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Old 04-25-2008, 08:16 AM   #1
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Default Sorry to ruin the fun, but an ice age cometh

[URL="http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,23583376-7583,00.html"]link a dink]
The Australian
Phil Chapman | April 23, 2008


Quote:
THE scariest photo I have seen on the internet is www.spaceweather.com, where you will find a real-time image of the sun from the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory, located in deep space at the equilibrium point between solar and terrestrial gravity.

What is scary about the picture is that there is only one tiny sunspot.

Disconcerting as it may be to true believers in global warming, the average temperature on Earth has remained steady or slowly declined during the past decade, despite the continued increase in the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide, and now the global temperature is falling precipitously.

All four agencies that track Earth's temperature (the Hadley Climate Research Unit in Britain, the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York, the Christy group at the University of Alabama, and Remote Sensing Systems Inc in California) report that it cooled by about 0.7C in 2007. This is the fastest temperature change in the instrumental record and it puts us back where we were in 1930. If the temperature does not soon recover, we will have to conclude that global warming is over.

There is also plenty of anecdotal evidence that 2007 was exceptionally cold. It snowed in Baghdad for the first time in centuries, the winter in China was simply terrible and the extent of Antarctic sea ice in the austral winter was the greatest on record since James Cook discovered the place in 1770.

It is generally not possible to draw conclusions about climatic trends from events in a single year, so I would normally dismiss this cold snap as transient, pending what happens in the next few years.

This is where SOHO comes in. The sunspot number follows a cycle of somewhat variable length, averaging 11 years. The most recent minimum was in March last year. The new cycle, No.24, was supposed to start soon after that, with a gradual build-up in sunspot numbers.

It didn't happen. The first sunspot appeared in January this year and lasted only two days. A tiny spot appeared last Monday but vanished within 24 hours. Another little spot appeared this Monday. Pray that there will be many more, and soon.

The reason this matters is that there is a close correlation between variations in the sunspot cycle and Earth's climate. The previous time a cycle was delayed like this was in the Dalton Minimum, an especially cold period that lasted several decades from 1790.

Northern winters became ferocious: in particular, the rout of Napoleon's Grand Army during the retreat from Moscow in 1812 was at least partly due to the lack of sunspots.

That the rapid temperature decline in 2007 coincided with the failure of cycle No.24 to begin on schedule is not proof of a causal connection but it is cause for concern.

It is time to put aside the global warming dogma, at least to begin contingency planning about what to do if we are moving into another little ice age, similar to the one that lasted from 1100 to 1850.

There is no doubt that the next little ice age would be much worse than the previous one and much more harmful than anything warming may do. There are many more people now and we have become dependent on a few temperate agricultural areas, especially in the US and Canada. Global warming would increase agricultural output, but global cooling will decrease it.

Millions will starve if we do nothing to prepare for it (such as planning changes in agriculture to compensate), and millions more will die from cold-related diseases.

There is also another possibility, remote but much more serious. The Greenland and Antarctic ice cores and other evidence show that for the past several million years, severe glaciation has almost always afflicted our planet.

The bleak truth is that, under normal conditions, most of North America and Europe are buried under about 1.5km of ice. This bitterly frigid climate is interrupted occasionally by brief warm interglacials, typically lasting less than 10,000 years.

The interglacial we have enjoyed throughout recorded human history, called the Holocene, began 11,000 years ago, so the ice is overdue. We also know that glaciation can occur quickly: the required decline in global temperature is about 12C and it can happen in 20 years.

The next descent into an ice age is inevitable but may not happen for another 1000 years. On the other hand, it must be noted that the cooling in 2007 was even faster than in typical glacial transitions. If it continued for 20 years, the temperature would be 14C cooler in 2027.

By then, most of the advanced nations would have ceased to exist, vanishing under the ice, and the rest of the world would be faced with a catastrophe beyond imagining.

Australia may escape total annihilation but would surely be overrun by millions of refugees. Once the glaciation starts, it will last 1000 centuries, an incomprehensible stretch of time.

If the ice age is coming, there is a small chance that we could prevent or at least delay the transition, if we are prepared to take action soon enough and on a large enough scale.

For example: We could gather all the bulldozers in the world and use them to dirty the snow in Canada and Siberia in the hope of reducing the reflectance so as to absorb more warmth from the sun.

We also may be able to release enormous floods of methane (a potent greenhouse gas) from the hydrates under the Arctic permafrost and on the continental shelves, perhaps using nuclear weapons to destabilise the deposits.

We cannot really know, but my guess is that the odds are at least 50-50 that we will see significant cooling rather than warming in coming decades.

The probability that we are witnessing the onset of a real ice age is much less, perhaps one in 500, but not totally negligible.

All those urging action to curb global warming need to take off the blinkers and give some thought to what we should do if we are facing global cooling instead.

It will be difficult for people to face the truth when their reputations, careers, government grants or hopes for social change depend on global warming, but the fate of civilisation may be at stake.

In the famous words of Oliver Cromwell, "I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be mistaken."
Phil Chapman is a geophysicist and astronautical engineer who lives in San Francisco. He was the first Australian to become a NASA astronaut.
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Old 04-25-2008, 08:29 AM   #2
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Default Re: Sorry to ruin the fun, but an ice age cometh

Not good news for the Browns fans. Just when it looks like they might actually get a shot at a Super Bowl, an Ice Age rolls in. Sucks to be you!
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Old 04-25-2008, 08:32 AM   #3
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Default Re: Sorry to ruin the fun, but an ice age cometh

hey it will hit the Steelers too, I guess unless all the hot air keeps it away from Pittsburgh, but then it would also keep it away from Cleveland, so whats the worry? Lets play ball!
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Old 04-25-2008, 08:37 AM   #4
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Default Re: Sorry to ruin the fun, but an ice age cometh

Another Austrailian writes in the Austrailian:

He is none other than Brendan O'Keefe, who ever he is.

Another link: the link I think


Quote:
SUNSPOT activity has not resumed after hitting an 11-year low in March last year, raising fears that - far from warming - the globe is about to return to an Ice Age.

Geophysicist Phil Chapman, the first Australian to become an astronaut with NASA, said pictures from the US Solar and Heliospheric Observatory showed there were currently no spots on the sun.

He said the world cooled quickly between January last year and January this year, by about 0.7C.

"This is the fastest temperature change in the instrumental record, and it puts us back to where we were in 1930," Dr Chapman writes in The Australian today.

"If the temperature does not soon recover, we will have to conclude that global warming isover."

The Bureau of Meteorology says temperatures in Australia have been warmer than the 1960-90 average since the late 1970s, barring a couple of cooler years, and are now 0.3C higher than the long-term average.

A sunspot is a region on the sun that is cooler than the rest and appears dark. Some scientists believe a strong solar magnetic field, when there is plenty of sunspot activity, protects the earth from cosmic rays, cutting cloud formation, but that when the field is weak - during low sunspot activity - the rays can penetrate into the lower atmosphere and cloud cover increases, cooling the surface.

But scientists from the US National Centre for Atmospheric Research published a report in 2006 that showed the sun had a negligible effect on climate change.

The researchers wrote in the journal Nature that the sun's brightness varied by only 0.07per cent over 11-year sunspot cycles, and that that was far too little to account for the rise in temperatures since the Industrial Revolution.

Dr Chapman proposes preventive, or delaying, moves to slow the cooling, such as bulldozing Siberian and Canadian snow to make it dirty and less reflective. "My guess is that the odds are now at least 50:50 that we will see significant cooling rather than warming in coming decades," he writes.
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Old 04-25-2008, 08:53 AM   #5
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Default Re: Sorry to ruin the fun, but an ice age cometh

5 Super Bowl wins > Zero wins zero appearances
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Old 04-25-2008, 08:57 AM   #6
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Default Re: Sorry to ruin the fun, but an ice age cometh

Not to be contradictory, but I found this article interesting....

Quote:
New Zealand's largest glacier will disappear: scientists

WELLINGTON (AFP) - New Zealand's largest glacier is shrinking fast due to climate change and will eventually disappear altogether, scientists said Thursday.

The 23-kilometre (14.3 mile) long glacier in the South Island's Southern Alps is likely to shrink at a rate of between 500 and 820 metres a year, said Martin Brook, a physical geography lecturer at Massey University.

"In the last 10 years the glacier has receded a hell of a lot," Brook said on the university website.

"It's just too warm for a glacier to be sustained at such a low altitude -- 730 metres above sea level -- so it melts rapidly and it is going to disappear altogether."

The rapid melting has seen a lake seven kilometres long and two kilometres wide form at the base of the glacier. Thirty-five years ago, the lake did not exist.

"The last major survey was in the 1990s and since then the glacier has retreated back 180 metres a year on average," Brook said.

The lake at the foot of the glacier is speeding up the melting as more ice is submerged under the surface of the water.

A study last year by the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research found the volume of ice in the Southern Alps had shrunk almost 11 percent in the past 30 years.

More than 90 percent of this loss was due to the melting of the 12 largest glaciers in the mountain range due to rising temperatures, the university report said.
New Zealand Glacier Receding

I think the only conclusion that can reasonably be drawn is that the scientific community has no idea what is going to happen with the Earth's climate in the long run and that their predictions are nothing more than guesswork.
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Old 04-25-2008, 09:41 AM   #7
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Default Re: Sorry to ruin the fun, but an ice age cometh

Quote:
Originally Posted by fansince'76 View Post
Not to be contradictory, but I found this article interesting....



New Zealand Glacier Receding

I think the only conclusion that can reasonably be drawn is that the scientific community has no idea what is going to happen with the Earth's climate in the long run and that their predictions are nothing more than guesswork.
BINGO!!!!
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Old 04-28-2008, 10:20 PM   #8
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Default Re: Sorry to ruin the fun, but an ice age cometh

Quote:
Originally Posted by fansince'76 View Post
Not to be contradictory, but I found this article interesting....



New Zealand Glacier Receding

I think the only conclusion that can reasonably be drawn is that the scientific community has no idea what is going to happen with the Earth's climate in the long run and that their predictions are nothing more than guesswork.
Almost right...

Nothing more than guesswork. . . and fleecing the govts. of BILLIONS in pseudo-scientific research.
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Old 04-28-2008, 10:24 PM   #9
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Default Re: Sorry to ruin the fun, but an ice age cometh

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Originally Posted by Preacher View Post
Almost right...

Nothing more than guesswork. . . and fleecing the govts. of BILLIONS in pseudo-scientific research.
Hey, research climatologists need Porsches too! Keep that grant money flowin'!
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Old 04-30-2008, 05:28 AM   #10
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Default Re: Sorry to ruin the fun, but an ice age cometh

I watched a show on the Science Channel the other night called "What You Need To Know About Global Warming." They talked about CO2 and carbon emissions and all that jazz, and some of it was interesting and, no doubt, at least partially true. I agree with fansince76 that scientists likely don't have a clue about what's going to happen to the earth's climate. I think that's in no small part due to the fact that science as we recognize it has only been observing things on earth in a "modern scientific" way for about 200 years. So, they really haven't had the time to study the earth and its patterns with climate, etc. Not in comparison to the history of the world, anyway. What happened in the past and what will happen in the future are little more than educated guesses and computer models.

Having said that, though, I do think that everybody needs to think about cutting energy usage. At the risk of sounding like a granola-eating, Birkenstock-wearing hippie, the energy usage in this country is out of control. But the reason I think we should cut our usage down is a bit more economic: if the price keeps going up, who's going to be able to afford it?
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