Business & Media Institute
May 17, 2010
Most of us have heard or seen what global warming alarmists say the consequences will be if something isn’t done to limit man’s impact on the environment. Al Gore, in his movie “An Inconvenient Truth,” warns global sea levels will rise by a whopping 20 feet, causing coastal flooding and creating a refugee crisis.
Others aren’t quite as gloomy, but that’s not the real threat to the planet.
At the Heartland Institute’s International Conference on Climate Change on May 17, Professor Don Easterbrook of Western Washington University warned that the climate is headed for a period of cooling. He told the Chicago gathering of hundreds of scientists and policy professionals that there are three possibilities of cooling, examples of which we’ve seen within the last 200 years.
“I think that there’s three possibilities that we’re headed for,” Easterbrook said. “One is cooling similar to 1945-1977 — about a half degree. Not really all that bad. Perhaps something similar to the cold period of 1880-1915, to perhaps the Dalton Minimum, which would be even colder. And which of these happens, it remains to be seen.”The Dalton Minimum, named after the English meteorologist John Dalton, was a period of low solar activity lasting from about 1790 to 1830 that resulted in a two-degree drop in global temperature.
Easterbrook explained that any significant drop — from a half-degree to two degrees — would have a much worse impact on human civilization than global warming.
“Impacts of global cooling are unfortunately worse than they are for global warming,” Easterbrook said. “The good news is that global warming is over for several decades. The bad news is that its going to be worse than global warming would have been because twice as many people are killed by extreme cold than extreme heat. We’ll have a decrease in food production. It’s already happening in various parts of the world.”And just as global warming alarmists suggest the poor will be hit the hardest, so would the poor when it comes to a global cooling phenomenon.
“Hardest hit will be third world countries where millions are now near the starvation level. We will have an increase in per capita energy demands — people will want to keep warm — and a decrease in the ability to cope with a population explosion, which is happening and is scheduled to increase the population of the world by 50 percent in the next 40 years.”And Easterbrook advised those in attendance not to be too narrow-minded, but instead rely on the actual science.
“So my conclusion is then that, keep an open mind, let the data speak for itself, and my hypothesis is provable, it’s testable with time,” Easterbrook said. “So if I live long enough, I hope to see whether my prediction is right.”
July 31, 2009
If you've noticed that this past July was colder than normal, you are not alone.
AccuWeather.com meteorologist Jesse Ferrell took a look at the record low temperatures on the East Coast and he reports some surprising findings.
More than 1,100 daily record low temperatures were broken in July nationwide, according to the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC). When record afternoon low highs are considered, that number jumps to more than 3,000 records. An additional 1,200 stations tied records.
States in the Northeast and Midwest have reported their lowest temperatures in the 50s and 40s this month, with 36 degrees reported in Michigan.Ferrell also took a look at the departures from the average temperature. Most of the nation, the Northeast in particular, had negative numbers, with Johnstown, Pennsylvania, reporting -9 degrees from normal in July.
Several cities in the Midwest reported the coldest July on record. Madison, Wisconsin, had an average temperature of 65.7 degrees, breaking the previous record of 66.7. Cincinnati, Ohio, Jackson, Kentucky and Chicago also broke records. South Bend, Indiana, also broke its previous record with an average temperature of 68.3 degrees. The highest temperature failed to exceed 86 degrees in July, the second time this has happened in recorded history.
A storm over Canada dipping farther south than usual has been continually sending cold air into the United States, said AccuWeather.com Expert Senior Meteorologist Elliot Abrams.
"This persistent pattern of storms in the upper atmosphere keeps sending colder air south," Abrams said.This colder weather has also affected parts of the northern Plains. Minneapolis, Minnesota, failed to hit 90 degrees last month, the first time this has happened in 15 years, according to Mark Vogan on his Weather and Climate blog.
There has been unusually hot weather in the south central Plains and West, but only 35 percent of records broken in July were highs.
A heat wave in the Pacific Northwest during the last week of July led to numerous reports of record temperatures. High temperatures reportedly reached 92 degrees in the typically cool region of Astoria, Oregon, on July 28, shattering the old daily record of 82. Seattle, Washington, recorded a high of 103 on July 29, the highest temperature ever recorded for the city.
May 20, 2009
New research suggests the sun might be calming, erupting in fewer solar flares and winds that send cosmic rays spraying out toward the planets. That could mean colder weather. And although it's not time to put away your sunglases, the sun also could be dimming ever so slightly.
A similar phenomenon caused what's often called the Little Ice Age that chilled Europe and North America enough to form an ice barrier around Greenland and freeze solid the canals of the Netherlands.
Scientists don't yet know if the seemingly calmer sun will linger in this lull. It's too early to tell....
The sun has always been an up-and-down heavenly body, regularly running through 11-year cycles of high and low flaring and winds and sunspots as its magnetic poles switch from north to south and back.
That overlaps with the Gleissberg Cycle, which runs roughly 80 years. If the universe is seeing those two line up now, the effect on Earth could be a decade or two of slightly lower temperatures.
May 4, 2009
A prolonged lull in solar activity has astrophysicists glued to their telescopes waiting to see what the sun will do next—and how Earth's climate might respond.
The sun is the least active it's been in decades and the dimmest in a hundred years. The lull is causing some scientists to recall the Little Ice Age, an unusual cold spell in Europe and North America, which lasted from about 1300 to 1850.
The coldest period of the Little Ice Age, between 1645 and 1715, has been linked to a deep dip in solar storms known as the Maunder Minimum. During that time, access to Greenland was largely cut off by ice, and canals in Holland routinely froze solid. Glaciers in the Alps engulfed whole villages, and sea ice increased so much that no open water flowed around Iceland in the year 1695.
Sunspots, which can be visible without a telescope, are dark regions that indicate intense magnetic activity on the sun's surface. Such solar storms send bursts of charged particles hurtling toward Earth that can spark auroras, disrupt satellites, and even knock out electrical grids.
In the current cycle, 2008 was supposed to have been the low point, and this year the sunspot numbers should have begun to climb. But of the first 90 days of 2009, 78 have been sunspot free. Researchers also say the sun is the dimmest it's been in a hundred years...
June 13, 2009
For the second time in little over a year, it looks as though the world may be heading for a serious food crisis, thanks to our old friend "climate change."
In many parts of the world recently the weather has not been too brilliant for farmers. After a fearsomely cold winter:
- June brought heavy snowfall across large parts of western Canada and the northern states of the American Midwest.
- In Manitoba last week, it was -4ºC.
- North Dakota had its first June snow for 60 years.
- There was midsummer snow not just in Norway and the Cairngorms, but even in Saudi Arabia.
- At least in the southern hemisphere it is winter, but snowfalls in New Zealand and Australia have been abnormal.
- There have been frosts in Brazil; elsewhere in South America they have had prolonged droughts.
- In China they have had to cope with abnormal rain and freak hailstorms, which in one province killed 20 people.
- In Canada and northern America, summer planting of corn and soybeans has been way behind schedule, with the prospect of reduced yields and lower quality.
- Grain stocks are predicted to be down 15 percent next year. US reserves of soya – used in animal feed and in many processed foods – are expected to fall to a 32-year low.
- In China, the world's largest wheat grower, they have been battling against the atrocious weather to bring in the harvest. (In one province they even fired chemical shells into the clouds to turn freezing hailstones into rain.)
- In north-west China drought has devastated crops with a plague of pests and blight.
- In countries such as Argentina and Brazil, droughts have caused such havoc that a veteran US grain expert said last week:
"In 43 years I've never seen anything like the decline we're looking at in South America."
- In Europe, the weather has been a factor in well-below average predicted crop yields in Eastern Europe and Ukraine.
- In Britain this year's oilseed rape crop is likely to be 30 percent below its 2008 level.
There are obviously various reasons for this concern as to whether the world can continue to feed itself, but one of them is undoubtedly the downturn in world temperatures, which has brought more cold and snow since 2007 than we have known for decades.
Three factors are vital to crops: the light and warmth of the sun, adequate rainfall, and the carbon dioxide they need for photosynthesis. As we are constantly reminded, we still have plenty of that nasty, polluting CO2, which the politicians are so keen to get rid of. But there is not much they can do about the sunshine or the rainfall.
It is now more than 200 years since the great astronomer William Herschel observed a correlation between wheat prices and sunspots. When the latter were few in number, he noted, the climate turned colder and drier, crop yields fell and wheat prices rose.
In the past two years, sunspot activity has dropped to its lowest point for a century. One of our biggest worries is that our politicians are so fixated on the idea that CO2 is causing global warming that most of them haven't noticed that the problem may be that the world is not warming but cooling, with all the implications that has for whether we get enough to eat.
It is appropriate that another contributory factor to the world's food shortage should be the millions of acres of farmland now being switched from food crops to biofuels. Last year even the experts of the European Commission admitted that, to meet the EU's biofuel targets, we will eventually need almost all the food-growing land in Europe. But that didn't persuade them to change their policy. They would rather we starved than do that. And the EU, we must always remember, is now our government – the one most of us didn't vote for last week.
Originally Published on May 1, 2008
Strangely absent from the BBC news bulletins (so far) - but headlined by The Daily Telegraph and carried by the major news agencies – is a "shock" finding that global warming is taking a break.
This comes from a report in the journal Nature, which concludes, on the basis of computer modelling of changes to the "meridional overturning circulation" (MOC), that global warming "could take a break in the next decade."
Climate scientists at the Leibniz Institute of Marine Sciences in Germany, it seems, believe a change in the Gulf Stream is impending. They predict this will temporarily weaken over the next decade, in line with what has happened regularly in the past. This, they say, will lead to slightly cooler temperatures in the North Atlantic and in North America and Europe.
Separately, and apparently unrelated to this study, Watts up with that publishes an analysis offered by Don J. Easterbrook, a retired professor from the Dept. of Geology, Western Washington University, in Bellingham.
This is in response to the news on the Pacific Decadal Oscillation shift, reported yesterday, with Easterbrook concluding that we could be facing "…several decades of global cooling."
Nor do these findings stand on their own. Today we also see a report that March 2008 was clearly an extreme month for sea ice in the Bering Sea. St. Paul Island remained in the sea ice through the month of March. St. George – to the south of St. Paul - was icebound for a total of 18 days during March. Several captains of fishing/crabbing vessels decided by the third week of March to stop fishing and go home, hoping to return in early April to resume operations in less icy waters.
Then, from the other end of the world, Science Daily reports that the Antarctic deep sea is getting colder. This is the first result of the Polarstern expedition of the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in the Helmholtz Association that has just ended in Punta Arenas/Chile. At the same time, the journal confirms that satellite images from the Antarctic summer have shown the largest sea-ice extent on record.
Putting all that together – bearing in mind that there has been no global warming since 1998, and taking into account the concerns over the lack of sunspot activity and the lateness of solar cycle 24 – one comes to the inescapable conclusion that, whatever the medium to long-term future might hold, we are in for some colder weather in the short-term.
Looking back to the last winter, and the heavy snows, it is also necessary to remind ourselves that, in the short-term, it is weather, not climate, which destroys crops and ruins harvests. With "global warming" seemingly turning to cooling, we also have to remind ourselves that moderate global warming increases food production and that we have been enjoying a "global warming dividend" for some decades.
Cooling, of course, brings with it the possibility of catastrophic winter weather events but, even without any such phenomena, lower crop yields are to be expected. And, with the global food production system under stress, we are relying on record harvests over the next few years to rebuild reserves and take the pressure off commodity prices.
We are thus in a situation where the world is relying not just on maintaining production levels but on record production, at levels never before achieved. These are achievable, but only if weather conditions allow – of which we cannot be certain, and less so now. In short, we really do have a global system "on the edge."
For wealthy countries like the UK, any immediate adverse effects of cooler weather will manifest themselves in food price inflation and occasional local shortages (as they are doing now). These will be more inconvenient than life-threatening. Not so, of course, for impoverished nations, which – as we pointed out earlier – could suffer severely. The knock-on effects for the UK and other developed nations are incalculable – but potentially serious.
For Britain, though, the deterioration in the global food supply is especially serious as, according to latest figures, we are only 60 percent self-sufficient in food – equivalent to four in ten of our population relying on imported food...
Originally Published on April 28, 1975
Here is the text of Newsweek’s 1975 story on the trend toward global cooling. It may look foolish today, but in fact world temperatures had been falling since about 1940. It was around 1979 that they reversed direction and resumed the general rise that had begun in the 1880s, bringing us today back to around 1940 levels. - Denis Dutton
There are ominous signs that the Earth’s weather patterns have begun to change dramatically and that these changes may portend a drastic decline in food production – with serious political implications for just about every nation on Earth.
The drop in food output could begin quite soon, perhaps only 10 years from now. The regions destined to feel its impact are the great wheat-producing lands of Canada and the U.S.S.R. in the North, along with a number of marginally self-sufficient tropical areas – parts of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indochina and Indonesia – where the growing season is dependent upon the rains brought by the monsoon.
The evidence in support of these predictions has now begun to accumulate so massively that meteorologists are hard-pressed to keep up with it. In England, farmers have seen their growing season decline by about two weeks since 1950, with a resultant overall loss in grain production estimated at up to 100,000 tons annually.
During the same time, the average temperature around the equator has risen by a fraction of a degree – a fraction that in some areas can mean drought and desolation. Last April, in the most devastating outbreak of tornadoes ever recorded, 148 twisters killed more than 300 people and caused half a billion dollars’ worth of damage in 13 U.S. states.
To scientists, these seemingly disparate incidents represent the advance signs of fundamental changes in the world’s weather.
The central fact is that after three quarters of a century of extraordinarily mild conditions, the earth’s climate seems to be cooling down. Meteorologists disagree about the cause and extent of the cooling trend, as well as over its specific impact on local weather conditions. But they are almost unanimous in the view that the trend will reduce agricultural productivity for the rest of the century.
If the climatic change is as profound as some of the pessimists fear, the resulting famines could be catastrophic.
“A major climatic change would force economic and social adjustments on a worldwide scale,” warns a recent report by the National Academy of Sciences, “because the global patterns of food production and population that have evolved are implicitly dependent on the climate of the present century.”A survey completed last year by Dr. Murray Mitchell of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reveals a drop of half a degree in average ground temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere between 1945 and 1968. According to George Kukla of Columbia University, satellite photos indicated a sudden, large increase in Northern Hemisphere snow cover in the winter of 1971-72. And a study released last month by two NOAA scientists notes that the amount of sunshine reaching the ground in the continental U.S. diminished by 1.3% between 1964 and 1972.
To the layman, the relatively small changes in temperature and sunshine can be highly misleading. Reid Bryson of the University of Wisconsin points out that the Earth’s average temperature during the great Ice Ages was only about seven degrees lower than during its warmest eras – and that the present decline has taken the planet about a sixth of the way toward the Ice Age average. Others regard the cooling as a reversion to the “little ice age” conditions that brought bitter winters to much of Europe and northern America between 1600 and 1900 – years when the Thames used to freeze so solidly that Londoners roasted oxen on the ice and when iceboats sailed the Hudson River almost as far south as New York City.
Just what causes the onset of major and minor ice ages remains a mystery.
“Our knowledge of the mechanisms of climatic change is at least as fragmentary as our data,” concedes the National Academy of Sciences report. “Not only are the basic scientific questions largely unanswered, but in many cases we do not yet know enough to pose the key questions.”Meteorologists think that they can forecast the short-term results of the return to the norm of the last century. They begin by noting the slight drop in overall temperature that produces large numbers of pressure centers in the upper atmosphere. These break up the smooth flow of westerly winds over temperate areas. The stagnant air produced in this way causes an increase in extremes of local weather such as droughts, floods, extended dry spells, long freezes, delayed monsoons and even local temperature increases – all of which have a direct impact on food supplies.
“The world’s food-producing system,” warns Dr. James D. McQuigg of NOAA’s Center for Climatic and Environmental Assessment, “is much more sensitive to the weather variable than it was even five years ago.” Furthermore, the growth of world population and creation of new national boundaries make it impossible for starving peoples to migrate from their devastated fields, as they did during past famines.
Climatologists are pessimistic that political leaders will take any positive action to compensate for the climatic change, or even to allay its effects. They concede that some of the more spectacular solutions proposed, such as melting the Arctic ice cap by covering it with black soot or diverting arctic rivers, might create problems far greater than those they solve.
But the scientists see few signs that government leaders anywhere are even prepared to take the simple measures of stockpiling food or of introducing the variables of climatic uncertainty into economic projections of future food supplies. The longer the planners delay, the more difficult will they find it to cope with climatic change once the results become grim reality.
Farmer’s Almanac predicts "Ice Cold Sandwich" winter
Farmer’s Almanac predicts below average temperatures for this winter
Summer of 2009 one of 15 coolest ever
Global Cooling Has Arrived; Global Warming Is Dead
Cooler Weather May Slow Harvest
‘Quiet’ sun could mean cooler days
Orange-juice prices soared after Florida’s crop declines 16 percent due to cold spell
Grain Futures Close Higher Thursday With Heavy Rains Expected to Slow the Harvest
Record-low temperatures threaten Idaho potato crop
Almanac Predicts Colder Than Normal Winter
Argentina's Wheat Crop Falls On Hard Times
There has been no global warming since 1995
U.S. Food Prices ‘Spiraling Out of Control’
NIA: U.S. Food Inflation Spiraling Out of Control
Will The Global Deep Freeze Lead To Massive Food Shortages In 2010?
Updated 5/6/10 (Newest Additions at End of List)