400 years of sunspot data.
Image credit:Numerian's diary, Agonist Blog; Debate Flares Over the Intensity and Duration of Solar Cycle 24.
Numerian, who blogs scientific issues well at The Agonist, has posted a summary of evidence that earth is beginning to experience a period of reduced solar energy, a solar minimum attributed to reduced solar flaring. Having used a tricky headline to direct your attention to the possibility that a natural solar cool-down cycle could mitigate global warming - even if only for a mere century - a strong caveat is in order: the data are equivocal. As Numerian points out, "No one, scientist or otherwise, really knows what is happening now with the sun. There are 23 data points to the solar cycle, not counting what occurred during the Maunder Minimum. These 23 data points are too few to draw statistical conclusions of any reliability. No one can say for sure what cycle 24 will look like until it is well underway, and no one can accurately predict another Minimum period other than to say that what has happened with the sun in the past should in all probability happen again."
Still, the possibility of being able to "walk from Manhattan to Staten Island over the ice" sets the imagination skating backwards. Were this to happen anytime soon:Solar energy technologies would become less cost-effective.
Bikini sales would fall, and sweaters come back in fashion.
Coal companies would be viewed as planetary saviors.
Purchase of oil company stock would be celebrated as the way to do good things while doing well.
The Chinese and Indian government ministers who refuse mandatory emissions cutbacks now would feel vindicated. Not to mention, a certain US political party.
CEI could famously recycle its climate-denial ads. And, Rush Limbaugh could have one big laugh on tree huggers.
But would they, really?
People who spent extra to insulate their homes with the idea of saving money and protecting the planet would be very cosy for it.
Peak oil will have continued to unfold, making efficiency of any sort a higher virtue.
This reminds me of the tale of the grasshopper and the ant. See Get Ready For Winter Grasshopper: Fuel Oil; Natural Gas; Food; And Electricity Prices Set To Increase
Who among those listed are like the ant, and who is like the grasshopper?
We asked you about this once before.
Previous posts about solar flaring.
Future Climate Changes Revealed By Staring at the Sun
Sunspots Linked to Hard Rains in Africa