Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Growing Risk Of A Maunder Minimum 'Little Ice Age'?

From today's Global Warming Policy Foundation newsletter:

Growing Risk Of A Maunder Minimum 'Little Ice Age'?

Solar Activity Drops To 100-Year Low, Puzzling Scientists 

A leading British climate scientist claims the current rate of decline in solar activity is such that there is now a real risk of a ‘Little Ice Age’. The severe cold went hand in hand with an exceptionally inactive sun, and was called the Maunder solar minimum. Now a leading scientist from Reading University has told me that the current rate of decline in solar activity is such that there’s a real risk of seeing a return of such conditions. Following analysis of the data, Professor Lockwood believes solar activity is now falling more rapidly than at any time in the last 10,000 years. Based on his findings he’s raised the risk of a new Maunder minimum from less than 10% just a few years ago to 25-30%. --Paul Hudson, BBC Weather, 28 October 2013
The sun is ‘quietening’ really rapidly. We think it is actually quietening more rapidly than at any time in the last 10,000 years. So this is a major change. We think lower solar activity does seem to tie up with more cold winters in central Europe and the UK. –- Professor Michael Lockwood, BBC TV 28 October 2013

Britain faces a new mini-Ice Age with decades of severe Siberian winters and washout summers, an expert has warned. Professor Mike Lockwood, of Reading University, said erratic and extreme weather patterns could be the norm in 20 years. He said the risk of harsh winters and wet miserable summers has gone up to 25 to 30 per cent compared with 10 per cent a few years ago. Weakening sunspot activity is to blame for a “major change” in the UK’s weather he told BBC TV. Climatologist Dr Dennis Wheeler from Sunderland University, said: “When we have had periods where the sun has been quieter than usual we tend to get these much harsher winters.” --Nathan Rao, Daily Express, 28 October 2013
The previous lengthy period of low solar activity was the so-called Maunder Minimum that occurred between about 1640 and 1710. This was coincident with a cold climatic spell called the Little Ice Age. This was once thought to be confined to North West Europe, then the Northern Hemisphere. However recent research is showing this cold spell to be a global phenomenon. It would be fair to say that no one knows why the Little Ice Age took place... It may be no coincidence that estimates of the turn-around in solar activity from grand maximum to decline might have occurred between 1985 – 95, and that global annual average surface temperatures have been flat since 1997. --David Whitehouse, The Global Warming Policy Foundation, 30 October 2013
Predictions that 2013 would see an upsurge in solar activity and geomagnetic storms disrupting power grids and communications systems have proved to be a false alarm. Instead, the current peak in the solar cycle is the weakest for a century. Subdued solar activity has prompted controversial comparisons with the Maunder Minimum, which occurred between 1645 and 1715, when a prolonged absence of sunspots and other indicators of solar activity coincided with the coldest period in the last millennium. The comparisons have sparked a furious exchange of views between observers who believe the planet could be on the brink of another period of cooling, and scientists who insist there is no evidence that temperatures are about to fall. In all fairness, Russian scientists have warned over a decade ago that the Earth will enter a mini ice age period. --MINA News, 19 September 2013

The sun is acting bizarrely and scientists have no idea why. Solar activity is in gradual decline, a change from the norm which in the past triggered a 300-year-long mini ice age. The fall-off in sunspot activity still has the potential to affect our weather for the worse, Dr Elliott said. Research by Prof Mike Lockwood at the University of Reading showed how low solar activity could alter the position of the jet stream over the north Atlantic, causing severe cold during winter months. This was likely the cause of the very cold and snowy winters during 2009 and 2010, Dr Elliott said. “It all points to perhaps another little ice age,” he said. “It seems likely we are going to enter a period of very low solar activity and could mean we are in for very cold winters.” -- Dick Ahlstrom, The Irish Times, 12 July 2013
The Little Ice Age appears to have affected the climate powerfully. IPCC-leaning scientists, however, say that the Little Ice Age couldn't have been caused by solar variability - not even solar variability combined with sky-darkening volcanic eruptions - as the effects would have been too weak. A Swiss team of researchers now say that in fact the Little Ice Age most certainly could have been triggered by variations in the Sun. --Lewis Page, The Register, 1 October 2013

1) BBC: Real Risk Of A Maunder Minimum 'Little Ice Age' Says Leading Scientist - BBC Weather, 28 October 2013

2) Now Get Ready For An ‘Ice Age’ As Experts Warn Of Siberian Winter Ahead - Daily Express, 28 October 2013

3) David Whitehouse: Cold Winters, Hot News - The Global Warming Policy Foundation, 30 October 2013

4) New Paper: Solar Quiet Spells Can Trigger Little Ice Age - The Register, 1 October 2013

5) Sun’s Bizarre Activity May Trigger Another Little Ice Age (Or Not) - The Irish Times, 12 July 2013

6) Solar Activity Drops To 100-Year Low, Puzzling Scientists - MINA News, 19 September 2013

7) Atlantic Hurricane Season Quietest In 45 Years, Experts Say - Reuters, 25 October 2013


  1. Professor Mike Lockwood corrects those who misrepresent his work: “Unfortunately, I now find myself in the position of being cited as predicting that the current rapid decline in solar activity will plunge the world into a “Little Ice Age”. This is very disappointing as it is not at all supported by the science.”

    Read his article at

    1. see this:

  2. Lockwood is part of "The Team"