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solar maximum in 2013

Global Climate Change

The Maunder Minimum, a 70-year period with virtually no sunspots, coincided with the Little Ice Age, a period of unusual cold. But it has not been proven whether there is a causal connection between low sunspot activity and cold winters as that period also coincided with an upswing in volcanic emissions, which are known more definitely to contribute to global cooling.

Earth History Deep Time Major Glaciations

Snowball Earth

Billions of Years Deep time Influences on global climate Distribution of the Continents (continents at poles Ice Caps can form rare in Earth history) Earth Orbit Precession and Tilt Volcanic Events and Reflections off snowy ground Greenhouse Gases RADIANT OUTPUT OF THE SUN (more vapour and clouds on Earth reflects away more heat)

There are many acknowledged influences on Climate Forcing

CO2 levels in the atmosphere

(and North American Glaciations)


400 and 450k years of climate temperature history and CO2 The major European Glaciations


Humans evolve


7-8o C Temperature Fluctuations Over the past 600k years Phanerozoic Sea Level Variations and detailed temperature from the last 5 million years. Almost a 300m level of Phanerozoic fluctuations.

Today on the Earths Cycle

Volcanic Events Today Currently trending to cooler solar forcing


The cycles versus CO2 and Dust

From volcanic eruptions

The last Ice Age to the modern climate situation Greenland Ice Core next slide


Last Ice Age Aborigines walk to Tasmania

Sea level rises about 90m

Possible overall cooling trend


Minoan Warming

In warmer times Hannibal crosses Alps late in the season without losing too many men or all the elephants fails to sac Rome

Hannibal and his army crossed the Alps in 218 BCE in 16 days, which is still considered an amazing feat, taking into account that it was late in the year and in uncharted territory as far as Hannibal was concerned; that the army of course did not consist only of the foot soldiers and the cavalry (none of whom had ever been exposed to the kind of weather they experienced), but also of the supply trains with their pack animals, the usual camp followers; and last but not least the elephants, most of whom did not survive the ordeal. However, according to Livy, The elephants proved both a blessing and a curse: for though getting them along the narrow and precipitous tracks caused serious delay, they were none the less a protection to the troops, as the natives, never having seen such creatures before, were afraid to come near them. The image is of a Roman marble bust of Hannibal, found at Capua.

Extent of former Northern ice sheets

Modern climate change effects

The Radiant Output of the SUN

The Solar Sunspot cycle Peak in Cycle 22

Long term sunspot trends

Little Ice Age

The little Ice Age

The Frozen Thames 1677

Temperature and Solar Intensity

We start to understand the SUN

Space-borne measurements of the total solar irradiance (TSI) show ~0.1 percent variations with solar activity on 11-year and shorter timescales. These data have been corrected for calibration offsets between the various instruments used to measure TSI. SOURCE: Courtesy of Greg Kopp, University of Colorado.

Waning Sunspot Cycles Is there a form of Plate Tectonics on the SUN?

Infra red intensity increases with decreasing magnetic field strength

Evidence of Decreasing Solar Magnetic Field Strength?



Clouds are almost always more reflective than the ocean surface and the land except where there is snow. So when clouds are present they reflect more solar energy into space than do areas which have clear skies. Overall their effect is approximately to double the albedo of the planet from what it would be in the absence of clouds to a value of about 30%. Conversely, when clouds are present over the depth of the atmosphere, less thermal energy is radiated to space than when the skies are clear. It is the net difference between these two effects which establishes whether the presence of clouds cools or heats the planet. The overall impact of clouds globally is to reduce the amount of absorbed solar radiation by 48W/m2 and reduce the heat radiation to space by 31W/m2 . So clouds have a net cooling effect on the global climate.

The Sun appears to be cycling lower than in the past 165 years

Solar minimum 11 Year cycle Strong magnetic field 1994

BBC Solar Program

The Cairns Eclipse 2012 showed: Solar Maximum 2012 Cairns Weakest solar maximum in 30 years Weak magnetic field

BBC Solar Program

Average Magnetic Field of Sunspots Reducing over the past 10 years This suggests a Grand Minimum could occur by 2022

The little ice age

BBC Solar Program



Cloud feedback mechanisms that can operate are significant. For instance, if the storm track across the North Atlantic were to move south, as appears to have been the case during the Little Ice Age, this could have a significant cooling effect. Taking an extreme example, if the region of strongest cloud forcing at around 45deg N underwent a shift southwards to 35deg N throughout the year, it could induce a hemispherical average radiative cooling of roughly 3 W/m2. The significance of this figure is that it is comparable to the estimated 4 W/m2 radiative heating arising from a doubling of the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. So, although this example may be excessive, the message is clear - sustained natural changes in the distribution of cloud cover could have significant climatic impact.

These six extreme UV images of the sun, taken by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, track the rising level of solar activity as the sun ascends toward the peak of the latest 11-year sunspot cycle.

82% correlation between the sunspot cycle and the Global Temperature Anomaly. The correlation is obtained through a non linear time series summation of NASA monthly sunspot data to the NOAA monthly Global Temperature Anomaly. This correlation is made without, averaging, filtering, or discarding any temperature or sunspot data. Sunspot Cycle and the Global Temperature Change Anomaly R.J. Salvador May 3, 2013

The natural variations in temperature during the existence and spread of modern humans (about 120k years) has seen falls and rises up to 7 deg C and this has likely occurred many times since humans first evolved about 5.5 million years ago During the time of modern humans both temperatures and sea-levels have been higher than observed today The effect of a doubling of CO2 in the atmosphere is unlikely to have an impact greater than the natural temperature variability fluctuations but will cause an overall rise in average temperature Average Magnetic Field of Sunspots reducing over the past 10 years suggests a Grand Minimum could occur by 2022 If the sunspot number is zero in a month the correlation predicts that the Global Temperature Anomaly trend will decrease at 0.0118 degree centigrade per month. If there were no sunspots for a year the temperature would decline 0.141 degrees. If there were no Sunspots for 50 years we would be entering an ice age with a 7 degree centigrade decline.

While a new Grand Minimum might still be unlikely to happen, such an event has occurred in the past and we are cyclically overdue for a global cooling. The data indicates many competing influences on the natural temperature cycles.