battle is laughable; this false equivalency between two imagined camps, each claiming to know the truth, is entirely imagined by ignorant people. Unless you've actually done science and gotten your work published in decent journals, these opinions mean absolute diddlyshit; nothing more than mental masturbation splooging text on the screen, masquerading as informed debate.

Re:Not the sun (0)

cheesybagel (670288) | about 8 months ago | (#46001599)

do you realize that the best possible thing to happen to a scientist is for him/her to make a discovery that tosses the widely accepted hypotheses on their head?

You clearly haven't done much research. As one guy used to say science progresses when the last generation dies. That's how fossilized fields become when all the people doing peer review have the same mindset.

Re:Not the sun (1)

Orp (6583) | about 8 months ago | (#46001679)

do you realize that the best possible thing to happen to a scientist is for him/her to make a discovery that tosses the widely accepted hypotheses on their head?

You clearly haven't done much research. As one guy used to say science progresses when the last generation dies. That's how fossilized fields become when all the people doing peer review have the same mindset.

Maybe I should have said "successfully publish a discovery" blah blah. If you don't believe that, well, talk to Einstein, Bohr, Watson, Crick, Darwin, etc. etc. etc.

Re:Not the sun (-1, Troll)

cheesybagel (670288) | about 8 months ago | (#46001799)

Max Planck was the guy who said what I mentioned. I would say he did enough too. Genetics at one time was a banned subject in the Soviet Union and don't let me start about Darwin. It took a long time for evolution to be accepted as a theory and in fact some people still don't accept it.

AGW is a bunch of hyperbole and crap science all around. We should be focusing on real issues not make crap up. As if there isn't enough trouble trying to provide energy for everyone in this planet to live a comfortable life given real problems.

Re:Not the sun (0)

hey! (33014) | about 8 months ago | (#46001473)

"Real" science comes from gathering evidence and basing your theories on the evidence gathered. You then determine what it might take to falsify your theory and try as hard as possible to falsify it.

Indeed. You just missed the forty years of scientific debate that overturned the 1950s consensus that the Earth was entering a cooling phase. This wasn't something that happened overnight, it was fought tooth and nail for decades.

Re:Not the sun (1)

Vinegar Joe (998110) | about 8 months ago | (#46001521)

On the other hand the "alarmist" logic is: "we already know the cause of the warming, it is humans saturating the atmosphere with too much CO2, we just need to gather and/or create the evidence to support this theory".

"Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is an absurd one." - Voltaire

Re:Not the sun (1)

cheesybagel (670288) | about 8 months ago | (#46001505)

No the 'denialist' argument is that it isn't a cause to change policy. The temperature change, if it has any impact, is irrelevant compared to existing natural causes. That is the whole point. So before you start proposing for people to freeze in the winter or overheat in the summer from closing down coal power plants, or other dumbass ideas i've heard proposed, consider the consequences.

Re:Not the sun (1)

hey! (33014) | about 8 months ago | (#46001617)

No the 'denialist' argument is that it isn't a cause to change policy. The temperature change, if it has any impact, is irrelevant compared to existing natural causes. That is the whole point. So before you start proposing for people to freeze in the winter or overheat in the summer from closing down coal power plants, or other dumbass ideas i've heard proposed, consider the consequences.

First of all, I didn't propose that anyone freeze in the winter or overheat in the summer; that is typical denialist histrionics.

As for the natural causes, which causes in your opinion account for the warming we've experienced since the 1950s?

Re:Not the sun (1)

cheesybagel (670288) | about 8 months ago | (#46001769)

I haven't been around that long. But from what I remember the weather is, once again, as cold and wet as it was when I was a kid. People who read a bit are aware that the weather fluctuates and blaming it all on human activity when you know the magnitudes of energy involved in the process is naive. We don't even exploit a significant portion of energy in this planet yet.

As for warming, the Romans had men wearing togas and women wearing silk clothes in the street around 250 BC, so I would say the 1990s weren't hot enough.

Re:Not the sun (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46000981)

You are right! The science is SETTLED. Cast in stone. Al Gore himself says so.

Re:Not the sun (1)

Orp (6583) | about 8 months ago | (#46001203)

Does the sun's decrease in activity effect climate change? Or perhaps affect spelling ability? That would be a weird effect.

Re:Not the sun (1)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about 8 months ago | (#46001329)

Yes and no.
Yes, because it slows the warming a bit.
No, because the effect is less than 1% (in heat).
However the issues with UV (and gamma) radiation hitting the higher atmosphere and what effect that has on cloud forming is a pretty new topic.

Re:Not the sun (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46001501)

wHOOOOOSH!

That wasn't a Messershmit, you dozy kraut.

Re:Not the sun (1)

Vinegar Joe (998110) | about 8 months ago | (#46001489)

The Sun does not effect climate. Only carbon.

Only carbon.

The Science is settled!

global cooling (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46000837)

Oh the irony...

Re:global cooling (3, Interesting)

Immerman (2627577) | about 8 months ago | (#46000923)

So would a second "Maunder Minimum" now be a good thing because it buys us a little more time to get our act together? Or a bad thing because it lets us keep our heads in the sand even longer so that we get hit all the harder and faster when the sun returns to its normal behavior?

Not that we have solar observations going back long enough to detect long-term cycles, but another 50+ year minimum starting up now when it could make it much easier to avoid the worst permanent climate changes would be almost enough to get me believing in intelligent intervention.

Re:global cooling (2)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 8 months ago | (#46000947)

Your argument presupposes that we can manipulate our behavior and environment cohesively and quickly enough to effect a useful change that would - well, what would it do? Allow increased population growth? Allow for better standards of living for humans? The rest of the biosphere?

Given the inertia of 7 billion humans and our imperfect knowledge of some very, very complex systems, I'm not at all sure that anything we can do will actually help.

Re:global cooling (3, Informative)

Immerman (2627577) | about 8 months ago | (#46001423)

Greenhouse gas heat capture is reasonably well understood, even if many of the secondary effects are still being discovered. While completely unrealistic, eliminating carbon emissions tomorrow would do quite a bit to stabilize the climate, if we were very, very lucky the global climate wouldn't change much by the end of the century and after that the crisis situation would largely be over and global climates would likely remain reasonably stable thereafter. We're probably past the point of getting the climate back to the state it was in a century ago without massive geoengineering, but we can still work towards mitigating the changes.

As for the benefits - a big one would be a biosphere not confronted by a second major extinction event to exacerbate the one were already in the midst of (human hunting, fishing, farming, and (more recently), toxic pollution has devastated the biosphere over the last few millenia). We're going to be hard-pressed to sustain the ~10 billion people the global population is expected to stabilize at by mid-century without any climate troubles. If our farmland is being rendered non-viable by climate shifts that problem will be much, much worse. For example it's looking likely that without serious changes in climate policy in the near term, within a century or two corn mostly won't be a viable US crop except in the northernmost states. Canada will have become much more suitable, but that will mean devastating ecologically important wilderness areas, and while farms are fairly easy to move, you can't just up and move all the processing plants and other infrastructure, and refitting a century worth of infrastructure to process whatever crops, if any, are suited to the new climate is liable to be very expensive if even possible. Now imagine that happening to every crop, everywhere on the planet, simultaneously. Extremely expensive. Not to mention that during the transition period you're going to have vast regions of agricultural land that has become non-viable for one crop but not yet viable for another. And we'll also have all those more extreme weather patterns to contend with as the forcing factors from polar temperature differences weaken and stop forcing the weather to follow predictable patterns from year to year. We're already seeing the polar wind belts becoming weaker and more meandering, which allows weather patterns that would once have swept across the country to get trapped in the eddy currents to cause severe protracted storms in some places and droughts in others.

Global famine is looking like a very real possibility, and that would likely destabilize world peace more thoroughly than anything we've seen in centuries. Peace is one of those luxuries you strive for once not starving to death has been taken care of.

So basically yes to all of your possibilities. But we're not talking about an increase from today, we're talking about avoiding, as much as possible, a massive decrease in all of them. It's looking like some decrease is inevitable - estimates are that we're already harvesting the global ecosystem (farming, fishing, logging, etc) at a rate ~40% higher than is sustainable (we're "spending the capital" and doing long-term damage to environmental productivity). Getting efficient we could possibly support 10 billion people in comfort sustainably, but that's a tall order, and probably not even remotely possible if climate change are powerfully undermine our productivity. And what exactly do you suppose will happen in the intervening time if the global population is forced to be reduced by 1/2 or 3/4 within a few generations?

Re:global cooling (1)

tlambert (566799) | about 8 months ago | (#46001659)

Greenhouse gas heat capture is reasonably well understood, even if many of the secondary effects are still being discovered

Apparently it's not very well understood by the companies selling natural gas (methane, a greenhouse gas) in the U.S., which were recently reported to be leaking dangerous amounts of the stuff all over NYC and Washington DC, and that's not including the town that blew up in California.

Re:global cooling (1, Insightful)

Koby77 (992785) | about 8 months ago | (#46000967)

It would be bad, but not for the reason you mention. It would be bad because then the alarmists don't get to tax and control the economy. Lefty socialists the world over are severely panicking that this prime opportunity is evaporating before their eyes.

Re:global cooling (3, Insightful)

bunratty (545641) | about 8 months ago | (#46001397)

Ah, finally the real objection to believing in AGW comes to light... you're afraid of your political opponents gaining power. But just for a moment consider that we may need to actually reduce carbon dioxide emissions for legitimate reasons. Can you think of a way that we could do that without the commie pinkos taking over? Let's get creative.

Re:global cooling (-1)

cheesybagel (670288) | about 8 months ago | (#46001619)

CO2 is plant food and people as well as animals produce it by exhaling. Once you start on that path, the usual consequences are death, famine and misery.

Re:global cooling (1)

bunratty (545641) | about 8 months ago | (#46001811)

There's a natural carbon cycle [wikipedia.org] that gets plants their food. No one is suggesting interfering with that cycle. I'm discussing burning fewer fossil fuels so we don't add more carbon into that cycle. Believe me, no plants will die if we stop burning shit. If you think so, how do you think they survived the many millions of years before humans existed?

How can we reduce the amount of fossil fuels we burn without socialists running the planet? I don't think this is a hard question.

Re:global cooling (1, Troll)

ScentCone (795499) | about 8 months ago | (#46001669)

you're afraid of your political opponents gaining power

Well, sure. Who wants a bunch of statist central command types running their lives? Tax-ravenous Nanny Staters are bad news. Why should we want them to get any more power than they've already got? They've latched onto climate alarmism as their latest propaganda tool, and it's perfectly delightful when they are deprived of easy, distracting sound bite fodder. Half their fun already ended when they had to switch from "global warming" to "climate change," and this just makes it a little harder for them to spew their usual lines. That's just great.

Re:global cooling (1)

Immerman (2627577) | about 8 months ago | (#46001475)

Absolutely! Virtually every independent climatologist on the planet agrees that we're causing extremely serious long-term climate problems because they're part of a leftist conspiracy to control the economy. Good thing we have big oil and other entrenched corporate interests looking out for us, they have no reason to lie! And when they use their wealth and power to secure massive subsidies from the government that's not "control", that's just the free market at work!

Re:global cooling (1, Informative)

Spy Handler (822350) | about 8 months ago | (#46001173)

If we enter another little ice age, that's bad for most everybody. Europe's agriculture would be decimated, many towns in the Alps will be overrun by glaciers, etc. We have good records of what happened during the last one ~200 to 600 years ago. It wasn't pretty.

The oil exporting desert kingdoms might benefit since energy demands will skyrocket and they might get some respite from their usually brutal summer heat.

About the only good thing from a new little ice age would be putting Al Gore, Michael Mann, etc. in their place, which is to say utterly discredited and labeled as perpetrators of the biggest fraud in history.

Re:global cooling (1)

Immerman (2627577) | about 8 months ago | (#46001559)

Yes, but that's very unlikely to happen because of an extended solar minimum alone - The Maunder Minimum actually occurred towards the tail end of the medieval little ice age. In this case we're in a situation where human forcing factors are pushing towards extreme warming, a few decades of solar decrease would only slow the rate of increase, buying us some more time without resorting to geoengineering projects with potentially devastating unintended consequences.

Re:global cooling (1, Troll)

cheesybagel (670288) | about 8 months ago | (#46001649)

The next ice age is going to come eventually. We aren't that far away from the point when its supposed to happen again. In fact some people claim we would already be experiencing its effect it it wasn't for the elevated CO2 and higher than usual solar activity in the last decade. Now that the Sun is abnormally inactive, which is something which may be indicative of an ice age, since the causes phenomenon are not completely well defined, we shall see.

When Al Gore bought real estate in NY which was close to sea level, that was enough to tell you that even he doesn't believe the crap he spouts.

Everyone knows the sun has .... (1)

3seas (184403) | about 8 months ago | (#46000853)

absolutely nothing to do with the political hot air and chilling political failures this planet is suffering from.

Re:Everyone knows the sun has .... (1)

rolfwind (528248) | about 8 months ago | (#46000873)

Re:Everyone knows the sun has .... (1)

3seas (184403) | about 8 months ago | (#46000901)

The smartest person on (uh err... in) the planet...!!!

OB: Global warming (5, Funny)

rueger (210566) | about 8 months ago | (#46000861)

Aha! Weather in some places that's colder or warmer than others! With stuff happening on the Sun.

Obviously Global Warming is a fiction created by neo-Luddite Green party members.

And communists. Yeah. Communists.

Re:OB: Global warming (5, Insightful)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about 8 months ago | (#46000929)

Weather in some places that's colder or warmer than others!

Truly unprecedented in history.

Regardless of the predictive value of our models, let's raise some taxes.

Re:OB: Global warming (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46001039)

> Truly unprecedented in history.

But it fits the models! Look! I just refit them so they match what happened so I know I was right all along!

Re:OB: Global warming (1, Offtopic)

TubeSteak (669689) | about 8 months ago | (#46001133)

Regardless of the predictive value of our models, let's raise some taxes.

You mean the ones that are at historical lows?
Or the other ones which account for businesses externalities and are mostly zero?

Re:OB: Global warming (1)

cheesybagel (670288) | about 8 months ago | (#46001667)

Taxes are high man. Especially here in Europe. What is low is interest rates.

Re:OB: Global warming (1)

Ichijo (607641) | about 8 months ago | (#46001701)

Regardless of the predictive value of our models, let's raise some taxes.

Then we would emit less carbon and reduce the public debt at the same time, all for the price of a carbon tax. Who doesn't like two-for-one deals?

real but (1)

frovingslosh (582462) | about 8 months ago | (#46001741)

No, it is real, but it might not be enough to save humanity from the next coming ice age. Some of us have been warming things up to try to prevent that disaster, but environmentalist wackos are fighting us.

Here comes the rightwing deniers (-1, Flamebait)

Billly Gates (198444) | about 8 months ago | (#46000869)

Rush and others will use these isolated incidents to feed those who use their gut instincts on how silly those liberal socialist geeks who are educated are and to ignore what else they have to say about light bulbs because they have been so wrong etc

Re:Here comes the rightwing deniers (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46000889)

Exactly. That's why articles like this are immoral to publish. Of course the CONservatives that run this site love to pimp these sort of anti-global warming garbage.

Re:Here comes the rightwing deniers (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46001001)

I knew it all along that Wired and the BBC were right-wing propaganda outfits full of climate-deniers....

Re:Here comes the rightwing deniers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46001281)

Great. It's become "immoral" to publish scientific facts, because the masses are too stupid to interpret them properly. You, sir, are the definition of what's wrong with an elitist, highly specialized social grouping, and the trap of a parochial desire to protect the laypeople from themselves.

You are actually protecting no one. Categorizing any science as needing suppression is an act of the dark ages.

And you probably don't have the specialized skills either, as no climatologist worth his salt would willingly ignore or suppress these findings. After all, it is actually climatology. An actual climatologist would just be happy to see climate issues described correctly on the front page.

For the investment minded (2)

xtal (49134) | about 8 months ago | (#46000881)

Good chance to make some money on rising energy costs. ...cause nobody wants to build nuclear plants, but nobody likes being cold, either.

Re:For the investment minded (1)

cheesybagel (670288) | about 8 months ago | (#46001677)

Like the guy used to say, just use another sweater. Good luck doing that at -20 C though.

Didn't expect it would take long (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46000883)

Can we just save everyone a lot of keyboard smashing a skip the tired debate this time?

-Yes, this is egg on the face of Human Induced Climate Change(HICC).
-No, this is not going to convince the people banning incandescent light bulbs that there is contention surrounding the "prevailing science".
-No, I don't need a refresher on the difference between "climate" & "weather".

For all the time and energy people spend trying to prove or disprove an un-disprovable hypothetis(that humans are causing the problem) we could make a lot of headway towards minimizing the impact of the solar cycle on our weather/climate by reducing CO2 emmisions.

Just a thought... On the other hand, I'm sure there are plenty of people left who haven't heard the same talking points a million times before.

It just occurred to me that if the scientists wait (1)

3seas (184403) | about 8 months ago | (#46000927)

till after the fact, they might just be right.....

China will save us! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46000955)

Yeah, pump more toxic C02 in the air, warm this bitch up!

We could ... (2)

PPH (736903) | about 8 months ago | (#46000951)

... offset these cold snaps by generating additional greenhouse gasses and injecting them into the atmosphere.

I, for one, am willing to do my part.

Re:We could ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46000979)

I'm helping too - I ate beans for lunch

Told you so. (2)

Heraklit (29346) | about 8 months ago | (#46000957)

Winter *is* coming.

Re:Told you so. (1)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about 8 months ago | (#46001353)

Summer *is* already happening: on the sothern hemisphere.

Northern Hemisphere bias (1)

ChunderDownunder (709234) | about 8 months ago | (#46000969)

It's been bloody hot this week downunder. perhaps the sun just flew south.

Re:Northern Hemisphere bias (1)

Pinky's Brain (1158667) | about 8 months ago | (#46001045)

Europe hasn't seen any real winter yet either, just lots and lots of storms ... birds think it's spring already.

Re:Northern Hemisphere bias (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46001297)

We've been having a real winter for about a week or so here in Finland.

Re:Northern Hemisphere bias (2)

Vinegar Joe (998110) | about 8 months ago | (#46001549)

Europe hasn't seen any real winter yet either, just lots and lots of storms ... birds think it's spring already.

European swallows think it's Spring? What is the opinion of African swallows?

Re:Northern Hemisphere bias (1)

cheesybagel (670288) | about 8 months ago | (#46001689)

You don't have a clue man. There are places in Europe where frost is showing up when it usually doesn't all year. This week has been horrible.

Re:Northern Hemisphere bias (1)

tlambert (566799) | about 8 months ago | (#46001695)

It's been bloody hot this week downunder. perhaps the sun just flew south.

Quit standing under the ozone hole.

Turning down the lights (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46000991)

Reduces thermal flux.

You can't turn down the Sun without dropping the average temperature on Earth.

How dare you post this AGW denialist propaganda? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46001019)

We all have a concensus on the fact that the single largest source of heat (energy, enerally) in our solar system - a nuclear furnace many times larger than all the planets combined - makes no significant contribution to Earth's temperature. The big contributors are the teensy tiny cars that a fraction of the puny humans drive about; the U.N. has said so, so it MUST be true. Pay no attention to that big unshielded reactor in thes sky or to wildfires or volcanoes etc.... we must ban coal! Our great grandkids will thank us for not letting it be 0.1 degrees warmer a century from now.

beta /. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46001031)

sucks monkey balls

And here I thought... (2)

Em Adespoton (792954) | about 8 months ago | (#46001051)

... that the Solarian civil war had finally ended and the sun was at peace once more.

Before this turns into a derpfest... (5, Informative)

Orp (6583) | about 8 months ago | (#46001053)

The NCAR link is probably the best for relating this to climate change:

So could a lengthy drop in solar output be enough to counteract human-caused climate change? Recent studies at NCAR and elsewhere have estimated that the total global cooling effect to be expected from reduced TSI during a grand minimum such as Maunder might be in the range of 0.1 to 0.3 Celsius (0.18 to 0.54 Fahrenheit). A 2013 study confirms the findings. This compares to an expected warming effect of 3.0C (5.4F) or more by 2100 due to greenhouse gas emissions. In other words, even a grand solar minimum might only be enough to offset one decade of global warming. Moreover, since greenhouse gases linger in the atmosphere, the impacts of those added gases would continue after the end of any grand minimum.

So perhaps a serious lull in solar activity could put some feeble brakes on global warming, slowing it down... temporarily, only to charge back when the sun gets over its issues.

I'm a meteorologist, not a climate guy, but I find the hypothesis that the current solar lull is responsible for the recent cold snaps in the northern hemisphere to be extremely dubious. Much more tenuous than the hypothesis that the meandering jet stream is happening due to the reduction in the north/south temperature gradient due from a reduction of Arctic ice cover, which itself is physically feasible but still not shown very conclusively.

The best way to get a grip on these issues would be to run many, many ensembles of weather models and coaxing out statistical links. And this is where weather/climate modeling is going, for good reasons... but as all the armchair slashdot climatologists will (perhaps rightly) point out, models have issues... but they are getting much better and ensembles help a lot to provide a handle on the probability that forcing A is causing response B.

Re:Before this turns into a derpfest... (1)

Torodung (31985) | about 8 months ago | (#46001323)

Thank you for the sane, intelligible reply, and I hope you get modded up.

Re:Before this turns into a derpfest... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46001663)

Hi meterologist,

Think about meandering jet streams and polar outbreaks over land being intensified by warmer oceans, the land vs ocean affect, and more air entering the vertical circulation cells due to heating. Thus the land vs water affect focuses the outbursts which are stronger because of the increased vertical movement of air in the global circuilations.

Re:Before this turns into a derpfest... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46001713)

climate changes are ciclical like everything in the nature... we'll see a paulatine reduction in global temperatures because we are going to the new ice age... if we look to the timeframe between ice ages we'll see we are in the warming peak between ice ages, and from here we'll have colder and colder years

Re:Before this turns into a derpfest... (1)

cheesybagel (670288) | about 8 months ago | (#46001737)

His comment sounds like utter bullshit though. You can put all the CO2 in an atmosphere you want. If you don't have solar flux the heat on the surface will be minimal. One good example is Mars. There have been plenty of examples along history of temperatures decreasing by more than .1 or .3 Celsius even when there were no humans on the planet.

For wet weather and floods in UK... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46001225)

there is a much better explanation by a British politician on the BBC

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-oxfordshire-25793358

'nugh said.

Re:For wet weather and floods in UK... (1)

cheesybagel (670288) | about 8 months ago | (#46001747)

See? God himself wills it so. Makes as much sense as some of the crackpot theories i've heard.

The solar minimum versus carbon emissions (2)

oculusprime (1250270) | about 8 months ago | (#46001519)

The original post is about changes in solar emissions, which certainly could have (and has had) an effect on climate. So why is this conversation degenerating into the "controversy" over whether burning fossil fuels could be altering the earth's climate. Look, Carbon Dioxide IS a greenhouse gas. No scientist disputes that if we just keep shoving the stuff in the atmosphere forever, eventually things will warm up. The only question is whether or not we are putting enough up there right now to have this effect. So lets do some simple math: 1 gallon of gasoline requires about 100 tons of biomass. 1 barrel of oil makes 20 gallons of gasoline. The world uses 85,000,000 barrels of oil per day. Doing the simple math, we use the equivalent of 170,000,000,000 tons of biomass per day. The earth's current biomass is estimated at 560,000,000,000 tons. So we burn the equivalent of 1/3 of all the earth's current biomass every single day. I find this pretty compelling. Changes in solar emissions may cover this up or even counteract it for a while, but eventually, if we keep shooting carbon into the atmosphere year after year, we won't be able to count on a solar minimum to compensate for it...

Re:The solar minimum versus carbon emissions (1)

bussdriver (620565) | about 8 months ago | (#46001687)

Don't forget Global Dimming which everybody would know about from the "skeptics" and the fossil industry except that Global Dimming was found to fit in with Global Warming and undermine their propaganda strategy. You might hear more about it from the Atmosphere Engineering people who will cite it as proof we can change the climate... but instead of unhealthy pollution we are dimming the earth with today we'd use more healthy pollution. There is no doubt we'd be much hotter today if it were not for Global Dimming. Me, I think we'll eventually be sold on some "safe" form of pollution for a bunch of cash to mitigate the problem (more money to be made on all sides with that kind of solution. safety be dammed.)

The impact of pollution dimming seems to be larger than that of this change in the Sun; which sounds to me like it is just triggering some weather changes not changing the overall temperature. Wouldn't it have to be rather massive to impact us greatly?

That is to say, we are closer to the sun in the winter and we have winter simply because we have more darkness due to our rotation at an angle -- to compare with those wouldn't the sun need really drastic event way beyond anything observed? Think about it: during winter we are completely blocked from the sun for more of the day - to do something similar the sun would have to turn down by 30%?

The Cold Outflow Was not due to less sun (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46001633)

The cold was an arctic outflow. It was cold here because of the jetstream structure, it was a greatly expanded polar cell.

Facts
a) in winter water is warmer than land
b) from (A) arctic outflows happen over land not water
c) forcing affect of (b) is stronger the warmer the water is
d) cold air does not even come from up north, cold air comes from high in the atmosphere where it radiates to space
e) hot air rises
f) cold air falls
g) even though (d) said cold air does not come from up north, that is where most of the cold air descends from on high, so cold air does come from up north
h) (g) is well known. Look up Polar Cell, MidLatitudeCell, Hadley Cell. or google global air circulation
i) I have not said anything about global warming yet

The article referred to is obvious counter global warming "the sun is cooling" crap.
j) I have now referred to global warming
k) 70% of the earths surface is water. if all the land cools by 5deg and all the water surface warms by 3deg the whole earth has warmed by 0.6deg. Math says you have look at the whole planet not just the land.
l) In addition to (k) land warms/cools only about 6 feet, water warms/cools the full depth of the water eventually as water circulates.
m) it takes a lot more energy to warm water compared to air
n) I have not referred to global warming since (j)

Thanks for reading

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