Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Winters are Going to Get Colder…Much Colder



The Maunder Minimum (also known as the prolonged sunspot minimum) is the name used for the period roughly spanning 1645 to 1715 when sunspots became exceedingly rare, as noted by solar observers of the time.

Like the Dalton Minimum and Spörer Minimum, the Maunder Minimum coincided with a period of lower-than-average global temperatures.

During one 30-year period within the Maunder Minimum, astronomers observed only about 50 sunspots, as opposed to a more typical 40,000-50,000 spots. (Source)

Climatologist John Casey, a former space shuttle engineer and NASA consultant, thinks that last year’s winter, described by USA Today as “one of the snowiest, coldest, most miserable on record” is going to be a regular occurrence over the coming decades.

Casey asserts that there is mounting evidence that the Earth is getting cooler due to a decline in solar activity. He warns in his latest book, Dark Winter, that a major alteration of global climate has already started and that, at a minimum, it is likely to last 30 years.

Casey predicts food shortages and civil unrest caused by those shortages due largely to governments not preparing for the issues that colder weather will bring. He also predicts that wickedly bitter winter temperatures will see demand for electricity and heating outstrip the supply.

                                     52% of the territory of the United States is covered with six feet of snow

Casey isn’t alone in his thinking. Russian climate expert and astrophysicist Habibullo Abdussamatov goes one step further and states that we are at the very beginning of a new ice age.

Dr. Abdussamatov points out that Earth has experienced such occurrences five times over the last 1,000 years, and that:

“A global freeze will come about regardless of whether or not industrialized countries put a cap on their greenhouse gas emissions. The common view of Man’s industrial activity as a deciding factor in global warming has emerged from a misinterpretation of cause and effect.”(source)

Don Easterbrook, a climate scientist based at Western Washington University, predicted exactly what Casey is saying as far back as 2008. in his paper ‘Evidence for Predicting Global Cooling for the Next Three Decades’ he states:

Despite no global warming in 10 years and recording setting cold in 2007-2008, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climatic Change (IPCC) and computer modelers who believe that CO2 is the cause of global warming still predict the Earth is in store for catastrophic warming in this century. IPCC computer models have predicted global warming of 1° F per decade, and 5-6° C (10-11° F) by 2100 which would cause global catastrophe with ramifications for human life, natural habitat, energy, water resources, and food production. All of this is predicated on the assumption that global warming is caused by increasing atmospheric CO2 and that CO2 will continue to rise rapidly.

The list of climate scientists that are moving into the global cooling camp is growing; many of them base their views on past climate records, while history suggests a link between diminished solar activity and bitterly cold winters, as well as cooler summers, in the northern hemisphere.


“My opinion is that we are heading into a Maunder Minimum,”  said Mark Giampapa, a solar physicist at the National Solar Observatory (NSO) in Tucson, Arizona. “I’m seeing a continuation in the decline of the sunspots’ mean magnetic field strengths and a weakening of the polar magnetic fields and subsurface flows.”

David Hathaway of NASA’s Marshall Solar Physics Center explains:

“We’re at the sunspot maximum of Cycle 24. It’s the smallest sunspot cycle in 100 years and the third in a trend of diminishing sunspot cycles. So, Cycle 25 could likely be smaller than Cycle 24.”

A NASA Science News report of January 2013 details the science behind the sunspot-climate connection and it well worth reading. It should be remembered that since the report was written Solar Cycle 24 has been proven to be not just the smallest cycle in 50 years, but the smallest for more than 100 years. The last one with sunspot numbers this low was 1906, solar cycle 14.


“Indeed, the sun could be on the threshold of a mini-Maunder event right now. Ongoing Solar Cycle 24 [the current short term 11 year cycle] is the weakest in more than 50 years. Moreover, there is (controversial) evidence of a long-term weakening trend in the magnetic field strength of sunspots. Matt Penn and William Livingston of the National Solar Observatory predict that by the time Solar Cycle 25 arrives, magnetic fields on the sun will be so weak that few if any sunspots will be formed. Independent lines of research involving helioseismology and surface polar fields tend to support their conclusion.”


Livingston and Penn are solar astronomers with the NSO (National Solar Observatory) in Tuscon, Arizona. They use a measurement known as Zeeman splitting to gather data on sunspots. They discovered in 1990 that the number of sunspots is dropping and that once the magnetic field drops below 1500 Gauss, that no sunspots will form. (A Gauss is a magnetic field measurement. The Gauss of the Earth is less than one). If the decline continues at its present rate, they estimate that the Sun will be spot free by 2016.

If these scientists are correct, we are heading into a period of bitterly cold winters and much cooler summers. Imagine year after year of ‘polar vortex’ winters that start early, finish late and deliver unprecedented cold across the country. Cool wet summers will affect food production, as will floods from the melting snow when spring finally arrives.

The American Meteorological Society Journal gives the following information regarding cold-related deaths in comparison to heat-related deaths in the United States from 1979-1999. The article is entitled Heat Mortality Versus Cold Mortality.


During the study period from 1979 to 1999 a total of 3,829 people died from excessive heat across the United States – an average of 182 deaths per year. For the same time period, 15,707 people died of cold – an average of 748 deaths a year.

Based on these figures, cold kills four times more people than heat. If these scientists are right, you can expect that figure to rise dramatically as energy demand outstrips supply. Power supplies are also impacted by ice storms and heavy snow which will lead to more outages and the disruption that brings. Generally, the infrastructure will fail to cope with month after month of excessive cold. Transportation is severely impacted by weather events and that has the knock-on effect of hitting the economy as people struggle to get to work. For the unprepared, regular food deliveries not making it to stores will leave many hungry and increasingly desperate.

The consequences of global cooling are huge, and those who fail to consider it as a possibility are risking their lives and the lives of their families.


Sources:

NASA: Science News Journal

American Meteorological Society

Marshall Solar Physics

Physics.org






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Sunday, November 16, 2014

Meteor strikes may not be random



Meteor impacts are far less random than most scientists assumed, according to a new analysis of Earth-strike meteors.

The research, reported on the pre-press astrophysics website ArXiv.org, concluded that meteor impacts are more likely to occur at certain times of the year when Earth's orbit takes us through streams of meteoroids.

The majority of meteors analysed hit the Earth in the second half of the year, say the researchers, brothers Carlos and Raúl de la Fuente Marcos of the Complutense University of Madrid.

"This lack of randomness is induced by planetary perturbations, in particular Jupiter's, and suggests that some of the recent, most powerful Earth impacts may be associated with resonant groups of Near Earth Objects and/or very young meteoroid streams,"  they report.

Meteoroid streams can be generated by the break-up of an asteroid or comet.




A planet or moon can also affect nearby asteroids and meteors, herding them into loose orbits called 'resonant streams', which can be broken up by big planets such as Jupiter and Saturn.

The study is based on 33 meteor impact events detected between 2000 and 2013 by infrasound acoustic pressure sensors, operated by the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization.

The sensors are designed to detect clandestine nuclear tests, but also pick up meteor impacts with an explosive energy in excess of a thousand tonnes of TNT.

   Impact times

The researchers looked at when and where each of the 33 meteors hit the Earth, as this enabled them to determine where it might have come from.

They found 17 impacts occurred in the northern hemisphere and 16 in the south; 25 impacts occurred within 40 degrees north or south of the equator, while only eight occurred at higher latitudes.

Significantly, the authors found a 21 per cent difference in meteor timing, with 20 impacts across the second half of the year compared to just 13 hits in the first six calendar months.

For people in the southern hemisphere, June was the most likely month for a meteor to hit the Earth, while September and October were the least likely. Overall though, more meteor impacts were recorded in the second half of the year -- 12 compared to four in the first six months.


North of the equator, November was the most likely month for a meteor hit while May and June were the least likely. Distribution was pretty even throughout the year with nine meteors occurring in the first half of the year and eight in the second half.

However, the authors believe the timing will change as old meteoroid streams dissipate and new ones form.

   More data needed

This theory makes sense says Dr Simon O'Toole of the Australian Astronomical Observatory.

"What we had always assumed up until this paper, was that meteor impacts were random, occurring at any time and in any place," says O'Toole.

"This new work points to asteroids orbiting out near Jupiter, getting disrupted from their orbits by the planet's gravitational perturbations, and this can have an impact for us here on Earth."

However, O'Toole is concerned that the study is based on only 33 individual impact events.

"It's a very interesting paper, but 33 events is a statistically small sample range," says O'Toole.

"This needs far more data."










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