Climate Change and the Grand Minima

The “Grand Minima” is coming! It’s nearly here. No joke. How will it affect global climate change?

New evidence is making the obvious more obvious. For years solar physicists have been amassing evidence that the sun is headed toward a grand minima. The sun, folks, is going to sleep! For how long, nobody knows. If the past is any guide then it’ll be for about 60 years.

Two more new pieces of supporting evidence for this theory came to light last week.  One piece is from NOAA’s monthly solar cycle progression report. The other is from a new paper in the Physical Review Letters of October 25th that rated a story last week in the regional science journal Nature India.

October Sunspot Number – November 5th, 2012

A major drop in sunspots in October 2012 supports their total disappearance by next solar cycle

NASA released the October monthly sunspot number last week. Unexpectedly… once again it plunged. Now it’s down to 53.3!

That makes 3 months running that the sunspot number has dropped when it should be streaking skyward like a rocket toward solar maximum early next year. Its going the wrong way.

Instead, sunspots are fading. With only two months left in the year the sunspot number is only 58.8 for the year. It is now solidly on track to be the least active solar max since the Dalton Minimum 200 years ago.

This is not the only oddity. Stranger things are happening on the sun and new discoveries are constantly being made.

Nature India – November 5th, 2012

Consistent with new theory, shows cosmogenic 14C correlation with solar activity in historic times

Past Grand Minima

Exciting news from the solar physics world comes from Arnab Rai Choudhuri and Bidya Binay Karak. They are two physicists at the India Institute of Science (IISc) in Bangalore.

They published a paper on their theoretical research that made the big time in India science circles this month:
Mystery of Sun’s ‘time out’ unravelled
– K.S. Jayarama, Nature India, 11/5/2012

Using a theory they call the “flux transport dynamo model”, Choudhuri and Karak were able to calculate that there should have been between 24-30 ‘grand minima’ over the last 11,000 years; that the sun should have spent 10-15% of its time in a grand minima over that span and that a grand minima should occur in 1%-4% of all solar cycles.

A “grand minima” is defined as any period of time 20 years or longer when the sunspot number averages 15 or less.

Reconstructions of past solar cycles based on cosmogenic 14C and 10Be show there have been 27 grand minima over the last 11,000 years; that the sun has spent 17% of its time in a grand minima and that grand minima have occurred in 2.7% of all solar cycles.

That is a remarkable agreement between theory and empirical reconstructed data.

Over the last 11,000 years, grand minima have happen, on average, every 407 years. The last grand minima was the Maunder Minimum. It was 400 years ago.

The Las Cruces Bombshell

Solar Magnetic Field decreasing to zero, sunspots will be gone by 2022  (Las Cruces, 6/14/2011)

That takes us straight back to a stunning announcement made by solar physicists on June 14th, 2011 in Las Cruces, New Mexico.

Back then, at the American Astronomical Society’s Solar Physics Division annual meeting, three totally independent lines of research were presented that all point toward the sun heading into another grand minima. The three are:

  1. The sun’s magnetic field is decreasing to zero
  2. Sunspot umbras are fading
  3. The sun’s Cycle 25 ‘jet stream’ is missing

At the time, Dr. Frank Hill, the lead author presenting the ‘jet stream’ data made this amazing statement:

If we are right, this could be the last solar maximum we’ll see for a few decades. That would affect everything from space exploration to Earth’s climate

October’s solar progression report loudly proclaims that Dr. Hill and the others are right. Choudhuri and Karak’s dynamo theory provides a theoretical basis that ties everything together into a neat and tidy package.


Accumulating data and new theories are bridging the gap between speculation and expectation. The grand minima is coming!

A theoretical framework sounding like something strait out of the move Back to the Future  – “flux transport dynamo” – backs it up.

Our current pathetically weak cycle, cycle 24, is not it yet. The next one, cycle 25, is it. By then sunspots will continue fading away like the Cheshire Cat as the sun’s magnetic field dribbles off to nothingness and the river of plasma that drives the engine of solar activity doesn’t come back for decades.

Paleoclimatology tells us that during past grand minima that the Earth has cooled off significantly. There is no reason to believe things won’t cool again now.

The question facing humanity is whether or not anthropogenic global warming (AGW) will be enough to offset the effect of solar cooling. Even a 3° C increase in AGW heating by the end of this century may not be enough to fight off the cold.

The historical record of the last 11,000 years indicates we will shiver.


About azleader

Learning to see life more clearly... one image at a time!

Posted on Nov 15, 2012, in Climate, climate change, culture, economics, Global Warming, Life, news, Opinion, Politics, Thoughts. Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. Oliver K. Manuel

    The energy of the Sun is like the energy stored in cores of heavy elements like U and Pu. That infomation was purposely hidden from the public after 1945 !

    Oliver K. Manuel

  2. Does this classify as irony yet?

    • Don’t know about that, but do know that it is beginning to look like we might be barking up the wrong tree when it comes to climate change.

      Kinda looks like the pendulum is swinging back to the 1950s when global cooling was the big worry, not global warming.

  3. LOL! So, let me get this straight. Global warming is now a good thing? LOL!!!!

    • You are not the first person to suggest this. There are climatologists that say the same thing.

      It should be noted that the IPCC discounts solar effects. I’ve read in their next climate assessment (AR5) due out next year that it discounts solar effects even more than now.

      However, to my knowledge, the IPCC has only ever considered direct temperature variation on the sun itself resulting from changes in solar activity. It has been proven by many researchers that amount of change is insufficient to cause the warming we have seen. That is why the IPCC rejects it as causal.

      What the IPCC has NOT considered is indirect forcing effects… specifically the influence of cosmic radiation increases that occur during grand minima.

      There is very exciting research conducted at CERN that the IPCC has overlooked.

      That will be the subject of my next article on climate change. 🙂

  4. With God ironies abound. Man’s warming completely offset by Nature’s cooling. That would be a big one for the history books. But, we can counter the cooling–reverse all the wind turbines we have built, and blow the cold air north. Of course reversing those wind turbines will require coal powered plants. When man thinks he is a God is when we get into big trouble. Your research and keeping the pressure on the AGW folks is impressive. You would never find this in the MSM.

  5. It is of interest to note that wind turbines contribute a little bit to global warming directly… by removing energy from the wind it decreases wind velocity and therefore reduces the natural wind chill effect.

    Kinda ironic, isn’t it? lol!!

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