Global Cooling On The Way?
by John de Nugent
Two things stunned me a few weeks ago, on April 30th, and I am still digesting them now. We had two hours of snow falling here in western Pennsylvania outside my home office window, and the same day I received by email a series of very ominous scientific articles about a coming mini-ice age. Since then we have had two solid weeks of cold rain here, very little springtime, and I get similar reports from Boston and elsewhere -- of rain, wind and low temperatures.
Yesterday the network news showed farmers predicting a terrible corn crop this year due to no sun and constant cold rain out in Iowa. Going back to January, American GIs and Iraqis alike were stunned to see snow falling in downtown Baghdad. Then Athens, Greece -- on February 19 -- and after that Johannesburg in South Africa saw the white stuff tumbling down into usually sun-baked cities. Embarrass, Minnesota saw the mercury plunge to minus 40, an the Upper Peninsula of Michigan had the greatest snowfalls in its recorded history. Parts of northern China were smothered in snow.
From 1400-1800, Europe was much colder than now, and especially so in the 1600s. Massachusetts Bay, Narragansett Bay (in Rhode Island), Long Island Sound, the Hudson and East Rivers in NY State and the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland all froze regularly solid. Of course, our hardy white pioneer forefathers (and resolute foremothers) still learned how to adapt and thrive. (By contrast, the North American Indian population was stagnating for millennia. It is estimated that there were only three million Indians in all of what is now the USA and Canada in 1600, where now over 360 million reside in a white-founded culture.)
There may have been some "global warming" and we have indeed seen glaciers melt and other signs, but something else, and much bigger seems afoot, the exact opposite: constant rain and a sharp global cooling. If these scientists I am reading are correct, then whatever puny effects we humans may have had on the climate with our cars and coal power plants are over. The sun itself has turned down the Big Thermostat, that is, the sun spots that show the sun running on "hot" have virtually vanished, and the recent global warming will be totally overwhelmed by the opposite – global chilling.
Phil Chapman, a geophysicist and astronautical engineer (now living in San Francisco) who was the first Australian to become a NASA astronaut, wrote on April 23, 2008: "The scariest photo I have seen on the internet is www.spaceweather. com, where you will find a real-time image of the sun from the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory, located in deep space at the equilibrium point between solar and terrestrial gravity. What is scary about the picture is that there is only one tiny sunspot. Disconcerting as it may be to true believers in global warming, the average temperature on Earth has remained steady or slowly declined during the past decade, despite the continued increase in the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide, and now the global temperature is falling precipitously.
"All four agencies that track Earth's temperature (the Hadley Climate Research Unit in Britain, the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York, the Christy group at the University of Alabama, and Remote Sensing Systems Inc in California) report that it cooled by about 0.7C in 2007 [almost one whole degree Fahrenheit in just one year—Ed.]. This is the fastest temperature change in the instrumental record and it puts us back where we were in 1930. If the temperature does not soon recover, we will have to conclude that global warming is over.
The temperature plunged last year by almost one full degree Fahrenheit. The Big Thermostat on the sun was turned down, and sun spots virtually vanished.
"Kenneth Tapping of our own National Research Council, who oversees a giant radio telescope focused on the sun, is convinced we are in for a long period of severely cold weather if sunspot activity does not pick up soon."
The result could be dire food shortages from a much shorter and often sunless growing season, skyrocketing heating bills five long months a year -- and even the danger of another full-blown Ice Age. (Yes indeed, "ice age" as in something covering Europe, Canada and the northern U.S. with a mile of ice. We northern hemispherians are actually due for another ice age at any time after 11,000 relatively warm years. While Americans are falling behind in learning the sciences, the fact remains that ice ages are the norm in the upper northern hemisphere, not warmth. Balmy periods such as we have known – tellingly called by climate scientists "interglaciations" -- are the exception. What we call Canada, Scandinavia and the British Isles are usually buried under a mile-thick pile of ice like Greenland.
Says one popular-science website: "During the most recent Ice Age, which began 1.5 million years ago, and may not have actually ended, the glaciers extended three times their size, to cover nearly a third of the land area of the Earth's land surface, as you can see from this diagram. One thing to note from the diagram, too, is the sea level consideration. During the Ice Ages, since so much of the planet's water is locked up in these ice sheets, sea level is lower than it is today. Thus, that nice beachfront property you have on Long Island today was far inland 18,000 years ago."
The Great Famine of 1315-1317 in northern Europe was just such a time of cold and rain, when nothing sprouted or grew or ripened. Starving villagers ate the seed corn and slaughtered the milk cows. Some starving parents even abandoned their children in the forest – which is the opening scenario of Grimm's fairy tale "Hansel and Gretel."
King Edward II and his whole royal court, visiting a town, themselves went absolutely hungry along with all the inhabitants. Millions of northern Europeans finally died from years of crop failures, and a population that had grown rapidly – such as in today's bulging world -- shrank quickly. A Poem on the Evil Times of Edward II, from around 1321, told the story:
"When God saw that the world was so over-proud,
He sent a dearth on earth, and made it full hard.
A bushel of wheat was at four shillings or more,
Of which men might have had a quarter before....
And then they turned pale who had laughed so loud,
And they became all docile who before were so proud.
A man's heart might bleed for to hear the cry
Of poor men who called out, "Alas! For hunger I die ...!"
One Afrikaner called me after hearing of my reading, and said all this reminded her of the prophesies of Nicolas "Siener" Van Rensburg (1862-1926), an Afrikaner visionary 100 years ago who fought in the Anglo-Boer War. Even a neutral encyclopedia reports: "His seemingly accurate predictions of future events were typically wrapped in religious patriotism." (How terrible!) Some of them actually aided Boer military forces, which made the man instantly famous.
Van Rensburg foretold, among other things, that black power, shockingly, would some day come over white-founded and white-ruled South Africa. But when in that sunny country "snow was on the ground" (quoth Van Rensburg) -- whites would rise up – and they are now outraged by crime and AIDS epidemics, electric power outages and chaotic corruption -- and then storm back to full power over the country they had once made orderly, rich and great, and restore it to white rule.
That was just a vision, but the fact is this: snow is indeed falling heavier and heavier worldwide, the mercury is dropping sharply, and the sun is vanishing during the critical planting and growing seasons. Will this climate change also continue into harvest season 2008?
Obviously, if anyone studies the winter, it is the Russians. In March, Oleg Sorokhtin, a fellow of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences, shrugged off man-made climate change as "a drop in the bucket." Demonstrating scientifically that solar activity has entered an inactive phase, Prof. Sorokhtin then advised journalists:"Tell people to stock up on fur coats."