Friday, February 11, 2011

Heading into a Dalton Minimum

The Dalton Minimum occurred in the first decade of the 1800s when the sun went quiescent. We are in a similar situation today (except for fanatics running around screaming that we are in a runaway "global warming"). The low level of solar activity during a Dalton Minimum means colder weather. From Wikipedia. I've added the bold emphasis:
Like the Maunder Minimum and Spörer Minimum, the Dalton Minimum coincided with a period of lower-than-average global temperatures. The Oberlach Station in Germany, for example, experienced a 2.0°C decline over 20 years. The Year Without a Summer, in 1816, also occurred during the Dalton Minimum.
Here are some graphs from the Watts Up With That? blog:
From the Marshall Space Flight Center, Dr. Hathaway’s page:

Current prediction for the next sunspot cycle maximum gives a smoothed sunspot number maximum of about 58 in July of 2013. We are currently two years into Cycle 24 and the predicted size continues to fall.

Additionally, the monthly data plots are out, and there’s been little change from last month in the three major solar indexes plotted by the Space Weather Prediction Center:

There is more including links to other material. Go read the original post.

A lot of resources have been diverted to fight "global warming" and far, far more are on track to be thrown away. Worse, efforts to stop economic development with dire consequences for the world's poor are a result of the cries of fanatics about "global warming". But the reality is that we are about to slip into a couple of decades of significantly colder temperatures. But the fanatics refuse to see this because they have a very simple model of how climate works: more CO2, more global warming. But the world isn't that simple. They have completely ignored the role of the sun in the climate. They have hijacked the science and as a consequence they have hijacked the politics. Rational debate was thrown out the window. Policies have been set in place that are wasting hundreds of billions of dollars:
  • ethanol subsidies which divert food crops during a time of crop failures and rising hunger

  • carbon taxes that divert resources from the choices of individuals to the choices of a bureaucracy driven by fanatics

  • solar and wind subsidies that distort business decisions by the lure of "free money" based on policies put in place by activist politics driven by the hysteria over "global warming"

  • calls to prohibit economic growth to limit CO2 emissions


thomas said...

There are still farms being paid not to grow, and in light of conditions around the world, I would say not only should we halt ethanol production but we should be ramping up to grow on all available ground in order to meet demands in the coming year(s). Of course this won't happen because they want an excuse to make obscene amounts of money on the "shortages". Opportunities for some will be hardships for others; as always. Global warming or cooling will be used by some for getting richer with no concern for the conditions of other inhabitants of this planet. That is the basic way of thinking on either side of the "global warming" debate.

I think its interesting that no matter the cause of high carbon and other gases or the cause of warming it usually is followed by a cold period. A better model would try to include historical data from all of the factors including the sun's cycles and the diminishing internal heat of the earth..

RYviewpoint said...


It would be nice if the US would stop the $25 billion subsidy to the ethanol industry. And you are right, they pay a lot of rich "farmers" to let their land sit idle. Funny, the party that pushes this subsidy the hardest is the "free enterprise" Republicans. (Oh, and that favourite of Republicans, the French, are really big on paying farmers to not farm. Funny to see who the agriculture subsidy bedfellows are!)

If the US & the EU would stop subsidizing their farmers and remove their tariffs on 3rd world imports, that would do a lot to stabilize world food markets. And it would provide an income to 3rd world countries to let them get out of debt. But both the EU & US have powerful "farm lobby" groups that buy off lots of legislators. (The sugar lobby in the US is especially pernicious. It costs US taxpayers billions a year in government subsidies plus higher food costs for US consumers, a double whammy!)

I suspect a lot more land will be under cultivation this year. With prices high and rising, a lot of farmers will be motivated to take advantage of it. This years low production was a freak of nature: heat wave in Russia, flooding is Australia. I expect a bumper wheat crop in 2011. In Canada there is a lot of farming on marginal land where an early or late frost can degrade the wheat crop so it is inedible for humans but fine for animal foodstocks. We also have dry spells that can ruin a season. But if we get a good season this year, that will be a lot of wheat. But I'm expecting all the exporting nations -- Russia, US, Canada, Argentina, Australia -- to be pumping out bumper crops this year.

Oh... and the one bit about "global warming" which I truly believe is that CO2 does have an effect, i.e. it helps plants grow better. So we are getting bigger crops thanks to CO2, fertilizers, plant breeding, and a rapidly advancing genetic science. But people are crazy. They had famine in Zimbabwe a couple of years ago, the US shipped in lots of donated grains, but the Zimbabwe government wouldn't let the people eat it. They listened to the nutcases who claimed that this was "frankenfood" and it was a plot to poison the people. So the government let them starve instead. That is the power of politics: to starve your own people because of nutty belief!