One of the alleged climate scientists implicated in ClimateGate says that if bloggers know so much they should prove global cooling. That’s funny. Bloggers already have. And I did it in 1989 – when global warming was hardly mentioned in the scientific literature.
I lost the original version, the one with the math, in a computer crash. I was asked to rewrite it in 2004. When a condensed version wound up on the ‘net. Here’s about half the condensed version, sans graphs and links. (Because I do not have permission to use the graphs here, and the links fell victim to climate hysteria.)
“GLOBAL WARMING AND SUNSPOTS FROM AN HISTORICAL VIEWPOINT”
“Solar cycle 23” is rapidly declining. Will that have an effect on our climate. Yes, it will.
Two thousand year old Chinese records show rivers thawed earlier, snow melted sooner, crops sprouted earlier and yielded more, and the climate was much milder during the 10 percent of the time the sun was most active. That same pattern has occurred every time we have a sunspot super maxima.
Why? Because Ol’ Sol’s total emissions, including heat, increase at the height of each sunspot cycle, and increase even more and for a longer period during each sunspot super maxima.
According to the most widely accepted estimates I can find, effective total solar emissions increased by some two percent between 1800 and 1980, with virtually all the increase coming after 1920.
Two percent sounds as if a 100-degree day in 1800 would be a 102-degree day now. But if our planet wandered away from our star the surface temperature would soon be close to 450 degrees below zero. We are most comfortable around 70 degrees, so that makes 520 degrees between no sun and comfortable.
Two percent of that is over 10 degrees. So if other factors did not intervene, the average temperature of our planet should have been 10 degrees warmer in 1990 than it was in 1800.
It was not, but the reasons are well known – more solar radiation causes more evaporation, causing more clouds, raising the “albedo” or the apparent brightness of the earth, causing more radiation to be reflected back into space. And while all this may be interesting, the sunspot cycle’s effects on history is fascinating.
Warm and cold cycles strongly affect trade routes and tribal migrations, as trade goods and foodstuffs become more available during warm periods and scarcer during cold ones.
Even casual examination of trade routes and mass migrations tells the story of global warming and cooling, but analyzing data is dry work. So for the moment, let me observe that the quickest path to understanding is often the crooked path and take a detour. Let’s go from total solar emissions and the effect of a higher albedo to history; starting with today’s headlines.
Today’s headlines say Greenland’s glaciers are melting, Greenland’s glaciers are melting, New York will drown before 2100.
Greenland’s glaciers have certainly melted before, in the 10th and 11th centuries when Lief Ericsson was selling farmsteads in with all the fervor of a 1920’s Florida real estate boomer.
Greenland’s glaciers probably melted around 150 AD when Hadrian was going into the construction business. But if anyone visited during that time they didn’t brag about it. But exiles and outcasts don’t usually go home and brag, you know.
Greenland’s glaciers were almost certainly much smaller when the prehistoric Red Ochre People occupied the great arc of land and sea between the St. Laurence River and the Baltic.
In chronological order, the Red Ochre People disappeared (the Vinland expedition’s “Skraelings” may have been a remnant population), most probably during one of the more intense “mini ice ages” dendrology (tree ring analysis) tells us of.
Assyrian records that correspond to a period of persistently low sunspot numbers report seven years of crop failures and famine due to late springs, dry summers, and early winters, while 300 years later the spots returned and the climate was much more pleasant, with early springs, mild winters, and summer rains.
So even before the Chinese started keeping records the sun’s cycles had an effect on humanity. And the climate, as the widely spaced rings from warm periods alternating with closely spaced rings from the long cold spells attest, changed with the spots.
Historically, and more familiarly, Hadrian’s wall builders complained of fog and rain and wrote home for socks! Tree rings and other evidence from the era show widely spaced rings, and clear evidence of a climate at least as mild as today’s.
600 years later the Venerable Bede mentions bitter cold, with rivers frozen hard enough to support riders from early October to March as far south as Hastings and Penzance. As far south as you can get in England. Unless you wear scales and can swim.
Another three hundred years brings us to the eleventh century, which began with Eric the Red’s stumbling across what he called Greenland. The glaciers were in retreat and Eric and his crew found wild grapes, wheat, and willow trees. Probable evidence of earlier colonization, most likely by the Red Ochre people!
Eric returned to Iceland and promptly took up land booming for a living! And did well at it, attracting many families who wanted to settle in a vast new land.
The warm spell was nearing its end by September 25, 1066, when brutally hot September weather impelled Harald Hardraada’s Danes to discard their quilted hauberks and chain mail at Stamford Bridge. Unarmored, the well rested Danes were slaughtered by Harold’s Saxons, even though the Saxons were exhausted from an incredible 180 mile, four day forced march! (230 miles in three and a half days according to some historians!)
Four days after Stamford Bridge summery weather helped William the Bastard, son of Robert the Devil and a blacksmith’s daughter, land men and supplies on English soil near Hastings.
Three warm weeks after Stamford Bridge Harold and William’s armies met, Harold took an arrow in his eye, and Bill the Bastard became “William the Conqueror!”
After William’s accession the climate cooled, until a 13th century mini-ice age crowned famine king from Italy’s boot northward. Greenland’s settlers either starved or faded into the native Inuit population as extreme cold made farming impossible.
Just two hundred years later, the sunspots strengthened and northern soils once again yielded their “bounteous fruits,” or at least as bounteous as night soil and wooden plows yielded.
With increased food supplies European civilization bloomed into the glorious Renaissance, quickly followed by the voyages of exploration and colonization which took advantage of the all too temporary warmth. Including the colonization of America.
Then another mini-ice age came along. American rivers as far down the coast as South Carolina froze solidly enough that settlers cut and banked ice against the next summer’s heat. Then came our Revolution – still cold, and soldier’s feet froze at Valley Forge.
But by the time of the War Between the States, the climate was somewhat milder. A slow trend that continued for the next 80 years. Then, around 1945 Ol’ Sol broke out with a near record case of sunpox, and the weather became milder than it had been in a thousand years! Followed by the all time solar maxima of 1956 and ’57 and a warming trend that has continued, perhaps to this day.
Or perhaps it has not. There are many indications that our climate may be actually cooling quite rapidly. Including the fact that Greenland’s glaciers are growing in some places.
Last winter (2003/03) was an extremely severe winter over most of the Northern Hemisphere. Snow loads collapsed hundreds of European and Russian buildings, with severe loss of life in Germany, Poland, and Russia. The worst winter since the “Long March” hit China. Japan was socked with the most severe winter since the 1930’s.
All told, last winter had the lowest temperatures over the widest area in more than seventy years. North America escaped the worst of it, but we are getting plenty of cold late winter weather. Several fiftyish people told me this winter was the coldest they can remember. I probably remember worse – but I’m an antique, so I have a right!
To sum it up, we have just gone through the most intense periods of solar activity in recorded history. By all the signs and portents, the sun was at its most energetic beginning in the 1950’s and it’s been radiating far more energy than the 2,000 year average ever since.
It seems inevitable there will be a decline in solar radiation. And according to NASA’s 11,000 year long look at the past and at least 3,000 years of written history, that decline is already past due.
Confirming that, “block measurements” confirm the overall level of solar energy impinging on our planet has declined slightly over the last decade and will most likely drop by a half percent or so in the next 50 years.
A half- percent drop in solar radiation represents two degrees F, a degree Celsius, more or less. That’s just about the increase in global temperatures that have occurred since 1930. So short term, we can expect temperatures much like that of the 1900-1930 time period. Brrr – get your steam heated long johns ready!
But what about global warming? Are we really about to turn the Earth into it’s near twin Venus. Several scientists say the Earth’s albedo is much lower than it should be, partially because of particulate pollution (mostly smoke and dust from Asia) and partially because the Tunguska event disrupted the upper atmosphere enough to drastically thin out the cirrus clouds that reflect most of the solar heat back to space.
There is no doubt of the pollution. That is visible from the International Space Station. Prevailing winds already dust the arctic with soot particles, somewhat increasing the amount of ice melt during the arctic summer.
The Tunguska event is more doubtful. But either way, yes, we should clean up our mess. We need to stop using up our limited supply of fossil fuels, and we should clean up our landfills and recycle as much as possible.
I have talked about that before, but we absolutely cannot become energy independent over night without condemning between fifty to one hundred million Americans to a miserable death from heat, cold, thirst, or famine.
Despite the posturings of a few billionaire politicians, the government has a responsibility to keep the heat on, the air conditioners running, and the water taps flowing. So what do we do? The very best we can to cut total energy use, as quickly as we can. Given the will, we could get to 100 percent nuclear and biofuels, cutting our output of soot and other pollutants, in about 30 years. The nuclear end of the equation would cost a trillion dollars, spread over twenty five years. The biofuels, about the same. Call it 80 billion a year. That is a cheap price for national survival.
But there is a question of whether India, China, Indonesia, and the other newly emerging industrial nations can do it at all. Or are even willing to try.
So, while the “man made global warming” enthusiasts in both the media and in academia have managed to apply sufficient pressure to silence most critics, I will cheerfully play Cassandra again.
The way the portents are stacking up, fifteen 10.7 year solar cycles from now the Earth is likely to get weather much like it had during the “little ice age” of the 13th and 14th centuries. Cold, cold, cold, cold!
Anybody want to invest in energy futures?