Tuesday, July 21, 2015

June Was Hottest On Record And The Ice Age That's Supposedly Coming by 2030 Really Isn't

I suppose I could have just copied and pasted previous posts this year to make up the first part of this one.

Hot times on Earth again. June was
hottest on record, says NOAA  
That's because once again in 2015, we just had another month that was the hottest on record.

NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information said June, 2015 was the world's hottest since accurate records started in around 1880.

The reason I could have copied and pasted this info, because I, and the rest of the media, basically previously reported NOAA said May, 2015 was the hottest on record. So was March, 2015. As was February, 2015.  

Two things are happening that put 2015 well on the way to be the hottest on record. As we know, the overall trend in global temperatures is upward, so the chances of getting a hot year keep increasing as global climate change continues to charge ahead.

Also, a strong El Nino is blossoming. That tends to pool very warm water into the central and eastern Pacific Ocean. More importantly, El Nino releases heat stored in the Pacific into the atmosphere, boosting worldwide temperatures.

Combine global warming and El Nino, and you get a record warm year. Last year - 2014 - was the warmest on record, but it's getting more and more likely that 2015 will beat that record.

On top of that, there seems like there could be a feedback loop going on. Global warming makes the Pacific Ocean hotter than it otherwise would be, which strengthens El Nino even more that it normally would, which heats the atmosphere more, which in turn contributes to more heating of the Pacific and so on and so on.

With this latest climate change news, maybe we want some news about cooling.

Well, then, the Internets and Facebooks and Twitters and all that over noise of the world has been abuzz this past week about this breaking news: Forget global warming. A new mini ice age is coming soon to a planet near you. Namely Earth. Namely within 10 or 20 years or so.

The only problem with this "news" is, it ain't going to happen.  Sorry, it's going to stay hot, at least on a global basis.

This mini-ice age stuff all started when a a British researcher, Valentina Zkarkova, said sunspot activity is going to fall off sharply by 2030.

The last time this happened was back in the 17th century, and the sunspot minimum then coincided with the so-called "Little Ice Age" when, as the Washington Post puts it, "Europe's winters turned brutally cold, crops failed and rivers froze over."

This news of a coming sunspot minimum, and the leap to conclude this will cause another mini ice age, took the parts of the British press controlled by Rupert Murdoch by storm.

Just FYI, Murdoch is one of those people who insist that global warming isn't such a big deal. Not sure how much that influences his papers, but keep it in mind anyway.

The mini-ice age story swept through the world and the United States faster than an Arctic cold front racing down from Canada.

For instance, the Murdoch-owned Daily Mail blared the news of this imminent turn to frigid global conditions as if the cold front were on our doorstep now.

So, we can forget about global warming and stock up on skis, parkas and such, right?  
During the "Little Ice Age"in the 16th and 17th century, they
used to hold fairs on the solid ice atop the Thames River
in London. Despite media reports to the contrary, those
days ain't coming back.  

Um, no.

First of all, Zkarkova DID do this research and predicts the solar minimum, but nowhere in her presentation to the Royal Astronomical Society did she mention any kind of mini ice age.

The last time there was a big slowdown in solar activity, called the Maunder minimum was during that chilly period in the 1600s and 1700s.

Zkarkova herself is perplexed by the ice age obsession her research inspired:

She's quoted in USA Today:

"In the press release, we didn't say anything about climate change.....My guess is when they heard about the Maunder minimum, they used Wikipedia or something to find out more about it."

It's possible the sunspot minimum might hold back rising temperatures on Earth a tiny bit. It's even possible the minimum could slow the pace of global warming a tiny, tiny bit.  Who knows, there might even be a chilly winter or two in Europe. But fossil fuel emissions far outweigh the "cooling" effects of any ebbs in solar activity. 

My problem with this media frenzy about the "mini ice age" is it implies that the sunspot minimum Zkarkova predicts automatically means that mini ice age is coming. Just read the Huffington Post article on it:    No context, especially in the lead paragraph:

"Might want to start stockpiling those down jackets: The sun could not off by 2030, triggering what scientists are describing as a mini-ice age."

Um, no.

You'll still probably need a down jacket in the winter. But there's no "ice age" coming. Sorry.

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