Cheat-Seeking Missles

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Global Warming Or Ice Age?

It was sunny but unusually cool today as I read this, from The Australian:
Disconcerting as it may be to true believers in global warming, the average temperature on Earth has remained steady or slowly declined during the past decade, despite the continued increase in the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide, and now the global temperature is falling precipitously.

All four agencies that track Earth's temperature (the Hadley Climate Research Unit in Britain, the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York, the Christy group at the University of Alabama, and Remote Sensing Systems Inc in California) report that it cooled by about 0.7C in 2007. This is the fastest temperature change in the instrumental record and it puts us back where we were in 1930. If the temperature does not soon recover, we will have to conclude that global warming is over.
This is another one of those sunspot stories. You know, the alternative global temperature theory we read precious little about in the MSM despite it being quite popular in Russia, where there are no big global warming grants to influence fund climate researchers. The more sunspots, the warmer we get here on the home planet.
The most recent [sunspot] minimum was in March last year. The new cycle, No.24, was supposed to start soon after that, with a gradual build-up in sunspot numbers. It didn't happen. The first sunspot appeared in January this year and lasted only two days. A tiny spot appeared last Monday but vanished within 24 hours. Another little spot appeared this Monday. Pray that there will be many more, and soon.

The reason this matters is that there is a close correlation between variations in the sunspot cycle and Earth's climate. The previous time a cycle was delayed like this was in the Dalton Minimum, an especially cold period that lasted several decades from 1790.
Right up through 1812, when ferociously cold winter weather added to Napoleon's problems, leading to his retreat from Moscow.

The story goes on from there to get into what I can only describe as "Coldie hysteria," every bit as intense as Al Gore predicting global doom in 15 minutes if we don't all can our SUVs in 13. But after getting pretty scary, the author, Phil Chapman, qualifies in a way that would shame a Warmie:
We cannot really know, but my guess is that the odds are at least 50-50 that we will see significant cooling rather than warming in coming decades.

The probability that we are witnessing the onset of a real ice age is much less, perhaps one in 500, but not totally negligible.
Before you pass that off with a ho-hum, "a real ice age" would mean for us glaciation all the way down to the Midwest. Yeah, but don't sweat it, because the global warming debate is over.

hat-tip: Jim

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