Evidence the Sun may have turned “blue” during 1450s-1460s

A lecture by Dr. Willie Soon suggests that something odd was occurring with the view of the sun in the decades around 1450-1460, which he dubs the “Global Blue Sun” due to historical anecdotal evidence that has been recorded. The suggestion is that there was a massive volcanic eruption somewhere on Earth that put haze and ash into the air, turning the view of the sun “blue”.

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September 22, 2018 9:37 am
Kari Konkola
September 22, 2018 9:39 am

There may have been some serious fluctuations during that period. I am a historian and recall reading somewhere a description of the straits of Gibraltar having been so full of drift ice in 1436, that it was difficult to sail through the strait. The Portuguese should have decent records from that period. Is there anybody here, who could access those records to check if the description was true?

Reply to  Kari Konkola
September 22, 2018 10:18 am

It was during the Little Ice Age (LIA). I would hesitate to infer causality.

It is telling that there are a bunch of possible explanations for the LIA. In the face of that, it’s amazing that the alarmists express such certainty about CAGW.

michael hart
Reply to  commieBob
September 22, 2018 2:46 pm

Amazing? These days I’m astonished if they countenance anything else other than cast iron certainty.

Except, of course, when it is “worse than we thought”.

Gary Pearse
Reply to  commieBob
September 23, 2018 9:14 am

One commonly reads that the Bosforus froze over during the LIA so ice elsewhere at those latitudes may have occurred.

Percy Jackson
Reply to  Kari Konkola
September 22, 2018 11:57 pm

I suspect you are mistaken. It is highly unlikely that the straits of Gibraltar have ever been
clogged with sea ice since the end of the last ice age. Sea Ice in the mediterranean is almost
impossible in the current climate.

Reply to  Percy Jackson
September 24, 2018 7:49 am

Well, “Sea Ice in the mediterranean is almost impossible in the current climate” is a bit exaggerated too. In peripheric areas, such as North Adriatic Sea or Bosphorus, it actually happened during LIA; also in milder-climate ports like Livorno, Genoa or Marseille, in the coldest winters. Even today, freezing of Venice lagoon or small ice forming near Trieste (so in the northernmost point of the Mediterranean) is a rare but still possible occurrence.
Anyway, I do agree that would be almost impossible to see sea ice in Gibraltar even in the coldest winters of the LIA. I read of Arctic sea ice reaching for Scotland during XV century and some iceberg even more south: that could have been the worst, and it would really be outstanding today.

Reply to  Kari Konkola
September 23, 2018 1:54 am

The Portuguese records were probably destroyed in the Lisbon earthquake of 1755.

Perhaps some Spanish records ?

Reply to  Kari Konkola
September 23, 2018 2:01 am

The Portuguese records were probably destroyed during the Lisbon earthquake of 1755

Reply to  Kari Konkola
September 24, 2018 7:49 am

Just a stray thought: Occasionally there seems to be a highly meridional flow which crosses the Pole and results in a large amount of sea-ice being flushed down into the Atlantic. This apparently happened after 1815 resulting in talk at the British Admiralty about an ice-free Pole in 1817. So much ice was flushed south that icebergs grounded on the coast of Ireland, and the cooling of the Atlantic may have contributed to “The Year Without a Summer” in Western Europe (but not Eastern Europe) at the same time.

If it happened in 1817 perhaps it happened in 1436, with ice drifting further south due to cooler conditions in the Little Ice Age. (Someone who knows Latin should check the Papal Library, if Lisbon’s records were destroyed by the 1755 earthquake.)

John Tillman
Reply to  Kari Konkola
September 24, 2018 2:39 pm


That year (or late 1435) saw the 7th and penultimate siege of Moorish Gibraltar by Castile, so relevant records might be Spanish rather than Portuguese. This link provides some secondary sources which might mention ice, perhaps floating from the Atlantic into the Med.


Castile succeeded during the 8th siege.

John Bell
September 22, 2018 9:49 am

If, on the other hand, the sun does vary in output, on human time scales, any explanation for how it might do so? Hard to imagine the temperature and pressure at the core of the sun.

Reply to  John Bell
September 22, 2018 1:36 pm

Sunlight is between 5-6.5k K ( see chromaticity diagram), in order to go slightly blue temperature needs to go up to somewhere around 8k K ( blue stars are 7.5-11k K) which would need huge rise in energy output so it’s extremely unlikely (0.000.. probability) that the sun was cause.
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Reply to  vukcevic
September 22, 2018 3:51 pm

Um, it says it looked blue due to filtering by stuff in the air, not that the sun output changed to blue.

Reply to  E.M.Smith
September 22, 2018 6:10 pm

After Pinatubo blew in 1991 the following summer of 1992 we often had a red looking sun in the middle of the day here in central Indiana. It would be about the same hue as is common for a setting sun but it was at noon. So a blue sun just doesn’t make sense to me based on that experience.

Yes, I understand Rayleigh scattering and thus why the sky appears blue.

Remo Williams
Reply to  RAH
September 22, 2018 7:48 pm

Here in Denver, at the peak of the Hayman fire in 2002, you could stare directly at the midday sun without hurting your eyes. Even though the sky appeared relatively clear, there was enough smoke dispersed throughout the troposphere that sun simply became “a red rubber ball.” Ninety degrees, pale blue sky, red sun, and no shadows. It was very eerie.

E J Zuiderwijk
Reply to  RAH
September 23, 2018 4:13 am

It depends on the size of the scattering particles.


Reply to  E.M.Smith
September 22, 2018 7:18 pm

Reading comprehension is an acquired taste that some find unpalatable. ROTFLMAO!!!

Samuel C Cogar
Reply to  E.M.Smith
September 23, 2018 4:25 am

Posting excerpt:

A lecture by Dr. Willie Soon suggests that something odd was occurring with the view of the sun in the decades around 1450-1460, which he dubs the “Global Blue Sun” due to historical anecdotal evidence that has been recorded..

Now ya’ll shouldn’t be gettin too cited about “color blindness” commentary.

Now we have ….. run like a “blue” streak, …… faster than “blue” blazes, ….. “blue” this, …. “blue” that, ….. and most noted of all, ……. a “blue” moon, …… to wit:

A “Blue Moon” is a fairly infrequent phenomenon involving the appearance of an additional full moon within a given period.

Reply to  E.M.Smith
September 23, 2018 11:45 am

A few years ago there was a major dust storm in Brisbane, which caused the sun to appear blue, so quite likely something similar caused this Global Blue Sun.

September 22, 2018 9:57 am

According to the excellent John Kington of CRU, there was ‘inferred volcanic dust veil (estimated DVI3000 )’and a submarine eruption in 1452

1453 to 1457 tree growth stunted in Europe, inferred volcanic dust veil
in the summer of 1453 thick fog and red twilights in Constantinople, inferred volcanic dust veil effect

1453 for three years strong global cooling inferred. otherwise the decade was a mix of hot and cool summers and mild and cold winters

The volcanic effects seems to be well recorded in many places

No particular record of the same observations of volcanic dust in the 1460’s

1453 was the year Constantinople was captured by the Ottomans. There had been great burning of the surrounding area, then the city itself for 2 years. Probably an awful lot of smoke in the air but doubtful if that could affect regional or global weather during the decade, but I would imagine it might account for the red twilight and thick fog .

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  tonyb
September 22, 2018 12:42 pm

Here in the Pacific Northwest, when there is smoke from wildfires everything tends to turn sepia, or orangish. Never seen blue.

Reply to  Jeff Alberts
September 22, 2018 1:05 pm

water is blue.
ash and dust is red.

Samuel C Cogar
Reply to  gnomish
September 24, 2018 4:13 am

But ice can be “blue”.

comment image

And iffen there were a large quantity if ice crystals/sleet high in the atmosphere????

John Tillman
Reply to  Jeff Alberts
September 22, 2018 1:58 pm


Smoke, volcanic ash and smog can produce grayish clouds, such that blue light may scatter off the particles composing the clouds.

The particles must be less than 0.85 micrometers (0.03 thousandths of an inch) wide.

The sun can take on a greener hue when the particles are larger than 1.1 micrometers.

Reply to  Jeff Alberts
September 22, 2018 2:46 pm

In the last couple of summers, yes, we’ve had orange-ish effects from wildfire smoke in the PNW (I’m in Vancouver BC). But look at some of the accounts of the Chinchaga Fire in 1950. Example: http://www.bcstudies.com/?q=book-reviews/chinchaga-firestorm-when-moon-and-sun-turned-blue

Caused blue moon and sunsets in Western Europe.

Interesting, as always, from Dr Soon. Thanks for posting.

Reply to  PeteW
September 22, 2018 4:21 pm

16 October 2016, I made the following short-handish/telegraphese entry in my own timeline: –
“Ex-Hurricane Ophelia – strange, dust-laden, sky. Gloomy – almost apocalyptic!”
I live in South London – and that was very unusual [in my personal experience].
The sky was grey-orange.

For what it is worth. [Probably not a lot, I know].


Reply to  auto
September 23, 2018 5:52 am

I remember it well, there was talk of Sahara dust in the air, I also found orange patches on my white window sills.

Reply to  auto
September 23, 2018 10:57 am

Yes indeed.
But unusual enough for me to make a mention in my timeline.
I am pretty doubtful that the Ophelia experience has relevance for the ‘Blue Sun’ that Willie soon talks about – but ‘there is more in Heaven and Earth than is ‘ in some good warmistas’ philosophies . . . .


Reply to  Jeff Alberts
September 23, 2018 5:20 am

Judging by number of comments volcanic ash is unlikely cause. In April of 2010 when the Ejy…jokall eruption covered Europe with ash cloud, my wife and I were stuck for an extra week in Malta (no flights), most of time we had clear sky, one day my wife remarked that sun had rusty colour.
In 1456 was apereance of the later named Halley’s comet, if in its orbit around sun comet lost large quantity of water, it’s dispersal might caused enough sunlight diffraction and reflection to make sun appear blue and temporary
reduction in the TSI impacting the earth’s atmosphere.

Adam Gallon
September 22, 2018 9:57 am

If it was due to volcanism, there’d be evidence in the ice sheets.

Reply to  Adam Gallon
September 23, 2018 8:10 am

Willie presents ice sheet evidence in his presentation

September 22, 2018 10:13 am

What I really like about this post: A. short, B. Interesting, C. Verifiable. Thank you, Anthony.

September 22, 2018 10:35 am

Outstanding compilation of evidence confirming cooling.

September 22, 2018 10:37 am

Couple of years ago a paper was published with detailed analysis of written records
Endless cold: a seasonal reconstruction of temperature and precipitation in the Burgundian Low Countries during the 15th century
1455-1462 period was apparently coldest during whole of 15th century.

Reply to  vukcevic
September 22, 2018 11:49 am

The archaeological record of the norse colony in Greenland peters out around 1450….

Reply to  tty
September 22, 2018 1:11 pm

Analysis of the sunlight spectrum might help determine the cause of it going blue if it did so.

John Tillman
Reply to  vukcevic
September 22, 2018 12:32 pm

My comment on the cold, windy, snowy weather at the 29 March (Palm Sunday) 1461 Battle of Towton, Yorkshire remains lost in cyberspace.

Reply to  John Tillman
September 22, 2018 12:55 pm

Not that we should believe most of junk written in the DM, but member of my family brought this to my attention
Britain could be set for FOUR MONTHS of snow in ‘coldest winter for a decade’ following record-setting summer heatwave
“The onset of an El Nino warming of the eastern Pacific Ocean and changes in air patterns over the tropics could also keep the country in freezing temperatures through December, January and February….
He explained the cooler temperatures could be caused by a period of low solar activity which may throw the jet stream of warm air, that gives us our mild climate, out of kilter and cause a Sudden Stratospheric Warming (SSW)”
Let’s wait and see

John Tillman
Reply to  vukcevic
September 22, 2018 1:14 pm


Great to have prediction testable within months rather than distant decades.

Reply to  John Tillman
September 22, 2018 1:20 pm


If you remember, back in early August the met office was saying the great heatwave could continue until October, then they changed that to include a very mild winter until Christmas as well as the heatwave.

I think from that day on, the temperatures dropped markedly and it started raining. The heatwave seems a very distant memory now, as we have turned on heating briefly as the day temperature peaked at 13 centigrade and the rain has fallen all day


John Tillman
Reply to  John Tillman
September 22, 2018 1:24 pm


OK, so the Met got weather wrong, but forecasting AD 2100 is a snap!

John Tillman
Reply to  John Tillman
September 22, 2018 1:51 pm

By the Gregorian calendar, Towton was fought on April 7, so the wintry WX is even more notable.

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Would a snowstorm in Yorkshire in April be deemed “extreme” in the 21st century?

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Reply to  John Tillman
September 22, 2018 7:21 pm

Well it has happened, particularly in the north of the county, this picture is from Leeds April 25, 2017.
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Alan Tomalty
Reply to  John Tillman
September 23, 2018 8:18 am

“but forecasting AD 2100 is a snap!”
Climate scientists have given up trying to forecast the future. No one believes them any more. It is the past now where the real battleground for the truth begins. Michael Mann has given the orders to his troops to hindcast the past. Don’t forget Orwell’s most famous dictum. WHO CONTROLS THE PRESENT CONTROLS THE PAST. WHO CONTROLS THE PAST CONTROLS THE FUTURE.

While the masses celebrate Che Guevera who was a mass torturer and murderer and Karl Marx who was a racist, non repayer of his debts, never held a regular job, never listened to anyone who opposed his views, alcoholic, adulterer,and generally had disgust with everyone he met; MY HEROES ARE RICHARD FEYNMAN the greatest physicist of all time, and George Orwell who understood the human psyche better than any psychologist who ever lived.

John Tillman
Reply to  John Tillman
September 23, 2018 12:40 pm

Phil. September 22, 2018 at 7:21 pm


Hope that’s not a harbinger of a new Little Ice Age.

The Palm Sunday 1461 storm was a blizzard. The Lancastrian archers were blinded by the snow in their faces, so couldn’t know that the wind was keeping their arrows from reaching the Yorkists, whose arrows were helped by the wind, forcing the Lancastrians down out of their strong defensive position.

Reply to  vukcevic
September 22, 2018 1:16 pm


It Appears the met office now say 2018 was tied with three other years as the warmest summer on record, including 1976

Curiously though, it seems 1976 CET summer was warmer by half a degree.

I do not know what set of stations the met office has used, but wonder if they take into account Uhi, as they do with Cet?

Reply to  John Tillman
September 22, 2018 3:39 pm

Palm Sunday in the north of England can be quite unpleasant even these days.

John Tillman
Reply to  Susan
September 22, 2018 3:54 pm


It was earlier this year, March 25, so snow would be less “extreme” then than on April 7.

Last year, however, it fell on April 9, but on March 20 in 2016 and March 29 in 2015.

March 20 might have been a record early date for the Gregorian Era in Britain. But please don’t quote me on that.

Unprecedented! Worse than we thought!

Reply to  Susan
September 22, 2018 7:26 pm

Both of my sisters were married on Easter Mondays in Wales, one in 1960 and the other in the early 70s. It snowed both times.

Reply to  Phil.
September 23, 2018 2:52 am

On 16 of April (friends birthday) in 1979 or 1980 I was in London and it snowed enough for the grass area of Hyde park to turn white.

John Tillman
Reply to  Phil.
September 24, 2018 2:44 pm


Great wedding planning!

White weddings.

The 1950s, ’60s and ’70s were colder than the ’80s, ’90s and ’00s, as well as than the ’20s, ’30s and ’40s. The coldest day I ever experienced in the Pacific NW was in late December 1968, the record low in Washington State, but not Oregon. It was -35 where I lived.

J Mac
September 22, 2018 10:40 am

There is a lot of interesting information embedded in Dr. Soon’s presentation! Deserves a second ‘viewing. Very relevant and well done… Thanks, Dr. Soon and Anthony!

September 22, 2018 11:13 am

The Chosun Annals from Korea might shed some light on the atmospheric phenomena of the period.

Steven Mosher
Reply to  carol
September 23, 2018 2:56 am

Yes the englihs version is only a few years from being completed

Lance Flake
September 22, 2018 11:18 am

The sky was yellow and the sun was blue

Reply to  Lance Flake
September 22, 2018 4:27 pm

Blooming Swedes/Ukrainians!!!?


John Tillman
Reply to  auto
September 22, 2018 4:31 pm
September 22, 2018 11:47 am

There was indeed a really big eruption in 1452/53 which had global effects. The amount of sulphate was larger than e. g. Huaynaputina in 1601 or Tambora in 1815. It is usually identified as due to an eruption of Kuwae in Vanuatu, but this is not quite certain. It was certainly in the tropics since both hemispheres were about equally affected. It was not as big as the “mystery eruption” of 1258 though (which has not been definitely assigned to any specific volcano)

CD in Wisconsin
Reply to  tty
September 22, 2018 3:12 pm

TTY: The linked article below talks about evidence that the 1258 eruption might have been that of Mount Rinjani on Lombok Island, Indonesia. It reportedly wiped out a city on the island. Is said to have been worse than both Tambora and Krakatoa.


Crispin in Waterloo
Reply to  CD in Wisconsin
September 22, 2018 7:07 pm

I have been on the slopes of Rinjani and it is hard to accept how huge it is. The caldera is currently 6 x 8.5 km! The power behind it defies understanding by mere humans.

It is one of the most explosive volcanoes in the world with the magma rising as much as 200 km to the surface.

It is hard to make a living up there so many poor young people come down to the coast and farm shrimp or fish. It is amazing that after these catastrophes they keep moving back.

Kristi Silber
Reply to  tty
September 22, 2018 7:09 pm


This article suggests that there was higher sulfate aerosol loading around the time of the earlier volcano. The fact that there were multiple loading events around that time is one reason (suggest the authors) that the effect wasn’t transient, but triggered the change to a cooling period. Mechanisms suggested by modeling, consistent with observations: “In addition to a continuously sustained sea‐ice expansion following the late 13th Century eruptions (Figure 3b), the simulation also shows a sustained weakening of northward heat transport in the North Atlantic averaging 0.04 PW less than the mean of our control from 1300–1600 AD (Figure 3d; statistically significant at the 99.9% level), and an anomalously cold and fresh North Atlantic subpolar gyre (Figure S5). A significant increase in April‐September surface albedo poleward of 60°N (Figure S4) results in a net summertime energy decrease of ∼1.5 Wm−2 averaged over the three centuries following late 13th Century eruptions. Albedo increase, expanded sea ice, and lowered ocean temperatures produce a persistent reduction in summer air temperature across Arctic North Atlantic continents (Figure 2e), consistent with our primary observations of expanded ice caps at this time.”

(tty, I readily admit I don’t know as much as some others around here about climate, but I do make an effort to read the literature and have learned a lot. Your comment about causes of subsidence in the post about persuading conservatives was not news to me, nor was the follow-up post by David about aquifer depletion [I’d considered mentioning it in my own comments, but didn’t think it relevant]. Just because I don’t discuss something is no reason to assume I am unaware of it.)

Burl Henry
Reply to  tty
September 22, 2018 8:59 pm


Could you provide a link to this information?

The volume “Volcanoes of the World”, 3rd edition shows no large eruption in 1452/53.

However, it does show a VEI5? eruption of Pinatubo in 1450, whose cooling effects would be apparent a couple of years later. (The global cooling effect of an eruption is not immediate, it generally takes a year or so for its aerosols to circulate around the globe)

Reply to  Burl Henry
September 23, 2018 12:49 am

Research on the Kuwae eruption of 1452/3 here:
The 1452 or 1453 A.D. Kuwae Eruption Signal
Derived from Multiple Ice Core Records:
Greatest Volcanic Sulfate Event of the Past 700 Years


September 22, 2018 11:48 am


You should seriously consider updating your policy on unwelcome topics for WUWT. No way to discuss the Willie Soon’s models and the barycentrism discussion in his video without violating your policy.

Certain topics are not welcome here and comments concerning them will be deleted. This includes topics on religion, discussions of barycentrism, astrology, aliens, bigfoot, chemtrails, 911 Truthers, Obama’s Birth Certificate, HAARP, UFO’s, Electric Universe, mysticism, and other topics not directly related to the thread.

ref: https://wattsupwiththat.com/policy/


(Evidence the Sun may have turned “blue” during 1450s-1460s, is the TOPIC that was posted for) MOD

Alastair Brickell
Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
September 22, 2018 12:29 pm

Joel @ 11:48

Yes, perhaps barycentrism should be allowed. I’m not sure that I agree with it as it’s currently on the fringes of what is credible. However, it is an interesting topic and received some attention during the recent excellent Porto Climate Skeptics Conference:


as interested readers can see from the papers now online. However, it’s Anthony’s website so his opinion may differ and we must all go along with what he decides.

Good to see more out of the box stuff from Willie Soon. We need more people/thinkers like him to contribute new and novel ideas. The science is definitely not settled!

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Alastair Brickell
September 22, 2018 12:45 pm

“Porto Climate Skeptics Conference”

There are people who are skeptical of climate??

Reply to  Alastair Brickell
September 22, 2018 1:21 pm

Has been discussed here before. And, indeed, out of the box may find interesting answers to questions that consensus science does not. https://wattsupwiththat.com/2017/02/24/rock-strata-dating-suggests-planetary-orbital-effects-on-climate/

Philip Mulholland
Reply to  Alastair Brickell
September 22, 2018 3:40 pm

58:51 “I’m not married to any scientific theory; I’m only married to my wife”
Wise words from Dr Soon.

Kristi Silber
Reply to  Alastair Brickell
September 22, 2018 10:27 pm


In what way are Soon’s ideas new? The relationship between solar activity and climate has been studied for decades.

Crispin in Waterloo
Reply to  Kristi Silber
September 24, 2018 1:00 pm


New understanding of how the sun works; new collected evidence for multiple proofs that the cold years 1450-60 were solar in origin; new collection of evidence from other sources showing global observations and effects traceable to volcanic and solar influences, especially combined.

September 22, 2018 1:03 pm

I watched the whole video. Interesting points and worth investigating more. I certainly can’t dismiss what is presented out of hand.

There have been many theories that turned out to be true that were initially dismissed. Plate tectonics was a good one. I would say let Dr. Soon and his colleagues go on and keep at it and I would love to read anything else he comes up with.

In the meantime, just to hedge a little I’m getting ready for the coming cold. Maybe Barbados would be a good place to park.

John Tillman
Reply to  rbabcock
September 22, 2018 10:36 pm

rbabcock September 22, 2018 at 1:03 pm

The hypothesis which was resisted by geologists wasn’t plate tectonics but “continental drift’. There was good evidence that, for instance, Africa and South America had once been conjoined, but science lacked a mechanism to account for how the two continents could have become separated. Seafloor spreading, discovered in the 1950s, provided this mechanism. This discovery was comparable to Darwin’s explanation for what was previously known as “development”, which came to be known as “evolution” after his and Wallace’s discovery of natural selection, one of the processes which produce new species from old.

Reply to  John Tillman
September 23, 2018 5:36 am

From wiki: “Plate tectonics is a scientific theory describing the large-scale motion of seven large plates and the movements of a larger number of smaller plates of the Earth’s lithosphere”.

Sounds like “continental drift” to me.

Paul Blase
Reply to  rbabcock
September 23, 2018 6:34 pm

“Plate tectonics” is the explanation for “continental drift”. A continent drifting through the sea floor is unbelievable. The whole plate moving, dragging the continent with it, is the better explanation.

Reply to  rbabcock
September 24, 2018 3:41 pm

Plate tectonics describes much more than continental drift. For example, continental drift notes that South America fits nicely with Africa.

The research that sold me on plate tectonics was a transect of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge that discovered sediment depths increased with distance from the ridge and that the crust had a symmetric history of magnetic orientation. Plate tectonics also explained subduction zones, the Ring of Fire, the Himalayas, and with a few more tweaks, Hawaii and the seamount chain.

After decades of wrangling over the drift vs non-drift stands, the speed that plate tectonics showed that Alfred Wegener had been on the right track was stunning, it mostly happened while I was in high school.

If Wegener hadn’t died while crossing Greenland in 1930, he might have lived long enough to see the his ideas get adopted and improved upon.


John Tillman
Reply to  Ric Werme
September 24, 2018 3:55 pm


Yes, plate tectonics is to geology as evolution is to biology. It explains observations better than any other general organizing theory, and indeed is based upon observations. The facts of tectonics and evolution are arguably more important to geology and biology than is gravitation to physics. Perhaps comparable to the atomic theory of elements, hence the periodic table, in chemistry.

That tectonics wasn’t discovered until the 20th century shows how unsettled whole scientific disciplines can be. Same goes for Bretz’ discovery of catastrophic outbreak floods covering whole regions.

John Tillman
Reply to  rbabcock
September 24, 2018 3:48 pm


The fact that the continents (actually tectonic plates) “drift” was explained by seafloor spreading. Before that phenomenon was discovered, there was no satisfactory mechanism explaining how the continents might move.

September 22, 2018 2:38 pm

Fascinating material from Dr Soon. What a great presentation. I was just watching where he discusses the relationship between global quakes and the seasons, and that triggered my thoughts on changes in the global quake pattern. Back around mid April of this year I made a comment here at WUWT stating that I had noticed a noticeable change in the global quake pattern in the first week of April 2018. Now look at what Dr Soon is showing that global quakes pick up in April before falling off in September.

So what was the cause of the change in global quake patterns back in April??? Also of interest to this thought is that the 24 hour quake rate has returned to a more typical pattern just in the last 3 days as October approaches.

Ulric Lyons
September 22, 2018 3:48 pm

Conflicting dates of 1452-53 and 1458 for the eruption, but either way tropical eruptions don’t drive cold winters in Europe, that’s the solar signal doing that at 1458-1460. Typically, large eruptions occur soon after a particularly cold N Hem winter and on a warm burst.

Sun-Barycenter cycles is the wrong solution to the ordering of solar minima, and there is no solar minimum for the 2030’s. Empirical evidence shows a solar minimum starting in the late 1420’s, and ending in the 1470’s, with the return of much warmer conditions in Europe. The following minimum starts around 1550 and often gets lumped in with the previous one as Sporer.

I suggest Mr Soon gets the recommended astronomy software and follows these instructions, to verify that the current solar minimum will be well over by SC26, and that the following two centennial solar minima are particularly long:
comment image

Burl Henry
Reply to  Ulric Lyons
September 22, 2018 8:39 pm

Ulric Lyons:

You state “Empirical evidence shows a solar minimum starting in the late 1420’s, and ending in the 1470’s”

It is impossible to determine any changes in solar activity from the surface of the Earth by any proxy measurements, because any SO2 aerosols in the atmosphere will intercept much of the incoming cosmic radiation and give the false impression that the sun’s activity has changed.

However, these proxy measurements CAN be used to identify periods with greater or lesser amounts of volcanic activity.

Ulric Lyons
Reply to  Burl Henry
September 23, 2018 4:08 am

Empirical evidence for the planetary ordering of sunspot cycles, and centennial solar minima.

Burl Henry
Reply to  Ulric Lyons
September 23, 2018 7:18 am

Ulrich Lyons:

“Empirical evidence for the ordering of sunspot cycles, and centennial solar minima”

Since it has only been possible to measure changes in solar output since the onset of satellite measurements, above the atmosphere, there is NO earlier data which can be used to confirm that climatic changes due to sunspot activity or “solar minima” actually exist.

However, climatic changes due to volcanic eruptions can easily be confirmed, and were the sole cause of the Little Ice Age misery.

Burl Henry
Reply to  Ulric Lyons
September 23, 2018 7:34 am

Ulrich Lyons:

You say “Empirical evidence for the planetary ordering of sunspot cycles and solar minima”

Since it has become possible to measure changes in solar activity only since the onset of satellite measurements, above the atmosphere, there is NO earlier data which can be used to confirm that climatic changes due to sunspot cycles, or “solar minima” actually exist.

However, climatic changes due to large volcanic eruptions are easily provable, and were the sole cause of the Little Ice Age misery.

Ulric Lyons
Reply to  Burl Henry
September 23, 2018 8:19 am

CET back to 1659, written weather records much further back for similar regional effects of increased negative NAO/AO on weather patterns during solar minima, European tree proxy series, sediment proxies, aurora records, etc. Lots of data.

September 22, 2018 5:20 pm

A great presentation with lots of thought provoking theories.

But the key question for me is what flips the earth’s climate to ice-age? We see that the Maunder, Dalton and Sporer minima could not kick one off, so what actually can? Orbital, volcanic or solar output? The Younger Dryas is only 11,000 years ago, and it makes the LIA look like a (slightly cold) walk in the park.

John Tillman
Reply to  DaveR
September 22, 2018 5:31 pm


Maybe not just one thing, but what seems most important among the Milankovitch (orbital and rotational mechanics) cycles is axial tilt (obliquity). Others argue for eccentricity.

Earth’s tilt affects insolation, regardless of the cycles in solar irradiance and magentism.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  John Tillman
September 23, 2018 8:29 am

But what causes Milankovitch cycles?

Paul Blase
Reply to  Jeff Alberts
September 23, 2018 6:37 pm

Orbital mechanics.

John Tillman
Reply to  Jeff Alberts
September 23, 2018 6:48 pm


The Milankovitch cycles are changes in orbital and rotational celestial mechanics. Eccentricity is caused by gravitational effects on Earth’s orbit around the sun. Obliquity is axial tilt. Axial precession is the cyclic change in the direction in which our pole of rotation points. Apsidal precession is change in orbital orientation to the plane of the ecliptic. Orbital inclination is change up and down relative to Earth’s present orbit.

Kristi Silber
Reply to  DaveR
September 22, 2018 10:21 pm


Some have hypothesized that it was (multiple) volcanic eruptions that triggered the cooling in the LIA, which persisted due to a combination of factors. However, the major ice ages in the Holocene were likely triggered by solar changes. Some posit that started a change in CO2 levels, which then became part of a feedback to keep the cooling/warming going. CO2 tracks temperature, the question becomes one of cause and effect. Depends on who you ask.

Stewart Pid
Reply to  DaveR
September 23, 2018 3:57 pm

Dave look at this paper and especially look in the references at the end of the paper for more info. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1674987116300305

Reply to  DaveR
September 24, 2018 4:46 pm

John Tillman,
so you are saying that a critical element for a full-blown ice-age is probably orbital geometry, either obliquity or eccentricity. That implies those orbital geometries are sufficient to vary solar insolation below some threshold to flip the global climate to ice age.
As an earth scientist I have always thought of the earth’s recent climate as a dual equilibrium. For the last ten million years its either an inter-glacial like today, or an ice-age, but mostly ice age. But importantly, not twice as hot as today, or twice as cold as an ice-age. Inter glacial and ice-age appear to be the boundary conditions of the variation.
Also, when the climate is interglacial, there are repeated attempts to flip it to ice-age, which don’t make it (Sporer/Maunder/Dalton). And when it is in ice-age, there are similar attempts to flip it back to interglacial, which also don’t make it.
If then solar variation or volcanism can cause Sporer/Maunder/Dalton events but is not sufficient to flip to an ice-age, is it solar variation or volcanism plus the right orbital geometry that can?
The ice-ages over the last 1myr appear to have an average duration of about 60kyr, so each time an ice-age is triggered, on average 60kyr later it is able to spring back to inter glacial. But it varies.
If the essential component for a global ice age is orbital geometry, then shouldn’t it be predictable?

September 22, 2018 7:11 pm

Lol! Love the Blue Sun logo from Firefly. Two by two, hands of blue.

September 22, 2018 9:00 pm

Now and then you encounter an author who understands some limitations of scientific interpretation. Willie Soon is one such. When he is not confident of one of his interpretations, he says so. I am not going to take him from my reading list.

Kristi Silber
September 22, 2018 10:00 pm

Interesting presentation. I would have liked to have seen a graph directly comparing temperature reconstruction with solar activity, though. Did I miss something? There is the Alaskan glacier-building evidence (19:24), but the graph and the publication suggest there is more going on than just solar radiation: “However, solar irradiance changes alone are not likely to be sufficient to force significant temperature change for glacier advance [e.g., Bond et al., 2001; Shindell et al., 2001]. We suggest that one means to enhance the solar‐induced cooling and, in part, to explain regional differences in the glacial record, is to take into account the effects of two key modes of atmosphere‐ocean circulation known to differentially impact the three regions. These are the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), in southern Alaska [Mantua et al., 1997], and the Arctic Oscillation (AO) [Thompson and Wallace, 2001] in the Brooks Range.”

It didn’t seem like the volcanic part was tied in very well with the solar data.

Others have investigated solar cycles and how they tie in with climate change. Gavin Schmidt, for instance, has written about this: “The climate response to variability in volcanic aerosols and solar irradiance, the primary forcings during the preindustrial era… Thus, long-term regional changes during the preindustrial appear to have been dominated by solar forcing.” https://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/abs/10.1175/1520-0442(2003)016%3C4094:VASFOC%3E2.0.CO;2

Soon didn’t talk about the 20th Century, perhaps because there is little evidence that current warming is due to solar factors. (e.g., “Here we show that over the past 20 years, all the trends in the Sun that could have had an influence on the Earth’s climate have been in the opposite direction to that required to explain the observed rise in global mean temperatures.” http://rspa.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/463/2086/2447.short)

Soon says that “they forgot that global cooling could be coming,” but this is something we’ve heard before, it’s not news. His is spreading misinformation that is designed to discredit mainstream science.

To say that deep-sea cooling in the North Atlantic since 2006 means “Things are heading in that direction” is odd. Could that be an effect of the slowing of the AMOC due to the presence of the “blob” of freshwater hovering around the area of melting Arctic sea ice? I’ve read that circulation has slowed because of it. Just a guess.

The graph at 44:70 is interesting, but I don’t really see how it ties in with Soon’s thesis. What’s more relevant is what it says for the result of climate change on volcanic activity, as more water is shifted from the continents to the seas. Might we see less volcanic activity? Could this mean less discharge of aerosols into the atmosphere? Possible positive feedback. I wonder if anyone has studied it. So much to learn!

Is berylium 10 concentration affected by aerosols? The Spoerer Minimum extreme peak is very near the time of the large mid-15thC eruption. I don’t know much about the cosmic aspects of climate change.

At 32:07, Soon says that the peak is due to a supernova according to McCracken, et al. In fact, the authors suggest either a supernova or cosmic rays from the sun.

I don’t see that any of his talk refutes the CO2 theory with evidence. Just because the sun has an effect (which is not news) doesn’t mean much. The only new thing discussed here is his 2018 paper suggesting it will get colder because of a coming minimum, and even that has been considered by others. It remains to be seen how much it will offset increasing CO2 levels.

Soon prefaces the talk by saying there are no politics in it. He still manages to throw in several insults and talk about “fake news.” Soon says things like “they forgot that global cooling could be coming,” but this is something we’ve heard before, it’s not news. His is spreading misinformation that is designed to discredit mainstream science. It is public statements like this that give contrarian scientists a bad name among the mainstream. I suppose scientists on the opposite side do the same thing. It’s all so juvenile, unprofessional. Why can’t they just stick to the science?

I don’t see that any of his talk refutes the CO2 theory with evidence. Just because the sun has an effect (which is not news) doesn’t mean much without context, taking into account other factors – even the data he presents suggest that. The only new thing discussed here is his 2018 paper suggesting it will get colder because of a coming minimum, and even that has been considered by others. It remains to be seen how much that will offset increasing CO2 levels.

Soon apparently denies that CO2 is a factor in climate. He is one of those contrarians whose actions have marred his credibility, after not reporting the funding received from Big Oil. Seems that skeptics would consider this obvious conflict of interest, since so many are sure that funding is a motivation for arriving at certain conclusions. Then there was the scandal about peer review abuse at the journal, Climate Research. Why are these things ignored when is it contrarian scientists who are involved, while other “crimes and misdemeanors” are used to dismiss all of mainstream science?

At any rate, an interesting talk.

Gary Pearse
Reply to  Kristi Silber
September 23, 2018 9:30 am

Kristi, oil company funding was a regular one directly to the Harvard-Smithsonian so the ntire organization uses this. You read the smear and assassination attempt but not what followed.

Kristi Silber
Reply to  Gary Pearse
September 24, 2018 1:35 am


Why did Exxon contact Soon directly to say that they wouldn’t be funding him anymore? Why did he submit funding proposals directly to Exxon and the Koch Foundation if it was funding for Harvard-Smithsonian as a whole? Why did he meet Exxon and Koch representatives in person to “chat about his research progress”? Why did he submit is papers to his funders before going public with them?

Regardless, the point is that he did not disclose this funding, even to journals with a policy stating that one must do so. It is very unprofessional, and probably unethical.

At least some of his research about the sun and climate is also sub-standard, which is why it led to a scandal about the peer review process that resulted in the resignation of 4 of the 10 editors of Climate Review. Some skeptics call this whole thing censorship and suppression of research, but it was not. It was the scientific community reacting to misleading but highly publicized research that was published as a result of an abused peer review process.

It’s not a smear and assassination attempt, it’s just the truth. I don’t know what you mean by “what followed.”

Crispin in Waterloo
Reply to  Kristi Silber
September 24, 2018 4:14 pm


“He is one of those contrarians whose actions have marred his credibility, after not reporting the funding received from Big Oil.”

On what grounds do you content that funding provided by ‘Big Oil’ invalidates the findings? The reason I ask is because organisations like Greenpeace, WWF and the Sierra Club receive funding from ‘Big Oil’. You were aware of that, right?

Is it only when the findings contradict what you think that ‘Big Oil’ is evil, or is there some other explanation for you so consistently sliming Dr Soon?

Dr Soon is brilliant, eloquent, cautious and unintimidated by slime. He has something to say. Let’s listen and learn.

James Bull
September 23, 2018 12:51 am

I really liked his closing comment
“I’m not married to any scientific theory I’m married to my wife”
If the data shows it’s not as he thinks it is he has to change his ideas what a humble approach to science Oh that others might do the same rather than try to make the data fit the theory like CAGW.
Thoroughly enjoyed his talk he is like a small child excited to tell you what wonders he has found.

James Bull

Reply to  James Bull
September 23, 2018 4:10 am

He is saying that he would find it more painful changing his wife than changing his scientific theory, that’s all.:)

September 23, 2018 5:43 am

The site is having problems. The comment system has experimented a regression. My posts take time to appear. The last one I wrote in this article has not appeared after 10 hours, and there is no longer feedback so it is impossible to know if it went to moderation. This makes conversations impossible and is frustrating. I will refrain from commenting until it gets fixed.

(I checked the spam list (not found) and the Trash list (found one that was posted 38 minutes ago, which was approved) the 10+ hour missing comment not found) MOD

Matthew Chaplin
September 23, 2018 6:14 am

The sky was yellow and the sun was blue.

When in doubt trust the good ol Grateful Dead

Gary Pearse
September 23, 2018 9:18 am

Wouldnt the sun go more to a reddish hue were it due to pariculates? Longer wavelenghts have better penetration.

Gary Pearse
September 23, 2018 9:21 am
Joe Crawford
September 23, 2018 9:54 am

I wonder if that blue sun was caused by an effect similar to that which causes the famous ‘blue flash’ seen at sunset in Key West and in other areas on the west coast of southern Florida? I’ve spent many an hour drinking sun-downers on the boat and in Tiki Bars waiting for just the right conditions to witness it.

Peta of Newark
September 23, 2018 11:19 am

What sheltered lives some people lead. And shonky educations.

Here’s a bombshell for them – Blue cattle:
And its got nice bouncy music (not exactly to my taste but hey ho)

It gets even worse. I used to tend/shepherd for my neighbour so-called Blue-Grey cattle
Comprising/being the offspring of a Galloway cow (black & hairy with short legs, friendly) cow and a White Shorthorn bull.
=Big. White. Passable legs. Horny
For gastronomes and folks who know what is good to eat (non rice eaters by example), the meat from Blue-Greys is considered to be the very best you’ll ever get. In Europe at least.
Comes about because the only grow really slowly.

In a nutshell – ‘blue’ is a shade of grey
And people familiar with firearms should know the colour – that of oiled/polished gun-metal
Not ‘blue’ blue at all.

Reply to  Peta of Newark
September 23, 2018 11:46 am

In some Slavic languages ‘blond’ translates same as ‘blue’.

Reply to  Peta of Newark
September 23, 2018 11:55 am

Here is an interesting essay on history and perception of blue colour

September 23, 2018 11:48 am

Kwaee, Vanuatu, Vei 6 , 1452. 🙂

September 23, 2018 2:12 pm

Just came to me that records in manuscript form of sightings of a blue sun would most likely be in Latin.
Latin colour names are rather indefinite .


What do the manuscripts say and what was the adjective? “Caeruleus” -perhaps which means blueish probably.

September 23, 2018 2:17 pm


Most records would be manuscripts written in Latin. it was the preferred international language.

The colour names were indefinite, based on natural dyes

Caeruleus was blueish

Weylan McAnally
Reply to  M E
September 23, 2018 6:22 pm

Latin for “sky” is caelum. Blue is caeruleum or “sky blue”.

Burl Henry
September 23, 2018 3:58 pm

Ulrich Lyons:

Re your 8 am post of 9-23-18:

You still miss the point of my post. You can have no PROOF that a solar minimum has ever occurred, since the same climatic effects that you cite would also occur in the presence of a large volcanic eruption (or eruptions).

You are probably familiar with the graph “Solar Irradiance, 1880-present” (or you can Google it).

It was compiled from proxy measurements (like those of the Little Ice Age), and shows, for example, a solar minima between 1983 and 1986, which coincides with the 1984-1985 La Nina (caused by the El Chicon eruptions of 3-29-82 (VEI4+) and 4-3-82 (VEI5).

It also shows a large solar maximum (again, for example) between 1985 and 1995, which coincides with the El Ninos of 1986-1988, 1991-1992, and 1994-1995, all of which were caused by reductions in atmospheric SO2 aerosol levels.

Thus, these changes attributed to changes in solar output, were instead caused by changes in atmospheric SO2 levels, which changed the magnitude of the proxy measurements.

These examples were selected because satellite TSI measurements are also available for the same time periods, and they show no corresponding changes in solar output.

In summary, there were multiple large volcanic eruptions during the Little Ice Age, and their SO2 aerosols HAD to have shown up in the climate record, no need for speculation that there were changes in solar output.

September 24, 2018 4:36 am

From late Pliocene times throughout our early Pleistocene Era from 2.6 mm years-before-present (YBP), Earth’s plate tectonic dispositions have driven periodic global Ice Ages averaging 102 kiloyears, interspersed with median 12,250-year interglacial epochs such as the Holocene from c. 14,400 YBP (BC 12,400).

On this basis, given the 1,500 year cometary/meteoritic Younger Dryas “cold shock” from 12,950 – 11,450 YBP, Earth’s Holocene Interglacial Epoch ended 12,250 + 3,500 -14,400 = AD 1350, coincident with Kamchatka’s super-volcano Kambalny Eruption precipitating a 500-year Little Ice Age (LIA) through 1850/1890.

As “amplitude compression” affects the 140-year LIA rebound to c. AD 2030 amidst a 70-year Grand Solar Minimum similar to that of 1645 – 1715, reducing cyclical fluctuations from 50 years (1939) to forty (1979), thirty (2009), and finally twenty (2029), odds are that any major astro-geophysical event will only aggravate a 668-year chill phase due to cover 80% of temperate-zone landmasses with glaciers over two miles thick for nigh 100,000 years.

Reply to  Pyrthroes
September 24, 2018 3:59 pm

“a 668-year chill phase due to cover 80% of temperate-zone landmasses with glaciers over two miles thick for nigh 100,000 years.”

Your statement is a bit ambiguous. Are you saying that after 668 years, there will be over two miles of ice? My (unreliable) mental math says that’s about 15 feet a year. Given New England has some 3 feet of water equivalent now per year, perhaps you meant that 668 years of March-like weather will trigger some 80,000 years of accumulating ice. Seems a bit unlikely without a lot of help.

Also, instead of “amplitude compression” did you mean “period compression? Your 50 to forty to thirty and finally twenty is shortening the period.

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