Skeptical Article on Climate in the Old Farmer's Almanac – cooler times ahead?

My friend, Joe D’Aleo who runs ICECAP, had the opportunity this year to write an article for the 2009 Old Farmer’s Almanac.  While I’m normally “skeptical” of the long term forecasts printed in the OFA, I’m not of this piece written by D’Aleo, who is a Fellow of the American Meteorological Society and a Certified Consulting meteorologist.

With 3.3 million copies printed, his article, Is Global Warming on the Wane? ,  will get wide distribution in many venues. The subtitle “Some scientists believe that an extreme cooling episode, potentially a mini-ice age, is imminent. Others think that it may already be under way.” will probably raise a few eyebrows.

In this blog I often cite historical perspectives on how people and the press have perceived and written about climate in the past, such as this article from the New York Times that says “the Arctic will soon be an open sea” or this one from the 1933 Monthly Weather Review “IS OUR CLIMATE CHANGING? A STUDY OF LONG-TIME TEMPERATURE TRENDS.”, or this one from 1922 “Arctic Ocean Getting Warm; Seals Vanish and Icebergs Melt.

The editors of OFA took a similar view for the beginning of D’Aleo’s article with this timeline of similar events:

Click for the full size image and article

D’Aleo relies heavily on UAH, HadCRUT, and Mauna Loa CO2 data to make his point, which is that climate change is mostly about cycles, oceans, and solar activity. Here is one of the graphs from the article that we’ve seen many times before:

D’Aleo’s also cites the work of David Hathaway, whom we often mention here, and his predictions of solar cycle 25 being weak, along with mentions of the PDO shift

Doug Hathaway, a solar physicist at NASA, believes that solar activity has diminished and will continue to do so for decades. In 2006, he predicted, based on observations of the slowing of the plasma flow on the Sun, that cycle 25 could be the quietest—thus, the coolest—in centuries. Also in that year, Khabibullo Abdusamatov, head of research for the Russian Academy of Sciences, issued an imminent mini-ice age warning based on expectations of a quieter Sun over the next 50 years. Our long-range forecasts also point toward cooling conditions.

These factors—the cooling Pacific, the yet-to-cool Atlantic, and the historical reduction in recent solar activity—suggest that a staggered cooling period could continue. Absent from most headlines about global warming is a discussion of measures suggesting that the warming has ceased and a cooling may have begun. For example, deep-ocean heat content has not increased during the past five years. Looking at just one year, from January 2007 to January 2008, we find that satellite-derived atmospheric temperatures indicate that Earth was about one degree Fahrenheit cooler at the beginning of 2008 than it was at the beginning of 2007. The United Kingdom’s Hadley Centre ocean and land temperature records show cooling in the last seven to ten years.

During the past 100 years, while temperatures have risen and fallen and risen yet again, carbon dioxide has been on a steady climb (see graph)—and, for that, mankind does bear some responsibility. However, we would be wise to also consider the cycles and synchronicity of the Sun and oceans in any discussion of the causes of climate change.

While I’m sure that many people whom are firmly entrenched in the CO2 based AGW theory will simply dismiss this out of hand, the simple fact remains that the Old Farmer’s Almanac is read by many, many people. This easy to understand article by Joe D’Aleo will reach many people whom have been “saturation bombed” with mainstream media stories that say otherwise.

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F Rasmin
August 28, 2008 4:00 pm

Here in Australia, a major TV station has decided to try to top that film ‘The Day After Tomorrow’.,25197,24251578-11949,00.html

August 28, 2008 4:22 pm

Livingston’s recent measurement of the magnetic strength of that last little spot is devastating. Does anyone have a theory about why the sun does its greater and lesser minimums?

Robert Wood
August 28, 2008 4:48 pm

Well, the Sun is magnetically quiet. Does that mean the Sun is internally well-ordered? That all those electrons buzzing around are doing so in the same direction; this would result in a simple bipolar magentic field, like a magnet.
Certainly, a disordered magnetic field, such as during periods of high activity, indicate a very turbulant interior.
Or does the low level magnetic field indicate a state of complete disorder, where turbulance doesn’t allow the formation of strong magnetic fields – the electrons just buzzing willy-nilly all over the place..
I guess it would be necessary to view the solar poles to determine this. If the first case was true, there would be a very strong bipolar; if the second case were true, then the Sun would appear just as clam magnetically at the poles as elsewhere.
Wasn’t the intended to do this?

August 28, 2008 6:26 pm

Kudos to Joe D’Aleo! This is really excellent news. More cracks in the AGW facade.
Who are people supposed to believe now? Al Gore? Or the Old Farmers Almanac? Who has more credibility?

August 28, 2008 6:28 pm

Robert Wood (16:48:38) :
I guess it would be necessary to view the solar poles to determine this.
The solar polar caps are covered with extensive magnetic fields, forming a large magnetic dipole [the biggest in the Solar System]. The polar fields reverse every ~11 years shortly after solar maximum. Once reversed, the polar fields stay remarkably stable for several years spanning the minimum before beginning the reversal process anew. At present, the polar fields are the weakest ever directly observed, . Many scientists believe that the polar fields form the ‘seeds’ for the next cycle, and that, if so, solar cycle 24 will also be very weak.

Steven Hill
August 28, 2008 7:12 pm

“We are facing a planetary emergency which, if not solved, would exceed anything we’ve experienced in the history of humankind,” Gore said. He said McCain wouldn’t do anything about it.
I hate to say this, but Gore, he is [snip]

old construction worker
August 28, 2008 7:21 pm

Are you saying our sun has a biploar personality?

Leon Brozyna
August 28, 2008 7:28 pm

A most fine article, as well as a massive antidote to Al Gore’s medicinal sideshow.

August 28, 2008 7:54 pm

I find it puzzling that there is so little discussion on this important mainstream event. Granted, the Farmer’s Almanach represents a niche market segment, but its size is substantial and there is a multiplier effect, plus there are affiliates in other languages and cultures.
Joe D’Aleo’s explanations are thorough and balanced – all in all an excellent overview for a mainstream audience.
This could well mark an important milestone on the way to the real tipping point toward climate sanity, toward a true-green worldview, embracing CO2 for what it is, a pivotal life gas. This all is compatible with effective conservation and fitting into natural metabolisms.

doug janeway
August 28, 2008 8:05 pm

I’m still not convinced that cycle 24 started 1/4/2008. The fact that the first reversed polarity sunspot occurred in July of 2006 is more in line with the 11 year cycle pattern. If, indeed, it started in 2006 with the first reversed polarity spot, we are now 25 months into the new cycle with deafening silence. Two years into the next cycle with no spots and no apparant increase in polar or equatorial magnetivity is a greater anomoly than a 12 year+ long ending cycle. If cycle 24 started in July 2006 it portends a very quiet cycle ahead, and it give me the shivers.

August 28, 2008 8:15 pm

Thank you F Rasmin, I can now add a new word to my vocabulary. Climate Porn. Who would have thought these two words would ever join together meaningfuly.

August 29, 2008 1:26 am

sorry, but people who use the 1998 till today graph, can NOT be taken seriously.
D’aleo should be able to do better than that!

Mary Hinge
August 29, 2008 1:27 am

doug janeway (20:05:03) :
Relax! Don’t forget all those Cycle 23 sunspots since. As has been mentioned on many posts before this solar behaviour is quite normal and no cause for concern at present.

Jack Simmons
August 29, 2008 1:34 am

Let’s not forget that delightful book “Limits to Growth”. Had a big effect on my crowd in high school.
None of it came true.
Have yet here any one of these false prophets admit they were wrong.
Has Paul Ehrlich owned up?

August 29, 2008 1:44 am

Talking of climate porn, the BBC put on a steamy show of their own this summer, called Burn Up. I missed it, unfortunately, but will probably get the DVD sometime next decade, as it will probably become an amusing reminder of the millennial carbon panic. There’s a review of it here.

Mary Hinge
August 29, 2008 2:11 am

F Rasmin (16:00:24) :
“Here in Australia, a major TV station has decided to try to top that film ‘The Day After Tomorrow’.”
Maybe they should show the greatest film ever insted “The miracle of Headingly”! Set in the green pastures of middle England in 1981, it sets out how Botham the Great against all the odds engaged the Aussie hoards, narrowly defeating the invaders using the might of his willow sword. Never to recover from this humilating defeat, having seized defeat from the jaws of victory, the Aussies succombed to a series defeat and lost the most holy ashes.
At least this film is a true story, not Hollywood science fiction entertainment!

August 29, 2008 2:22 am

Please watch :
It’s handeling the dramatic warming and the north west/east passage.

F Rasmin
August 29, 2008 2:56 am

Here in Australia we are so gullible (we are showing the world how a country can destroy itself with ill-conceived carbon taxes) that once that film is shown on Channel 9 at the weekend, the dams in Sydney will empty as we fill up every container we can lay our hands on from the tap in readiness for 2012!

Bobby Lane
August 29, 2008 3:04 am

Several responses to posts:
1. Steven Hill: Gore was right in words, just in the wrong direction. As they say, things may eventually get better, but first they are set to get a lot worse. But he is right about McCain, though principally because it is beyond the reach of human power not because McCain has sold out or is cold hearted.
2. Deepslope: the proponents of AGW theory are NOT rational at their core. Never expect them to be so and you will find yourself less puzzled. They will allow for this and that event, or this and that possibility, but never the falsification or destruction of their pet hypothesis. That they will not even consider for a moment. Even if this cooling lasts two or three decades, they will just say it was nature overriding the warming man is causing, and that we will shortly be back on our way to hell on earth. I would reckon it as akin to trying to prove to an atheist that there is a God, or a committed Christian that there isn’t. It will simply never be a matter of facts and arguments. AGW is a quasi-religion cloaked in the veneer of quasi-science with deep but fairly simple political/financial connections backing it. Remember that too and you will be far less puzzled.
3. Sod: yes, the pro-AGW has never misused graphs to try to score points with the general public *coughGorecough* although at the same time I am not saying D’Aleo is misusing the graph. I think his simple argument is that we are cooling and global temperatures on any scale will show that fact. Cooling is a relative term, just as warming is. Whether this cooling aids in proving or disproving AGW, I believe, is a matter of faith. But the Medieval Warm Period was warmer than we are now (unless they have secretly started growing vineyards again throughout England and Scandanavia) so in almost any sense that you like we are cooling (again). I need not remind you there were no major industrialized nations in the MWP.
Much like any radical political group, I don’t find it odd in the least that the pro-AGW crowd demands a united political front moving in the direction that is most advantageous their own interests. And much like any radical political group, they are quite willing to sacrifice anything and anyone to get the power they want. If the case really rested on science, the pro-AGW crowd could say “here’s the evidence, and while it’s your decision don’t say we didnt warn you.” That is respect for the truth and human freedom. But that is not the way they act. They demand action now, control now, power now. And there is a lot of money to be made, also, in the new environmentally-friendly world they would love to legislate into reality. And so, as with any other radical political group, they shall eventually be found out, replete with embarassed fellow-travelers. Yet, of course, I expect the adherents to maintain their faith in spite of any evidence to the contrary and in spite of whatever direction the world may take – in politics, science, or climate. Personally, I hope the expression “human-caused global warming” will one day receive the brief chuckle and roll of the eyes that “the Earth is flat” receives now. Another reminder of that old adage: the more we learn the less we discover we know.

Barry Davey
August 29, 2008 4:28 am

The Hadley Centre has recently changed the way that the smoothed time series of data were calculated, see –
This now shows global temperature rising rather than falling in recent years.

August 29, 2008 5:30 am

Cycle 24 does not start when the first cycle 24 spot appears, but when cycle 24 spots outnumber cycle 23 spots. This means that the turning point can only be spotted in the rear view mirror.

August 29, 2008 5:42 am

doug janeway (20:05:03) :

I’m still not convinced that cycle 24 started 1/4/2008. … If cycle 24 started in July 2006 it portends a very quiet cycle ahead, and it give me the shivers.

Unfortunately there are two definitions of “solar cycle” at work. When talking about an individual cycle it’s from the first spot to the last. When talking about the series of solar cycles, its from the point where the smoothed average over 12 months has the new cycle spots outnumbering the old. So, while we are in an overlap of cycles 23 and 24, we haven’t reached the transition between 23 and 24. Sigh.

August 29, 2008 7:05 am

ATTN: Anthony Watts
I have been watching cold SST anomalies develop around the world seeming to center around N 47 30′ for the last month. The cool spots include areas off the coast of Maine, Ireland, the Sea of Okhotsk and the Gulf of Alaska.
Is there a name for this phenomenon?
Is this being caused by an upwelling or wind patterns?
Do these cool spots have anything to do with the shift in the PDO or AMO?
Any reason that they could be centered around the same latitude?
If this phenomenon is persistent, how might it effect the Climate of our friends in Canada, Europe, North East Asia, and of course us here in the States?
Please pardon me for failing to do my own homework in this regard, but I believe that I lack the prerequisite knowledge to do effective research in my attempt to understand this observation.
Thanks for your help.

Dan McCune
August 29, 2008 7:42 am

sod (01:26:09) :
You may want read the Farmers Almanac article before you comment. That one chart is an exception. All of the other charts in the FA piece look at the entire 20th century with starting points of 1880, 1895, 1900 & 1905.

August 29, 2008 7:45 am

an answer for jonnyb –
I am also watching the cold spots – the most important was the one off Alaska which appeared by the end of 2006, and I presume is part of the PDO shift – for the previous 30 years the jetstream drove lower weather into Alaska, sucking heat out of the gyre and dumping it and warming the shelf region, the coldness of which normally drives the Arctic Ocean gyre – that reversed its cyclonic nature and the Arctic sucked in warm water from the North Atlantic, and cloud from the Pacific – hence melting the ice from below and above – now that will end, Alaska will cool, the gyre will get going and the whole Arctic will refreeze – for at least 30 years, maybe longer if the sun doesn’t get going!
Yes – there is a new coolspot off SW Ireland – could spell the end of a similar North Atlantic heatstore to the NW Pacific- depends – the NA hotspot is deeper and the shifted jetstream of 2007-2008 summer may just have sucked the surface waters cooler – dumping in the UK and all the way to the eastern Baltic (no ‘summers’ no real winters either).
I’m waiting for another coldspot further north in the Atlantic – south of Iceland, as I suspect cloud displacement will open this area to rapid heat loss from September on – unless the jetstream re-aligns.
There are some specialists who think the jetstream responds to the solar cycle – moving south at the low-points, and staying there during Maunder type minimums – with major consequences.
Our own UK Metoffice don’t study the jetstream! Yet it is obvious there have been major shifts in 2007 and 2008 with consequences throughout Europe.

John Miller
August 29, 2008 7:48 am

This may have been discussed before, but looking at the CO2 to temperature trend, I realized that the right hand side has a scale measured in parts per million (PPM) and the delta between high and low is about 23PPM. As a percentage of full scale, 23PPM is 0.0023%. This is equvilent to a difference of less than 1 1/2 inches in a mile. This may be stupid, but do we have instruments that are capable resolving 23PPM accurately and repeatably using diffrent instruments at different locations over time?

August 29, 2008 9:04 am

sod- you say “sorry, but people who use the 1998 till today graph, can NOT be taken seriously.”
You mean like taking a temperature trend from 1970 to 1998 as an indication of catastrophic, unprecedented global warming?

August 29, 2008 9:20 am

John Miller: your interpretation of ppm is a little scewed. The total amount of CO2 is currently about 350ppm. So 23ppm is acctualy about a 6.5% change. That is fairly significant. And yes, ppm are easely measured. They can measure ppb (parts per billion).

John Miller
August 29, 2008 9:46 am

Jeff – “And yes, ppm are easely measured. They can measure ppb (parts per billion).” Okay then – give me a manufacturer and a model number.
Also, show me the standardized ISO9000/9001 level of quality control on these measurements that have been applied at all labs and at all times.
And no, 23ppm is the merely delta on the CO2 component, but CO2 is still being measured as a component of the whole and you are resolving against that whole.

August 29, 2008 11:45 am

I read this a couple weeks ago. He’s definitely putting himself out there with this bold prediction.
I think some of us are hoping that He’s right so the agw bandwagon will go away. Problem is, they probably won’t.
Only time will tell.

August 29, 2008 1:21 pm

Nice post, the UN organization IPCC is driving the climate hype through a corrupt government system. They were formed with the purpose of identifying and combating man made climate change before there was any real evidence.
They would have no purpose for existence if they didn’t find climate change so after only 2 years they had identified global warming and CO2 as a serious threat and began recommending formation of more organizations and committees which did the same.
Today billions of dollars are spent around the world by government organizations who’s entire survival depends on man made global warming being true. This had the necessary effect of corrupting the science beyond believability.
For more information you can go here.

old construction worker
August 29, 2008 4:48 pm

I’m buying 10 copies and giving them to some pro AGW friends.

Steve Sadlov
August 29, 2008 5:26 pm

RE: Steven Hill (19:12:25) :
We may indeed be facing a planetary emergency, however, if so, it’s probably not the one that non scientist Al Gore has in mind. It’s far worse. Far, far worse.
I cannot think of a worse way to witness the end of Civilization than sitting cold and starving in a war torn world of death.

August 29, 2008 9:33 pm

old construction worker (16:48:36) :
I’m buying 10 copies and giving them to some pro AGW friends.
Good! In addition to that, if they’re members of an enviromental group like the Sierra Club or Greenpeace, have them read Lucy Skywalker’s article at . If they are interested in the use and abuse of science in AGW, have them read my .
Lucy’s article may be best read on the web as she has a lot of links going to sources that support her journey back from the hot side.

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