Studies: Weaker solar activity means colder, and colder also means drier

Guest essay by David Archibald

There were two papers published in 2013 that, when considered together, paint a bleak picture of North American climate and agriculture for the rest of the century and beyond. Firstly from the abstract of “Multidecadal to multi-century scale collapses of Northern Hemisphere monsoons over the past millennium”1 by Asmerom et al.:

“Late Holocene climate in western North America was punctuated by periods of extended aridity called megadroughts.” And “Several megadroughts are evident, including a multicentury one, AD 1350–1650, herein referred to as Super Drought, which corresponds to the coldest period of the Little Ice Age. Synchronicity between southwestern North American, Chinese, and West African monsoon precipitation suggests the megadroughts were hemispheric in scale. Northern Hemisphere monsoon strength over the last millennium is positively correlated with Northern Hemisphere temperature and North Atlantic SST.And “the megadroughts, including the Super Drought, coincide with solar insolation minima, suggesting that solar forcing of sea surface and atmospheric temperatures may generate variations in the strength of Northern Hemisphere monsoons.”

So droughts in North America are coincident with solar insolation minima. We already know of the cause and effect relationship between solar cycle minima and East African rainfall. West African drought has been found to be linked to Atlantic sea surface temperatures2.

With that knowledge, all we need to predict the timing of the next megadrought in North America is a long term solar activity forecast. That was also provided in 2013 by Steinhilber and Beer3. They predict a deep low in solar activity starting straight away and continuing for 150 years. This is Figure 4 from that paper:

clip_image002

Figure 4 from Steinhilber and Beer – Prediction of solar activity on the left axis and total solar irradiance on the right axis. M, D and G refer to the Maunder, Dalton and Gleissberg minima respectively. The lighter grey band is based on FFT (fast Fourier transformation) and the darker grey band is based on WTAR (wavelet decomposition using autoregression). As the paper demonstrates, amplitudes of solar activity are better predicted by the FFT method than by the WTAR method.

In effect, Figure 4 predicts a megadrought for North America from at least 2050 to 2200. Generations of people will experience what a Dalton Minimum is like, all their lives. In the meantime it will get colder and drier. In terms of the effect on agricultural productivity, productivity of corn production in the Corn Belt falls by 10% for each 1°C fall in annual average temperature. The Corn Belt also moves south by 144 km for each 1°C fall in annual average temperature. Soil quality declines to the south of the Corn Belt though so farms won’t be as productive. For example, one hundred years ago Alabama had four million acres planted to cotton. Today only 1.3 million acres are devoted to all agricultural crops. Unable to compete with the Corn Belt as it is now, a lot of acreage in Alabama has reverted to pasture and woodland.

A fall in annual average temperature of 2.0°C might decrease production by 20% and the southward move to poorer soils might decrease production by 10% (purely a guess, but I do have a botany major). What drought might do on top of all that is a 30% fall for a total decrease in production in the range of 50% to 60%. Two big corne states, Illinois and Indiana, had corn production falls of 30% in the 2012 drought year:

clip_image004

The US could then feed 600 million vegetarians instead of the current 1.2 billion vegetarians. Food that we would want to eat will become expensive with wide price swings. That is what these two papers are saying about what the future holds for us.

David Archibald, a Visiting Fellow at the Institute of World Politics in Washington, D.C., is the author of Twilight of Abundance (Regnery, 2014).

References

  1. Asmerom, Y. et al., 2013, “Multidecadal to multi-century scale collapses of Northern Hemisphere monsoons over the past millennium” PNAS vol.110 no. 24 9651-9656
  2. Shanahan, T.M et al., 2009 “Atlantic Forcing of Persistent Drought in West Africa” Science, Vol. 324 no 5925 pp. 377-380
  3. Steinhilber, F. and Beer, J., 2013, “Prediction of solar activity for the next 500 years” Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics, vol. 118, 1-7
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Particularly with solar forecasts It seems like there’s a scientific smorgasbord. You’re able to find a published study that says virtually anything will happen.

Reblogged this on gottadobetterthanthis and commented:
While I think Professor Archibald is overly pessimistic, I hold his concerns. Cold kills. Warmer is better.
The current trend is similar to the trend that existed circa 1930. We seem to be in for some hard years in the near future, and perhaps even harder years, due to cooling, over the next several decades.
Pray for rain.

Ray

Drop the Ethanol fuel requirement.
Revise river management procedures.
Mandate Xeriscape horticultural practices.
Super insulate.
Bring back coal.
Pray that increasing CO2 levels really do cause Global Warming.
Pray.

johnmarshall

This would agree with previous Russian papers. Buy woolies not swimwear.
Abandon energy taxes.
This may wake up the CO2 bunch to the fact that models are not scientific proof of anything.

The Ghost Of Big Jim Cooley

Am I mis-reading the bit about vegetarians? It actually takes more land to grow crops for animal feeding than it takes to directly feed humans. So I’m not sure what David is on about there. It IS a fact that (like it or not) if the whole world went veggie, we actually would have enough land by some margin (if all the animals bred for meat were slaughtered first, of course). This isn’t airy-fairy stuff, the studies have been done again and again – it takes an awful lot of land to produce meat for consumption.

John G.

So warmer is better, at least for agriculture. Why didn’t somebody think of that before, you know, maybe looked at history? We could have been celebrating the impending AGW not twisting ourselves into pretzels trying to get rid of it. Now we have to hope it’s real.

Right now we have warm oceans and {due to a quiet Sun} cooler land temperatures. This will actually cause increased rain, especially near the coastal areas, until the oceans cool.

chadb

Yes Jim, you have misunderstood. David is saying that if we skipped meat we would be able to feed 1.2B people each year. If there is the type of cool weather/drought then we would be able to feed half as many. He says vegetarians in order to cut out any discussion about this type of diet vs that. He has assumed exactly what you stated.

Chalk this one up to my confusion. But it looks like the current solar maxima is one of the strongest in the last few centuries. yet others talk like there has not been one (even those not willing to jump on the AGW bandwagon). The impending minima will be detrimental, but why is no one looking at the current maxima as a prime mover of the recent moderate warming?

The amount of land capable of producing human-utilizable food stuffs is a fraction of the land that can produce fodder which can produce high-quality animal fat and high-quality animal protein via ruminant animals. Since many of these are cool-season forage crops, (grown for their vegetative yield) they would be better suited for this change than the grain crops. Many existing forage species are more drought tolerant than the human-utilizable grain crops. And drought suppressed pasture or rangeland can still produce utilizable feed, while a drought suppressed grain crop is a failure.
It is NOT a fact that it takes less land to feed vegetarians than omnivores, although that’s frequently stated. This conversation has been as thoroughly muddled as the climate change conversation, I’m afraid. Often by the same folks …

bobl

The Ghost Of Big Jim Cooley says:
May 14, 2014 at 5:06 am

Let’s ignore the fact that humans can’t actually live very successfully on a purely vegetarian diet, and the fact that crops could only feed that number of people when grown as monocultures, While animals can successfully cohabitate with trees and other flora/fauna. Efficient horticulture precludes diversity. Let’s also ignore the fact that food animals can consume grades of feed and successfully graze on land that is not viable for horticulture, and just love to eat nitrogen fixing plant species that are not prolific enough for human survival. Like it or not, meat/fish consumption is necessary for the survival of our species.

ren
Doug

Regarding The Ghost’s comments, a lot of beef is raised on land that cannot be farmed; the Nevada desert, for example.

joelobryan

“Pray for rain.” I hope that is not what our children resort to. But with the Liberals dumbing down education with Common Core, it may be all they can do.
I for one would not recommend future generations simply resort to divine intervention to save their pink butts.
Solutions using human ingenuity in science and engineering :
1. Large scale nuclear-powered desalination plants along the California coast and Gulf coast to push irrigation water to farms.
2. Agreements with Canada for fresh water canals from abundant northern lakes to the lower 48 agriculture (Dakotas, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa) in return for a portion of the wheat and corn. It is likely the Canadian growing season may be too shortened by Global cooling to sustain reliable wheat production.
3. Solar-driven desalination plants along Mexico’s Gulf of California/Sea of Cortez to push irrigation water to the very productive Mexican fruits and vegetable farms.
4. Feed liberals Soylent Green.

Alan Robertson

bobl says:
May 14, 2014 at 5:31 am
_________
Good points. One might add that vast sweeps of North America are unsuitable for crop production, yet are viable, if marginal, grazing land.
Thanks to David Archibald for another interesting thread, but I’m convinced that any future world hunger problems will not come from climate issues, but from political manipulations, just as we see now.

Dr. Archibald
As the paper demonstrates, amplitudes of solar activity are better predicted by the FFT method than by the WTAR method.
Indeed, but may not necessarily be correct.
Using just three components from the sunspot spectrum (corrected by the more accurate ‘Korte – Constable’ geomagnetic dipole, rather than low resolution ‘Knudsen’ dipole as used by Steinhilber, result indicates that the WTAR method may be the correct one.
http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/Stein-Vuk500.htm
As Steinhilber said in his paper:
Note that the variation on the millennial time-scale of F depends on the geomagnetic field. If another geomagnetic field reconstruction like for example Korte M & Constable CG (2005) The geomagnetic dipole moment over the last 7000 years – new results from a global model.) were used F would show another (long-term) trend on millennial time scales.

Steve from Rockwood

@Big Jim. I’m not an expert at farming but my farmer friends always remind me that the land used to graze animals is not suited to raising crops. You can’t just take a beef farm and switch over to cash crops. I’m also told a cow has 3 lives, the longest of them spent grazing in open fields and drinking from natural groundwater sources (round these parts anyway). That land and water can’t be used for anything else. So please don’t try and convert beef resources to vegetarian resources in order to prove veggies beat beef in a resource-limited world. It’s a false comparison.

joelobryan

philjourdan asks, “The impending minima will be detrimental, but why is no one looking at the current maxima as a prime mover of the recent moderate warming?”
Answer: Simple. Because the sun cannot be taxed for liberal’s wealth re-distribution project. On the other hand, tax schemes to generate revenue in furtherance of political power and control via reduced carbons consumption are possible (For ex. see: California’s current path to its de-industrialization). They liberals also figured out how to buy the “science” they need via government grant dependency of most scientists.

richard

I have a pond , 4 feet deep, 5 foot wide and 9 ft long, In the interests of science i threw in my fridges ice trays . Now scale that up and that would be a a vast size iceberg, bigger than the one that might break away in the Antarctic,
The pond water level went up zip, nada, nothing.

Alan Robertson

Predictions of future peril which are based on creative curve- fitting of historical data make interesting scary stories.

Whoa! Some frightening stuff there.
“Be prepared” would be a reasonable reaction.
Doesn’t fit the CAGW meme so the MSM will ignore it.

Marnof

Joel O’Bryan says:
“Answer: Simple. Because the sun cannot be taxed for liberal’s wealth re-distribution project.”
Just because is hasn’t been tried doesn’t necessarily mean it can’t be done. My grandparents would never have thought taxing carbon dioxide was possible. 😉

ffohnad

How long before a “breathing tax” on all of us for the crime of exhaling co2? I would never put it past those who control more (but not enough yet for them) of our lives.

dp

Colder and drier is a positive feedback – clearly we’re heading for a tipping point. What is the UN doing about this plunge toward snowball Earth? We’re all going to freeze to death in the dark! Definitely worse than we thought.
The sad thing is, if this proves to be the reality we face then fools like Barack Obama are taking us 180º away from the path we should be on. Ignorance is difficult to reverse, especially when there is so much money in play to stay the course. That money will not be wisely spent creating technologies and policies that we’ll need in a colder climate. Those nations that will be home to vast numbers of cold climate refugees (Finland, pay attention) should be pissed at the waste.

Berényi Péter

I am not convinced CO₂ would mitigate cooling much, but it certainly improves drought tolerance.

richard

increase of co2 should increase the yield offsetting the loss from other causes.

richard

we have seen an 11% increase of greening around the world in the most arid regions because of an increase of co2.

Robert W Turner

Data from the Great Plains of North America suggest that prior to 1500 dust bowl type droughts were the norm rather than once in a century occurrences. The high plains were covered in rolling sand dune fields and the tall grass prairies were short grass and semi arid. Fortunately for us, humans have seemingly adapted or invented and innovated our way through everything thrown at us thus far and since the rate at which we are doing so is increasing exponentially I don’t see us faltering just because of a little drought.

Jon

For those who believe in AGW but still have the ability to think and read (very few I fear) I see an
“Oh Sh’t” moment. Burn more stuff!!!

Weak solar cycles are nothing to be alarmed about, we maybe looking at a sequence of lower solar cycles to come (or maybe not), so during this period the thinking caps go on, therefor any climate papers that “Jump the shark” on this issue before the facts are in should be frowned upon severely.
Remember the point that solar physicist Leif Svalgaard made about how this is the weakest solar cycle anyone alive today has ever experienced?
Well, it’s true, and furthermore no one alive today with our level of technology has ever observed and studied such a weak solar cycle. This is new ground and new science. enjoy! 🙂

ren

Exactly in the same areas of increased ionization creates a blockade polar vortex at an altitude of about 23 km.
http://oi57.tinypic.com/30u39e0.jpg
http://oi59.tinypic.com/2qa4tu0.jpg

Doug Proctor

Archibald’s hypothesis has a 2C drop in north-central US. That’s about a 1C global drop. He compares to Dalton of early 1800s. But Dalton was earlier in LIA recovery of temps. The next half century is an apple to his orange
A global drop of 0.4C would be extreme. A 0.6 drop in Iowa is proportionately reasonable. This would return us to the earlier part of the 20th century.
I am a climate skeptic but I find Archibald’s thesis alarmist and better for sales of his book than for planning.
With CAGW as an example, we should be mindful that arguments to “raise awareness” or “stimulate discussion” are opposed to reasoned consideration. Catastrophic global cooling deserves as much skeptical thinking as catastrophic global warming.

ren

Average counts of neutrons in Oulu exceeds 6300.
http://cosmicrays.oulu.fi/webform/monitor.gif

James at 48

We feel this in California albeit for different reasons. We are not very dependent on the Monsoon here (in fact Monsoonal moisture is often a negative for our ag community). However the same forces that kill off the Monsoon make the NE Pacific cold, especially off our immediate coast. That is morphine for mid latitude systems in this part of the world.

James at 48

Interesting, while the MSM hype a short sharp heat event in California, there are two evil fingers of Arctic Air, pincers of doom, into the middle of North America. Some really, really cold temperatures today especially in the Intermountain Region as well as the Great Lakes and Mid South.

It seems you guys are still not getting it.
I can feel (here in Africa) that the sun is sharper/hotter/lighter
It is the weakening solar magnetic fields
http://ice-period.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/sun2013.png
causing cooling by allowing more energetic particles to escape which in turn cause more ozone, peroxide & others to be formed TOA (to protect us) .
More of these substances TOA cause more light to be deflected to space….causing global cooling,
if you can predict what the solar magnetic fields will look like for the next 4 decades you are on your way to finding the truth…
Think of the Hale Nicholson cycle..

CRS, DrPH

Excuse me, I just have to smile at this “food for fuel” stuff. It is true that a significant portion of our corn crop goes for animal feed; however, that is not its only use, and substantial portions are used for ethanol, oil extraction, dextrose production & other industrial uses.
Also, please realize that operators of confined animal feedlot operations (CAFOs) have many options to these feed crops. Cattle are basically walking fermenters and are being fed many waste products including dried chicken crap (poultry litter) with government approval, see: http://extension.missouri.edu/p/G2077
Our rendering industries produce tons of alternative feed materials, including hydrolyzed feather meal, which are high in nutritional value and lower in cost than corn or soybeans: http://www.americanproteins.com/hydrolyzed-meal.htm
Even many industrial waste products end up in our livestock, including waste food products, food processing residues etc. See “Moo Can Chew” about recycling chewing gum wastes in cattle:
http://www.engconf.org/pastconf/9akpre.html
I once testified to the USDA and FDA about the practice of some operations to feed their processing wastewater biosolids into cattle, which is pretty gross because of the chemical contamination aspects (wastewater coagulants and polymers). This violates AAFCO guidelines.
Folks, know your topics.

pokerguy

“This may wake up the CO2 bunch to the fact that models are not scientific proof of anything.”
***
Fat chance.

Alan Robertson

CRS, DrPH says:
May 14, 2014 at 9:41 am
Excuse me, I just have to smile at this “food for fuel” stuff.
_____________________
Please elaborate. The rest of your post has good info, but what “stuff” are you describing?

Mike Maguire

I find it absurd to be making predictions this far out, unless they are treated as speculative theories. Solar scientists only started getting a better grip on the current weak cycle in the last decade so it’s crazy to plot a prediction to the year 2500.
To me, this weakens the credibility of any good information based on connections that are legit.
There is a lot more speculating going on here too, which includes the shifting of major crop growing regions if global cooling occurred. One side is already stating that climate disruption is happening around us, including “corn farmers in Iowa” as Obama claimed last week.
Clearly, that side is conditioning everyone’s brain to imagine a future world with catastrophic global warming(and hypnotizing minds into thinking they live in it right now).
Since creatures and plants on earth have almost always done much better with warming than cooling and we are planning to spend trillions on preparing for the biologically better outcome, it’s a good thing to get minds thinking about the consequences of the risk that would truly create widespread catastrophic hardship……..global cooling.
The big problem (for me) is that when you make it part of a forecast out to 2500, it’s sounds even less credible than using a greenhouse gas predicting catastrophic global warming to the year 2100.
At least we can agree that CO2 is a greenhouse gas with some warming effect(beneficial so far) and the disagreement is over how much future warming will occur from it.
On the sun, I find it hard to believe that many scientists would go much farther than the next few cycles and even then, with low confidence.
Another way to put it. We know that CO2 levels have increased every year for many years and there is little disagreement about humans burning fossil fuels as the reason and that CO2 will continue to go up for a lengthy period……….unless we take extraordinary measures to cut down on emissions.
On the sun. The geomagnetic field and sunspot cycle only recently plunged and its hard to explain what the underlying cause is (what started it) and to apply a principle of understanding of that cause to project the effect very far out……..especially 500 years from now.

Mike Maguire says
……..especially 500 years from now.
Henry says
Agreed. Good comment. This post is absurd. They must rather look at the next few decades.
to quote from
http://blogs.24.com/henryp/2013/04/29/the-climate-is-changing/
It really was very cold in 1940′s….The Dust Bowl drought 1932-1939 was one of the worst environmental disasters of the Twentieth Century anywhere in the world. Three million people left their farms on the Great Plains during the drought and half a million migrated to other states, almost all to the West. http://www.ldeo.columbia.edu/res/div/ocp/drought/dust_storms.shtml
I find that as we are moving back, up, from the deep end of the 88 year sine wave, there will be standstill in the change of the speed of cooling, neither accelerating nor decelerating, on the bottom of the wave; therefore naturally, there will also be a lull in pressure difference at that > [40 latitude], where the Dust Bowl drought took place, meaning: less weather (read: rain). However, one would apparently note this from an earlier change in direction of wind, as was the case in Joseph’s time. According to my calculations, this will start around 2020 or 2021…..i.e. 1927=2016 (projected, by myself and the planets…)> add 5 years and we are in 2021.
Danger from global cooling is documented and provable. It looks we have only ca. 7 “fat” years left……
WHAT MUST WE DO?
We urgently need to develop and encourage more agriculture at lower latitudes, like in Africa and/or South America. This is where we can expect to find warmth and more rain during a global cooling period.
We need to warn the farmers living at the higher latitudes (>40) who already suffered poor crops due to the droughts that things are not going to get better there for the next few decades. It will only get worse as time goes by.
We also have to provide more protection against more precipitation at certain places of lower latitudes (FLOODS!), <[30] latitude, especially around the equator.

G P Hanner

Last winter was very cold, windy, and dry, dry, dry. We got all of about five inches of snow all winter. As a result there are scads of evergreens standing dead in everyone’s landscaping; I lost about half of what I had planted. Other places are worse off.
Usually, when we get a bout of cold weather there is a lot of snow I can use to cover my planting — but not last winter.

[snip – show a citation, and I’ll publish it. You simply stating it as such while lecturing people is just more of your usual drive by crypto comment leaving the reader trying to figure out where you are getting your information. I’m tired of it. – Anthony]

The data disagrees with you. I will trust the data over models every day.

gary gulrud

Here in Central MN, last Summer was a disappointment for farmers. Not enough heating degree days. Statewide and in neighboring WI, median farm income was $44K.
If they don’t get into their fields soon they might as well blow this season off.

For comparison here are forecasts of the timing and amount of the coming cooling taken from my blog at
http://climatesense-norpag.blogspot.com/2013/10/commonsense-climate-science-and.html
“It has been estimated that there is about a 12 year lag between the cosmic ray flux and the temperature data. see Fig3 in Usoskin et al
http://adsabs.harvard.edu/full/2005ESASP.560…19U.
With that in mind it is reasonable to correlate the cycle 22 low in the neutron count (high solar activity and SSN) with the peak in the SST trend in about 2003 and project forward the possible general temperature decline in the coming decades in step with the decline in solar activity in cycles 23 and 24.
In earlier posts on this site http://climatesense-norpag.blogspot.com at 4/02/13 and 1/22/13
I have combined the PDO, ,Millennial cycle and neutron trends to estimate the timing and extent of the coming cooling in both the Northern Hemisphere and Globally.
Here are the conclusions of those posts.
1/22/13 (NH)
1) The millennial peak is sharp – perhaps 18 years +/-. We have now had 16 years since 1997 with no net warming – and so might expect a sharp drop in a year or two – 2014/16 -with a net cooling by 2035 of about 0.35.Within that time frame however there could well be some exceptional years with NH temperatures +/- 0.25 degrees colder than that.
2) The cooling gradient might be fairly steep down to the Oort minimum equivalent which would occur about 2100. (about 1100 on Fig 5) ( Fig 3 here) with a total cooling in 2100 from the present estimated at about 1.2 +/-
3) From 2100 on through the Wolf and Sporer minima equivalents with intervening highs to the Maunder Minimum equivalent which could occur from about 2600 – 2700 a further net cooling of about 0.7 degrees could occur for a total drop of 1.9 +/- degrees
4)The time frame for the significant cooling in 2014 – 16 is strengthened by recent developments already seen in solar activity. With a time lag of about 12 years between the solar driver proxy and climate we should see the effects of the sharp drop in the Ap Index which took place in 2004/5 in 2016-17.
4/02/13 ( Global)
1 Significant temperature drop at about 2016-17
2 Possible unusual cold snap 2021-22
3 Built in cooling trend until at least 2024
4 Temperature Hadsst3 moving average anomaly 2035 – 0.15
5 Temperature Hadsst3 moving average anomaly 2100 – 0.5
6 General Conclusion – by 2100 all the 20th century temperature rise will have been reversed,
7 By 2650 earth could possibly be back to the depths of the little ice age.
8 The effect of increasing CO2 emissions will be minor but beneficial – they may slightly ameliorate the forecast cooling and help maintain crop yields .
9 Warning !! There are some signs in the Livingston and Penn Solar data that a sudden drop to the Maunder Minimum Little Ice Age temperatures could be imminent – with a much more rapid and economically disruptive cooling than that forecast above which may turn out to be a best case scenario.”

With the threat of starvation and limited food supply, I guarantee that there will far fewer vegetarians and vegans.

Bruce Cobb

“Looking hundreds of years ahead the greenhouse effect could become a serious problem.”
Good grief, if only he hadn’t felt the need to say that. Aliens from outer space could become a serious problem too.

Willis Eschenbach

David, firstly, thanks for your post. Always good to see other contributors work.
However, I have some difficulties with your claims.
First, the main work that you cite by Asmerom et al relies entirely on the rather pathetic work of Moberg. Moberg is famous in certain circles for refusing to reveal his data to Steve McIntyre … and now, simply because it fits your hypothesis, you claim that Moberg’s work is jes’ fine???
I have a rule of thumb in these matters which states …

If a man is hiding something … it’s because he has something to hide.

As a result, as soon as Moberg’s work comes up in a list of references for some study, I toss the study in the trash. Moberg disowned it by not providing the data, it’s just advertisement at that point and not science of any sort.
The Asmerom work also depends on the reconstruction of past TSI values from 10Be values. As I showed here, these have large problems. And Leif Svalgaard provided these two references in total agreement with my findings.
In addition,the Asmerom work depends on flawed reconstructions of past sunspot activity. As Leif Svalgaard has repeatedly pointed out, pre-1949 sunspot numbers have been underestimated by about 20%. Or to be more precise, the counting method changed in 1949, and as a result, the counts prior to 1949 need to be adjusted to conform with the modern counting method.
Taken together, these cast very serious doubt on the Asmerom work. I would never consider citing it myself, on my planet it’s not science in any form.
Next, you point to a “Prediction of Solar Activity For The Next 500 Years” by Beer and Steinhilber … seriously? Well, I guess you are being serious, but seriously? Five hundred years? We can’t predict solar activity two cycles out, and these jokers say they can predict it for half a millennium? Give me a break.
In any case, I took a look at their cited work, which is here. They first made a reconstruction of the “solar modulation potential” back to 9400 BC. Then they did a Fourier transform of the data, and a wavelet transform of the data, and used that to forecast the next 500 years of the solar modulation potential.
They have only provided the most minimal testing of their method, by comparing it to white noise … white noise? Srsly? And since that appears to be their idea of “testing”, I would have discounted the paper entirely on that basis alone. They also only tested by calculating the “r” value, and not the statistical significance of that “r” value. I’d junk the study on that basis alone.
Next, they seem entirely innocent of knowledge of the effect of autocorrelation on the significance of statistical results. I suppose that may be related to the fact that they have not provided any tests of statistical significance at all … another reason to send the study to the circular file.
Next, they only tested their method against their own reconstruction of the “solar modulation potential”. Remember that the “solar modulation potential” is a measure invented by one of the authors (Steinhilber). It supposedly has some relationship with TSI. But as near as I can tell, the authors never tested their method against real solar data … say what? Another reason to put the study in the circular file.
Next, they keep referring to their reconstruction of the solar modulation potential as “data”. It is nothing of the sort. Near as I can tell, no actual solar data appears anywhere in their study.
Next, in a fit of terminal insanity, they’ve used 22-year running means on their “data”. here’s their description:

Here we use the solar activity reconstruction obtained by Steinhilber et al. [2012]. This reconstruction consists of 22 year averages and covers the period 9400 to 38 B.P. (1988 A.D.).

Here, they’ve combined two bad methods into one. The first bad method is the use of running means. The second is their choice of periods. They are sampling a signal which varies above and below 22 years, and they are sampling it every 22 years. That’s the worst sampling period imaginable. I did an analysis of another study that made the identical two mistakes in my post “Sunny Spots Along The Paraná River“, you should read it to see how their method turns even valid data into garbage.
Next, the reconstruction that they are trying to pass off as “data” is only one of several such historical reconstructions. In fact, there is little agreement on the past levels of solar magnetism. See the WUWT post here for a discussion.
Finally, I’ve never seen any reports of successes using either Fourier transforms or wavelet decomposition methods to predict the future evolution of chaotic systems. If that approach worked, people would be using it to predict everything from the stock market to sunspots to next month’s weather. Since they are not, I have to say that the odds of predicting 500 years of solar activity by Fourier analysis are zero.
David, note that up to this point I’m not taking a position on your underlying hypothesis. I’m saying that the evidence you’ve presented is … well, let me call it absolutely unconvincing.
Moving forwards, as to your underlying hypothesis. This is that weaker solar activity means colder and dryer conditions. Since the strength of the TSI and the strength of the Sun’s magnetic field vary on an 11 or 22 year basis, the simplest way to test this theory, one that doesn’t involve sketchy 9,000 year reconstructions that they are passing off as “data”, is to look for 11/22 year cycles in either temperature or precipitation. After all, if the earth’s climate responds to variations in solar magnetic intensity in the long term, since climate is just the average of weather, this long term response has to be the result of instantaneous responses in weather to the short run variations in solar strength.
However, despite people (including myself) looking very hard for such 11 or 22-year cycles in temperature and rainfall for the last couple centuries, I’ve never seen one single convincing example of such an 11-year or a 22-year cycle in temperature or precipitation. I’m not saying such evidence doesn’t exist … I’m just saying that I’ve never seen it.
And lacking that direct evidence despite centuries of searching, if you then claim that such a relationship exists in the long term but NOT in the short term, I fear we’re well into the zone where “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence”.
And not only are we in that zone, but the evidence you’ve provided doesn’t even rise to the level of ordinary …
Sorry for the straight talk, David, but I have an obligation to view claims from both sides of the climate chasm using the same rules and standards. I hold that the Moberg study is simply an advertisement for their views, because they refused to release their data. As such, on my planet neither side of the debate gets to use it to buttress their claims.
And you need to seriously think about the history of predictions of just the next solar cycle alone, before you are so trusting of a 500-year prediction of future solar activity.
Best regards, keep up the good work,
w.

ralfellis

The Ghost Of Big Jim Cooley says: May 14, 2014 at 5:06 am
It IS a fact that (like it or not) if the whole world went veggie, we actually would have enough land by some margin (if all the animals bred for meat were slaughtered first, of course). This isn’t airy-fairy stuff, the studies have been done again and again – it takes an awful lot of land to produce meat for consumption.
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And i am calling BS on that. There are many regions where arable agriculture is impossible. The English fells, for one.
You would have to invent a machine that could crop upland grass and turn it into protein. Preferably a self-replicating machine, to make it cleaper. And then you would have to find a name for that machine.
I would suggest “sheep”.

Willis Eschenbach says:
May 14, 2014 at 12:05 pm
Remember that the “solar modulation potential” is a measure invented by one of the authors (Steinhilber).
I don’t think we should make any great ‘science’ out of the Steinhilber and Beer prediction.
As Dr. Svalgaard will confirm (has done on so many occasions) and even his 7 year old grandson spotted it, sunspot cycles show a centennial quasi-periodicity somewhere between 100 and 105 years.
Let’s use 103 year period as a fundamental, than calculate its two sub-harmonics as T1=2×103, T2=5×103 and cross modulation product at (T1+T2)/2, add three Cosines in ratios of 3:2:2 respectively, the result is here:
http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/S-V-prediction.htm
As it can be seen, the agreement with Steinhilber and Beer prediction is a reasonable one. To be fair any fundamental period between 100 and 105 years would produce very similar result.
Have Steinhilber and Beer produced great work of science? I dare say not.