back to article Sunspot decline could mean decades of cold UK winters

British scientists have produced a new study suggesting that the Sun is coming to the end of a "grand solar maximum" – a long period of intense activity in the Sun – meaning that we in Blighty could be set for a long period of much colder winters, similar to those seen during the "little ice age" of the 17th and 18th centuries. …

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WTF?

Global warming

I would worry about the extreme weather conditions that bring the cold of the North Pole down to Britain. Check the weather, what made some the last few winters so harsh?

For a better interpretation of the solar minimum, make an effort to read at http://www.realclimate.org/

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Childcatcher

Your mileage may vary

Please do "make an effort to read" Realclimate's interpretation of events, but also be aware that they are firmly pro-CAGW and sceptical comments may either be edited or simply vanish, no matter how politely worded. Don't take my word for it, though, have a look and comment away on their site if it takes your fancy. Let us know how you get on.

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WTF?

Err... Pardon???

Quote: "...many professional climate scientists do not believe that variations in the Sun have any significant effect on the Earth's climate..."

If this statement is accurately reported then it makes me laugh even more at these so-called scientists. Sounds like complete b******s to me, how can the sun not have any significant effect on our planet or am I taking things out of context?

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(Playing Devil's Advocate here)

I doubt that they would say that huge variations would have no impact. I think they probably mean that they don't believe that the amount of variation so far observed in the Sun's activity has any significant effect. Or put another way, that the sun's activity doesn't appear to vary enough to cause significant change.

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Anonymous Coward

well

They probably mean "typical variations", i.e. those of the kind observed or inferred from data; rather than variations that might appear in the plot from a SF disaster movie.

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interesting again

So I think we need to burn more fossil fuels to warm up our planet if it’s going to cool down drastically. This decade will be the decade of the global cooling scaremongering. I personally don’t take notice of any of the climate brigade, they credibility was lost somewhere between cow’s farts and sheep bad breath.

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Anonymous Coward

Exactly

its not like all the energy for warmth and climate comes from the sun is it? After all as every jo public who watches the news knows... Its C02 emissions that are responsible for warming not the sun.

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Anonymous Coward

Its C02 emissions that are responsible for warming not the sun.

While the energy input is from the sun, the amount trapped in the atmosphere by the CO2 "greenhouse" effects is what keeps us warm. Determine (a) likely variation in solar output with (b) likely variation in CO2 levels, and compare/contrast the respective heating effects.

Then concern yourself with all the confounding factors.

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The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits.

The effect of the sunspots stopping was estimated to be around 0.5 degrees C I believe which is why the scientists said it wasn't significant. Nowhere near a mini ice-age but enough to make a few more areas freeze than usual.

As shown in the article it is only around 1.5-2 degrees C difference between our recent mild winters and the previous 3 although they have been caused by air pressure drawing cold air from further north rather than solar phenomena.

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Silver badge

They not only make the claim,

their constant is a number that never occurred let alone matching either the mean, median or mode for solar output. I don't remember when I checked those numbers and equations, but that was enough for me.

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Silver badge

While that is their claim,

when you start looking at the real variations in climate change data, they are well matched to the sorts of changes you see in solar radiative output. The claim is that a 1 or 2 degree C change is catastrophic for the earth. By referencing C instead of K, they subtly shift the emphasis to water freezing instead of absolute 0. Plus or minus 1 degree at 32 C sounds a hell of a lot worse than plus or minus 2 degrees at 305.

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Chinese coal blamed for global warming er... cooling

Love that these two stories are posted so close together.

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wait

Didn't you run this article a couple of weeks ago???

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Anonymous Coward

close, but no prize...

it waqs a very similar article, but the other one was from reports from scientists on the other side of the pond.....

this has come from findings from British scientists....

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It's all a buch of tree-hugging hippy crap.

"many professional climate scientists do not believe that variations in the Sun have any significant effect on the Earth's climate"

Because they'd rather prolong their careers built on blaming mankind for climate change.

"there is intense hostility to the idea from the green movement as it could de-emphasise the importance of human-driven carbon emissions."

Oh yes, mustn't let scientific fact get in the way of a nice little spiteful war on motorists must we.

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Anonymous Coward

indeed

Not only are we scientists prolonging our tenure-based careers by blaming mankind for climate change, and encouraging a spiteful war on motorists, we're also exercising our vast intellect and bottomless reserves of evil towards other ends. You. Yes, You. Indeed, we're ...

.. making plans for Nigel.

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Not just motorists

It's not a nice little spiteful war on motorists; it's a nice little spiteful war on capitalism.

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Anonymous Coward

brrrrr

Does this mean that us chaps close by Aviemore will see an influx in hot chicks in ski suits over the coming years. Bonus :-)

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Silver badge
Coat

Letters, digits.

Personally, I'd rather see them in bikinis - but your mileage may vary.

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Anonymous Coward

or out of.

But fur's OK.

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Silver badge

As seen in previous discussion

Glad, really.

Can't be doing with hot weather.

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South coast snow

Looking forward to being able to snowboard on the south coast of England - The Alps are really expensive these days...

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Bronze badge
Coat

Now I know ...

... why I hate Maundays so much ;-)

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Joke

make you bloody mind up

So when I was younger everyone was warning about the coming ice age

Then we had global warming

Now its going to be cold again

Has anyone worked out how long their pendulum is yet?

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Angel

Foreheads

Sounds to me like scientists pendulum is hanging from their foreheads!!

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Coat

oh

Oh, ForeHEADs.

Sorry.

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It might be cold, but there'll be no skating

The skating on the Thames was partly because of the lower temperatures, but mostly because the Thames was much wider, much shallower and much slower-moving. The building of The Embankment and similar channeling of the Thames means that it is now far too fast moving to freeze without genuinely Arctic conditions.

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Anonymous Coward

RE: No skating

Given the sea around the UK froze during a real bad cold winter spike during one year in the 1960s I would say that freezing of the Thames is certainly a possibility should that level of cold hit us.

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There is more to the Thames

than just the bit through the centre of London you know... And the rest of it hasn't been freezing either.

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Big Brother

Pointless title, which must contain letters and/or digits.

Elven Safe Tea jobsworths who don't know anything about elves, tea, or the legislation surrounding them would never allow it anyway.

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IT Angle

Sea freezing

The sea froze off the coast of Kent in the harsh winter of 1981 - so it does still occasionally happen.

The sea contains a fair amount of salt, and although the Thames sometimes resembles the river Ankh, it still counts as 'fresh' water. So it would freeze well before the sea would, if it got cold enough.

Has anyone asked Ms Hilton for an opinion?

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Yup

... and the original London Bridge had a whole load of narrow arches which slowed the flow even more.

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Anonymous Coward

Erm

My GF's father has a house right next to the Thames in Oxfordshire (yes, it is a very nice spot), and I can assure you that parts of it most definitely were frozen this last winter, and recall watching three ducks sat on a chunk of ice floating down the river.

Sure, it wasn't right across the river, and doubt it was strong enough to support Torvill and Dean, but it certainly has frozen to some extent.

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Anonymous Coward

Support Torvil and Dean

I agree, it wouldn't have done that. Have you seen the size of her these days?

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I doubt it

A faster moving river contains more turbulence, and so will be a bit warmed, but not much.

Cataracts in Norway freeze solid. During a freeze if a tap in the garden is left running then a pillar of ice forms.

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but mostly because the Thames was much wider...

Excellent post. 14 thumbs up. Citations therefore not required.

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Anonymous Coward

Maybe

Recall that Niagara Falls boasts a fairly swift current in a quite temperate area far from the arctic (no "Great White North" digs, please) and freezes virtually every year.

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Anonymous Coward

Erm ...

Pushing the same volume of water through an obstructed path will speed the flow. Only widening would slow it.

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Boffin

Snow on a mole hill?

According to Frank Hill at the National Solar Observatory the effect will be limited. Guess we shouldn't be getting our hopes up.

"We are NOT predicting a mini-ice age. We are predicting the behavior of the solar cycle. In my opinion, it is a huge leap from that to an abrupt global cooling, since the connections between solar activity and climate are still very poorly understood. My understanding is that current calculations suggest only a 0.3 degree C decrease from a Maunder-like minimum, too small for an ice age."

http://www.nso.edu/press/SolarActivityDrop.html

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FAIL

re: Snow on a mole hill?

Clearly he's a greenie fundamentalist who wants us all to live in mudhuts and chew bark for nutritions.

It's only science when it supports my pre-conceived ideas !!!

(joking aside this applies to people like the rabid greens *and* the author. Equally)

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@John Hawkins

"My understanding is that current calculations suggest only a 0.3 degree C decrease from a Maunder-like minimum, too small for an ice age."

http://www.nso.edu/press/SolarActivityDrop.html"

Good lord, actual numbers. Thumbs up.

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Anonymous Coward

Good

Let's keep pumping co2 into the atmosphere and deal with it when the Sun spots start up again. That seems like a responsible way of dealing with the problem.

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Anonymous Coward

Title

If global temperatures drop then this will mean that they have too low a sensitivity for solar and too high a sensitivity for CO2. This in turn will mean that a doubling of CO2 will only have a small impact on temperature and is therefore nothing to worry about.

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Trollface

What does...

Clarkson think of this?

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Pint

Clarkson ......

... snow doubt he would be dreaming about sub-700kg, 300bhp, Hayabusa-powered snow bikes ....vrrrrrrrrrrroooommm! Or just being pissed on the piste with piston power.

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Idy
Devil

Title?

"many professional climate scientists do not believe that variations in the Sun have any significant effect on the Earth's climate"

Do you think this is because their careers depend on their 'theories'?

/me gets his gas guzzler out again!

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Anonymous Coward

No...

No, their careers don't depend upon their theories, in Climate science (and most other science at pHD/Post Doc level) you generally only get 3 year research periods. Also, they are researching climate most of them don't care if global warming is happening or not (I do know a fair few doc/postdoc climate scientists) they just care about researching how the climate works. The issue is that the current research is suggesting that climate change is happening, it's causes are primarily man made and the best thing to do is understand it and work out what to do about it.

I work in datastorage, it pisses me off when people from other areas in IT tell me about how storage works. I hate to think how annoying it is when non-qualified people or people from other subjects tell climate scientists about their job and how it's all a great big conspiracy, or they're all incompetent.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: No...

> No, their careers don't depend upon their theories,

Research careers depend upon getting published.

As the CRU leaked emails revealed, active measures and sanctions were taken both against publishers who published "contrary" papers and against the authors who wrote them. Publishers, if they want the business, learn their lessons.

Since it is more difficult to publish papers that have theories that go against the mainstream you are less likely to be successful. Darwin takes care of the rest.

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Boffin

I work in datastorage

So, is data storage contoversial? Do your ideas about how to manage data storage depend upon prehistoric statistical data of dubious relevance, and upon modern statistical data of dubious quality? Are the systems chaotic?

Sorry, I don't see the analogy.

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Anonymous Coward

Radio reception forecast

Never mind the weather patterns, on a geeks website we should be asking forecast questions about radio reception. Funnily enough the impact of a Maunder Minimum on modern tech has been argued over for ten years at www.1632.org and the 1632 Tech group at bar.baen.com

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