Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Mini Ice Age coming

And soon (6-7 years) according to a Russian astronomer.
ST. PETERSBURG, Russia, Feb. 7 (UPI) -- A Russian astronomer has predicted that Earth will experience a "mini Ice Age" in the middle of this century, caused by low solar activity.

I don't know much of anything about astronomy but I am curious as to how one could predict the future energy output of the Sun. We certainly know that the output of the Sun has been higher than normal over the last few decades and seems to be declining. Trend analysis is one thing but I had no idea that there was a reliable way to predict the future detailed output (we are talking a few percent one way or the other here). If so, that's pretty cool.
Dramatic changes in the earth's surface temperatures are an ordinary phenomenon, not an anomaly, he said, and result from variations in the sun's energy output and ultraviolet radiation.

Here we go again. Actual facts getting in the way of paranoid political theories.
The Northern Hemisphere's most recent cool-down period occurred between 1645 and 1705. The resulting period, known as the Little Ice Age, left canals in the Netherlands frozen solid and forced people in Greenland to abandon their houses to glaciers, the scientist said.

I was aware that it got pretty cold in the latter 17th century. I was unaware that the glaciers actually invaded the coastal areas of Greenland where people live. Ouch.

OK, I have a prediction here. If this guy turns out to be right (and I have no idea if he is or not) the Kyoto Treaty will have been in effect for a decade or two when it becomes obvious that he is right. The output of greenhouse gases will be higher (despite the Treaty) than it was during the period when the temperature went up a degree and change (or ever). I predict that despite that little annoying fact that the current Global Warming nuts (not concerned folks, the kooks) will loudly announce that the treaty worked and they saved the world. Food output will drop, more people will die of exposure, energy prices will rise, but clearly they were pushing the right solution, and it worked.


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