Ice Age, following the historically warm temperatures of the Medieval Warm Period, which lasted from about AD 950 to 1250, has been attributed to natural cycles in solar activity, particularly sunspots. A period of sharply lower sunspot activity known as the Wolf Minimum began in 1280 and persisted for 70 years until 1350. That was followed by a period of even lower sunspot activity that lasted 90 years from 1460 to 1550 known as the Sporer Minimum. During the period 1645 to 1715, the low point of the Little Ice Age, the number of sunspots declined to zero for the entire time. This is known as the Maunder Minimum, named after English astronomer Walter Maunder. That was followed by the Dalton Minimum from 1790 to 1830, another period of well below normal sunspot activity.
The increase in global temperatures since the late 19th century just reflects the end of the Little Ice Age. The global temperature trends since then have followed not rising CO2 trends but the ocean temperature cycles of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) and the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO). Every 20 to 30 years, the much colder water near the bottom of the oceans cycles up to the top, where it has a slight cooling effect on global temperatures until the sun warms that water. That warmed water then contributes to slightly warmer global temperatures, until the next churning cycle.
Those ocean temperature cycles, and the continued recovery from the Little Ice Age, are primarily why global temperatures rose from 1915 until 1945, when CO2 emissions were much lower than in recent years. The change to a cold ocean temperature cycle, primarily the PDO, is the main reason that global temperatures declined from 1945 until the late 1970s, despite the soaring CO2 emissions during that time from the postwar industrialization spreading across the globe.
At first the current stall out of global warming was due to the ocean cycles turning back to cold. But something much more ominous has developed over this period. Sunspots run in 11 year short term cycles, with longer cyclical trends of 90 and even 200 years. The number of sunspots declined substantially in the last 11 year cycle, after flattening out over the previous 20 years. But in the current cycle, sunspot activity has collapsed.
NASA’s Science News report for January 8, 2013 states,“Indeed, the sun could be on the threshold of a mini-Maunder event right now. Ongoing Solar Cycle 24 [the current short term 11 year cycle] is the weakest in more than 50 years. Moreover, there is (controversial) evidence of a long-term weakening trend in the magnetic field strength of sunspots. Matt Penn and William Livingston of the National Solar Observatory predict that by the time Solar Cycle 25 arrives, magnetic fields on the sun will be so weak that few if any sunspots will be formed. Independent lines of research involving helioseismology and surface polar fields tend to support their conclusion.”
That is even more significant because NASA’s climate science has been controlled for years by global warming hysteric James Hansen, who recently announced his retirement.
But this same concern is increasingly being echoed worldwide. The Voice of Russia reported on April 22, 2013,
“Global warming which has been the subject of so many discussions in recent years, may give way to global cooling. According to scientists from the Pulkovo Observatory in St.Petersburg, solar activity is waning, so the average yearly temperature will begin to decline as well. Scientists from Britain and the US chime in saying that forecasts for global cooling are far from groundless.”
That report quoted Yuri Nagovitsyn of the Pulkovo Observatory saying, “Evidently, solar activity is on the decrease. The 11-year cycle doesn’t bring about considerable climate change – only 1-2%. The impact of the 200-year cycle is greater – up to 50%. In this respect, we could be in for a cooling period that lasts 200-250 years.” In other words, another Little Ice Age.
What’s happening to the sun?
“Two prominent voices on climate change spoke up in favor of global cooling at the 4th International Conference on Climate Change in Chicago this month. Dr. Don Easterbrook, a US geologist, told the conference that whatever global warming took place in the past decade has ended and we can now expect rapid cooling ‘for the next 2-3 decades that will be far more damaging than global warming would have been.’
“Meanwhile Habibullo Abdussamatov, head of space research at St. Petersburg’s Pulkovo Astronomical Observatory in Russia, has predicted, based on the correlation of sunspot activity to global temperatures, that the next ice age could begin in 2014. We’re not holding our breath waiting for someone to publicize what seems so flaming obvious to us: that cometary interaction with the inner solar system is the catalyst for the observed changes in solar and climate activity.”
Yet the primary questions remain: are we entering a so-called mini-Ice Age or a full blown one that can last up to 100,000 years? Unfortunately, no one can provide a definitive answer.
Whether the Northern Hemisphere freezes for 100 years or 100,000 is actually immaterial to those alive on the planet during the 21st Century. What becomes a guilt-edged priority as the northern climate cools is survival: how to deal with the myriad catastrophes that may face humanity in the years ahead.
And according to some, like Robert Felix, a full-fledged Ice Age can develop in less than a 10-year time span.
Steps to take to protect yourself if you live in the Northern Hemisphere
As the northern regions of the world cool energy will sky rocket in demand, agriculture will begin to fail and potable water supplies will shrink. The snow will build from increased precipitation and the summers will shorten year after year.
Access to food and water
Above everything else, food and water are the priorities for survival. Without drinkable water a human will dies in days. Without enough food, a human will starve to death in little more than a month.
As an Ice Age begins, livestock on farms and ranches will be devastated. Only the hardiest cold weather creatures will survive such as rabbits, squirrels, certain types of birds, and species of cold water ocean fish. Lakes will freeze over and eventually become too frigid to support edible life.
In the early stages, humans braving the northern climes will have to adapt by changing their diet and living off stockpiles of food. Many types of plants will be unable to grow as the snow and ice accumulates. Even genetically modified crops will be unable to survive significantly shortened warming periods. Eventually summers will virtually disappear in southern Canada and the northern United States, the Scandinavian countries, much of northern Europe and most of Russia.
Establishing personal greenhouses and switching to a mostly vegetarian diet will enable many to deal with the coming Earth changes in the northern latitudes, But as food becomes scarcer and more costly, many will migrate to to south where states like Georgia are predicted to have weather similar to present day Wisconsin and Atlanta will become like Chicago.
Water too will become a problem in some areas as the encroaching, unrelenting cold will cause potable water supplies from lakes, rivers and streams to become inaccessible.
Boiling snow and desalinization of water are the most likely remedies to this. Technology can be adapted as needed.
Changes in housing and energy
As energy demand escalates to keep warm against the dropping temperatures, smaller and sturdier dwellings will be built. Most buildings today will not bear the weight of crushing snow storms, evolving glaciation, and creeping ice sheets.
Homes and apartments must be fitted with better insulation, re-designed access, smaller and fewer windows that tend to allow heat to escape, and more efficient heating, air circulation and environmentally controlled self-sustaining ecological bio-systems.
Emerging technology will assist Northerners to a point, but if a full-fledged Ice Age develops regions like Chicago and New York will have to be abandoned as nothing can live under a mile or more of ice—except bacteria and viruses.
As the Earth’s climate freezes the northern regions energy from coal, gas, petroleum and nuclear power plants will be hard-pressed to keep up with demand. Despite the push back against nuclear energy, more nuclear plants will have to be built to fight back the cold. The best power source imaginable would be clean nuclear fusion reactors. Currently, nuclear fusion is still a goal. Yet fusion power may well be the ultimate answer to dealing with an Ice Age.
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