Could Low Solar Activity Trigger an Ice Age? 

Not by Fire but by Ice

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9 November 07
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Could Low Solar Activity Trigger an Ice Age?

That’s what the headline should have read 

Instead it said:
"Ray of hope: Can the sun save us from global warming?"


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5 Dec 07 - After a period of very high sunspot activity in the 20th century, our sun has suddenly gone exceptionally quiet, says astronomer Dr. David Whitehouse. 

We’re at the end of one sunspot cycle, and though astronomers keep waiting for the sunspots to return marking the start of cycle 24, there’s no sign of that returning anytime soon.

Sunspots - dark blotches of magnetic turbulence on the Sun's surface - come and go in a roughly 11-year cycle. Every 11 years there’s usually a sunspot maximum followed by a minimum. But in May 2006 this slowed to a record low. "It's off the bottom of the charts," said NASA scientist David Hathaway. "This has important repercussions for future solar activity." What's more, it's not the only indicator that the Sun is up to something."

               My concern is that this decline in activity could be a precursor to 
               the next ice age, because during the Maunder Minimum, when 
               sunspots were rare during the 17th century, the earth endured the
              "Little Ice Age."

Studies show that by the end of the 20th century the Sun's activity may have been the highest in more than 8,000 years, with the Sun’s magnetic field almost doubling in the past century.

               That’s where the so-called "global warming" came from.

But in the past ten years or so the Sun’s activity started declining. Cycle 24 was supposed to arrive a year ago. Then NOAA changed its forecast to March 2007. Now they’ve upped it to March 2008. The longer it takes, the weaker Cycle 24 it is likely to be. Such behavior is usually followed by cooler temperatures on Earth.

Some members of the Russian Academy of Sciences say we may be at the start of a period like that seen between 1790 and 1820, a minor decline in solar activity called the Dalton Minimum. They estimate that the Sun's reduced activity may cause a global temperature drop of 1.5C by 2020. This is larger than most sensible predictions of man-made global warming over this period.

               I fear that the decline will be far greater than that. The next beat 
               of the Little Ice Age cycle is due. The next beat of the 11,500-year
               ice-age cycle is due. And the next beat of the 105,000-year ice-age 
               cycle is due. In other words, we're due for the BIG one.

See entire article:
http://news.independent.co.uk/sci_tech/article3223603.ece
Thanks to Leah Rose, Chris Tilley and Gordon Pratt for this info


At the end of the above article, Dr. Whitehouse lists the solar minimums and 
maximums going back 1000 years

Modern Solar Minimum
(2000-?)

Modern Climate Optimum
(1890-2000) - the world is getting warmer. Concentrations of greenhouse gas 
increase. Solar activity increases.

Dalton Solar Minimum
(1790-1820) - global temperatures lower than average.

Maunder Solar Minimum
(1645-1715) - coincident with the 'Little Ice Age'.

Sprer Solar Minimum
(1420-1530) - discovered by the analysis of radioactive carbon in tree rings that correlate with solar activity - colder weather. Greenland settlements abandoned.

Wolf Solar Minimum
(1280-1340) - climate deterioration begins. Life gets harder in Greenland.

Medieval Solar Maximum
(1075-1240) - coincides with Medieval Warm Period. Vikings from Norway and Iceland found settlements in Greenland and North America.

Oort Solar Minimum
(1010-1050) - temperature on Earth colder than average.

 

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