The Coming Ice Age

Oh, it’s coming; it’s just a matter of when. Here’s a great piece in the Australian by Phil Chapman, a NASA geophysicist and astronautical engineer. Here are some snippets:

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.

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.

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.

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.

We first wrote about the long ice age cycle in 2006–click through to see the pretty graph. Remember this one too?

While we’re on the subject, take a look at this page on the US Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works called Climate Momentum Shifting: Prominent Scientists Reverse Belief in Man-Made Global Warming — Now Skeptics.

Meanwhile, The Register reports that only a third of us Americans buy into the the Global Warming alarmism, which is pretty much the same percentage as in 1990. Someone tell Al Gore that his movie was both not true and not undeniable.

Of course, I still hope we can get a few dozen new nuclear plants built while the environmentalists are divided over which is worse.

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