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Where's the "science story of the century"?

By Dennis T. Avery
web posted June 20, 2011

Is it the "Science Story of the Century" or the best kept American media secret of the year? Just-announced heavyweight new studies from the U.S. National Solar Observatory tell us to expect a long quiet period for the sun—and decades of cooler global temperatures.

The Register in London headlined, "Earth may be headed into a mini Ice Age within a decade . . . which could mean that the Earth—far from facing a global warming problem—is actually headed into a mini Ice Age."

Solar scientists are saying that as the sun goes quiet, the earth gets colder. Bloggers note that the Sporer (1460–1550), and the Maunder (1645–1715) sunspot minimums coincided with the two coldest spasms of the Little Ice Age. The Dalton Minimum (1790-1830) also produced colder temperatures.

The American media, however, would rather not encourage the public to expect cooling that would contradict the man-made warming scenario.After all, the 2012 election is coming soon, and President Obama is publicly committed to making energy prices "skyrocket" to "save the planet." A long cooling trend now would tell us that all the billions spent subsidizing wind turbines, solar cells, and rare-earth lithium batteries represent a colossal waste—as the CO2 levels continue to rise with Asia's economic growth.   

 Science correspondent Richard Kerr was very calm:  "Things may be about to get very dull on the sun. Three different measurements of solar activity, reported by scientists at a press conference today, suggest that the next 11-year solar cycle well be far quieter than the current one. . . . If the reported trends continue—a big if, other researchers note—a hibernating sun would have only a slight cooling effect on the climate." Translation: "Move on folks, no story here."

Seth Borenstein, the global warming guy for the Associated Press, seems to think a long solar minimum will be just fine. "The sun is heading into an unusual and extended hibernation, scientists predict. Around 2020, sunspots may disappear for years, maybe decades. But scientists say it is nothing to worry about. Solar storm activity has little to do with life-giving light and warmth from the sun. The effects from a calmer sun are mostly good. There'd be fewer disruptions of satellites and power systems. And it might mean a little less increase in global warming."

What's dull about the earth going into a temperature decline in the midst of a battle to the death over America's wealth, between the Sierra Club and the mass of warming-skeptical voters? In a nutshell, alarmists believe that our warming since the end of the Little Ice Age will accelerate, is caused by man's industrialization, and can only be controlled by slashing our energy use. Their beliefs are heavily based on computer models. Skeptics believe that the warming is moderate, mostly beneficial, is part of the earth's natural and long-established cycling, and is unstoppable in any case. (Oversimplified? You bet!)

Geologist Greg Easterbrook has been predicting this cooling since 1998. He says that a quiet sun means the solar wind contracts—and the earth gets hit by more cosmic rays. The extra cosmic rays create more clouds, which deflect solar heat back into space. The earth cools. The dearth of sunspots is now forecasting cooling, and so is the Pacific Ocean. NASA satellites say the Pacific's 60-year cycle shifted into its cool phase in 2008—implying cooler world thermometers until 2038.
One blog response to Kerr's article:  "Excellent. This will provide the modern data needed to bash down the 'it's the sun' whack-a-mole skeptic argument so that it can never pop back up. . . . A decrease in sunspot activity without an accompanying decrease, or at least significant slowdown in global temps should persuade all but those who are willfully blinded by the sun."

The latest science says he should be careful what he wishes for. ESR

Dennis T. Avery, a senior fellow for the Hudson Institute in Washington, D.C., is an environmental economist. He was formerly a senior analyst for the Department of State. He is co-author, with S. Fred Singer, of Unstoppable Global Warming Every 1500 Years. Readers may write to him at PO Box 202 Churchville, VA 2442; email to cgfi@hughes.net. Visit our website at www.cgfi.org



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