New study shows solar minimum does cause climate cooling

A new paper in Nature Geoscience shows that solar grand minima do indeed cause cooling of the climate in Europe. Around 2800 years ago, one of these Grand Solar Minima, the Homeric Minimum, caused a distinct climatic change in less than a decade in Western Europe. The forcing mechanisms still remain unclear but the evidence that solar effects are significant and cannot be ignored are mounting and persuasive. Now as we enter (or have already entered) a new solar minimum it remains to be seen as to whether this (Landscheidt?) Minimum will be a grand minimum to compare with the Maunder Minimum. In any event a period of global cooling seems likely.

In contrast, the evidence for any anthropogenic effects on climate is still non-existent though political and alarmist theories abound. There is as yet no direct evidence that man-made carbon dioxide emissions has any significant effect on global warming.

Regional atmospheric circulation shifts induced by a grand solar minimum by Celia Martin-Puertas, Katja Matthes, Achim Brauer, Raimund Muscheler, Felicitas Hansen, Christof Petrick, Ala Aldahan, Göran Possnert & Bas van Geel

Nature Geoscience (2012) doi:10.1038/ngeo1460

Science Daily covers the paper:

An abrupt cooling in Europe together with an increase in humidity and particularly in windiness coincided with a sustained reduction in solar activity 2800 years ago. Scientists from the German Research Centre for Geosciences GFZ in collaboration with Swedish and Dutch colleagues provide evidence for a direct solar-climate linkage on centennial timescales. Using the most modern methodological approach, they analysed sediments from Lake Meerfelder Maar, a maar lake in the Eifel/Germany, to determine annual variations in climate proxies and solar activity.

The study published online this week in Nature Geoscience reports the climatic change that occurred at the beginning of the pre-Roman Iron Age and demonstrates that especially the so-called Grand Minima of solar activity can affect climate conditions in western Europe through changes in regional atmospheric circulation pattern. Around 2800 years ago, one of these Grand Solar Minima, the Homeric Minimum, caused a distinct climatic change in less than a decade in Western Europe.

The exceptional seasonally laminated sediments from the studied maar lake allow a precise dating even of short-term climate changes. The results show for a 200 year long period strongly increased springtime winds during a period of cool and wet climate in Europe. In combination with model studies they suggest a mechanism that can explain the relation between a weak sun and climate change. “The change and strengthening of the tropospheric wind systems likely is related to stratospheric processes which in turn are affected by the ultraviolet radiation” explains Achim Brauer (GFZ), the initiator of the study. “This complex chain of processes thus acts as a positive feedback mechanism that could explain why assumingly too small variations in solar activity have caused regional climate changes.” …

The Homeric Minimum was discussed by Landscheidt in a 1981 paper as one of the 5 grand minima since 1500 BC linked to climate change. His prediction then that It is to be expected that the climatic conditions in at least three decades after 1990 will be more severe than after 1811…” now seems prescient:

Eddy has focused attention on the finding that the 14C-record bears the unmistakable signature of grand minima in solar activity. …….  there occurred only five such minima since 1500 BC. Following Eddy’s nomenclature these were the Maunder Minimum (M), the Spoerer Minimum (S), the Greek Minimum (G), the Homeric Minimum (H), and the Egyptian Minimum (E). …..

In the last millenium the world’s climate has undergone changes which correspond closely in date, phase, and amplitude with the sun’s long-term variations in question (Gates and Mintz, 1975). The Spoerer-Minimum and the Maunder Minimum match the so-called Little Ice Age (Eddy, 1977). Regarding this link, exact predictions in the sun’s secular cycle including quantitative evaluations constitute a valuable means of providing for the future as to power generation for instance. Characteristically, the last great advance of Alpine glaciers, though not as prolonged as during grand minima, occurred in the decades after 1810 (Rudloff, 1967). It is to be expected that the climatic conditions in at least three decades after 1990 will be more severe than after 1811 …….


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12 Responses to “New study shows solar minimum does cause climate cooling”

  1. Bob Brand Says:

    By itself this does not invalidate the role of ‘greenhouse gases’ in the radiation-balance of the atmosphere. It is hardly new that there are other factors as well, next to GHG’s.

    Even more so, the explanative model used by Achim Brauer and colleagues in this publication, is:

    UV Solar radiation –> Ozone –> GHG properties of Ozone –> changes in radiation balance –> changes in atmospheric circulation.

    Increasing or lowering ozone (or CH4 or CO2), either through solar activity or by means of antropogenic emissions work by means of the same mechanism, according to this study.

    In fact, this publication posits ozone and its’ greenhouse effect (!) as the ‘amplifier’ which mediates the effect of solar activity during grand minima of the past.

    • ktwop Says:

      But the role of man-made greenhouse gases remains insignificant and unproven and the theory of man-made carbon dioxide causing global warming is little more than wishful thinking.
      Ignoring solar effects in favour of speculative carbon dioxide theories as the IPCC and others like to do is irresponsible alarmism.

  2. Bob Brand Says:

    ‘.. the effect of less solar irradiance’, the next to last sentence ought to read. 🙂

    • ktwop Says:

      You are right in that the mechanisms by which solar and other effects are translated into climate are surely all unproven. But the science is far from “settled” and for a chaotic system such as climate it will be a long time before it is.
      And my own line is drawn when model results are used to support beliefs and over-ride empirical evidence.
      At the level of “faith” I guess I prefer to be a sun worshipper – a belief in “Sol Invictus” rather than in the pet models of the Prophets of Doom!!

  3. bigterguy Says:

    The correlation of Earth’s climate and solar activity is getting ever-increasing support and detail. And the sun’s variations (sunspots, cosmic rays, solar wind) are closely tied to the orbits of Jupiter and Saturn. Consider

    Herein we show that the historical records of mid-latitude auroras from 1700 to 1966 present oscillations with periods of about 9, 10–11, 20–21, 30 and 60 years. The same frequencies are found in proxy and instrumental global surface temperature records since 1650 and 1850, respectively, and in several planetary and solar records. We argue that the aurora records reveal a physical link between climate change and astronomical oscillations. Likely in addition to a Soli-Lunar tidal effect, there exists a planetary modulation of the heliosphere, of the cosmic ray flux reaching the Earth and/or of the electric properties of the ionosphere. The latter, in turn, has the potentiality of modulating the global cloud cover that ultimately drives the climate oscillations through albedo oscillations. In particular, a quasi-60-year large cycle is quite evident since 1650 in all climate and astronomical records herein studied, which also include a historical record of meteorite fall in China from 619 to 1943. These findings support the thesis that climate oscillations have an astronomical origin.

  4. bigterguy Says:

    Solar influence on the climate is getting ever-increasing support – see the recent CERN result. And the sun’s activity is closely tied to the orbits of Jupiter and Saturn. Consider:

    “These results clearly indicate that both solar and climate oscillations are linked to planetary motion and, furthermore, their timing can be reasonably hindcast and forecast for decades, centuries and millennia. ”

    “The tabulated cycle lengths are compared with reconstructed and instrumental temperature series through four centuries. The correlation between solar activity and northern hemisphere land surface temperature is confirmed”

    “In particular, a quasi-60-year large cycle is quite evident since 1650 in all climate and astronomical records herein studied, which also include a historical record of meteorite fall in China from 619 to 1943. These findings support the thesis that climate oscillations have an astronomical origin. We show that a harmonic constituent model based on the major astronomical frequencies revealed in the aurora records and deduced from the natural gravitational oscillations of the solar system is able to forecast with a reasonable accuracy the decadal and multidecadal temperature oscillations from 1950 to 2010 using the temperature data before 1950, and vice versa.”

    “The hypothesis is simple. Solar activity modulates the incidence of Cosmic Rays on Earth, and the Cosmic Rays affect cloud formation by providing more condensation nuclei on which water droplets grow. More clouds mean more reflected sunlight and a cooler earth. It’s an elegant idea though in the real world the effect, if it exists, is bound to be muddied by many other influences”

    “The results also show that ionisation from cosmic rays significantly enhances aerosol formation.”

    The IPCC reports use H2O amplification of CO2 to get the level of forcing. And they use ‘Total solar irradiance’ which is only one of the Sun’s effects. The solar wind and magnetic field have a significant effect that IPCC ignores.

    It’s hard to believe in CO2’s influence when solar activity can convincingly describe thousands of years of climate variation.

  5. Bill Knowlton Says:

    The Comic Ray Theory of Climate Change can be used to explain why solar minimums cause climate changes. The main contribution of the paper is “what happens” and not “why it happens”.

  6. Walter Horsting Says:

    Solar cycles and cosmic rays inducing cloud cooling is much more plausible than any trace gas….

  7. May 9, 2012 | Another Slow News Day Says:

    […] […]

  8. Solar effects on climate – evidence mounts that the Little Ice Age was a global event « The k2p blog Says:

    […] Related: New study shows solar minimum does cause climate cooling Share this:StumbleUponDiggTwitterFacebookEmailLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. […]

  9. perstrand Says:

    The Sun has been greatly underestimated.

    Because I have become interested in this subject I recently build a Neural Network collecting a large number of climate related factors and tested them against the global temperature.

    Correlations of climate forcing factors revealed in a Neural Network.

    What I found was that the short term effects from solar impacts are even greater than that which comes from changes in the ENSO signal. I further found that there is no statistical significant influence from Galactic Cosmic Radiation as suggested by Henrik Svensmark.

    The effect comes directly from the intensity of solar wind, from UV radiation and from changes in the magnetic properties in the upper atmosphere.
    Simply put, to ignore the Sun’s influence in climate models is now unsustainable.

    As far as I know no other studies using Neural Networks has been made in order to try to evaluate climate forcing factors which is quite surprising because NN is an effective method to extract correlations and besides it is not that complicated to do.

    Science should not be based on belief, or an agenda. It should be based on evidence.

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