The potential impact of volcanic overprinting of the Eddy Minimum

Guest post by David Archibald

There were five named solar minima in the last millennium – the Oort, Wolf, Spörer, Maunder and Dalton minima. At least the last four were all associated with cold climates. The astrophysics community has elected to name the current period of low solar activity the Eddy Minimum. John A. Eddy was an American astronomer who compiled data demonstrating the periods of low solar activity prior to the Dalton Minimum. The Eddy Minimum will include at least Solar Cycles 24 and 25, and could continue until late in the 21st Century.

Benjamin Franklin was the first to suggest that volcanic eruptions might affect climate, in a 1784 communication to the Literary and Philosophical Association of Manchester:

“During several of the summer months of 1783, when the effect of the sun’s rays to heat the earth in these northern regions should have been greatest, there existed a constant fog over all of Europe, and a great part of North America. This fog was of a permanent nature; it was dry, and the rays of the sun seemed to have little effect toward dissipating it, as they easily do to a moist fog, arising from water. They were indeed rendered so faint in passing through it, that when collected in the focus of a burning glass, they would scarce kindle brown paper. Of course, their summer effect in heating the earth was exceedingly diminished.

Hence the surface was early frozen.

Hence the first snows remained on it unmelted, and received continual additions.

Hence the air was more chilled, and the winds more severely cold.

Hence perhaps the winter of 1783-84 was more severe, than any that had happened for many years.

Benjamin Franklin was referring to the Laki eruption in Iceland of 1783. This was accompanied by an abnormally hot summer in Europe and then an exceptionally cold winter in Europe, the United States and Japan. In the United States, Charleston Harbour froze and the Mississippi River froze at New Orleans between 13th and 19th February, 1784. When this logjam of ice broke up, ships encountered ice flows in the Gulf of Mexico 100 km south of the delta. The famine in Iceland caused by the Laki eruption killed 24 percent of the population.

In the second half of the Modern Warm Period, when solar activity was at its highest for 8,000 years, there was one volcanic eruption large enough to affect climate. This was the eruption of Mt Pinatubo in the Philippines starting on 15th June, 1991. It ejected 10 cubic kilometres of magma and 20 million tonnes of sulphur dioxide. The aerosols it injected into the stratosphere lowered the global temperature by 0.5°C in 1992, with a peak effect of 0.7°C. The impact on agriculture though was not significant. Some wheat farmers in the northern part of the Canadian wheat belt found that the cool growing conditions didn’t allow their crops to mature in time before winter set in. They resorted to using Roundup to make hay from their standing wheat crops.

When major eruptions are overprinted on a period of cold climate, the effect is far more severe. As John A. Eddy said in reference to the Mount Tambora eruption of 10th April, 1815, “The unusual summer of 1816 is commonly attributed to the increase in atmospheric turbidity that followed the eruption of Mount Tambora. The awesome eruption occurred, in fact, during a span of several decades of colder climate that had interrupted the gradual global warming that followed seventeenth century extrema of the Little Ice Age. These background trends may well explain a particularly severe seasonal response in 1816 to a short-term injection of volcanic dust.”

The impact on climate and agriculture of the Mount Tambora eruption on the North-eastern United States is reasonably well documented. The current great grain producing area of the United States is 1,100 kilometres to the west. Nevertheless, what happened in the north-eastern states two hundred years ago is a good proxy for how the Corn Belt will respond to a major volcanic eruption during a climatic cool period. Visitors to the mid-western states in that period noted mid-summer frosts up to the mid-19th Century.

William R. Baron compiled the weather record of the north-eastern United States in his paper contained in the book “The Year Without a Summer? World Climate in 1816”:

“The year began, at least in Phillipstown, Massachusetts, with enough snow on the ground for sleighing. All over New England, January was a snowy, stormy month until the very end when a sudden thaw caused localised flooding such as the one reported by Isaiah Thomas at Worcester, Massachusetts on 23rd January where some mill dams were carried off and some items stored in a warehouse were destroyed. According to among others, Leonard Hill of East Bridgewater, Massachusetts, February was a mild and pleasant month with only three snows reported. By the beginning of March there was little deep snow anywhere with the exception of most of northern New England. Early March was clear and cold, and was followed by a series of three snow storms around mid-month that produced a few days of sleighing but soon melted. On 28th and 30th March, warm air returned producing thunder and lightning as reported by Elijah Kellogg at Portland, Maine and Thomas at Worcester.

April quickly turned cold again with frequent frosts and some snow. However, by 14th April, there was little snow left at Hallowell, Maine. By 19th April, Alexander Miller of Wallingford, Vermont had begun to plough his fields; Stephen Longfellow of Gorham, Maine was already planting wheat; and Theodore Lincoln of Dennysville (in far down-east Maine) was reporting ice-out on the local streams – a sure sign of coming spring. At the end of the month, Joshua Lane of Sanbornton, New Hampshire already was reporting the start of a drought that would later plague all of northern New England.

In early May, farmers throughout the region completed planting their major crop, corn. By mid-month, the weather had become “backward” with a “heavy black frost’ that froze the ground to at least one-half inch reported on 15th May as far south as Trenton, New Jersey. Miller, at Wallingford, Vermont, reported snow on 14, 17 and 29 May while Lane, over at Sanbornton, saw a large frost on 29th May, and ended the month with further complaints about the continuing drought. B.F. Robbins, visiting Concord, New Hampshire noted that May ended with two days of “remarkable cold” that froze the ground “to near an inch.”

June is the month most remembered for its outbreak of cold weather. On 4th June, there were frosts at Wallingford, Vermont and Norfolk, Connecticut. By 5th June, the cold front was reported over most of northern New England. On 6th June, snow was reported at Albany, New York and Dennysville, Maine, and there were killing frosts at Fairfield, Connecticut. 7th June brought reports of severe killing frosts from across the region, and as far south as Trenton, New Jersey.

Typical of comments by diarists concerning this day are those by George W. Featherstonehaugh of Albany, New York, who wrote that the frost killed most of the fruit, as many apple trees were then just finishing blossoming. Leaves on most of the trees were “blasted” by the cold. Corn and vegetable crops were injured. He also feared that many of the sheep that had just been sheared might die of cold.

Cold weather continued through the night of 10th June. By the end of the month most observers were reporting the return of warm weather, but by then most crops were either killed or “backward” and stunted in their growth. In northern New England, those crops that survived the frosts were hit by what was now a very serious drought, greatly reducing the production

of one of the area’s primary crops, hay.

In early July there was another outbreak of cold weather in northern New England. On 5th July, at Gorham, Maine, there was a very hard frost. Benjamin Kimball of Concord, New Hampshire and Thomas Robbins of Norfolk, Connecticut reported hard frost on 7th July. There was frost on 8th July at Portland, Maine and on the following day at Sanbornton, New Hampshire. Thereafter the cold held off for the remainder of the month. Dry conditions, generally reported earlier in northern areas, persisted throughout the entire month.

Frosts returned on the morning of 21st August, being reported at York and Portland, Maine and Wallingford, Vermont. By 22nd August hard frosts were noted all over the region and as far south as Trenton where buckwheat crops were killed. Thomas, at Worcester, Massachusetts, reported that these frosts “cut off Indian corn in many places”, while others such as Hill at East Bridgewater, Massachusetts observed that frosts did little or no damage.

The frosts continued into September. In northern New England there were frosts on 10th and 11th September and throughout New England during 25th to 27th September. On 28th September, there was a killing frost throughout the region extending as far south as Trenton. It killed any vegetation that had somehow survived to that date. The drought in northern New England was finally broken by rains in the last week of the month.

The remainder of autumn was very mild with very few snowfalls or storms. December was also mild, until the last 10 days or so, when it turned cold enough to freeze the harbour at Beverley, Massachusetts. The year ended as it began, with enough snow on the ground at Phillipstown, Massachusetts to use a sleigh.”

1816 had an extremely short growing season. In southern Maine, it had averaged 140 days up until then but plunged to 70 days in 1816. Consequently farmers experienced an almost total failure of major crops. There was a fair yield of winter grain, but other crops such as corn and hay failed leading to the loss of many sheep and cattle for lack of feed during the following winter. As a result, 1816 has come down to as the “cold year”, “the famine year” and ‘eighteen hundred and froze to death”. For eastern Massachusetts, 1816 is the only year in which young corn was killed in the spring after it had sprouted and in which corn that survived replanting was killed in the autumn, before it could reach maturity. Under these circumstances, it is safe to assume that in most places in New England corn crops were an almost total failure. The story for 1816 is the same for New Hampshire and Maine. There were a number of periods in which corn crops were hit by late spring or early autumn frosts. Particularly difficult periods include: 1793-96, 1812-17, and 1835-36.

The effect of the Mount Tambora eruption is also well documented in Europe. From 1813 to 1815, harvests were generally lower than expected. However, 1816 was a year of calamity for most of the continent. Spring saw heavy rains which were followed by snow in June and July that caused widespread harvest failures. Wheat yields in France, England and Ireland were at least 75 percent lower than at the beginning of that decade. Wholesale wheat and rye prices responded by roughly doubling in 1817 across the continent. The area affected the most was southern Germany where prices increased by three hundred percent by the period May to June of 1817. In Germany and Switzerland, people resorted to eating rats, cats, grass and straw as well as their own horses and watchdogs. This was the last great subsistence crisis of western civilisation.

The climate of Switzerland in 1816 inspired Mary Shelley to write the novel Frankenstein and her host, Lord Byron, to write his poem Darkness in July of that year. The first nine lines of the poem give a sense of what the days were like:

I had a dream, which was not all a dream.
The bright sun was extinguish’d, and the stars
Did wander darkling in the eternal space,
Rayless, and pathless, and the icy earth
Swung blind and blackening in the moonless air;
Morn came and went–and came, and brought no day,
And men forgot their passions in the dread
Of this their desolation; and all hearts
Were chill’d into a selfish prayer for light

With a solar activity now falling away and return to cold climate conditions imminent, it would be a useful exercise to calculate what would happen to American crop yields using the year-by-year climate conditions of the first half of the 19th Century. This would give an indication of the size of the problem. It could be that grain production might fall 60 percent from what it is now in the event of a major volcanic eruption during the Eddy Minimum. No American need starve if they were happy to live on a diet that was mostly corn and soybeans. The price of meat would skyrocket and a large portion of the national herd of lot-fed cattle and pigs would be slaughtered to avoid the cost of feeding them. Grain production in Canada in an 1816-type year would be wiped out completely. An indication of what would happen to food pricing and availability is the price response of oats in the north-eastern United States in 1816, which rose from 12 cents a bushel to 92 cents a bushel.

A repeat of the climate experience of 1816 in the world’s temperate region grain belts would most likely result in almost all of the grain exporting countries ceasing exports in order to conserve grain for domestic consumption. The effect on countries currently importing grain would go beyond calamity to catastrophe. The resultant mass starvation event would become the largest event in human history.

Current grain stocks carried by countries around the world assume that tomorrow will be much the same as today. As at year-end 2012, total world grain stocks were estimated to have been 328 million tonnes, which equates to 21% of annual demand. The days of the continuous benign climate of the second half of the 20th Century, due to the highest solar activity for the last 8,000 years, are now past. Perhaps continuing cooling over the rest of this decade will suggest to some that it would be prudent to plan on the basis that the climate for grain growing will continue to get worse, before there is another major volcanic eruption. Absence of planning could be considered as a suicidal tendency. Major volcanic eruptions occur about every 45 years on average. At the present, in the year 2013, with the oceans warmer than they have been for 800 years, the chance of a Mount Tambora-like eruption causing another mass famine is very slight. The world will be much cooler by 2020 though, and with an average period between eruptions of 45 years the chance of any individual year witnessing a mass famine event after 2020 will be about two percent. The cumulative chance rises to near 40 percent for the period 2020 to 2040. The world may dodge that bullet. Or it may not. Cold-driven reductions in grain supply will be quite distressing even to those who are fully prepared. The unprepared will become quite dead.

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Reblogged this on The Next Grand Minimum and commented:
The Next Grand Minimum is to be the Eddy Minimum. Please read the whole post by David Archibald, as he raise some interesting question about what our future might hold, based on what has gone on before. History has a nasty habit of repeating it self, we live in world of cycles.

rogerknights

ENSO meter has swung negative.

In the second half of the Modern Warm Period, when solar activity was at its highest for 8,000 years
There is no good evidence for that. On the contrary, the recent solar activity has not been exceptional.

thingadonta

“Perhaps continuing cooling over the rest of this decade will suggest to some that it would be prudent to plan on the basis that the climate for grain growing will continue to get worse”
Don;t hold your breath for the Met office to plan for this. I liked your comment though that storage of grain amounts to 21% of annual demand. If there was a meteorite or supervolcano this would be a signficant stat. Hard to plan for it though.

Al Gore

Any link solar activity and plate tecnotonic activity?
Or said in an other way Can a factor in our Sun system affect both sun activity and earthquake and volcano activity at the same time?

Al Gore says:
January 7, 2013 at 10:53 pm
Or said in an other way Can a factor in our Sun system affect both sun activity and earthquake and volcano activity at the same time?
There is no relationship between strong geomagnetic storms and earthquake activity:
http://www.leif.org/research/Earthquake-Activity.png

Interesting speculation. I do not discount the records of the past either. I do suggest that duplicating those conditions is very unlikely. I’m not all that sure about this Eddy Minimum business either. First is just started. I would think a bit premature in naming it too. Yes, solar activity is way down on a rather relative scale. What that means on a global or regional basis has yet to be determined. The models for predicting are as good as the AGW ones. How deep or long this diminishment of solar activity is, remains to be seen. We simply are in no position to accurately predict it. And even if we were we are in no position to model the results correctly. What we should have learned from 1816 was to keep a reasonably good supply of grain in storage from year to year. The folk wisdom to do so results from collective experience which we ignore with risk. It seems to me as a society we must keep asking ourselves how we got to where we are. Humanity seems to learn nothing from history as we keep repeating the same mistakes over and over.
Science and address many of questions. Some, those dealing with a priori inductive logic or belief systems are beyond its scope.

There is no good evidence for that. On the contrary, the recent solar activity has not been exceptional.

But we probably have been at probably the longest sustained strong solar period without a grand minimum since the Medieval Maximum. I believe that would be a fair statement. It was 110 years from the end of the Wolf to the start of the Spörer. 95 years from the end of Spörer to the start of the Maunder. 75 years from the end of the Maunder to the start of the Dalton. It has been almost 200 years since the end of the Dalton.
It was about 230 years between the end of the Oort minimum, through the Medieval Maximum to the start of the Wolf Minimum.

Regarding the “five named solar minima in the last millennium”:
The Suess or de Vries cycle of 208 years ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_variation ) shows clearly in solar proxy records for the last ~10,000 years. The recent weak solar cycle was exactly where it should be, 210 years after the previous very weak cycles. There is also a 104 year cycle. See also:
http://cyclesresearchinstitute.wordpress.com/2011/07/13/analysis-of-be10-records-as-a-solar-irradiance-proxy/
http://cyclesresearchinstitute.wordpress.com/2010/06/27/cycles-in-sunspot-number-reconstruction-for-11000-years/
http://cyclesresearchinstitute.wordpress.com/2012/11/13/sunspot-number-reconstruction-by-leif-svalgaard-and-proxy-cycles-of-104-and-208-years/
The two strongest components of the ~11 year solar cycle are 11.05 and 10.49 years which give 207 years beats while other components of 10.01 and 11.79 years also create beats of near to 104 years.

Quote David Archibald:
“The astrophysics community has elected to name the current period of low solar activity the Eddy Minimum. ”
Got a link for that? I didn’t know this had been finally decided by the astrophysics community.
Quote Anthony Watts:
“Jack Eddy, discoverer of the Maunder Minimum”
Quote Jack Eddy:
“I also knew I wasn’t the first to find it, and it wasn’t really mine. I think I did quite a bit for Maunder with that name. Particularly because he also got the idea from somebody else. He got it from Sporer who was a German astronomer.”

A Lovell

I still think it should be called the ‘Ad Ho Minimum’.

tallbloke says:
January 8, 2013 at 12:21 am
“The astrophysics community has elected to name the current period of low solar activity the Eddy Minimum. ”
Got a link for that? I didn’t know this had been finally decided by the astrophysics community.

Shadia Habbal, the Solar Physics Division chair, has taken up the task to consider this. The current status is that since it is not certain that we will have a Grand Minimum perhaps it is premature to name anything, but should a Grand Minimum occur, the Eddy Minimum is a clear favorite. The solar community is not keen on naming things after pseudo-scientists or modern astrologers, but since Eddy was neither, he is a favorite candidate.

redneck

Clearly David your no farmer. Why a farmer in the northern Canadian wheatbelt (locally they call it the prairies) would waste money on Roundup to turn a standing failed wheat crop into hay instead of just cutting it down with a swather, or windrower and then bale it for greenfeed is beyond me.

Leif Svalgaard says:
January 7, 2013 at 11:10 pm
Al Gore says:
Can a factor in our Sun system affect both sun activity and earthquake and volcano activity at the same time?
There is no relationship between strong geomagnetic storms and earthquake activity:

There are plenty of papers in the literature purporting to demonstrate a link between low sunspot numbers and volcanoes and earthquakes. There are no simple one to one relationships, but taken over longer timescales, there is a pretty obvious correlation.
http://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2011/03/12/john-l-casey-the-solar-seismic-connection/

tallbloke says:
January 8, 2013 at 1:11 am
There are plenty of papers in the literature purporting to demonstrate a link between low sunspot numbers and volcanoes and earthquakes.
There are plenty of papers about almost anything. When you look more closely, the claims fade away. Now, there is some evidence that the cosmic ray record is contaminated by volcanic activity, either directly or via climate, so some of the so-called Grand Minima could be of volcanic/climate origin and not solar at all. This is, of course, speculation, but so are the purported links. You shouldn’t uncritically believe everything you find on the internet.

It bears noting that the consensus view is that the Year Without a Summer was only mildly cooler than normal, maybe a blip of 0.2 degrees Celsius on the consensus hockey stick graph. Climate influences other than carbon dioxide are not fashionable right now.

Stephen Wilde

This thread refers to historical evidence that I have been aware of for many years.
It contains part of the data that led me to consider that climate changes are primarily caused by expansion and contraction of the polar air masses as a result of waxing and waning solar influences operating via the intensity of the polar vortices.
The drought and cold of 1816 and the years before and after fit well with more equatoward climate zones and jet stream tracks than we see today and probably with greater jet stream meridionality than we became used to during the recent late 20th century warming.
I noticed similar reports in the diaries of Samuel Pepys and other reports from the period around the Maunder.
Also ships logs about depression tracks in the LIA.
In contrast the MWP was a benign period with poleward storm tracks which allowed relative prosperity to develop in the outer islands to the west of Scotland with relatively uneventful inter island transport.
I think our regular contributor tonyb has compiled a lot of information of a historical nature which all tells a similar story as regards climate and weather shifts observed when solar activity changed for decades at a time.
It is only those with a relatively sparse historical knowledge who still entertain the notion that a link between the sun and global air circulation is ‘unlikely’.

Hell_Is_Like_Newark

Curious as to what the effect might have been in Southeast Asia region of the world. Thailand and Vietnam a few years ago suffered rice crop failures due to cold, which caused governments in the region to restrict rice exports. Vietnam is again experiencing freezing weather in the mountains.
Given that regions heavy dependence on a warm weather crop, I wonder if the savage effects of an 1816 like event would be far more devastating there than here in the continental USA?

bill mcintyre

Al Gore 7/2013/10:15 PM
No. – – Every bit of matter in our galaxy is created and maintained by electro-magnetic waves
(AKA gravity waves when passing through matter) from our galactic core.
The extent of our galaxy is limited to the “range” of these waves.
All of our major climate cycles — Eg ; H/DO & Bond cycles, are a products of our galactic core.
We cannot measure this but we can “see” it. Here:
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/01/02/galactic_geysers/
This is the “rectifier” that changes the core’s output to pulsating “D/C” , which is changed to “A/C” when it contacts matter outside of the protective ring. The protective ring keeps electro-magnetic waves (AKA gravity waves), from imploding back into the core and changing our galaxy into
a quasar.
Note the three “wraps” in the 100,000 year time span is our 33,000 year climate cycle that our shorter cycles follow. See any legitimate temperature graph covering the last few glacial cycles.
(Closer scrutiny of the “rectifier” may give us clues to our shorter cycles)
We are presently in the midst of a cold period which occurs every 150,000,000 years.
This present dip began ~3 million years ago (marked by ice age temperature graphs and by
“recent and ongoing” rapid tectonic movements of earth’s crust.
See Paper title ;
“Neotectonics” by Nils-Axel Morner,
Paleo Geophysics & Geodynamics,
S-10691, Stockholm, Sweeden
If the “150my” time line is correct, we have ~ 3 million years left to go in this present “dip”
Optimum CO2 levels , together with optimal continental placement, can lessen the degree
of cold encountered but we don’t have the optimums.

AndyG55

Its time to rethink the food->biofool issue. What a waste that is !

AndyG55

@ Bill. “Optimum CO2 levels ”
We all know that raise CO2 is great, especially with a extra warmth as well, but does raised CO2 levels help that much if it gets cold ?? I haven’t seen much info about that facet of CO2 / plant interaction.

Leif Svalgaard says:
January 8, 2013 at 12:56 am
tallbloke says:
January 8, 2013 at 12:21 am
“The astrophysics community has elected to name the current period of low solar activity the Eddy Minimum. ”
Got a link for that? I didn’t know this had been finally decided by the astrophysics community.
Shadia Habbal, the Solar Physics Division chair, has taken up the task to consider this. … it is premature to name anything,
So you promoting Eddy and Anthony publishing David Archibald’s untrue statement is an astroturfing exercise. OK.
The solar community is not keen on naming things after pseudo-scientists or modern astrologers, but since Eddy was neither, he is a favorite candidate.
As well as successfully pedicting the present solar minimum (while ‘the solar community cnsensus’ said solar cycle 24 would be the highest evah), Theodor L published quite a few papers cited by many other scientists in ‘the community’ and your attempts to blacken his memory are shameful and disgusting. Just like your other attacks on other scientists like Ilya Usoskin, Abreu et al and Nicola Scafetta.

Stephen Walters

Well said tallbloke. A true injustice going on here.

bacullen

@redneck to answer your question about Roundup usage – I remember that farmers who used it gained ~2 weeks on the ripening of their grain. Giving them a tremendous advantage over non-users.

Gail Combs

Dennis Nikols, P. Geo says:
January 7, 2013 at 11:21 pm
Interesting speculation. I do not discount the records of the past either. I do suggest that duplicating those conditions is very unlikely. I’m not all that sure about this Eddy Minimum business either. First is just started. I would think a bit premature in naming it too….
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
The naming is because there is a group who had been calling it L***t Minimum after the guy who predicted it, *Land*sch*eidt*. (Using his name here gets an automatic boot into the ether) However his name is mud in solar physics circles where he is considered a wacked-out kook. Hence the rush to name the possible modern Minimum the Eddy Minimum before the other name become stuck fast through common usage.

tallbloke says:
January 8, 2013 at 5:01 am
Just like your other attacks on other scientists
And your attacks on me…
And BTW the astrologer’s prediction of solar activity was wrong as he predicted the very low minimum to occur in 1990. But, who really cares about failed predictions?

Hi, Russ,
I still think it should be named the “Al Gore Minimum.”
chillguy33

SandyInLimousin

And BTW the astrologer’s prediction of solar activity was wrong as he predicted the very low minimum to occur in 1990.
As an interested bystander. enlighten me, isn’t 1990 a better prediction than NASA/Hathaway managed just a few years ago?

SandyInLimousin says:
January 8, 2013 at 8:44 am
As an interested bystander. enlighten me, isn’t 1990 a better prediction than NASA/Hathaway managed just a few years ago?
The difference is that Hathaway [his predictions are not NASA’s] has acknowledged that he was wrong, while the current troop of L-enthusiasts has not.

Bruce Cobb

Leif Svalgaard says:
January 8, 2013 at 12:56 am
The solar community is not keen on naming things after pseudo-scientists or modern astrologers, but since Eddy was neither, he is a favorite candidate.
Any particular reason for the flagrant use of ad hominem?

Gail Combs

thingadonta says: @ January 7, 2013 at 10:42 pm
Don;t hold your breath for the Met office to plan for this. I liked your comment though that storage of grain amounts to 21% of annual demand. If there was a meteorite or supervolcano this would be a signficant stat. Hard to plan for it though.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
You are missing a significant current policy that David did not point out in his essay. You need to understand the background political maneuvering to understand just how dangerous the current situation actually is and how it is going to get a lot more dangerous going forward. So please take the time to read this.
This is a current situation:

Want food security? Bring back a national grain reserve
September 21, 2012|By Frederick Kaufman
To blunt the ravages of drought and market greed, we need a national grain reserve….our country cannot even threaten to bolster the national supply because the United States does not possess a national grain reserve. Such was not always the case….

Credit Suisse: The Hunt for Land Has Already Started
Rothschild cashes in by Investing in Farmland
Business Insider: Barton Biggs – Stock A Safe Haven With Food And Firearms To Protect Against Doomsday Pillagers
So How did we get there?
1. Four privately held corporations, Cargill, Louis Dreyfus, Andre, and Bunge., control 90% of the world grain market. These corporations are owned by seven families.
2. The World Trade Organization Agreement on Agriculture was written by Dan Amstutz, VP of Cargill and later partner in Goldman Sachs.

One of the most influential in creating the WTO is a little-publicized organization called the IPC– the International Food and Agricultural Trade Policy Council, shortened to International Policy Council.
The IPC was created in 1987 to lobby for the GATT agriculture rules of WTO at the Uruguay GATT talks. The IPC demanded removal of ‘high tariff’ barriers in developing countries, remaining silent on the massive government subsidy to agribusiness in the USA.
A look at the IPC membership explains what interests it represents. The IPC Chairman is Robert Thompson, former Assistant Secretary US Department of Agriculture and former Presidential economic adviser. Also included in the IPC are Bernard Auxenfans, Chief Operating Officer, Monsanto Global Agricultural Company and Past Chairman of Monsanto Europe S.A.; Allen Andreas of ADM/Toepfer; Andrew Burke of Bunge (US); Dale Hathaway former USDA official and head IFPRI (US).
Other IPC members include Heinz Imhof, chairman of Syngenta (CH); Rob Johnson of Cargill and USDA Agriculture Policy Advisory Council; Franz Fischler Former Commissioner for Agriculture, European Commission; Guy Legras (France) former EU Director General Agriculture; Donald Nelson of Kraft Foods (US); Joe O’Mara of USDA, Hiroshi Shiraiwa of Mitsui & Co Japan; Jim Starkey former Assistant US Trade Representative; Hans Joehr, Nestle’s head of agriculture; Jerry Steiner of Monsanto (US). Members Emeritus include Ann Veneman, former Bush Administration Secretary of Agriculture and former board member of Calgene, creator of the Flavr Savr genetically-modified tomato.
The IPC is controlled by US-based agribusiness giants which benefit from the rules they drafted for WTO trade….
Source

3. The 1996 US farm bill, later dubbed Freedom to Fail (also written by Amstutz). Did two things. The USDA abandoned the policy of Strategic Grain Reserves and no longer bought surplus grain. US farmers were allowed for the first time since FDR to plant as many acres as they wished. They did and these two policy changes along with farm subsidies caused prices to plummet well below the cost of production even in third world countries. Many US farmers were bankrupted leading to the Freedom to Fail label.
4. Grain traders happily bought this supper cheap grain shipped it overseas and bankrupted third world farmers.
At the same time WTO was ratified so was NAFTA.

According to a study by Jose Romero and Alicia Puyana carried out for the federal government of Mexico, between 1992 and 2002, the number of agricultural households fell an astounding 75% – from 2.3 million to 575, 000
Source

The number of farmers who have committed suicide in India between 1997 and 2007 now stands at a staggering 182,936….
It is significant that the count of farmers taking their lives is rising even as the numbers of farmers diminishes, that is, on a shrinking farmer base. As many as 8 million people quit farming between the two censuses of 1991 and 2001. The rate of people leaving farming has only risen since then, but we’ll only have the updated figure of farmers in the census of 2011.
These suicide data are official and tend to be huge underestimates…. For instance, women farmers are not normally accepted as farmers (by custom, land is almost never in their names). They do the bulk of work in agriculture – but are just “farmers’ wives.” This classification enables governments to exclude countless women farmer suicides….
The rate of farmers’ suicides has worsened particularly after 2001, by which time India was well down the WTO garden path in agriculture.
Source

Clinton who pushed the ratification of NAFTA and WTO even admits the goal was to wipe out third world farmers.

…During testimony before a US Senate committee three weeks ago, Clinton admitted that requiring Haiti to lower its tariffs on rice imports made it impossible for Haitian farmers to compete. The trade policy forced farmers off the land and undercut Haiti’s ability to feed itself.
“It may have been good for some of my farmers in Arkansas, but it has not worked. It was a mistake,” Clinton — now a UN special envoy to Haiti — told the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee on March 10. “I had to live everyday with the consequences of the loss of capacity to produce a rice crop in Haiti to feed those people because of what I did; nobody else.”
Source

So that is the first third of the mess. The second third is the WTO/UN push for strict regulation of farm world wide.
As Sir Julian Rose put it.

…The propaganda machine went into overdrive with brash promises of “pots of gold” being showered on Poland and farmers being offered generous agricultural subsidies and free advice, provided they played by the rules of the game…
That ’game’ was all too familiar to me. Spend hours out of your working day filling in endless forms, filing maps and measuring every last inch of your fields, tracks and farmsteads; applying for ‘passports’ for your cattle and ear tags for your sheep and pigs; re-siting the slurry pit and putting stainless steel and washable tiles on the dairy walls; becoming versed in HASAP hygiene and sanitary rules and applying them where any food processing was to take place; and living under the threat of convictions and fines should one put a finger out of place or be late in supplying some official details….
…After clearing her throat and leaning slowly forward, the [EU]chair-lady said: “I don’t think you understand what EU policy is. Our objective is to ensure that farmers receive the same salary parity as white collar workers in the cities. The only way to achieve this is by restructuring and modernising old fashioned Polish farms to enable them to compete with other countries agricultural economies and the global market. To do this it will be necessary to shift around one million farmers off the land and encourage them to take city and service industry jobs to improve their economic position. The remaining farms will be made competitive with their counterparts in western Europe.”….
Source

Not only do EU farmers live under this ridiculous time wasting bureaucracy and constant threat of fines but thanks to ‘Harmonization’ so do Australian, Canadian and in this coming year American farmers.
Enter stage right the financial traders to take advantage of this new set-up.
Remember Dan Amstutz who engineered this mess moved on to Goldman Sachs.

How Goldman Sachs Created the Food Crisis
Bankers recognized a good system when they saw it, and dozens of speculative non-physical hedgers followed Goldman’s lead and joined the commodities index game, including Barclays, Deutsche Bank, Pimco, JP Morgan Chase, AIG, Bear Stearns, and Lehman Brothers, to name but a few purveyors of commodity index funds. The scene had been set for food inflation…
when the global financial crisis sent investors running scared in early 2008, and as dollars, pounds, and euros evaded investor confidence, commodities — including food — seemed like the last, best place for hedge, pension, and sovereign wealth funds to park their cash….
The money flowed, and the bankers were ready with a sparkling new casino of food derivatives. Spearheaded by oil and gas prices (the dominant commodities of the index funds) the new investment products ignited the markets of all the other indexed commodities, which led to a problem familiar to those versed in the history of tulips, dot-coms, and cheap real estate: a food bubble. Hard red spring wheat, which usually trades in the $4 to $6 dollar range per 60-pound bushel, broke all previous records as the futures contract climbed into the teens and kept on going until it topped $25…

Food shortfalls predicted: 2008 financialsense.com
The agricultural sector was one of the areas we found most attractive in 2007. We expect that will remain the case. Long term global price and demand trends remain positive…
In summary, we have record low grain inventories globally as we move into a new crop year. We have demand growing strongly. Which means that going forward even small crop failures are going to drive grain prices to record levels. As an investor, we continue to find these long term trends…very attractive….

And by the same outfit: Investing in Farmland: 4 Ways to Play the Agricultural Boom
There is only one problem. If Countries have grain reserves the commodities index game doesn’t make money and the Grain Traders do not make money. So the Grain traders wrote a letter.
July 22, 2008 letter to President Bush

Recently there have been increased calls for the development of a U.S. or international grain reserve to provide priority access to food supplies for Humanitarian needs. The National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) and the North American Export Grain Association (NAEGA) strongly advise against this concept.. Stock reserves have a documented depressing effect on prices… and resulted in less aggressive market bidding for the grains.
Source

Grain Reserves and the Food Price Crisis: SELECTED WRITINGS FROM 2008–2012
In 2009, IATP decided to renew and refocus its work on grain reserves in light of the 2007-08 food crisis and the link to significantly diminished food stocks for inter- national markets. That work continues to deepen and expand, as a growing number of civil society organizations (CSOs), researchers and governments renew their interest in grain reserves as an important instrument to build food security. …
Many of the countries that most need a national reserve are least able to afford one. The countries that can afford a reserve prefer to avoid the costs involved, relying instead on the private market.
…………. It continues to prove very difficult to get some of the most influential members of the world’s richest economies—the G-20—to allow an open debate on reserves. Officials in different policy institutions, governments and agribusiness repeatedly confirm that the question is a political “non-starter” for many countries. ….

So there you have it. The big transnational food companies and the bankers WANT food shortages and no grain reserves. They WANT food prices to sky rocket and they could give a rats rear end whether or not there were food riots in 30 countries and children starved.
Unfortunately this leaves most of the world in deep doo doo if we have nasty weather over a lot of the world and crops fail.

Rhys Jaggar

Clearly the issue to be confronted is not whether certain individual regions will have crops decimated (that’s a no-brainer), but whether there exists the capability for other, more southerly latitudes to take up the slack as a result.
I’m no expert on the geography of the US, but my hunch would be that a scenario like this would see the ‘grain belt’ shift ten degrees south in the northern hemisphere and who knows what would happen in the Southern one.
Could anyone forsee grain production in Europe shifting to Italy, Spain and Turkey? Tomato and citrus shifting primarily to North Africa and the Middle East?? Can you see sheep replacing cows in Germany and Northern France if temperatures drop?? They seem to survive pretty well in Scotland, on English mountains etc etc…..Fleece for warmth, lamb’s meat to eat, milk and cheese coming from goats instead of cows?? It’s possible……..
What would the climate in the Sahara look like?? Would it become a lush and fertile place and, if so, how long would it take to occur??
Would heated greenhouses become the norm in more northern latitudes as the open fields move southward?? After all, as long as the sun shines, you can grow fruit and vegetables inside a temperature-controlled building. It might not be the most perfect, luscious stuff, but who cares if it keeps you healthy??
As for America, one wonders what the future agricultural patterns would be in Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, Georgia, Southern California, Tennessee, Arkansas and South Carolina would be??
I’m not enough of an expert to know how easy a transition would be, but unless it can be proved ex ante to be impossible, it’s surely a scenario worth thinking about professionally, isn’t it????

Bruce Cobb says:
January 8, 2013 at 8:55 am
“things after pseudo-scientists or modern astrologers, but since Eddy was neither, he is a favorite candidate.”
Any particular reason for the flagrant use of ad hominem?

When the characterization fits it is hardly ad hom.
Perhaps you could judge for yourself:
Landscheidt, T. CREATIVE FUNCTIONS OF CYCLES. Predictable Phase-Shift in Solar-Terrestrial Cycles. – Foundation for the Study of Cycles, May/June 1989
ABSTRACT. Recent research has shown that cycles are at the core of creativity. They form antagonistic centers of polar tension, the competing realms of which generate fractal boundaries, sites of instability where new forms emerge. This knowledge, when applied to cycles and boundaries in the solar system, makes it possible to predict phases of instability, phase-shift, and emergence of new patterns in solar-terrestrial cycles.
—–
Perhaps this is your measure of sound science. It is not mine.

Leif Svalgaard:
re your comment at January 8, 2013 at 9:23 am.
Whatever the language he used, the predictions by Theodor L. are clear, unambiguous and to date they are seen to have been remarkably correct.
He was the first to predict the so-called ‘Eddy Minimum’. Therefore, it does seem reasonable to name what he predicted after him, and not to give that honour to Eddy or anybody else.
Please note that the solar predictions of others – including you – have not shown anything like the accuracy of the predictions made by the late Theodor L. whose demise removed from him the ability to progressively alter predictions in the light of events (as you and your colleagues do; e.g. cycle 24).
So, not only do rationality and justice suggest the so-called ‘Eddy Minimum’ should be named after its first predictor, the success of Theodor’s predictions suggest his strange methods should be evaluated and not dismissed. Those methods may seem to be bizarre but they are observed to have worked to date. It is prejudice – not science – to demean a person because you don’t like his methods when those methods are seen to have had predictive skill. (Of course, that apparent skill may be coincidental chance, but it is not science to assume the apparent skill is merely a result of ‘luck’).
Richard

richardscourtney says:
January 8, 2013 at 10:18 am
Whatever the language he used, the predictions by Theodor L. are clear, unambiguous and to date they are seen to have been remarkably correct.
Landscheidt, T. Swinging sun, 79-year cycle, and climatic change. J. interdiscipl. Cycle Res. 12, 3-19, 1981.
“The next minimum in the 79-year cycle will occur in 1990. It will be more pronounced than the minimum in 1811.”

1818 was cold in a cold time, as noted above. The Eddy Mininum, as it comes, will be cold in a warm time.
The decline of temperature is not to a specific level, at least in the decadal sense, but a decline to a difference. The rise of temperatures globally from the early and mid-1800s to today has given us a higher initial start; a drop of, say, 0.5C globally will bring us back to the 1920s, not the 1820s.
To see solar activity wrt sunspots and GCR as the determinant of global temperatures is to fall for the Unique Solution Syndrome underlying the IPCC. We are warm or cold as a result of a confluence of influences. Even if GCR or CO2 is a major player, it is not the only player of the climate team.
Tambora, Laki etc. opertated their magic by increasing the albedo of the upper cloud component of the Earth so that the TOA TSI could not become SOE (Surface Of Earth) TSI. Whatever other temperature operating mechanisms, be they oceanic currents, PDO, AMO or CO2, will still be operating. If, as some of us suspect, the heat redistribution systems of Earth have a large portion in determining relative warming or cooling of the Earth, and that these systems are or have been operating to warm the planet since the 1850s, then the Eddy Minimum will be working to counteract these systems. But they will still exist.
The threat of the Eddy to become a Dalton or a Maunder must be considered within the context in which we live and in which the Dalton and Maunder occurred.
BTW, the use of Roundup to turn wheat into a feed crop for cattle would be bizarre. Roundup kills not just the plants today but those of tomorrow: it is a soil sterilizer. The loss of wheat in the 1992 Pinatubo year I well remember as the year my family in southern Saskatchewan snowmobiled over the swathed wheat to check its status. A very bad year. But no Roundup.

richardscourtney says:
January 8, 2013 at 10:18 am
Theodor L. whose demise removed from him the ability to progressively alter predictions in the light of events
When the predicted minimum did not occur, he progressively altered his ‘predictions’, e.g.
Landscheidt, T. Extrema in sunspot cycle linked to Sun’s motion. – Solar Physics 189, 413 – 424, 1999.
“The extrapolation of the observed pattern points to sunspot maxima around 2000.6 and 2011.8. If a further connection with long-range variations in sunspot intensity proves reliable, four to five weak sunspot cycles (R < 80) are to be expected after cycle 23 with medium strength (R ~ 100).” [no grand minimum]
Extrapolation is not valid prediction. Nor are the ‘GoldenSection’, ‘Solar Fingers and Hands’, ‘The Number Five, the Logarithmic Spiral, and Fractals, ‘Pentagons’, ‘Distribution of the sun and special planets in the diurnal circle at the birth times of eminent professionals from six vocational groups’:
http://bourabai.narod.ru/landscheidt/golden.htm

Never to forget that Galileo, a man much venerated in scientific circles, was a teacher of astrology for many years and rather famous for his astrological predictions that he claimed were absolutely certain.

The Pompous Git says:
January 8, 2013 at 12:11 pm
Never to forget that Galileo, a man much venerated in scientific circles, was a teacher of astrology for many years and rather famous for his astrological predictions that he claimed were absolutely certain.
Astrology was good for funding…
I’m sure [having read most of his writings] he didn’t believe in it himself

Also never to forget that Isaac Newton’s reply to (I think) Edmond Halley, who condemned astrology, was ‘Sir, I have studied it, you have not’.

Ulric Lyons

David Archibald
We don’t have to wait till a large volcanic eruption for the kind of cold season that could cause serious crop failures. The Spring of 1837 was the coldest March+April+May on the entire CET series since 1659, and led to crop failures and famines in several N. Hemisphere regions. It followed soon after a warm run of years from 1831 to 1835, and was most likely during an incidence of low Ap index at the maximum of SC 8: http://www.solen.info/solar/cycl8.html
the Summer of 1816 was also at a maximum: http://www.solen.info/solar/cycl6.html
as was the Winter of 1947: http://www.solen.info/solar/cycl18.html
and the Winter of 1684, and all in even numbered cycles too.
There is a good case that the major cause of the cold Summer of 1816 was solar conditions, not only by its placement in an even numbered cycle, but also by it being a close heliocentric planetary analogue (Ve,Ea,Ju,Sa) to the Spring of 1837.

arthurpeacock says:
January 8, 2013 at 12:56 pm
Also never to forget that Isaac Newton’s reply to (I think) Edmond Halley, who condemned astrology, was ‘Sir, I have studied it, you have not’.
Are we today to take astrology seriously? Do you?
of course, some people still do:
Ulric Lyons says:
January 8, 2013 at 12:57 pm
it being a close heliocentric planetary analogue (Ve,Ea,Ju,Sa) to the Spring of 1837.

Ulric Lyons

Leif Svalgaard
“Landscheidt, T. Swinging sun, 79-year cycle, and climatic change..”
That’s a synodic cycle of Earth, Mars and Mercury only, that can’t swing much. He would have been safer with 83yrs, at least that shows well in the Aurorae power spectrum.

Ulric Lyons says:
January 8, 2013 at 1:17 pm
That’s a synodic cycle of Earth, Mars and Mercury only, that can’t swing much. He would have been safer with 83yrs,
Tell that to Richard:
richardscourtney says:
January 8, 2013 at 10:18 am
the predictions by Theodor L. are clear, unambiguous and to date they are seen to have been remarkably correct..

Leif Svalgaard says:
January 8, 2013 at 1:08 pm
Are we today to take astrology seriously? Do you?
I didn’t, until I studied it.

Gail Combs

Given how mucked up the temperature records are here are two other measures of climate that could effect crops.
NOAA fall (October) Snow cover for the Northern Hemisphere There seems to have been a switch in climate ~ 1995.
Length of the Arctic Melt Season Again there has been a “Switch” to a shorter melt season for the last five years.
Which leads us to the ocean:
NAO heat content has dropped since ~ 2005
Even the EPA shows the SST leveling off since ~ 1998
Now to incite Lief.

APR 2012 Trends in sunspots and North Atlantic sea level pressure
Harry van Loon, Jeremiah Brown, Ralph F. Milliff
Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres (1984–2012)
Volume 117, Issue D7, April 2012
ABSTRACT
We analyze the periods 1878–1944 and 1944–2008. The quasi-stationary wave in the North Atlantic region was stronger and the baroclinity steeper in 1878–1944 than in 1944–2008. The North Atlantic Oscillation Index—as defined by the Climate Research Unit, University of East Anglia—was higher in the former period too. We illustrate these statements by maps of sea level pressure and air temperature at the surface. The long-term trends in the North Atlantic Oscillation Index are linked to the trend in sunspot number such that when, in the mean, the sunspot numbers were high (Gleissberg maxima) the trends in the two quantities were parallel; and when the mean sunspot numbers were low (Gleissberg minima) the trends in the North Atlantic Oscillation Index and sunspots were opposite. We find the connections between the trends statistically significant, and we infer that the level of solar activity played a role in the trends of the past two centuries in the North Atlantic region. However, we cannot as yet provide a mechanism linking the solar trends to those in the atmosphere and ocean, but as a step toward an explanation, the equator to pole temperature gradient is steeper in a Gleissberg minimum than in a maximum.

Mike Bryant

“Astrology was good for funding…
I’m sure [having read most of his writings] he didn’t believe in it himself”
Is that what’s happening with the scientis proponents of CAGW?
Just Wondering…

Bob Kutz

When I saw the comment that the current solar down cycle will officially be named the Eddy Minimum, I smiled. It made my day.
Then reality; I go hunting for independent confirmation and find none. Very disappointing. As to all of the naysayers out there; Landscheidt proposed to name the current minimum after himself, all the while promulgating the notion that he understood how climate worked, based on solar cycles and making lavish predictions that haven’t really proven skillful as of yet.
Jack did no such thing. He scoffed at the idea of naming the minimum after himself. He scoffed at the notion that we understand how our climate works or what drives it. One of my favorite quotes is this;
“Were God to give us, at last, the cable, or patch-cord that links the Sun to the Climate System it would have on the solar end a banana plug, and on the other, where it hooks into the Earth—in ways we don’t yet know—a Hydra-like tangle of multiple 24-pin parallel computer connectors. It is surely at this end of the problem where the greatest challenges lie.” – Jack Eddy.
He knew we didn’t know. He spent his life trying to understand. He was a student of the natural world. And a scientist.
As for Theodor? I don’t hold him in much higher regard than Mike Mann, Phil Jones and James Hansen. People who either actually believe they know, or who know they don’t but believe they will be much more successful by pretending that they do. “Pay no attention to that man over there behind the curtain, I AM THE GREAT AND POWERFUL OZ!”
Yeah, if anyone can provide positive confirmation . . . at least what actual academic body has made the proclamation, I would be very grateful. Jack Eddy was something of a hero of mine.

Gail Combs says:
January 8, 2013 at 1:53 pm
“We find the connections between the trends statistically significant, and we infer that the level of solar activity played a role in the trends of the past two centuries in the North Atlantic region. However, we cannot as yet provide a mechanism “
All studies claim that their trends are statistically significant…
This must be paper #2156 doing that.
arthurpeacock says:
January 8, 2013 at 1:44 pm
“Are we today to take astrology seriously? Do you?”
I didn’t, until I studied it.

Here are horoscopes to guide your life:
http://www.sfgate.com/horoscope/

Richdo

Sir Robert Boyle says ca. 1661:
And indeed, I am not sorry to have this Opportunity of giving an example how to manage even Disputes with Civility; whence perhaps some Readers will be assisted to discern a Difference betwixt Bluntness of speech and Strength of reason, and find that a man may be a Champion for Truth, without being an Enemy to Civility; and may confute an Opinion without railing at Them that hold it; To whom he that desires to convince and not to provoke them, must make some amends by his Civility to their Persons, for his severity to their mistakes; and must say as little else as he can, to displease them, when he says that they are in an error.
http://www.gutenberg.org/files/22914/22914-h/22914-h.htm