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Global Warming or Approaching Ice Age? Scientists Say the Sun Will have the Last Word

LONDON – Met Office and the University of East Anglia Climatic Research Unit recently released data from 30,000 measuring stations that reveal there has been no global warming in the last 15 years. In fact, the findings suggest the earth might be headed for a mini ice age similar to one in the 17th century.

Photo by Andreas Tille (by permission through Wikimedia Commons)

Several leading climate scientists told the UK Mail that the sun is transitioning from the unusually high levels of energy seen throughout the 20th century toward a “grand minimum” in solar energy output. Such a minimum promises colder summers, extended bitter winter, and shortened crop seasons.

The sun is entering the peak of another 11-year solar cycle. Termed ‘Cycle 24’ by solar scientists, this cycle continues a trend of lessening sunspots since a high in the 20th century. Experts at the University of Arizona and NASA have been studying magnetic-field measurements from 120,000 miles beneath the sun’s surface and predict ‘Cycle 25’ will peak in 2022 even lower than the current cycle.

Europe experienced such a lowered cycle of solar output from 1645 to 1715. The coldest part of that period, known as the “Maunder minimum,” came to be known as the “Little Ice Age”. This period causes severe disruption of crop growing seasons and occasional famines.

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In spite of these findings, much of the scientific community continues to hold to a climate change model caused by man-made carbon dioxide. Responding to the Met findings, Peter Scott insists lessened output from the sun “would only cause a reduction in global temperatures of 0.08C.”  According to Scott, “Our findings suggest a reduction of solar activity to levels not seen in hundreds of years would be insufficient to offset the dominant influence of greenhouse gases.”

Dr Nicola Scafetta, of Duke University in North Carolina, has authored a number of papers that challenge Met Office climate models. “If temperatures continue to stay flat or start to cool again, the divergence between the models and recorded data will eventually become so great that the whole scientific community will question the current theories.”

Scafetta contends too much emphasis is placed on C02 levels while ignoring the effect of a cool cycle from the sun. He observes, “The real issue is whether the model itself is accurate.”

Professor Judith Curry of the Georgia Institute of Technology finds the Met Office’s lack of attention to lowered solar activity mystifying.

“The responsible thing to do would be to accept the fact that the models may have severe shortcomings when it comes to the influence of the sun,” said Professor Curry. Professor Curry believes factors other than CO2 play a more important role in the rise and fall of global temperatures.

A major influencer of global temperatures and weather, she says, are the 60-year water temperature cycles in the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. “They have insufficiently been appreciated in terms of global climate,” said Prof Curry. “When both oceans were cold in the past, such as from 1940 to 1970, the climate cooled. The Pacific cycle ‘flipped’ back from warm to cold mode in 2008 and the Atlantic is also thought likely to flip in the next few years.”

Since the end of last year, world temperatures have fallen by more than half a degree, as the cold ‘La Nina’ effect has re-emerged in the South Pacific. “We’re now well into the second decade of the pause,” said Benny Peiser, director of the Global Warming Policy Foundation. “If we don’t see convincing evidence of global warming by 2015, it will start to become clear whether the models are bunk. And if they are, the implications for some scientists could be very serious.”

The question remains: how long will politics remain at the forefront of scientific issues that are unresolved? Major decisions that will effect generations are being driven by what now is proving to be hasty, if not faulty, science. The implications aren’t just for the scientific community, but rather for society as a whole.

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