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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) Average elevation of the continents Earth Orbit ,Precession and Tilt Volcanic Events and Reflections off snowy ground Greenhouse Gases (CH4 and CO2) and Clouds RADIANT OUTPUT OF THE SUN (more vapour and clouds on Earth reflects away more heat)

Late Proterozoic extensive glaciation sites While glaciation appears to have extended to the tropics the paleogeography remains less certain

Huggett, 2006 Today

The major cycles involve the storage andflux of hydrogen, carbon (Figure ), nitrogen, oxygen, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sulphur, and calcium.

The carbon cycle. Stores are in

gigatonnes of carbon (GtC) and fl ows are in GtC per year. Carbon is the basis of all life on Earth. The global carbon cycle is the return movement of carbon through living things, air, rocks, soil, and water. Photosynthesizing plants convert atmospheric carbon, in the form of carbon dioxide, to carbohydrates. Producer respiration returns some plant carbon to the atmosphere in the form of carbon dioxide. Animals assimilate and metabolize some plant carbon. A portion of animal carbon returns to the atmosphere as carbon dioxide released through consumer respiration. The balance enters the decomposer food chain and either returns to the atmosphere through decomposer respiration or accumulates as organic sediment (e.g. peat and coal). Combustion during fires and volcanic eruptions releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Source: After Huggett (2007b)

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

Currently trending to cooler solar forcing

Volcanic Events Today


The cycles versus CO2 and Dust

From volcanic eruptions


The Last Interglacial/Glacial Cycle (Brian John, 1979, The Winters of the World)
The peak of the last interglacial occurred about 125,000 years ago. Evidence from around the world indicates that the last interglacial was considerably warmer than at any time during the 10,000 years or so of our current interglacial. For example, in the Canadian Arctic last-interglacial sites have been located and plants, mosses and beetles used to estimate the former climate by analogy with the present distribution of key species: larch grew on Banks Island 3ookm north of the present northern limit; dwarf birch was the dominant shrub in the Low Arctic tundra which covered Baffin Island, whereas today dwarf birch is only to be found 450 km south of these sites, and even there it occurs only in especially favourable localities; and at the same sites on Baffin Island the mosses and beetles show distinct similarities to assemblages which occur today about 1,000 km to the southwest near Hudson Bay. This warm last interglacial was marked by a world sea-level five to eight metres above that of the present. A five-to-eight-metre global rise in sea-level may not seem much, but it is equivalent to the mass of water stored in the Greenland or West Antarctic icesheets. The high sea-level indicates that one of these two icesheets probably disappeared about 125,000 years ago. The weight of evidence favours the view that it was the West Antarctic Icesheet which collapsed and disappeared. After the previous interglacial, the oxygen isotope curve indicates that in just 5,ooo years, enough water was transferred from the oceans onto the land for world sea-level to drop by sixty metres. This averages out to a 1.2 cm fall of sea-level per year, or twelve metres per thousand years.

Huggett, 2006 The Natural History of the World

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 50 years span

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?

World Gravity (from Greene 2005/ Scripps/Exxon Mobil)

Earth Plate tectonics only available model

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 temperature falls and rises up to about 7 deg C and similar changes have 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 and much lower 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.