Weather

More on risk of new Maunder solar minimum and its implications

There’s been, as I expected, lots of interest in my blog from last week about the risk of a new Maunder solar minimum reach you can read by clicking HERE

 

As part of my research into the story I visited Professor Mike Lockwood at Reading University where he told me that solar activity was falling at its fastest rate in 10,000 years, according to his analysis, and we discussed the possible implications.

 

To that end, I would like to make the following points.

 

The term ’Little Ice Age’ is one that is well documented by climatologists and is used to describe a period, particularly during the 1600’s,  across the UK and parts of Europe, when exceptionally low solar activity (The Maunder solar minimum), coincided with more frequent harsh winters in North-western Europe.

 

I stated very clearly that not every winter was harsh.

 

Professor Hubert Lamb, one of Britain’s most respected climatologists, commented in his work that ‘in many years snowfall (in this period) was much heavier than recorded before or since, and the snow lay on the ground for many months longer than it does today’.

 

It is also believed that an increase in volcanic eruptions worldwide was a contributory factor to this change in regional climate.

 

At the end of my article I move away from what I discussed with Professor Lockwood about the regional effects a new maunder solar minimum may have in the UK, and considered possible global impacts.

 

I refer and directly link to research carried out by Michael Mann et al (2001), which estimated that at the time of the Maunder solar minimum, global temperatures during that period cooled by 0.3C to 0.4C.

 

Here is the abstract from the Mann et al 2001 research (which you can read in full by clicking HERE)

 

‘We examine the climate response to solar irradiance changes between the late

17th-century Maunder Minimum and the late 18th century. Global average

temperature changes are small (about 0.3C to 0.4C) in both a climate model

and empirical reconstructions. However, regional temperature changes are

quite large. In the model, these occur primarily through a forced shift toward

the low index state of the Arctic Oscillation/North Atlantic Oscillation as solar

irradiance decreases. This leads to colder temperatures over the Northern

Hemisphere continents, especially in winter (1¡ to 2¡C), in agreement with

historical records and proxy data for surface temperatures.’

 

In my article I also state very clearly that most scientists believe that should any such global cooling occur, it would be temporary, and ‘swamped’ by global warming caused by greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide.

 

But I would like to make it clear, should there be any confusion that my discussions with Professor Lockwood focused on possible regional climate effects of a new Maunder solar minimum for the UK and not any possible global implications.

END

Comments

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  • Comment number 77. Posted by H2SO4

    on 11 Nov 2013 14:45

    What's really boring is the "Oh yes it is" and "Oh no it isn't" on the part of so-called scientists who try to outdo each other in their quest for scoring points !

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  • Comment number 76. Posted by greensand

    on 10 Nov 2013 20:31

    75. ukpahonta

    "Fascinating program, many discussion points....."

    Agreed many thanks for the link. Lots in there.

    Another weather related broadcast worth a listen from "Smokin Joe". Whilst not as refined as our host (he shouts a lot!) it contains a couple of interesting points. First is his theory of why there have been a succession of Pacific typhoons. Don't know if he is right but he claims to have experience. It also seems to broadly tie in with:-

    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/0004-5608.00253/abstract

    The second is he points to the latest CFS forecasts for the AO and NAO. Both of which are forecast to turn negative, worth keeping an eye on.

    http://www.weatherbell.com/saturday-summary-november-9-2013

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  • Comment number 75. Posted by ukpahonta

    on 10 Nov 2013 20:09

    Fascinating program, many discussion points. Hope that there is more with a variety of guests to discuss the science.

    Also from the BBC:
    'The onset of the current pause coincides with a spike in upper ocean heat uptake around 2002 (lower graph).
    It may have begun when energy trapped by greenhouse gases was buried below the surface of the ocean
    However, the continuation of the pause in global surface warming beyond 2004 coincides with a decline in upper ocean heat uptake
    Understanding the cause of this decline in upper ocean heat content is crucial for explaining the continuation of the pause in surface warming'
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-24874060

    BBC now playing catch-up.

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  • Comment number 74. Posted by ukpahonta

    on 10 Nov 2013 18:53

    Pauls' weather program discussing the new little ice age.
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p01jsf3j

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  • Comment number 73. Posted by Paul Latham

    on 10 Nov 2013 11:09

    #44 Picky Paul

    I thought that those who post comments on this particular website would do more than just re-quote pieces of misinterpreted information and references to daily newspapers, especially when it concerns UN agency figures on climate data?

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  • Comment number 72. Posted by ukpahonta

    on 10 Nov 2013 10:52

    Long term prediction of a rough patch of weather around the 20th:
    http://www.weatherstreet.com/international/europe-10-day-forecast-850.htm

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  • Comment number 71. Posted by newdwr54

    on 9 Nov 2013 16:45

    69. greensand

    Comment 60 plainly says

    "I think Anthony Watts hosted a comment recently from some person complaining about how "boring" the weather has been in 2013?"

    How you manage to draw from that phrasing that I was referring to Anthony Watts himself is a mystery. And I repeat, I was using the Google link to Haiyan as an example of the ease with which one can gather information about extreme weather events, such as all those I listed at 68, that Brown either apparently overlooked or found too "boring" to mention.

    Re climate/weather:

    Firstly, several of the extreme natural events so far in 2013 that I listed at 68 are significant among long term temperature records, which effectively means climate records. For example, the three consecutive 12-months warmest temperature records in Australia are set against the entire long temperature record of Australia; ditto the warmest summer record set there this year.

    Secondly, while the title of the article refers to climate, Brown himself references single monthly global temperature figures from 2013 (September and June), even though he botches these. He also talks about this year's US tornado numbers, this season's Atlantic hurricanes, this year's floods, this year's sea ice extent and this year's US summer temperatures....what's all that if it's not weather related?

    He bases his entire argument that "climate is boring" on this years weather, or rather, a careful *selection* of this year's weather.

    I'd like to stress that I'm not claiming that 'climate change' is causing these things, by the way; just that the weather in 2013 has been very far from "boring" in my opinion, and that several significant climate milestones have been set. I'd query the motives of anyone who feels the need to downplay or ignore these fairly uncontentious facts, as I think Brown's article on WUWT attempts to do.

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  • Comment number 70. Posted by Leedschris

    on 9 Nov 2013 16:28

    But, Paul, the fact that the Little Ice Age (LIA) and the Medieval Warm Period (MWP) were only Northern Hemisphere or only Northern European phenomena is now widely disputed. There are many, many articles in the scientific literature that confirm that these phenomena were global.. Just this month the peer-reviewed Journal Science has published a paper by Rosenthal, Linsley and Oppo looking at the Pacific Ocean and this confirms that the LIA and MWP were experienced in the Pacific, with higher ocean temperatures in the MWP than today.

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  • Comment number 69. Posted by greensand

    on 9 Nov 2013 14:53

    68. newdwr54

    Good try DW, but it doesn't wash.

    "Pointing out that Browns observations are inconsistent with reality does *not* constitute an ad hom."

    Your comment 60 doesn't even mention Dr. Robert G. Brown and it only references "Super Typhoon Haiyan" which at the time of the article did not even exist.

    Also your comment was directed at Anthony Watts needing to get out more not Dr. Robert G. Brown, your back pedaling 68 is of no relevance to the original comment.

    Also the article was entitled ‘Let’s face it. The climate has never been more boring.’, Climate, not weather. As you are repeatedly at pains to stress to one and all anything less that 30 years is not climate so by your own metric any one year is weather which is for ever changing.

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  • Comment number 68. Posted by newdwr54

    on 9 Nov 2013 13:42

    61. greensand

    "First who? Watts or Dr. Robert G. Brown, Physics Department of Duke University who actually penned the article?"

    I was referring to the person who wrote the article and made the comment on 4th November 2013 that "The climate has never been more boring".

    I realise he wrote this before Haiyan became a super cyclone. However, Haiyan is just the latest example of the sort of extreme event Brown might have discovered during 2013, had he bothered to look.

    For instance he might have found references to Australia's hottest Summer (Dec-Feb); the Oklahoma EF5 tornado in May; the Alberta flood in June; intense wildfires in in Arizona in July; record heat waves in China in July and August; the longest period of drought on record in Colorado in August followed swiftly by the huge flood in Colorado in September. Then Australia's hottest 12 consecutive months record was broken in August...then again in September... then gain in October. Australia also saw unseasonal spring wildfires in September and October. Last but not least (pre 4th November that is) super cyclone Phailin hit India in October.

    Apparently Brown was either blissfully unaware of these events or else he was aware of them and just found them all terribly "boring". He's entitled to his opinion. But even more bizarre was this comment:

    "[sites promoting] ...“awareness” — of global warming are reduced to reporting one of GISS’s excessive spikes as being “the fourth warmest September on record” while quietly neglecting the fact that in HADCRUT4, RSS and UAH it was nothing of the sort and while even more quietly neglecting the fact that if one goes back a few months the report might have been that June was the fourth coldest in 20 years."

    That's wrong from start to finish. September 2013 was the warmest in the GISS record, tied with 2005; not "the fourth warmest...". In both HadCRUT4 and UAH it was the joint 3rd warmest September on record. As for June, in GISS this was the joint 4th warmest June on record; in UAH it was the 5th warmest June and in HadCRUT4 it was the 9th warmest on record. Where on earth does he get 'coldest June in 20 years' from? Is he mixing and matching US data with global??

    So exactly *what* is this man talking about? He finds significant and sometimes devastating weather events to be "boring" or else isn't even aware of them, and he can't seem to accurately interpret simple temperature data charts. Pointing out that Browns observations are inconsistent with reality does *not* constitute an ad hom.

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