Easterbrook on the potential demise of sunspots

THE DEMISE OF SUNSPOTSDEEP COOLING AHEAD?

Don J. Easterbrook, Professor of Geology, Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA

The three studies released by NSO’s Solar Synoptic Network this week, predicting the virtual vanishing of sunspots for the next several decades and the possibility of a solar minimum similar to the Maunder Minimum, came as stunning news. According to Frank Hill,

“the fact that three completely different views of the Sun point in the same direction is a powerful indicator that the sunspot cycle may be going into hibernation.”

The last time sunspots vanished from the sun for decades was during the Maunder Minimum from 1645 to 1700 AD was marked by drastic cooling of the climate and the maximum cold of the Little Ice Age.

What happened the last time sunspots disappeared?

Abundant physical evidence from the geologic past provides a record of former periods of global cooling. Geologic records provide clear evidence of past global cooling so we can use them to project global climate into the future—the past is the key to the future. So what can we learn from past sunspot history and climate change?

Galileo’s perfection of the telescope in 1609 allowed scientists to see sunspots for the first time. From 1610 A.D. to 1645 A.D., very few sunspots were seen, despite the fact that many scientists with telescopes were looking for them, and from 1645 to 1700 AD sunspots virtually disappeared from the sun (Fig. 1). During this interval of greatly reduced sunspot activity, known as the Maunder Minimum, global climates turned bitterly cold (the Little Ice Age), demonstrating a clear correspondence between sunspots and cool climate. After 1700 A.D., the number of observed sunspots increased sharply from nearly zero to more than 50 (Fig. 1) and the global climate warmed.

FIGURE 1. Sunspots during the Maunder Minimum (modified from Eddy, 1976).

The Maunder Minimum was not the beginning of The Little Ice Age—it actually began about 1300 AD—but it marked perhaps the bitterest part of the cooling. Temperatures dropped ~4º C (~7 º F) in ~20 years in mid-to high latitudes. The colder climate that ensued for several centuries was devastating. The population of Europe had become dependent on cereal grains as their main food supply during the Medieval Warm Period and when the colder climate, early snows, violent storms, and recurrent flooding swept Europe, massive crop failures occurred. Winters in Europe were bitterly cold, and summers were rainy and too cool for growing cereal crops, resulting in widespread famine and disease. About a third of the population of Europe perished.

Glaciers all over the world advanced and pack ice extended southward in the North Atlantic. Glaciers in the Alps advanced and overran farms and buried entire villages. The Thames River and canals and rivers of the Netherlands frequently froze over during the winter. New York Harbor froze in the winter of 1780 and people could walk from Manhattan to Staten Island. Sea ice surrounding Iceland extended for miles in every direction, closing many harbors. The population of Iceland decreased by half and the Viking colonies in Greenland died out in the 1400s because they could no longer grow enough food there. In parts of China, warm weather crops that had been grown for centuries were abandoned. In North America, early European settlers experienced exceptionally severe winters.

So what can we learn from the Maunder? Perhaps most important is that the Earth’s climate is related to sunspots. The cause of this relationship is not understood, but it definitely exists. The second thing is that cooling of the climate during sunspot minima imposes great suffering on humans—global cooling is much more damaging than global warming.

Global cooling during other sunspot minima

The global cooling that occurred during the Maunder Minimum was neither the first nor the only such event. The Maunder was preceded by the Sporer Minimum (~1410–1540 A.D.) and the Wolf Minimum (~1290–1320 A.D.) and succeeded by the Dalton Minimum (1790–1830), the unnamed 1880–1915 minima, and the unnamed 1945–1977 Minima (Fig. 2). Each of these periods is characterized by low numbers of sunspots, cooler global climates, and changes in the rate of production of 14C and 10Be in the upper atmosphere. As shown in Fig. 2, each minimum was a time of global cooling, recorded in the advance of alpine glaciers.

Figure 2. Correspondence of cold periods and solar minima from 1500 to 2000 AD. Each of the five solar minima was a time of sharply reduced global temperatures (blue areas).

The same relationship between sunspots and temperature is also seen between sunspot numbers and temperatures in Greenland and Antarctica (Fig. 3). Each of the four minima in sunspot numbers seen in Fig. 3 also occurs in Fig. 2. All of them correspond to advances of alpine glaciers during each of the cool periods.

Figure 3. Correlation of sunspot numbers and temperatures in Greenland and Antarctica (modified from Usoskin et al., 2004).

Figure 4 shows the same pattern between solar variation and temperature. Temperatures were cooler during each solar minima.

Figure 4. Solar irradiance and temperature from 1750 to 1990 AD. During this 250-year period, the two curves follow remarkably similar patterns (modified from Hoyt and Schatten, 1997). Each solar minima corresponds to climatic cooling.

What can we learn from this historic data? Clearly, a strong correlation exists between solar variation and temperature. Although this correlation is too robust to be merely coincidental, exactly how solar variation are translated into climatic changes on Earth is not clear. For many years, solar scientists considered variation in solar irradiance to be too small to cause significant climate changes. However, Svensmark (Svensmark and Calder, 2007; Svensmark and Friis-Christensen, 1997; Svensmark et al., 2007) has proposed a new concept of how the sun may impact Earth’s climate. Svensmark recognized the importance of cloud generation as a result of ionization in the atmosphere caused by cosmic rays. Clouds reflect incoming sunlight and tend to cool the Earth. The amount of cosmic radiation is greatly affected by the sun’s magnetic field, so during times of weak solar magnetic field, more cosmic radiation reaches the Earth. Thus, perhaps variation in the intensity of the solar magnetic field may play an important role in climate change.

Are we headed for another Little Ice Age?

In 1999, the year after the high temperatures of the 1998 El Nino, I became convinced that geologic data of recurring climatic cycles (ice core isotopes, glacial advances and retreats, and sun spot minima) showed conclusively that we were headed for several decades of global cooling and presented a paper to that effect (Fig. 5). The evidence for this conclusion was presented in a series of papers from 2000 to 2011 (The data are available in several GSA papers, my website, a 2010 paper, and in a paper scheduled to be published in Sept 2011). The evidence consisted of temperature data from isotope analyses in the Greenland ice cores, the past history of the PDO, alpine glacial fluctuations, and the abrupt Pacific SST flips from cool to warm in 1977 and from warm to cool in 1999. Projection of the PDO to 2040 forms an important part of this cooling prediction.

Figure 5. Projected temperature changes to 2040 AD. Three possible scenarios are shown: (1) cooling similar to the 1945-1977 cooling, cooling similar to the 1880-1915 cooling, and cooling similar to the Dalton Minimum (1790-1820). Cooling similar to the Maunder Minimum would be an extension of the Dalton curve off the graph.

So far, my cooling prediction seems to be coming to pass, with no global warming above the 1998 temperatures and a gradually deepening cooling since then. However, until now, I have suggested that it was too early to tell which of these possible cooling scenarios were most likely. If we are indeed headed toward a disappearance of sunspots similar to the Maunder Minimum during the Little Ice Age then perhaps my most dire prediction may come to pass. As I have said many times over the past 10 years, time will tell whether my prediction is correct or not. The announcement that sun spots may disappear totally for several decades is very disturbing because it could mean that we are headed for another Little Ice Age during a time when world population is predicted to increase by 50% with sharply increasing demands for energy, food production, and other human needs. Hardest hit will be poor countries that already have low food production, but everyone would feel the effect of such cooling. The clock is ticking. Time will tell!

References

D’Aleo, J., Easterbrook, D.J., 2010. Multidecadal tendencies in Enso and global temperatures related to multidecadal oscillations: Energy & Environment, vol. 21 (5), p. 436–460.

Easterbrook, D.J., 2000, Cyclical oscillations of Mt. Baker glaciers in response to climatic changes and their correlation with periodic oceanographic changes in the Northeast Pacific Ocean: Geological Society of America, Abstracts with Programs, vol. 32, p.17.

Easterbrook, D.J., 2001, The next 25 years; global warming or global cooling? Geologic and oceanographic evidence for cyclical climatic oscillations: Geological Society of America, Abstracts with Programs, vol. 33, p.253.

Easterbrook, D.J., 2005, Causes and effects of late Pleistocene, abrupt, global, climate changes and global warming: Geological Society of America, Abstracts with Programs, vol. 37, p.41.

Easterbrook, D.J., 2006, Causes of abrupt global climate changes and global warming; predictions for the coming century: Geological Society of America, Abstracts with Programs, vol. 38, p. 77.

Easterbrook, D.J., 2006, The cause of global warming and predictions for the coming century: Geological Society of America, Abstracts with Programs, vol. 38, p.235-236.

Easterbrook, D.J., 2007, Geologic evidence of recurring climate cycles and their implications for the cause of global warming and climate changes in the coming century: Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, vol. 39, p. 507.

Easterbrook, D.J., 2007, Late Pleistocene and Holocene glacial fluctuations; implications for the cause of abrupt global climate changes: Geological Society of America, Abstracts with Programs, vol. 39, p.594

Easterbrook, D.J., 2007, Younger Dryas to Little Ice Age glacier fluctuations in the Fraser Lowland and on Mt. Baker, Washington: Geological Society of America, Abstracts with Programs, vol. 39, p.11.

Easterbrook, D.J., 2007, Historic Mt. Baker glacier fluctuations—geologic evidence of the cause of global warming: Geological Society of America, Abstracts with Programs, vol. 39, p. 13.

Easterbrook, D.J., 2008, Solar influence on recurring global, decadal, climate cycles recorded by glacial fluctuations, ice cores, sea surface temperatures, and historic measurements over the past millennium: Abstracts of American Geophysical Union Annual Meeting, San Francisco.

Easterbrook, D.J., 2008, Implications of glacial fluctuations, PDO, NAO, and sun spot cycles for global climate in the coming decades: Geological Society of America, Abstracts with Programs, vol. 40, p. 428.

Easterbrook, D.J., 2008, Correlation of climatic and solar variations over the past 500 years and predicting global climate changes from recurring climate cycles: Abstracts of 33rd International Geological Congress, Oslo, Norway.

Easterbrook, D.J., 2009, The role of the oceans and the Sun in late Pleistocene and historic glacial and climatic fluctuations: Geological Society of America, Abstracts with Programs, vol. 41, p. 33.

Eddy, J.A., 1976, The Maunder Minimum: Science, vol. 192, p. 1189–1202.

Hoyt, D.V. and Schatten, K.H., 1997, The Role of the sun in climate change: Oxford University, 279 p.

Svensmark, H. and Calder, N., 2007, The chilling stars: A new theory of climate change: Icon Books, Allen and Unwin Pty Ltd, 246 p.

Svensmark, H. and Friis-Christensen, E., 1997, Variation of cosmic ray flux and global cloud coverda missing link in solar–climate relationships: Journal of Atmospheric and SolareTerrestrial Physics, vol. 59, p. 1125–1132.

Svensmark, H., Pedersen, J.O., Marsh, N.D., Enghoff, M.B., and Uggerhøj, U.I., 2007, Experimental evidence for the role of ions in particle nucleation under atmospheric conditions: Proceedings of the Royal Society, vol. 463, p. 385–396.

Usoskin, I.G., Mursula, K., Solanki, S.K., Schussler, M., and Alanko, K., 2004, Reconstruction of solar activity for the last millenium using 10Be data: Astronomy and Astrophysics, vol. 413, p. 745–751.

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UPDATE: Bob Tisdale has posted a rebuttal. Here is what he has to say via email.

Hi Anthony: The following is a link to my notes on the Easterbrook post:

http://bobtisdale.wordpress.com/2011/06/17/comments-on-easterbrook-on-the-potential-demise-of-sunspots/

We should have progressed beyond using outdated TSI datasets, misrepresenting the PDO, and creating bogus global temperature graphs in our arguments against AGW.

I’ve advised Easterbrook, and we’ll see what he has to say – Anthony

 

Hi Anthony:  The following is a link to my notes on the Easterbrook post:
We should have progressed beyond using outdated TSI datasets, misrepresenting the PDO, and creating bogus global temperature graphs in our arguments against AGW.

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John Marshall

The sensible outlook from a Geologist.
This might knock some sense into the alarmists.

Stephen Wilde

I think this is more likely than the Svensmark hypothesis but we shall see:
http://www.irishweatheronline.com/features-2/wilde-weather/the-sun-could-control-earths-temperature/290.html

Katherine

Typo alert. In the section Global cooling during other sunspot minima: “and succeeded by the Daltong Minimum”
“Daltong” should be “Dalton”
[Fixed, thanks. ~dbs]

TBear (Warm Cave in Freezing Sydney)

It is cold enough in Sydney, as it is!
Brrrrrrrr ….

One of the arguments that the warmists will use is that any cooling effect is temporary; “the heat is in the pipeline”. What I have been unable to find is any authorative timeline between the onset of a Maunder type solar magnetic minimum and global temperatyures. Supposing a new minimum is coming, when dio we expect to see a significant drop in temperatures? I have been unable to find any sort of data on this issue that I find convincing.

Mark Nutley

Good solid research, and time to buy a fur coat methinks. Naturally the alarmists have begun their spin saying this will only mask the warming, perhaps as millions die of the cold governments will stop building windmills and think about actual power stations.

nevket240

(( John Marshall says:
June 17, 2011 at 3:16 am
The sensible outlook from a Geologist.
This might knock some sense into the alarmists. ))
John. Have you ever tried to engage in a rational debate with an irrational person.??
By the time GISS has “improved” the data even a LIA will be warmer than 1998. Guaranteed….
regards

Blade

Something tells me this will be a busy thread 😉 better cook up some popcorn.

“Hardest hit will be poor countries that already have low food production, but everyone would feel the effect of such cooling.”

The only thing I would add is perhaps this …

‘Hardest hit will be countries that succumbed to AGW hysteria by de-industrializing, shutting their nuke plants, and are relying on solar panels and windmills.’

ATTENTION MODS: part of the article is duplicated, and note that the 2nd is less formatted.
[Reply: Fixed, thanks. ~dbs, mod.]

MattN

Gentlemen, THIS is it. The next 20-40 years should absolutely confirm or deny the power of CO2 to control the climate. If we lose all sunspots like the Maunder for decades and don’t cool off, then…..

Bruce Cobb

John Marshall says:
June 17, 2011 at 3:16 am
The sensible outlook from a Geologist.
This might knock some sense into the alarmists.

They will just automatically reject it, as it threatens their Belief system. Their only hope for return to rationality is some type of deprogramming, or “exit counseling” as it’s called today.

KenB

Slight tidy up needed to remove duplication.
[Done, thanx. ~dbs]

BargHumer

I read the “Solar predictions bring heat and light ” article by Richard Black on the BBC today. I was glad to see that he acceepts that sometimes “settled” theories are proved wrong. However, he shows a continuing confidence in his wide knowledge and in the majority of “warmist” views which he clearly supports. I see a problem here in that the “Warmists” have been handed a big “get out of jail free” card because the fact that the climate cools is linked strongly to sunspots, but their “AGW” problem still exists so that when the climate recovers, all that extra CO2 will make us heat up again rather quickly, and fry!
The argument will probably shift so that the immediate danger is past, but still say that we must not let the planet be destroyed once the suspots return. The bogus science will still keep rolling.

RR Kampen

[snip. d-word violation.]

Mike Davis

John Marshall:
It has not yet and has been known by many since the seventies when they were talking about the global cooling trend!

Nandie

In figure 3. what do WSN and GSN stand for?

cirby

Something to keep in mind while discussing this issue…
I keep seeing critiques of the “cooling” idea that hinge on “well, the Sun may have cycles, and it may be cooling, but it won’t counteract the 3 – 5 C heating that’s being predicted.” What they leave out is that the heating we’ve seen over the last 30-40 years mostly came from solar variability, too. If you admit that there could be a cooling cycle, you have to include the heating cycle that led up to the cooling – and the AGW theory promoters still won’t admit that into their world view.

RockyRoad

Bruce Cobb says:
June 17, 2011 at 3:49 am

John Marshall says:
June 17, 2011 at 3:16 am
The sensible outlook from a Geologist.
This might knock some sense into the alarmists.
They will just automatically reject it, as it threatens their Belief system. Their only hope for return to rationality is some type of deprogramming, or “exit counseling” as it’s called today.

“Alarmists” won’t have the slightest clue until their cereal bowl is empty and there’s nothing to grill. Even then, they’ll cook up some excuse that it’s all a comspiracy to force some wingnut explanation on them.

David Wright

“Correlation is not causation.” I don’t know how many times I have come across that phrase on this site, but it’s a lot.
Granted that Henrik Svensmark has put forward a plausible hypothesis for a quiet sun affecting Earth’s climate. Granted that Stephen Wilde suggests an interesting alternative hypothesis. Until either can be verified experimentally or by observation then hypotheses they will remain.
“Wait and see” is sound advice when it comes to climate matters. It always was.

Alexander K

For all warm-blooded creatures there is an optimum operating temperature which will seem heaven-like to us humans when the earth cools, as it inevitably will. Reading accounts in diaries from English villages written during the LIA is literally chilling.

JB Williamson

Excellent article.
Can I suggest you make this a ‘sticky’ and place it at the top of the list for a few days?

I’m as wary as always about predictions of future climate as I have always been.
Nevertheless there is a clear asymmetry in possible outcomes, since (before Hansen) cooling was seen to be much more dangerous to humans and the rest of the biosphere than warming. If climate does cool, we should expect to see greater storminess (as the temperature gradient increases between tropics and poles), and drier conditions at mid latitudes leading to droughts and increased desertification. The Sahara desert, for example, which has shrunk in recent decades, may well start to expand and the tropical rain forests decline latitudinally and altutudinally.
I do not wish cooling upon the Earth simply to falsify the Greenhouse hypothesis. The stakes are much higher than the egos of a pampered, delusional few.

John Finn

I am a bit puzzled by Professor Easterbrook’s graph in Fig 5.
Does anyone know what data Don was using for the temperature plot (black line). It appears to show the post-2000 period cooler than the 1990s. Whichever dataset you use (Hadley, UAH …take your pick) temperatures during the 2001-2010 decade were ~0.2 deg warmer than during the 1991-2000 decade. Only 1998 was warmer than the post-2001 years (although according to HadCrut, 2008 was slightly cooler than 1997).
Does anyone have an explanation?

Byz

“BargHumer says:
I see a problem here in that the “Warmists” have been handed a big “get out of jail free” card because the fact that the climate cools is linked strongly to sunspots, but their “AGW” problem still exists so that when the climate recovers, all that extra CO2 will make us heat up again rather quickly, and fry!”
I get your point here, however if the climate does cool significantly it will clearly demonstrate that the Sun is in the driving seat and not CO2. This in the eyes of the public will completely destroy their credibility (much like Gordon Brown’s economic credibility was destroyed when he pronounced “No more boom and bust” and then 2008 occurred).
Even though they have been peddling “Climate Change” for a few years, no-one forgets that the original claim has been “Global Warming”, if it gets very cold (“if” being an important word here) then people will notice this and a clear link can then be shown that this is due to the Sun’s activity. If it does not get colder well then maybe the Sun is not in the driving seat (this is a big experiment and we are testing a hypothesis or two, whether we like it or not).
My personal view is that the large thermo nuclear reaction in the sky will have an effect given past behaviour, however these could be like the chinese curse “Interesting times” and given what history tells us about previous cold periods we may see many upheavals that we would prefer not to be in the middle of 😮

Steeptown

The real question is how quickly it could happen.

C Porter

If we are now able to predict a solar sunspot minimum in advance of its occurrence, perhaps we should also be allowed to name it in advance of its arrival. Not withstanding the rights of the scientists who proposed its existence to name it, I propose that the readers of WUWT may wish to make a few suggestions.
My contribution is “The Climate Stupidity Minimum”

BenG

“I keep seeing critiques of the “cooling” idea that hinge on “well, the Sun may have cycles, and it may be cooling, but it won’t counteract the 3 – 5 C heating that’s being predicted.” What they leave out is that the heating we’ve seen over the last 30-40 years mostly came from solar variability, too. If you admit that there could be a cooling cycle, you have to include the heating cycle that led up to the cooling – and the AGW theory promoters still won’t admit that into their world view.”
Yes and obviously the greater temperatures are seen to cool as the minimum unfolds, the greater must be assumed the solar impact on the original warming (and implicitly the lower the CO2 effect)

The pathetic predictions of another Maunder Minimum by Hill show how little the so called experts know about the Sun, his partner in crime Howe wrote to me a couple of years ago expecting a very big SC24. The Landscheidt Minimum will be weaker than the Dalton Minimum which will most likely see a -2C drop over global temps with the NH experiencing the brunt of the brutal winters over the next 30 years. The evidence for this is written in the AM graph.
The coupling of the neg PDO with low solar is the reason for the cooling, but this is no coincidence.

ImranCan

I am also wary of these kind of predictions ….. I agree its possible, but I am not sure there is any clear evidence of global cooling yet. Sure, the predictions of the IPCC are not coming true, but it can hardly be said to have cooled either. Looking at the UAH data …. pretty ambiguous. And the Arctic continues to mystify.

Roald

Figure 5 looks very fishy to me. According to it, the 2000s must have been cooler than the 1990s and we know the reverse is true. And in reality the year 2010 tied with 1998 for record high temperature. Sure, it would be great if it got cooler a bit before all the Arctic sea ice melts. (Btw., I wonder when the next sea ice news is due.) However, even if the sun was to enter a Maunder like scenario, this would take no more than 0.1° to 0.3 ° off of a projected warming of 4°C until 2100.

Moderate Republican

Mike Davis says @ June 17, 2011 at 4:13 am “It has not yet and has been known by many since the seventies when they were talking about the global cooling trend!”
I am not sure that is correct Mike;
“An enduring popular myth suggests that in the 1970s the climate science community was predicting “global cooling” and an “imminent” ice age, an observation frequently used by those who would undermine what climate scientists say today about the prospect of global warming.
A review of the literature suggests that, to the contrary, greenhouse warming even then dominated scientists’ thinking about the most important forces shaping Earth’s climate on human time scales. More importantly than showing the falsehood of the myth, this review
shows the important way scientists of the time built the foundation on which the cohesive enterprise of modern climate science now rests.”
THE MYTH OF THE 1970S GLOBAL COOLING SCIENTIFIC CONSENSUS
Thomas C. Peterson*
NOAA National Climatic Data Center, Asheville, North Carolina
William M. Connolley
British Antarctic Survey
Natural Environment Research Council, Cambridge, United Kingdom

Jim Butler

All of a sudden, property in Mississippi/Texas ain’t lookin’ so bad 😉
We’re already looking property up in Maine that has a good wood stock on it, since heating oil/electricity is already going through the roof.
I can’t think of a more interesting hobby in my “Golden Years”, or “the back nine”, as I like to call it, than getting off the grid and watching the idiots try to understand what went wrong with their Warminista Religion. 🙂
Cheers to all,
JimB

Jim Cripwell says:
June 17, 2011 at 3:33 am
One of the arguments that the warmists will use is that any cooling effect is temporary; “the heat is in the pipeline”. What I have been unable to find is any authorative timeline between the onset of a Maunder type solar magnetic minimum and global temperatyures. Supposing a new minimum is coming, when dio we expect to see a significant drop in temperatures? I have been unable to find any sort of data on this issue that I find convincing.

The numerical model I created to link solar irradiance with ocean heat content indicates that cooling would be fairly slow at first, accelerating more the longer the Sun stays quiet. If we get a Dalton type minimum, maybe an SST drop of 0.3C worldwide in the first 20 years of the slowdown, from 2003. Of course, that means a bigger drop in the northern hemisphere SST, with much colder winter air temperatures.

Neil Jones

I’ve recently been re-reading “The Black Swan” by Taleb. If his ideas about narrative effecting people’s thinking are correct this will be ignored by most and actively denied by those propagating the AGW narrative until it becomes undeniable.

Amino Acids in Meteorites

RR Kampen
For a people that believes the science is settled your ilk certainly does spend a lot of time acting like it is not.

We would take care not be so alarmist as the warmists. Maybe the future scenario presented by Easterbroke is a little bit extreme (famine, etc etc).
And probably the warmists will continue putting pressure over the CO2 emission control, but there predicate will have much less impact on the population. Politicians will forget about this question that only some radicals will follow. Or, where is Nuclear Winter in the governments agendas?
Guigue

I estimate about .3C of global average temp can be attributed to an increase in the greenhouse effect, and we can probably expect about .3C more over the next 30 years. A better description of is a decrease in cooling that will result in higher average temperature over long time periods (by reducing low point of downward fluctuation).
Since cooling related to solar activity is believe to be due to a decrease in SW radiation absorbed at the surface and in the atmosphere, a better perspective is to see it as a decrease in heating that can result in a temperature drop.
Assuming the mass of the atmosphere is pretty evenly distributed GHGs are generally well mixed, about 50% of ghg heat retention will happen in the mid-high latitudes where the larger surface temperature drop would be expected. This should mute the temperature decline in the region about .25C (.5x(.3C realized ghg heat retention + .2C expected future ghg heat retention in 20 years)).
If mid-low latitude temps remain about the same, using Eaterbrook’s temp drop estimate global average temps should drop up to 1.75C (2C-.25C). Rather than a max temp difference of 4C between mid-high latitudes and mid-low latitude, the max difference should be about 3.75C. This should reduce some catastrophic weather, though it ma not change effects on food production because they may happen due to decreased light for crops more than surface atmospheric conditions.

Latitude

So what can we learn from the Maunder?
==========================================
Not much, mostly because we don’t have a clue what this means.

Gabriell

Easterbrook, please make a Widget counting down to the ice age! Would be a cool thing to have on a blog.
John Marshall/
“The sensible outlook from a Geologist. This might knock some sense into the alarmists.”
You must be Easterbrooks most loyal fan.

Amino Acids in Meteorites

The Blackfeet Indians predict the return of ‘many glaciers’ to Glacier Park
………Yellow Bear said that the glaciers in the park nearly ‘vanished’ 1,000 years ago during an extremely warm period with very little snow. The ‘peak’ of the number and size of the glaciers occurred during the 40-year period from 1710-1750 towards the end of the last ‘Maunder Minimum’ global cycle of cooling, a 70-year span almost completely devoid of sunspot activity that occurred from 1645 to 1715…….
http://www.longrangeweather.com/ArticleArchives/BlackfeetIndians.htm

Theo Goodwin

Mark Nutley says:
June 17, 2011 at 3:36 am
“Good solid research, and time to buy a fur coat methinks. Naturally the alarmists have begun their spin saying this will only mask the warming, perhaps as millions die of the cold governments will stop building windmills and think about actual power stations.”
So, the Warmista find themselves making the absurd claim that CO2 could have defeated the ice ages. If they would just think for a minute, they would see that we do not have so much as a correlation between CO2 and climate change – except in their benighted Gaia Models. At least Professor Easterbrook appears to have discovered a correlation between sun spots and Earth’s climate.
It bears repeating that the evidence for manmade global warming is no stronger than the evidence for a coming Ice Age. The Warmista just are not physical scientists.

Andy

Barg Humer,
I’m in complete agreement with you and other poster here:
I’m convinced the warmists will just use the “it’s masked the warming/won’t make much difference” excuse as a Get Out Of Jail Free card.
Joe Romm has already started spinning this kind of line over at his site:
http://thinkprogress.org/romm/2011/06/15/246202/sun-hibernation-deniers/#more-246202
Let’s be careful people…

Don K

This appears to be better science than the determined wrong headedness from the IPCC which seems to depend largely on the improbable assumption that ALL past climate change was caused by CO2 and on proof by repeated assertion. But still, the climate of the Little Ice Age couldn’t have been dramatically awful or Europeans would not have colonized New England and the Hudson River valley. Further, a lot of it depends on paleo proxies. My opinion at this stage. All paleo proxies for anything suck. They should be treated with considerable skepticism.
That said, Easterbrook looks to have a theory that deserves attention. If the sunspots actually go away, I reckon that we will learn a lot about climate in the next 40 years or so.

“when the colder climate, early snows, violent storms, and recurrent flooding swept Europe, massive crop failures occurred. Winters in Europe were bitterly cold, and summers were rainy and too cool for growing cereal crops, ”
Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?
Bear in mind that the key to Svensmark’s proposed mechanism for cooling is increased clouds, not decreased insolation. Cool, rainy, floody.

Roald

Yeah, Chief Easterbrook and the Blackfeets. Sounds like a ’60s psychedelic rock band. I for one can’t wait for the Ice Age to begin. I hate hot summers in the city.

mikemUK

David Wright says:
“Wait and see” is sound advice . . .
I fancy it won’t seem such sound advice if it DOES cool, with our current energy policies in place. One prolonged cold winter with erratic/non-existent renewable power etc. should wipe out a good many folk to start with.
Maybe the older power stations should be mothballed instead of decommissioned, until we can see clearly what is happening.
The AGW believers may yet get to see their 50m climate refugees, as the survivors head towards the equator; this could be good news for Greece, Spain, Portugal etc. as large chunks of money pour into their financially stricken economies. 8- )

Roald

I hope Easterbrook and the Blackfeet Indians are correct. I can’t wait for the Ice Age to begin and I hate hot summers in the city. I wouldn’t bet my money on it, though.

Laura

Keep an eye on the SST’s (sea surface: AMSU satellite) probably best gauge of this theory and effect of solar activity on average global temperatures. So far 100% on route, its still going down when La Nina has gone (should normally star to rise)

Over several years, this issue has been discussed on solarham.com under the heading of Global Warming. A gentleman who uses the pseudonym glc, argues very cogently, that the data supporting the cold temperatures during past solar magnetic minima is practically non-existent. At the time, I tried to find more than anecdotal information on global temperatures during, for example, the Maunder minimum and failed. I could not prove glc was wrong, and I have a sneaking suspicion that he may be right. I am sure the graphs that are used, giving temperarure data, can be found under many references, but if you try and find where the actual data comes from, I suspect it is non-existent.
It reminds me of how everyone “knows” that the Black Daeah was caused by bubonic plague. This was based on a guess at the end of the 19th century, when bubonic plague was found, and for the first time a possible reason for the Black Death was discovered. Most data is anecdotal. Recent studines indicate that the Black Death was caused by a virus like Ebola.
So I suggest that we do not take as gospel the graphs in this paper. If you go back far enough, I am sure you will find that the data on which they are based is almost non-existent.

pyromancer76

Congratulations and deep gratitude to Don Easterbrook and all those other geologists who continue to read the data provided by Earth. Congratualtions for keeping your university position and deep gratitude for remaining faithful to the scientific method.
I believe we are in a “titanic battle” of financial forces/individuals: those who are willing — and are smart enough — to compete in the market place (includes the essential engine of natural energy resources and requires “the scientific method” — truth in observation and data gathering) vs those who have developed using the favors of any government — or religious establishment — for their “profit” (e.g., the entire UN-IPCC boondoggle). Two examples:
1. Previously Anthony has posted on Google’s owners’ skewing their search engine. Take a look at Justin Danhof’s post, “Google Leaves Shareholders in the Dark About Green Investments”: http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/google-leaves-shareholders-in-dark-about-green-investments/?singlepage=true. Not only does Google have many “green investments” but a shareholder and member of their board, major venture capitalist John Doerr, does as well. Furthermore, one of Danhof’s main points is that Doerr and Google have many of the same investments, but no one can find out about them. (Read further about John Doerr and his part — and that of government regulations permitting raiding the wealth of established companies — in the earlier high tech bubble.) For what it is worth (not much, I think), I have been using Bing for quite a while, but I am not sure Microsoft is much, if any, better. At least I can support a competitor.
2. The University of California was, I think, the second highest contributor to the Obama campaign, and therefore, hoping to profit from all the “green.energy” investments in their endowment portfolio. How can those “investment funds” keep growing by 8% (or more) per year, enriching administrators first and faculty second without continued government favors? Next, of course, comes the back-scratching science grants and fellowships with their 80% “general operating expenses” margin for the university.
I understand that investigative journalism that explores the economic/financial backing of AGW is not the purpose of WUWT, and much has been made of Al Gore’s “green” financial empire and Cap-and-Trade schemes here, but I hope everyone understands that each time someone comments on “the corruption of science”, they are also commenting on those who intend to take our wealth. The only tactic is transfer of wealth — to the extent we still have any — rather than the production of wealth themselves, thereby enabling us to have the affluence to adapt to (natural) climate change — including perhaps the coming severe Eddy/Landschiedt Minimum — and to minimize the “pollution” caused by our industrious efforts.

richard verney

This is like the whole of the AGW debate; quite simply there is a lack of quality data. It is imprudent to read too much into one or two examples and one must always bear in mind that correlation does not mean causation.
I find all of this interesting. If I had to bet my house, I would sooner place it on a bet that the sun is the main driver of climate and much more important than GHGs (I do not rule these out from having some effect but I am dubious that their effect is anything like the claimed 33 degC of warming). The role of the oceans (which are huge solar reservoirs and have stored so much energy over thousands and thousands of years) will no doubt play a significant role in future events.
Whilst we are better equipped (with modern technologies than we were in the late 1600s/1700s) I for one would not like to see a new LIA. I have no doubt that cold is bad and warm is good. A global drop of 1 degC is likely far more harmful than a global rise of 3 degC.
Given the general lack of understanding of how Earth’s climate works and is driven and since we can do nothing about the sun, we shall have to wait and see how this all pans out.