BBC – Real risk of a Maunder minimum 'Little Ice Age'

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The sun right now – showing increased activity over the last couple of weeks – click for details

From BBC’s Paul Hudson

It’s known by climatologists as the ‘Little Ice Age’, a period in the 1600s when harsh winters across the UK and Europe were often severe.

The severe cold went hand in hand with an exceptionally inactive sun, and was called the Maunder solar minimum.

Now a leading scientist from Reading University has told me that the current rate of decline in solar activity is such that there’s a real risk of seeing a return of such conditions.

I’ve been to see Professor Mike Lockwood to take a look at the work he has been conducting into the possible link between solar activity and climate patterns.

According to Professor Lockwood the late 20th century was a period when the sun was unusually active and a so called ‘grand maximum’ occurred around 1985.

Since then the sun has been getting quieter. 

By looking back at certain isotopes in ice cores, he has been able to determine how active the sun has been over thousands of years.

Following analysis of the data, Professor Lockwood believes solar activity is now falling more rapidly than at any time in the last 10,000 years.

He found 24 different occasions in the last 10,000 years when the sun was in exactly the same state as it is now – and the present decline is faster than any of those 24.

Based on his findings he’s raised the risk of a new Maunder minimum from less than 10% just a few years ago to 25-30%.

And a repeat of the Dalton solar minimum which occurred in the early 1800s, which also had its fair share of cold winters and poor summers, is, according to him, ‘more likely than not’ to happen.

He believes that we are already beginning to see a change in our climate – witness the colder winters and poor summers of recent years – and that over the next few decades there could be a slide to a new Maunder minimum.

It’s worth stressing that not every winter would be severe; nor would every summer be poor. But harsh winters and unsettled summers would become more frequent.

Professor Lockwood doesn’t hold back in his description of the potential impacts such a scenario would have in the UK.

He says such a change to our climate could have profound implications for energy policy and our transport infrastructure.

Although the biggest impact of such solar driven change would be regional, like here in the UK and across Europe, there would be global implications too.

According to research conducted by Michael Mann in 2001, a vociferous advocate of man-made global warming, the Maunder minimum of the 1600s was estimated to have shaved 0.3C to 0.4C from global temperatures.

It is worth stressing that most scientists believe long term global warming hasn’t gone away. Any global cooling caused by this natural phenomenon would ultimately be temporary, and if projections are correct, the long term warming caused by carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases would eventually swamp this solar-driven cooling.

But should North Western Europe be heading for a new “little ice age”, there could be far reaching political implications – not least because global temperatures may fall enough, albeit temporarily, to eliminate much of the warming which has occurred since the 1950s.

You can see more on Inside Out on Monday 28th October on BBC1, at 7.30pm.

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From http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/paulhudson/posts/Real-risk-of-a-Maunder-minimum-Little-Ice-Age-says-leading-scientist

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Back in 2011, Lockwood said something totally dissimilar:

“The Little Ice Age wasn’t really an ice age of any kind – the idea that Europe had a relentless sequence of cold winters is frankly barking” – Dr Mike Lockwood Reading University

From: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/10/10/bbc-the-little-ice-age-was-all-about-solar-uv-variability-wasnt-an-ice-age-at-all/

I have a follow-on article coming up on UV observations in a couple of hours, don’t miss it.

Meanwhile the sun has recently gotten more active in the last couple of weeks, indicating a possible second peak in the current solar cycle is upon us, see details on the WUWT Solar reference page – Anthony

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Alan Robertson

Ah, the press… they do love their scary stories.

David in Cal

Sounds like we’re going to have catastrophic global warming and catastrophic global cooling at the same time.

James Ard

Time to bundle up. It’s going to get colder outside.

JackT

Now, something new to worry about. Oh, but it’s just temporary! Save the religion at all costs in the bigger picture.

JustAnotherPoster

Mann has just gone into a twitter meltdown about this blog.
https://twitter.com/MichaelEMann
Hope he realizes that Paul Hudson has been conversing with a serious University Professor.
From a well respected English university.
Mann massive problem is the way he deals with any critique. Is skin is so thin its unreal.

Jim Cripwell

Doubtless Leif will comment soon. I take issue with Anthony’s comment that “the sun has recently gotten more active in the last couple of weeks.” By the measure of the number of sunspots, this is true. But by other measures, it is not. I am no expert, but the number and intensity of flares is small, (there is an M1 only now in action), the Ap is low, and the L&P sunspot magnetic intensity is below 2000 gauss, with the trend line still negative.

The prof is stunningly doing real actual science. Its rather good to see to be honest. I’m amazed his Uni are letting him.

Doug Danhoff

I wonder if temporary means 30 – 60 years of the next minimum….hmmm… Is it time to have a poll to name it?

No more “hide the decline!” Now, those that call themselves “scientists” can “ride the decline!” Perhaps, in a toboggan.

AlecM

About time Lockwood, a respected Solar Physicist working in a Meteorology Department which has hitherto followed the IPCC Party Line, jumped off the fence on this matter.
All we need now is for more academic physicists to accept that the current IPCC heat generation and transfer physics is juvenile nonsense.
Also, with a little bit of thought, it is easy to prove CO2-AGW is near zero and that the recent AGW, now saturated, was from Asian pollution reducing cloud albedo.

Doug Danhoff

I just love twitter… It really shows everyone how lame your mind is in the fewest possible words.

Resourceguy

The only rationale to continue efforts to push for carbon taxes in support of global warming while multidecadal global cooling is underway comes from the liberal assumption that there is always ample wealth to tap for any good cause. What if that too is a false assumption during global cooling?

Brrrrrrrrr!!
(Sarc on) Good thing we live in a time when data are adjusted to climate models. That way we’d never know it got cold…if it gets cold. (Sarc off)

wayne

At least Lockwood is able to learn, advance and brave enough to change his stance which is so rare in today’s science climate.

Mike Bromley the Kurd

BBC just can’t do anything but uncritically blurt out the old saw “but warming is still going on in the background”. Of course it is, Beeb. Of course you can tell, by direct measurement, of course. Of the number of gigabytes of zeros and ones streaming out of the model du jour.

Steve Oregon

Cooling, warming,
Flooding, droughts.
Melting, freezing.
Have no doubts.
Something’s coming experts know.
but when they’re wrong they must eat crow.

gary gulrud

“According to Professor Lockwood the late 20th century was a period when the sun was unusually active and a so called ‘grand maximum’ occurred around 1985.”
I noted independently of Anthony Dr. Lockwood once was on another side of this argument, part of a Solar Scientist clique familiar to WUWT.
The hottest weather I’ve experienced, residing in WI and MN, was 1982 thru ’88.
The secular peak in the Jovian planetary tide was also 1982.

William Astley

Oh mon Dieu! Let the bells ring and the banners fly.
A BBC reporter investigated a scientific issue (spoke to a neutral old school, traditional scientist as opposed to an activist); the scientist, Lockwood notes that the solar magnetic cycle 24 change is the fastest slowdown in the solar magnetic cycle in 10,000 years and notes the planet cools when the sun enters a grand solar minimum i.e. if the past is a clue to what will happen in the future there is scientific evidence that the solar magnetic cycle slowdown will cause the planet to cool and if the cause of the cooling is the change in solar magnetic cycle, the planet will cool rapidly due to the rapidity of the solar magnetic cycle change. Based on Michael Mann’s 2001 work the planet was 0.3C to 0.4C colder during the Maunder solar magnetic cycle minimum. Other scientists estimate that the planet was 0.7C to 1C colder during the Maunder minimum. The past grand solar minimums have lasted for 50 to 100 years.
Perhaps the sudden unexplained increase in polar sea ice both poles (and record cold winters in Europe) is the catalyst for the sudden conversion of a BBC reporter from a mouth piece of the AGW movement back to the traditional role of reporters which is to investigate issues.

Bob B.

Good news indeed. Looks like we’ll be getting a several decade long respite to build those 20 meter seawalls.

Philip T. Downman

Sounds like we’re going to have catastrophic global warming and catastrophic global cooling at the same time.
This time we are threatened by extreme average. Catastrophic mediocrity.

Eve

Have to love the: It is worth stressing that most scientists believe long term global warming hasn’t gone away. Any global cooling caused by this natural phenomenon would ultimately be temporary, and if projections are correct, the long term warming caused by carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases would eventually swamp this solar-driven cooling.
Do they think there will be any humans left on the planet when the long-term warming swamps us?

JJ

According to Professor Lockwood the late 20th century was a period when the sun was unusually active and a so called ‘grand maximum’ occurred around 1985.
I can already hear the Leif blower spinning up.

pochas

Now we need to figure out what the impacts on food supply will be if all of this happens, and make plans to get the future food producers set up with what they need – irrigation, infrastructure, etc. The warmists just need to go away.

paul

What a load of bull. They are still holding on to this nonsense that global warming is suddenly going to save us from freezing cold winters. If AGW was true it would cancel out any cooling before it got started.

“… the possible link between solar activity and climate patterns.” Could the BBC pour fluid out of a boot if the instructions were written on the sole?

Sun and SC24 not done yet?
As the end of the month is near, it is clear that the SIDC sunspot count SSN for October is going to be above 80. If so, it may mean that SC24 hasn’t shown its maximum as yet. This would mean that ‘variable’ forecasters as the NASA’s Dr. Hathaway may need to do some upward revision, but it is in line what the extrapolation from 2003 published in January 2004; it is still holding firm.
http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/SSN.htm

Lockwood is working to educate the UK MetOffice on these themes – there is a paper in J of Geosphysical Research (2012) where he teams up with Hadley to model the impact of a returning Maunder Minimum (if I get time later today, I will post the references!). Of course, it does not trump global warming – which returns with greater force. That’s because although this team recognise the current hiatus could be due to a low solar cycle, they don’t recognise that the warming was driven by the rising solar cycles of the late 20th century. In the JGR paper, the age-old CO2 factor of RF in watts times 0.88 was used without reference to the advise of Lockwood’s colleague at Reading (Keith Shine) that the factor could be as low as 0.44. Thus, CO2 retains its power, first estimated by IPCC in 1990, despite the evidence presented (to IPCC4) by Shine.If Shine’s lower factor had been used – then a returning Maunder Minimum would register cooling that could not be overidden by CO2.
In the USA, Gerry Meehl and his team have also modelled this (Geophysical Research Letters, 2013) – AND incorporated models of the solar UV effect on the jetstreams (as the most likely mechanism), and lower factors for CO2’s power….and they DO predict cooling until mid-century, followed by recovery to the obligatory 2C above present by 2100 (Meehl and team are key advisors to IPCC, so they also have a party line to maintain).
This research starts to present massive problems for environmentalists who pinned their colours to carbon – because cooling spells real misery in terms of food supplies, and in these scenarios, CO2 ameliorates the impact of cooling! I actually don’t thing the amelioration would amount to much, but Lockwood and Meehl certainly do!

pochas

We also need to anticipate the political problems which will arise with nations that will be stressed by decreasing food supply. The Chinese are already thinking along these lines, in a manner that may ultimately bring us into conflict.

In his article on the LIA the BBC’s Paul Hudson does not quote Lockwood. Strange. Instead, Hudson gives his own account of what he maintains Lockwood said.
Why didn’t Hudson quote Lockwood directly?
John

cRR Kampen

Silly nonsense. That effect is maybe -0.2° C and it is simply invisible against CAGW.

Instrumental CET-thought to be a reasonable proxy for Northern Hemisphere temperatures-goes back to 1659. I have reconstructed it back to 1538
http://climatereason.com/Graphs/Graph01.png
The Blue lines indicate glacier change. Closed blue line at the top means glacial retreat, closed at bottom means advance.
The cold period in the early 1800’s can be clearly seen. A globally averaged temperature means nothing, the regional effect is far greater than this, as can be seen from the CET decadal and annual temperatures.
Are we [heading] to a Dalton minimum? Who Knows? However the current plunge in UK temperatures can be clearly seen and this has been combined with a sharp ratcheting up of fuel prices, so any sustained drop in temperatures has severe consequences in many fields.
tonyb

Jim Cripwell says:
October 28, 2013 at 8:32 am
But by other measures, it is not. I am no expert, but the number and intensity of flares is small, (there is an M1 only now in action), the Ap is low, and the L&P sunspot magnetic intensity is below 2000 gauss, with the trend line still negative.
There has been several X-class flares the last few days. Ap is 15 [mean so far for 2013: 15.4]. F10.7 is north of 130 for October and SSN for October is about 81. Such swings are normal for weak cycles.

gopal panicker

the little ice age we know about…how does the professor get the solar data for the last 10,000 years ?

He (Mike Lockwood) found 24 different occasions in the last 10,000 years when the sun was in exactly the same state as it is now – and the present decline is faster than any of those 24.
Highly controversial claim based on what?
Neither C14 or 10Be proxies can provide such resolution at millennial range, it’s only 11 years since significant SSN number.
Dr. Svalgaard ?
Mike Lockwood is overdoing it a bit, not long ago he was taking the opposite stance; a wind vane science posture.

Leif Svalgaard says:
October 28, 2013 at 9:16 am
Ap is 15 [mean so far for 2013: 15.4].
Correction: that was Aa. For Ap the numbers are 8.2 and 8.4, not unusually low.

JimS

Perhaps two distinct and opposing climate science camps will evolve, one supporting global warming and the other supporting global cooling. Since “climate change” is the operative term, both camps should be on firm ground. It won’t matter really about looking at the actual data, since they will all use their climate models. I see a three ring circus in the near future when it comes to climate scientists. Whether the world ends in an inferno or a snowball, at least at some point in the future, the science WILL be settled.

Tony B (another one)

A hint of sanity approaching, but they just have to spout this nonsense, still:
“if projections are correct, the long term warming caused by carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases would eventually swamp this solar-driven cooling.”
A trace gas is more important than the sun.
Yeah, right…..idiots

Oldseadog

In other words, no-one REALLY knows what is happening or why, lots of people make educated (to a greater or lesser degree) guesses, the BBC listens to a few of them and reports what it thinks they said while ignoring the majority.
Not much change there, then.

justanotherposter
In that link to Dr Mann’s twitter musings was this tweet from Gavin to Mann about the Moss on Baffin island. The link led here
http://quantpalaeo.wordpress.com/2013/10/27/more-on-mosses-miller-et-al-2013/
The reference to black carbon-however hesitant-surely is intriguing. Its an area that deserves much more research I feel
tonyb

techgm

I thought the all-time maximum (that has been measured) occurred in 1957. High numbers of sunspots have long been associated by radio operators with being able to communicate over exceptionally long distances at low power. That year is famous for ham radio operators running 5 watts into simple wire antennas routinely being able to communicate with the other side of the globe. CB operators reported similar experiences. No year since has even come close for that kind of range, and every band up to 30Mhz has been deader than a doornail for the past several years.

pokerguy

Fire and Ice
Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.
Robert Frost

OssQss

We have experienced (3) X-class events (R3) since October 25th.
Some travelers might want to check out this new article from NASA on the same subject matter.
http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2013/25oct_aviationswx/
Alerts in the last 7 days below.
http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/alerts/alerts_timeline.html
BTW, you can sign up for notifications of such space weather events on the same site.
https://pss.swpc.noaa.gov/LoginWebForm.aspx?ReturnUrl=%2fproductsubscriptionservice%2f

Stephen Fox

William Astley says:
October 28, 2013 at 8:53 am
‘the sudden conversion of a BBC reporter from a mouth piece of the AGW movement’
Well, I think Paul Hudson has, maybe alone among BBC reporters, been his own man for some time now. Let’s give credit where it’s due.

techgm says:
October 28, 2013 at 9:24 am
I thought the all-time maximum (that has been measured) occurred in 1957.
Cycle 3 peaking in 1778 was probably just as high.

gopal panicker

the good professors language is just like the IPCC”S…except the other way around…solar energy reaching earth only varies about 0.5% during the 11 year sunspot cycle..and this was just a low maximum…well within the 0.5%…energy reaching earth varies by almost 7%…from aphelion to perihelion every year…just looking at the stats i saw a 30/60 year cycle in the last century…warm 1919-1950…cool 1050-1980…warm till 2010…on the basis of this i predicted global cooling in 2010 lasting to about 2040…so far spot on…i suspect it has something to do with ocean circulation…the oceans have more than 1000 times the heat capacity of the atmosphere

ShrNfr
milodonharlani

gopal panicker says:
October 28, 2013 at 9:16 am
From Be & C isotope variations.

dcfl51

Apparently, Paul Hudson is broadcasting something on this topic tonight at 7:30 pm GMT. Unfortunately, it is only going out as a regional programme broadcast by BBC Yorkshire, not on the national network so I won’t be able to watch it as I am in the BBC North West region. If there’s any reader who lives in Yorkshire maybe they could report back, or even record it and put up a link.

LT

Quite a paradox to admit that reduced solar activity can cause cooling, but unable to admit that the inverse caused and will cause warming as well.

Jimmy Haigh.

pokerguy says:
October 28, 2013 at 9:27 am
If he had been called “Robert Heat” it might have been an entirely different poem…