Or does it? How many news organizations jumped on this story and uncontrollably blurted out “ICE AGE ARMAGEDDON ON HORIZON - Global Warming Can Suck Humanity’s Collective Nutsack!” A lot, that’s how many. What data were they using? What assumptions did they bring to the table?

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Suck On This Global Warming! | Earth Potentially Headed Into Mini Ice-Age

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The latest information from scientist proves with ‘HARD FACTS’ that global warming is nothing but an ethereal concoction of canned political bullsh#t force-fed to us out of social fear and a desire for economic depression.

Or does it?  How many news organizations jumped on this story and uncontrollably blurted out “ICE AGE ARMAGEDDON ON HORIZON – Global Warming Can Suck Humanity’s Collective Nutsack!” A lot, that’s how many.  What data were they using?  What assumptions did they bring to the table?

Here is one of the Main Glaring Pieces of Data They Did NOT Bring to the Table:

- ‘“Global mean temperatures in the year 2100 would most likely be diminished by about 0.1°C,” wrote Rahmstorf and Fuelner [2010 paper: "On the effect of a new grand minimum of solar activity on the future climate on Earth”].  And even if their models and assumptions were so uncertain as to be off by a factor of three, that still puts the cooling at just 0.3 degrees Celsius, or about 0.5 degrees Fahrenheit.’ -wired.com

seth lightcap alaska spines

Future east face of Berkeley Hills, CA?  photo:  Seth lightcap, jonessnowboards.com

Here is what the Ice Age Armageddon articles were using:

- The June 14, 2011 announcement from the US National Solar Observatory combined with the US Airforce Research Laboratory that the sun may be heading into a period of major inactivity. The last period of major solar inactivity occurred between 1645-1715 and marked a time in the Earth’s history of below normal global temperatures which coincided with the coldest part of the “Little Ice Age” (defined as happening from the 16th – 19th century) that occurred in Europe & North America.  (Yes, we did already put up a post about this “mini ice age” written by theregister.co.uk )

maunder minimum

This period of decreased solar activity between 1645-1715 is called the Mauder Minimum.

With the information above they deduced:  since the last time this type of solar inactivity occurred, we had a “Little Ice Age”, thus, if solar inactivity occurs again,  of course we’ll head into another “Mini Ice Age,” right? Well, no.  Most likely not.

“It’s not very likely,” says David Hathaway a solar physicist at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. -foxnews.com

The answer — spoiler alert! — is almost certainly “no”.  -Dr. Philip Cary Plait, badastronomy.com

First of all, there are so many factors that affect our weather that you can never single out just one as the aforementioned thought process does. You’ve got to remember: volcanic eruptions, El Nino, La Nina,  UV rays, the Earth’s Magnetic field, the jet stream, ozone,  greenhouse gases, changes in the Earth’s elliptical orbit, the chemistry of the atmosphere, and more.

Secondly, in science, it’s always risky to make conclusions based on coincidence.  Here is the mantra:  correlation does not imply causation.

thames river frozen little ice ageThames river in London frozen over during ‘little ice age’ in Europe

Are We Headed Into a Mini Ice Age Due to Future Decreases Sun Spot Activity?

1.  We aren’t even 100% sure that we are going into a period of decreases solar activity, it’s purely theory at this point.

2.  The “Little Ice Age” (which generally was only felt in Europe, not globally as you’d expect from a direct effect from the sun) was not necessarily caused by decreased solar activity as it appears volcanic eruptions and jet stream modifications were significant factors.

“Fewer sunspots meant fewer faculae (definition at bottom of article) [during “little ice age”], so less heat from the Sun. Not enough to kickstart an ice age, but it had some minimal effect. Volcanic eruptions added their cooling. Finally, a weak jet stream dropped supercold air farther south into Europe — thus the winters in Europe were extraordinarily bitter, but summers weren’t all that affected, and other regions of the world were spared the worst outcomes from all this” – badastromomy.com

3.    Global mean temperatures are only expected to decrease by near 0.1ºC in the year 2100 (during the forecasted solar inactivity), not nearly enough to cause a “Mini Ice Age.”

“Global mean temperatures in the year 2100 would most likely be diminished by about 0.1°C,” – Rahmstorf and Fuelner’s 2010 paper: “On the effect of a new grand minimum of solar activity on the future climate on Earth”.  

4.  The effect of sunspots and their corresponding faculae (see definition at bottom of article) is relatively small and doesn’t appear to be enough energy to affectively change the temperature of the Earth on their own.

penguins eaten by killer whaleFuture Seattle sight seeing tour normality.  photo:  urlybits.com

After looking deeper into the data, it appears that the “Mini Ice Age” ain’t gonna happen. Which is a potential bummer as our snow oriented brains want to at least explore the possibilities of what a “Mini Ice Age” could mean for the ski/ride world.  Year round snow, enormous snowpacks, spines flowing down any steep zone to even some of the lowest elevations. Of course, the socio-economic realities of a “Mini Ice Age” would likely spiral us into a world with mass famine, population decline, economic catastrophe, and defunct ski resorts.  Backcountry barbarians would likely be tee-ing off, tho.

maunder minimum graph

image:  Rahmstorf and Fuelner’s 2010 paper: “On the effect of a new grand minimum of solar activity on the future climate on Earth

On top of all the information above is the fact that the world is warming.  That fact is undeniable whether you believe it’s man-made or not. At the rate the Earth is warming, this solar inactivity isn’t even gonna make a dent in future global mean temperatures.  I’m all for the ice age, I just don’t think it’s gotta a snowflakes’ chance in global warming.

polar bear iglooBackcountry snow camping will get pretty sketchy if this “mini ice age” were true.  photo: roanokeslant.com

What The Hell is a SUNSPOT?

- A sunspot is a dark spot on the sun caused by intense magnetic activity.  These spots are areas of reduced surface temperature on the sun, however they are surrounded by “faculae” which are areas around each sun spot that are actually hotter than the normal surface temperature of the sun.  The overall effect is a zone that has a net higher than normal temperature on the surface of the sun.  Faculae also emit more UV radiation than the normal solar surface and UV light is preferentially absorbed by the Earth’s atmosphere which leads to increased heating of the Earth’s atmosphere.  Thus, it can be said that more sunspots = more heating of Earth.

iron man burns everything in sight

More probably depiction of 2100 on Earth.

photo:  urbanghostmedia.com

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