Tragic isn't it?
On a more serious note...
For those convinced that Arctic sea ice is destined to melt away in the next few years, here's some news about Global Warming Delayed...
The red line is 2008 and sea ice extent is back to 2005 levels. So the hue and cry raised earlier this summer about the "disappearance" of the sea ice appears to be premature.
Some people are not happy about the recalcitrant sea ice and its unwillingness to disappear on schedule:
There is no mention of this on the National Snow and Ice Data Center sea ice news webpage, which has been trumpeting every loss and low for the past two years…not a peep. You’d think this would be big news. Perhaps the embarrassment of not having an ice free north pole in 2008, which was sparked by press comments made by Dr. Mark Serreze there and speculation on their own website, has made them unresponsive in this caseMeanwhile, this has been an unusually cool year given that we are in the throes of a cruel Global Warming event. Here is a report in Canada's National Post:
Forget global warming: Welcome to the new Ice AgeThere may be some connection between this observed cooling and the strange as reported in Canada's Financial Post:
Lorne Gunter, National Post Published: Monday, February 25, 2008
Snow cover over North America and much of Siberia, Mongolia and China is greater than at any time since 1966.
The U.S. National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) reported that many American cities and towns suffered record cold temperatures in January and early February. According to the NCDC, the average temperature in January "was -0.3 F cooler than the 1901-2000 (20th century) average."
China is surviving its most brutal winter in a century. Temperatures in the normally balmy south were so low for so long that some middle-sized cities went days and even weeks without electricity because once power lines had toppled it was too cold or too icy to repair them.
Global cooling sign: Solar winds at 50-year-lowThe New York Times does a better job of highlighting what this solar quiescence may mean. I've bolded the bits that I think are important to give them emphasis:
Posted: September 28, 2008, 2:24 AM by Lawrence Solomon
In yet another sign that the Earth could be heading in to a period of global cooling, NASA reports that the solar wind is now at a 50-year low, the lowest that NASA has seen. This change in solar activity, which began to occur about a decade ago, coincides with the end of the climb in global temperatures that had been underway for decades.
"What we're seeing is a long term trend, a steady decrease in pressure that began sometime in the mid-1990s," explains Arik Posner, NASA's Ulysses Program Scientist in Washington DC.
"How unusual is this event?
"It's hard to say. We've only been monitoring solar wind since the early years of the Space Age—from the early 60s to the present. Over that period of time, it's unique. How the event stands out over centuries or millennia, however, is anybody's guess. We don't have data going back that far."
Sunspots Are Fewest Since 1954, but Significance Is UnclearOn the other hand, you may ignore the above news reports and scientific presentations. Instead you can point to some solid "facts", some incontrovertible and well documented. Say, something like the following facts gathered over the last hundred years...
By KENNETH CHANG, Oct 3, 2008
The Sun has been strangely unblemished this year. On more than 200 days so far this year, no sunspots were spotted. That makes the Sun blanker this year than in any year since 1954, when it was spotless for 241 days.
The Sun goes through a regular 11-year cycle, and it is now emerging from the quietest part of the cycle, or solar minimum. But even for this phase it has been unusually quiet, with little roiling of the magnetic fields that induce sunspots.
“It’s starting with a murmur,” said David H. Hathaway, a solar physicist at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala.
As of Thursday, the 276th day of the year, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Space Weather Prediction Center in Boulder, Colo., had counted 205 days without a sunspot.
In another sign of solar quiescence, scientists reported last month that the solar wind, a rush of charged particles continually spewed from the Sun at a million miles an hour, had diminished to its lowest level in 50 years.
Scientists are not sure why this minimum has been especially minimal, and the episode is even playing into the global warming debate. Some wonder if this could be the start of an extended period of solar indolence that would more than offset the warming effect of human-made carbon dioxide emissions. From the middle of the 17th century to the early 18th, a period known as the Maunder Minimum, sunspots were extremely rare, and the reduced activity coincided with lower temperatures in what is known as the Little Ice Age.
Compared to the Maunder Minimum, the current pace of sunspots “makes it look like we’re having a feast, not a famine,” Dr. Hathaway said.
Scientists expect that sunspot activity will pick up in the coming months, but exactly what will happen next is open to debate. Dr. Hathaway had predicted two years ago, based on the Sun’s behavior near the end of the last cycle, that the maximum this time would be ferocious.
“I’m getting worried about that prediction now,” he said. “Normally, big cycles start early, and by doing that, they cut short the previous cycle. This one hasn’t done that.”
But many of the other competing predictions — more than 50 over all — pointed to a quieter-than-average cycle. “They do kind of go all over the map,” said Douglas Biesecker, a physicist at the Space Weather Prediction Center who led an international panel that reviewed predictions.
The solar wind is another piece of the puzzle. David J. McComas of the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio and one of the researchers who analyzed data from the Ulysses Sun-watching spacecraft, said that the strength of the solar wind seemed to be in a long-term decline. The pressure exerted by the solar wind particles during the current minimum is about a quarter weaker than during the last solar minimum, Dr. McComas said.
Dr. McComas said scientists were still trying to figure out how all the data fits together.