Earth may be headed into a mini Ice Age within a decade

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    Jun 14, 2011 9:35 PM GMT
    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/06/14/ice_age/

    Earth may be headed into a mini Ice Age within a decade

    Physicists say sunspot cycle is 'going into hibernation'

    What may be the science story of the century is breaking this evening, as heavyweight US solar physicists announce that the Sun appears to be headed into a lengthy spell of low activity, which could mean that the Earth – far from facing a global warming problem – is actually headed into a mini Ice Age.

    The announcement made on 14 June (18:00 UK time) comes from scientists at the US National Solar Observatory (NSO) and US Air Force Research Laboratory. Three different analyses of the Sun's recent behaviour all indicate that a period of unusually low solar activity may be about to begin.

    The Sun normally follows an 11-year cycle of activity. The current cycle, Cycle 24, is now supposed to be ramping up towards maximum strength. Increased numbers of sunspots and other indications ought to be happening: but in fact results so far are most disappointing. Scientists at the NSO now suspect, based on data showing decades-long trends leading to this point, that Cycle 25 may not happen at all.

    This could have major implications for the Earth's climate. According to a statement issued by the NSO, announcing the research:

    An immediate question is whether this slowdown presages a second Maunder Minimum, a 70-year period with virtually no sunspots [which occurred] during 1645-1715.
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    Jun 14, 2011 9:37 PM GMT
    Take a picture of the sun. Print it out. Use a black magic marker and put spots on the photo.

    Problem solved. icon_cool.gif
  • OptimusMatt

    Posts: 1124

    Jun 15, 2011 12:02 AM GMT
    That's actually really interesting icon_biggrin.gif
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    Jun 15, 2011 12:15 AM GMT
    This had already been speculated by some science circles after the discovery that it actually takes a short period of time (mere months) for an ice age to ensue.
  • kuroshiro

    Posts: 786

    Jun 15, 2011 12:15 AM GMT
    We're doomed! DOOMED!

    I'll go get me a parka to keep warm icon_biggrin.gif
  • musclmed

    Posts: 3284

    Jun 15, 2011 12:37 AM GMT
    thank god for my Palm springs getaway. Even if it cools off 30 degrees I would be toasty.
    115 in the summer.
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    Jun 15, 2011 12:41 AM GMT
    So I need to find a good man to keep myself warm. Thanks for the warning!
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    Jun 15, 2011 3:18 AM GMT
    QUICK!!! dump ALL the oil reserves into the sky through IMMEDIATE burning of all available fossil fuels, melting every last piece of ice on earth and getting earth's atmospheric CO2 levels back to what they were in the early Tertiary... E4020147-Europe,_Early_Tertiary_period,_

    with a lush green jungle in Canada, Greenland, Siberia, and Antarctica (we might go extinct, but who cares, the earth will survive lol)



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    Jun 15, 2011 3:24 AM GMT
    *starts printing refugee documents for the influx of notherners moving to the expanded tropical islands just in case*
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    Jun 15, 2011 3:34 AM GMT
    I'm a big fan of winter fashion, so bring it on.
  • calibro

    Posts: 8888

    Jun 15, 2011 4:28 AM GMT
    "Known as the Maunder Minimum, the roughly 70-year period coincided with the coldest spell of the Little Ice Age, when European canals regularly froze solid and Alpine glaciers encroached on mountain villages.

    (See "Sun Oddly Quiet—Hints at Next 'Little Ice Age?'")

    "We have some interesting hints that solar activity is associated with climate, but we don't have any reasons for that association," said Dean Pesnell, project scientist for NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO).

    Also, even if there is a climate link, Pesnell doesn't think another grand minimum is likely to trigger a cold snap.

    "With what's happening in current times—we've added considerable amounts of carbon dioxide and methane and other greenhouse gases to the atmosphere," said Pesnell, who wasn't involved in the suite of new sun studies.

    "I don't think you'd see the same cooling effects today if the sun went into another Maunder Minimum-type behavior."

    http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2011/06/110614-sun-hibernation-solar-cycle-sunspots-space-science/
  • CuriousJockAZ

    Posts: 19136

    Jun 15, 2011 5:34 AM GMT
    If only it could happen during the summer here in Arizona. Hell of a lot cheaper than air conditioning icon_lol.gif
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    Jun 15, 2011 5:58 AM GMT
    This kind of news always puts a damper on my day :/
    At least it's good to know in advance ...
  • ATLANTIS7

    Posts: 1213

    Jun 15, 2011 5:59 AM GMT
    Joan Rivers will be happy she will not have to pay for BOTOX!
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    Jun 15, 2011 11:26 AM GMT
    well, if the mini-ice age offsets global warming, it would be be a gift from god lol, the sun god to be precise, to give us some extra time to handle the climate change hihi
  • shred_thegnar

    Posts: 157

    Jun 15, 2011 8:09 PM GMT
    Skiing/snowboarding all year round I am down for that
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    Jun 15, 2011 8:41 PM GMT
    Newscientist quickly debunks that story in this article: http://www.newscientist.com/blogs/shortsharpscience/2011/06/new-ice-age-dont-count-on-it.html?DCMP=OTC-rss&nsref=online-news

    It says that the science indicates warming of between 2 and 4.5 degrees Celsius by 2100.

    The decrease in temperature from the solar activity will be 0.3 degrees Celsius at most.

    The best we can hope for is an increase of 1.7 degrees Celsius by 2100.
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    Jun 15, 2011 8:50 PM GMT
    We have been forming and storming for a very long time now. So much for the earth to of been completed in 6 days. it's very possible, makes one icon_lol.gif at Global Warming though..
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    Jun 17, 2011 11:35 PM GMT

    http://www.livescience.com/1349-sun-blamed-warming-earth-worlds.html
    Recent studies have cast doubt on this relationship, however. New estimates of the total change in the brightness of the Sun during the Maunder Minimum suggest it was only fractions of a percent, and perhaps not enough to create the global cooling commonly attributed to it.

    “The situation is pretty ambiguous,” said David Rind, a senior climate researcher at NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, who has modeled the Maunder Minimum.

    Based on current estimates, even if another Maunder Minimum were to occur, it might result in an average temperature decrease of about 2 degrees Fahrenheit, Rind said.

    This would still not be enough to counteract warming of between 2 to 12 degrees Fahrenheit from greenhouse gases by 2100, as predicted by the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report.
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    Jun 17, 2011 11:36 PM GMT
    q1w2e3 said
    http://www.livescience.com/1349-sun-blamed-warming-earth-worlds.html
    Recent studies have cast doubt on this relationship, however. New estimates of the total change in the brightness of the Sun during the Maunder Minimum suggest it was only fractions of a percent, and perhaps not enough to create the global cooling commonly attributed to it.

    “The situation is pretty ambiguous,” said David Rind, a senior climate researcher at NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, who has modeled the Maunder Minimum.

    Based on current estimates, even if another Maunder Minimum were to occur, it might result in an average temperature decrease of about 2 degrees Fahrenheit, Rind said.

    This would still not be enough to counteract warming of between 2 to 12 degrees Fahrenheit from greenhouse gases by 2100, as predicted by the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report.


    This assumes a linear relationship that can just be summed. It would be interesting to actually get a researcher to comment rather than the reporter making that assumption themselves.
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    Jun 17, 2011 11:43 PM GMT
    http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20527494.700-a-quiet-sun-wont-save-us-from-global-warming.htmlStefan Rahmstorf and Georg Feulner of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany modelled what would happen to temperatures on Earth if a grand minimum started now and lasted until 2100. They found that while temperatures would go down by as much as 0.3 °C, global warming would ...


    The authors' pages are linked with their names in the article:

    http://www.pik-potsdam.de/members/feulner/research/sun-climate/how-would-a-new-grand-minimum-of-solar-activity-affect-the-future-climateWe have investigated the effect of a future Grand Minimum of solar activity similar to the Maunder Minimum in the 17th century on the future climate on Earth. We find only a slight temperature offset of no more than -0.3 degrees Celsius compared to the warming of about 4 degrees due to human greenhouse-gas emissions:

    grand_minimum_web.png
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    Jun 17, 2011 11:45 PM GMT
    q1w2e3 said
    http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20527494.700-a-quiet-sun-wont-save-us-from-global-warming.htmlStefan Rahmstorf and Georg Feulner of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany modelled what would happen to temperatures on Earth if a grand minimum started now and lasted until 2100. They found that while temperatures would go down by as much as 0.3 °C, global warming would ...


    The authors' pages are linked with their names in the article.


    Again, I am assuming you are smart enough to see that the author of the article not the scientists have made this assumption that the relationship is linear. Will it entirely offset global warming? The scientists in this case say - probably not but we don't know because there is much we don't know about the relationship between solar activity and global warming.
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    Jun 17, 2011 11:47 PM GMT
    Please see updated post.

    Here's the paper:
    Feulner G., Rahmstorf S., 2010: On the Effect of a New Grand Minimum of Solar Activity on the Future Climate on Earth, Geophysical Research Letters, 37 (March 2010), L05707.
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    Jun 17, 2011 11:51 PM GMT
    q1w2e3 saidPlease see updated post.

    Here's the paper:
    Feulner G., Rahmstorf S., 2010: On the Effect of a New Grand Minimum of Solar Activity on the Future Climate on Earth, Geophysical Research Letters, 37 (March 2010), L05707.


    and as noted, the authors themselves note there is a lot we don't understand or know about the relationship. This is based on their current models and as you know, climate models have consistently significantly overestimated the effects of warming:

    http://www.c3headlines.com/2011/05/the-nasa-climate-model-developed-by-hansen-continues-to-wildly-overestimate-global-warming.html

    Since there will be some who will say this means I am denying warming is occurring, let me state emphatically that I agree that it appears warming is occurring - that what is at question is more the policy response (cost versus benefit of those given responses) rather than a debate of the facts.
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    Jun 18, 2011 12:00 AM GMT
    I dunno, the blue line and the red lines are fitting very well up till now on that graph.
    http://www.skepticalscience.com/climate-models.htm