Global Warming? Or Global Cooling?


On Monday I Tweeted: “More bad news for the wind turbine business. ‘Britain could be running out of wind’: http://is.gd/lT5sg3“.

The story in the Telegraph is worth reading (and it has a nice picture of wind turbines, too).  The Telegraph emphasises the risk to the wind industry, and to the government’s plans to source 30% of UK electricity from wind, in view of a suggestion by scientists that average wind-speeds may be in long-term decline.

But it’s worth reading the piece all the way down to the bottom, because while the paper stresses the wind turbine angle, the underlying story is more fundamental.  The scientists behind the report say that the Jet Stream, the high-level wind that brings us much of our weather, is moving north as a result of a reduction in sunspot activity.  We have a quieter sun.

But the killer is at the bottom of the piece, and I’ll quote it:

One such period of prolonged blocking of the jet stream is thought to have occurred between 1645 and 1715, when Britain experienced a mini ice age, yet also spells of hot, dry summer weather.  Prof Lockwood said solar activity was especially low during this period, adding that current levels of sun-spot activity were continuing to decline. “We reached a high point of solar activity in 1985,” he said.   “Since then, it has been declining. We are now halfway back to the levels seen during the Maunder Minimum. The probability is that that decline will continue for the next 40 years.”

The Maunder Minimum (1645/1715) was an extended period of exceptionally low sun-spot activity, and there are good theoretical reasons to believe that low sunspot activity leads to increased cloud cover and hence to lower global temperatures.  Certainly the Maunder Minimum coincided with the coolest part of the Little Ice Age, and according to Professor Lockwood, we are seeing a similar reduction today, comparable to the early onset period of the Maunder Minimum.

I’m not a betting man.  But if I were, I’d bet that mean global temperatures would be lower in 2030 than they are today.

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6 Responses to Global Warming? Or Global Cooling?

  1. Jonathan Ward says:

    Aside from the Telegraph’s ridiculous article title (and barely concealed glee), some of this seems to revolve around the so-called ‘cold winter secret’ as the Global Warming Policy Foundation likes to claim. There had been several papers in 2009 and early 2010 which had actually suggested that jet-stream blocking, or other high atmosphere effects, would not cool the world, but would lock in pressure belts in certain areas.

    Take a look at Lockwood’s 2010 article in the IoP’s Environmental Research Letters – http://iopscience.iop.org/1748-9326/5/2/024001.
    “We stress that this is a regional and seasonal effect relating to European winters and not a global effect” and going on to conclude “the results presented here indicate that, despite hemispheric warming, the UK and Europe could experience more cold winters than during recent decades”.

    Let’s separate the impacts upon prevailing winds, wind strength and intermittent, and wild unscientific speculation about global temperatures or even summer temperatures.

    Good policy, like good science, should not be populist knee-jerk ideology, but careful consideration. All parties are guilty of this.
    I find it astonishing the There had been several papers in 2009 and early 2010 which had actually suggested that jet-stream blocking, or other high atmosphere effects, would not cool the world, but would lock in pressure belts in certain areas.

    Take a look at Lockwood’s 2010 article in the IoP’s Environmental Research Letters – http://iopscience.iop.org/1748-9326/5/2/024001.
    “We stress that this is a regional and seasonal effect relating to European winters and not a global effect” and going on to conclude “the results presented here indicate that, despite hemispheric warming, the UK and Europe could experience more cold winters than during recent decades”our Parliament can have so many MPs and no-one (please correct me if I am wrong) with a scientific background, and many advisers with no scientific background. It’s not good enough.

    • Jonathan Ward says:

      Apologies, the text moved around….

      Aside from the Telegraph’s ridiculous article title (and barely concealed glee), some of this seems to revolve around the so-called ‘cold winter secret’ as the Global Warming Policy Foundation likes to claim. There had been several papers in 2009 and early 2010 which had actually suggested that jet-stream blocking, or other high atmosphere effects, would not cool the world, but would lock in pressure belts in certain areas.

      Take a look at Lockwood’s 2010 article in the IoP’s Environmental Research Letters – http://iopscience.iop.org/1748-9326/5/2/024001.
      “We stress that this is a regional and seasonal effect relating to European winters and not a global effect” and going on to conclude “the results presented here indicate that, despite hemispheric warming, the UK and Europe could experience more cold winters than during recent decades”.

      Let’s separate the impacts upon prevailing winds, wind strength and intermittent, and wild unscientific speculation about global temperatures or even summer temperatures.

      Good policy, like good science, should not be populist knee-jerk ideology, but careful consideration. All parties are guilty of this.
      I find it astonishing that our Parliament can have so many MPs and no-one (please correct me if I am wrong) with a scientific background, and many advisers with no scientific background. It’s not good enough.

  2. Climate Change Con....... says:

  3. Climate Change Con....... says:

  4. Climate Change Con....... says:

  5. Climate Change Con....... says:

    Professor Henrik Svensmark – physicist at the Danish National Space Center in Copenhagen who studies the effects of cosmic rays on cloud formation. His work presents hypotheses about solar activity as an indirect cause of global warming; his research has suggested a possible link through the interaction of the solar wind and cosmic rays.

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