MET Office: Little ice age ahead – re-arrange deck chairs now!

Posted: June 25, 2015 by tallbloke in MET office, Solar physics, solar system dynamics
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Via Benny Peiser at the GWPF
Image courtesy of CartoonbyJosh.com

Image courtesy of CartoonsbyJosh.com

Britain could be on the verge of a mini Ice Age as the Sun enters a cooler phase, the Met Office warned yesterday. The last big chill was felt hundreds of years ago when Frost Fairs were held on the frozen River Thames. However the Met Office said the new freeze will not be enough to cancel out the effects of global warming. Met Office’s Hadley Centre, which looks at long term forecasts, said there was a 15-20 per cent chance that we could match the temperatures last seen in 1645-1715 – sometimes called the Little Ice Age – when the River Thames froze over. –Colin Fernandez, Daily Mail, 24 June 2015

1) Met Office Issues Warning That Temperatures Could Plummet As Sun Enters Cooler Phase – Daily Mail, 24 June 2015

2) Climate Modellers Model “Regional Climate Impacts Of A Possible Future Grand Solar Minimum”
Nature Communications, 23 June 2015

3) Study Predicts Decades Of Global Cooling Ahead – The Daily Caller, 28 May 2015

4) The Sun Is Now Virtually Blank During The Weakest Solar Cycle In More Than A Century – Vencore, Inc. 30 April 2015

5) The Sun Has More Impact On The Climate In Cool Periods – Aarhus University, 27 February 2015

The sun is almost completely blank. The main driver of all weather and climate, the entity which occupies 99.86% of all of the mass in our solar system, the great ball of fire in the sky has gone quiet again during what is likely to be the weakest sunspot cycle in more than a century. Not since cycle 14 peaked in February 1906 has there been a solar cycle with fewer sunspots. –Paul Dorian, Vencore, Inc. 30 April 2015

Scientists at the University of Southampton predict that a cooling of the Atlantic Ocean could cool global temperatures a half a degree Celsius and may offer a “brief respite from the persistent rise of global temperatures,” according to their study. “The observations of the Atlantic Multi-decadal Oscillation  [AMO] over the past ten years show that it is declining,” Dr. David Smeed, a co-author, said in a statement. Atlantic cooling can impact the climate for decades, according to researchers, on timescales from 20 to 30 years. This means cooler global temperatures and changing weather patterns could unfold over the next two to three decades, possibly extending the so-called “pause” in global warming. –Michael Bastasch, The Daily Caller, 28 May 2015

1) Met Office Issues Warning That Temperatures Could Plummet As Sun Enters Cooler Phase
Daily Mail, 24 June 2015

Colin Fernandez

Britain could be on the verge of a mini Ice Age as the Sun enters a cooler phase, theMet Office warned yesterday. The last big chill was felt hundreds of years ago when Frost Fairs were held on the frozen River Thames.

However the Met Office said the new freeze will not be enough to cancel out the effects of global warming.

Met Office’s Hadley Centre, which looks at long term forecasts, said there was a 15-20 per cent chance that we could match the temperatures last seen in 1645-1715 – sometimes called the Little Ice Age – when the River Thames froze over.

This could take place at some point within the next 40 years.

The prediction is based on counting sun spots – dark patches on the sun – that are hot spots and signs of increased solar activity.

The decrease in the sun’s heat is known as a ‘Maunder minimum’ after Walter Maunder – the astronomer who first noted sunspots were at their lowest during the cold period between 1645 and 1715.

Studies by the Met Office and others have found a decrease in sun spots – suggesting the sun may be going through a cooler phase.

The cooling effect is expected to be strongest in northern Europe, the UK and eastern parts of North America – particularly during winter. For example, for northern Europe the cooling is in the range -0.4 to -0.8 °C.

This is because computer simulations predict a big fall in solar activity would disrupt winds and suck cold air southwards from the Arctic.

Full story

2) Regional Climate Impacts Of A Possible Future Grand Solar Minimum
Nature Communications, 23 June 2015

Sarah Ineson, Amanda C. Maycock, Lesley J. Gray, Adam A. Scaife, Nick J. Dunstone, Jerald W. Harder, Jeff R. Knight, Mike Lockwood, James C. Manners & Richard A. Wood

Any reduction in global mean near-surface temperature due to a future decline in solar activity is likely to be a small fraction of projected anthropogenic warming. However, variability in ultraviolet solar irradiance is linked to modulation of the Arctic and North Atlantic Oscillations, suggesting the potential for larger regional surface climate effects. Here, we explore possible impacts through two experiments designed to bracket uncertainty in ultraviolet irradiance in a scenario in which future solar activity decreases to Maunder Minimum-like conditions by 2050. Both experiments show regional structure in the wintertime response, resembling the North Atlantic Oscillation, with enhanced relative cooling over northern Eurasia and the eastern United States. For a high-end decline in solar ultraviolet irradiance, the impact on winter northern European surface temperatures over the late twenty-first century could be a significant fraction of the difference in climate change between plausible AR5 scenarios of greenhouse gas concentrations.

Full paper (subscription required)

3) Study Predicts Decades Of Global Cooling Ahead
The Daily Caller, 28 May 2015

Michael Bastasch

new study out of the United Kingdom predicts the Earth is about to go through a major climatic shift that could mean decades of cooler temperatures and fewer hurricanes hitting the United States.

Scientists at the University of Southampton predict that a cooling of the Atlantic Ocean could cool global temperatures a half a degree Celsius and may offer a “brief respite from the persistent rise of global temperatures,” according to their study.

This cooling phase in the Atlantic will influence “temperature, rainfall, drought and even the frequency of hurricanes in many regions of the world,” says Dr. Gerard McCarthy. The study’s authors based their results on ocean sensor arrays and 100 years of sea-level data.

“Sea-surface temperatures in the Atlantic vary between warm and cold over time-scales of many decades,” said McCarthy, the study’s lead author. “This decadal variability, called the Atlantic Multi-decadal Oscillation (AMO), is a notable feature of the Atlantic Ocean and the climate of the regions it influences.”

“The observations of [AMO] from [sensor arrays], over the past ten years, show that it is declining,” Dr. David Smeed, a co-author, said in a statement. “As a result, we expect the AMO is moving to a negative phase, which will result in cooler surface waters. This is consistent with observations of temperature in the North Atlantic.”

Researchers argue that a negative AMO will bring “drier summers in Britain and Ireland, accelerated sea-level rise along the northeast coast of the United States, and drought in the developing countries of the Sahel region,” according to the study’s press release. Interestingly enough, the study also predicts fewer hurricanes hitting the U.S.– a result of a cooler Atlantic.

Atlantic cooling can impact the climate for decades, according to researchers, on timescales from 20 to 30 years. This means cooler global temperatures and changing weather patterns could unfold over the next two to three decades, possibly extending the so-called “pause” in global warming.

For years, scientists have been debating why satellite temperature data shows there have been about 18 years with no warming trend. Surface temperature data shows a similar pause in warming for the last 10 to 15 years.

So far, the dominant explanation seems to be that oceans have absorbed a lot of the heat that would have otherwise gone into the atmosphere. And most scientists argue the world will continue warming because of increasing greenhouse gas emissions.

Some scientists, however, have been arguing the world is indeed headed for a cooling phase based on solar cycles. Scientists from Germany to India have argued that weakening solar activity could bring about another “Little Ice Age.”

“The stagnation of temperature since 1998 was caused by decreasing solar activity since 1998,” wrote Jürgen Lange Heine, a physicist with the German-based European Institute for Climate and Energy (EIKE).

“From 1900 to 1998, solar radiation increased by 1.3 W / m², but since 1998 it has diminished, and could reach values ​​similar to those of the early 20th century. A drop in global temperature over the next few years is predicted,” Heine wrote.

The Virginia-based Vencore Weather recently reported that “[n]ot since cycle 14 peaked in February 1906 has there been a solar cycle with fewer sunspots.”

We are currently more than six years into Solar Cycle 24 and the current nearly blank sun may signal the end of the solar maximum phase,” Vencore Weather experts noted. “Going back to 1755, there have been only a few solar cycles in the previous 23 that have had a lower number of sunspots during its maximum phase.”

Full story

4) The Sun Is Now Virtually Blank During The Weakest Solar Cycle In More Than A Century
Vencore, Inc. 30 April 2015

Paul Dorian

The sun is almost completely blank. The main driver of all weather and climate, the entity which occupies 99.86% of all of the mass in our solar system, the great ball of fire in the sky has gone quiet again during what is likely to be the weakest sunspot cycle in more than a century. Not since cycle 14 peaked in February 1906 has there been a solar cycle with fewer sunspots.

solar_image
Image of the sun on 30 April with virtually blank conditions; courtesy NASA/SDO

The sun’s X-ray output has flatlined in recent days and NOAA forecasters estimate a scant 1% chance of strong flares in the next 24 hours. Not since cycle 14 peaked in February 1906 has there been a solar cycle with fewer sunspots. We are currently more than six years into Solar Cycle 24 and the current nearly blank sun may signal the end of the solar maximum phase. Solar cycle 24 began after an unusually deep solar minimum that lasted from 2007 to 2009 which included more spotless days on the sun compared to any minimum in almost a century.

Solar maximum 

The smoothed sunspot number (plot below) for solar cycle 24 reached a peak of 81.9 in April 2014 and it is looking increasingly likely that this spike will be considered to be the solar maximum for this cycle. This second peak in the cycle surpassed the level of an earlier peak that reached 66.9 in February 2012. Many solar cycles are double peaked; however, this is the first one in which the second peak in sunspot number was larger than the first peak. Going back to 1755, there have been only a few solar cycles in the previous 23 that have had a lower number of sunspots during its maximum phase.

sunspot numbers
[Sunspot numbers for the prior solar cycle (#23) and the current solar cycle (#24) with its two peaks highlighted; courtesy Hathaway, NASA/ARC]

Consequences of a weak solar cycle

First, the weak solar cycle has resulted in rather benign “space weather” in recent times with generally weaker-than-normal geomagnetic storms. By all Earth-based measures of geomagnetic and geoeffective solar activity, this cycle has been extremely quiet. However, while a weak solar cycle does suggest strong solar storms will occur less often than during stronger and more active cycles, it does not rule them out entirely. In fact, the famous “superstorm” Carrington Event of 1859 occurred during a weak solar cycle (#10) [http://thesiweather.com/2014/09/02/300-pm-the-carrington-event-of-1859-a-solar-superstorm-that-took-places-155-years-ago/].

In addition, there is some evidence that most large events such as strong solar flares and significant geomagnetic storms tend to occur in the declining phase of the solar cycle. In other words, there is still a chance for significant solar activity in the months and years ahead.

Second, it is pretty well understood that solar activity has a direct impact on temperatures at very high altitudes in a part of the Earth’s atmosphere called the thermosphere. This is the biggest layer of the Earth’s atmosphere which lies directly above the mesosphere and below the exosphere. Thermospheric temperatures increase with altitude due to absorption of highly energetic solar radiation and are highly dependent on solar activity.

Finally, if history is a guide, it is safe to say that weak solar activity for a prolonged period of time can have a cooling impact on global temperatures in the troposphere which is the bottom-most layer of Earth’s atmosphere – and where we all live. There have been two notable historical periods with decades-long episodes of low solar activity. The first period is known as the “Maunder Minimum”, named after the solar astronomer Edward Maunder, and it lasted from around 1645 to 1715. The second one is referred to as the “Dalton Minimum”, named for the English meteorologist John Dalton, and it lasted from about 1790 to 1830 (below). Both of these historical periods coincided with colder-than-normal global temperatures in an era now referred to by many scientists as the “Little Ice Age”.

In addition, research studies in just the past couple of decades have found a complicated relationship between solar activity, cosmic rays, and clouds on Earth. This research suggests that in times of low solar activity where solar winds are typically weak; more cosmic rays reach the Earth’s atmosphere which, in turn, has been found to lead to an increase in certain types of clouds that can act to cool the Earth.

Full post

5) The Sun Has More Impact On The Climate In Cool Periods
Aarhus University, 27 February 2015

The activity of the Sun is an important factor in the complex interaction that controls our climate. New research now shows that the impact of the Sun is not constant over time, but has greater significance when the Earth is cooler.

There has been much discussion as to whether variations in the strength of the Sun have played a role in triggering climate change in the past, but more and more research results clearly indicate that solar activity – i.e. the amount of radiation coming from the Sun – has an impact on how the climate varies over time.

In a new study published in the scientific journal Geology, researchers from institutions including Aarhus University in Denmark show that, during the last 4,000 years, there appears to have been a close correlation between solar activity and the sea surface temperature in summer in the North Atlantic. This correlation is not seen in the preceding period.

Since the end of the Last Ice Age about 12,000 years ago, the Earth has generally experienced a warm climate. However, the climate has not been stable during this period, when temperatures have varied for long periods. We have generally had a slightly cooler climate during the last 4,000 years, and the ocean currents in the North Atlantic have been weaker.

“We know that the Sun is very important for our climate, but the impact is not clear. Climate change appears to be either strengthened or weakened by solar activity. The extent of the Sun’s influence over time is thus not constant, but we can now conclude that the climate system is more receptive to the impact of the Sun during cold periods – at least in the North Atlantic region,” says Professor Marit-Solveig Seidenkrantz, Aarhus University, who is one of the Danish researchers in the international team behind the study.

Full story

Comments
  1. 15 – 20% chance…

  2. oldbrew says:

    ‘Interestingly enough, the study also predicts fewer hurricanes hitting the U.S.– a result of a cooler Atlantic’

    We’ve already got that, but some prefer to blame it on ‘dumb luck’.
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/capital-weather-gang/wp/2015/04/30/whats-driving-our-major-hurricane-landfall-drought-study-says-its-just-dumb-luck/

  3. J Martin says:

    I wonder how much cooling it will take before the Met office quietly drop the ” However the Met Office said the new freeze will not be enough to cancel out the effects of global warming.” cool aid knee jerk political correctness line.

  4. oldbrew says:

    MetO’s warming seems to be drooping [sic] already in England.

  5. David Blake says:

    “will be limited to the northern hemisphere..”

    Why? It never has been in the past…

    http://www.woodfortrees.org/graph/esrl-amo/from:1900/mean:30/plot/hadsst2nh/from:1900/mean:30/plot/hadsst2sh/from:1900/mean:30

  6. This paper is confirming what Lockwood has suggested which is this present decline in solar activity is very rapid. They are also correct in suggesting solar variability does indeed impact the climate,
    which is true and can be shown through the historical climatic record (not manipulated) when contrasted to solar variability especially when solar variability is shown in the context of Milankovitch Cycles and the phase of the PDO/AMO,ENSO and volcanic activity.

    In addition the strength of the earth’s magnetic field has to be taking into account, for when this field is weak it will enhance given solar variability, while when strong it will moderate given solar variability. Presently the earth’s magnetic field like solar is in a rapid decline, however it still has a way to go on the down side before we can say the field is so weak that a magnetic excursion is likely to take place.

    Weak solar and geomagnetic fields equate to a cooler climate.

    However one last note on this article is they still cling to AGW theory which they think (wrongly) is going to somehow prevent global cooling. They are wrong on that score but the fact that they acknowledge solar variability and it’s impact on the climatic system is a step in the right direction.

    The recent solar lull 2008-2010 shows that solar activity post 2005 is on a rapid decline, solar variability is indeed present (all one has to do is contrast the recent solar lull to solar activity 1950-2000 to confirm this), and that my low average value solar parameters (which I feel will cause a significant climatic impact) are attainable as is shown through the solar data in that time period.

    The reason why the recent solar lull did not have a big impact on the climate in 2008-2010 is twofold. First the duration of the lull was not long enough and secondly not enough years of sub solar activity proceeded it.

    If this recent solar lull had had the duration of the Maunder Minimum or Dalton Minimum ,a decline in global temperatures would have been the result but this decline in global temperatures as a result of solar activity on the decline has just been delayed not postponed. I expect soon after the maximum of solar cycle 24 ends which is right around the corner a global temperature decline will take place along with a more meridional atmospheric circulation pattern as will be evidenced by a negative AO,NAO and an expanded but weaker polar vortex in the N.H.

    Sea surface temperatures will also start to show a more pronounced cooling trend in response to weaker solar irradiance.

    A faster earth rotation (-LOD) is correlated with low solar activity which in turn is correlated to the ACI (atmospheric circulation index) becoming more meridional which in turn is correlated to lower global temperatures.
    An increase in geological activity in association with prolonged minimum solar periods as shown by data (space and science center headed by Dr. Casey ) is also a big secondary effect associated with prolonged minimum solar periods of time which contributes to global cooling when solar activity is in this minimum phase.

  7. Bob Greene says:

    Reblogged this on JunkScience.com and commented:
    I thought solar variability has little or no influence on temperatures.

  8. oldbrew says:

    Bob G: ‘I thought solar variability has little or no influence on temperatures’

    Assuming you mean something like ‘average global temperatures’:
    Some factions in the climate debate would like people to think solar variation is irrelevant, because they think it makes it easier to ‘sell’ their imagined man-made global warming to the public.

    However they don’t want to discuss UV, magnetic flux, the solar wind, cosmic rays or anything like that which could be – and often are – varying significantly.

  9. craigm350 says:

    Reblogged this on the WeatherAction News Blog and commented:
    Get Out of Jail Card?

  10. Fanakapan says:

    It’ll be tough selling this one to the public, whilst still retaining the collection of money to pay out as subsidy ? People in general just couldn’t be stupid enough to be paying out for warming whilst living through cooling, could they ?

  11. Global cooling? global warming?
    It’s got me bemused
    By their pseudo-science fiction
    I’m completely confused.
    But perhaps my confusion
    Was their intention,
    So that I would not question
    Each new climate invention.
    http://rhymeafterrhyme.net/theres-something-afoot/

  12. ren says:

    When the spot disappears, again, the sun no stains. Low activity is slowing circulation. This means long periods of cold or heat in different regions of the northern hemisphere. The wind will be weaker, which means less water vapor in the atmosphere. It must be remembered that the AMO sharply declining.

  13. ren says:

    Visible asynchronous activity hemispheres.

    http://www.sidc.be/silso/

  14. oldbrew says:

    Dr Roy Spencer says 2015 will be another warm year due to El Niño.

    ‘2015 Will Be Record Warm in Surface Temperatures…But Still Below Model Forecasts’
    http://www.drroyspencer.com/2015/06/2015-will-be-record-warm-in-surface-temperatures-but-still-below-model-forecasts/

    If the solar decline goes on where will future El Niños come from in the next decade or two?

  15. Stephen Richards says:

    Its the sudden change in the NAtlantic over the past year that is key. The AMO changes normally occur relatively slowly vis a vis PDO but this time it has happened almost ” instantly”