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Solar Cycle 25 and "the next ice age"?

 
gardener
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So, I was recently watching Curtis Stone this week.

He definitely has his own views on things, but this time he caught me off guard more than usual.

He interviewed this guy Christian Westbrook of http://www.iceagefarmer.com

Apparently the theory is that this solar cycle we're moving into (Solar Cycle 25) is, they say, going to show reduced energy emission from the sun.  It sounds a little conspiracy-theory-ish, but what's notable to me is that the data and solar predictions themselves seem to all be coming from NASA, so, genuinely credible stuff.  

Of course, then they take it and run with it, and add their own interpretation about what that will mean for the climate and/or global food supply. I don't know that anyone would agree with 100% of everything they say, but if you can let that run off your back, there is a lot to ponder here.  

Also, they quote Mollison, so they can't be all bad, #amiright :)



So I dunno.  What do you guys think?  Are we headed for a solar minima and/or a sort of "mini ice age"?

I guess the practical take-home they recommend, "increase resilience (for whatever may come) by building healthy soil", is something that we can all agree upon!
 
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thanks for sharing, I will definitely check it out. I would normally have my eyebrow cocked but considering the events so far this year I think anything is possible. Farm wise, in my region we are in a 100-year drought but with colder temps than usual, climate instability is becoming more extreme. No matter how oddball the reasoning, you can`t really argue with the idea of becoming more resilient.
 
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From a statistical standpoint, ice age is the safer bet. Last I heard, the official word from the scientists is that the earth has spent more time in ice ages than not. One thing I've learned is that we humans don't know diddly squat when it comes to predicting weather. What blows my mind is that with all our fancy computer technology, we can't even accurately predict weather HOURS in advance 100% of the time. Climate is out of the question, I feel. I think being open-minded is paramount in all situations, climate included. Unfortunately these days, open-mindedness is getting rare, climate included. All we have for certain is right now. Why not live our best now? It will better prepare us for whatever the future brings.
 
pollinator
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From my understanding of the situation, we're in the solar minimum right now, and have been for some years. I would have expected the cooling to have begun some time ago.

Meanwhile, most articles coming up on the subject of global temperatures and forecasts suggest that the trend is warming, not cooling, with 2020 looking like the hottest year on record, globally.

If the solar minimum is actually causing an ice age, then anthropogenic global warming must be having a doozy of an effect, as the numbers clearly state that the numbers overall are going up.

I don't think it's really much of an issue. We still need to crack down on CO2 emissions, as the excess CO2 is what is causing the oceans to acidify. They might warm to the point that they can't hold enough oxygen to support anything first, but an overly acidic ocean also won't support life.

My understanding of the solar minimum also suggests that it is more an issue of sunspot and related solar flare activity than one of energy output. The concerns that I have heard related to this involve a weakening of solar winds that allow more interstellar radiation to hit the earth, and some highly theoretical interactions with the earth's magnetic field and tectonic activity.

I haven't seen anything conclusive to worry about. Frankly, perturbations in the Earth's magnetic field, and its weakening in the South Atlantic have me more concerned than a potential ice age. And real concerns over anthropogenic global warming trump those easily.

But I definitely agree that building resilience is a no-lose proposition.

-CK
 
pollinator
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I haven't viewed the video yet, but if you are interested in knowing more about this subject, I would highly recommend checking out Suspicious Observers.
They have a wealth of information and make some interesting observations. If you are a space-science nerd, you will find a lot of food for thought here:

 https://suspicious0bservers.org
 https://www.youtube.com/user/Suspicious0bservers

They tend to focus on plasma cosmology and space weather, which apparently has great impact on our weather and climate patterns.
Sun spots, CME, volcanos & earthquakes are likely all connected. Very interesting stuff and far more than I can put into words here, it would be a disservice and much better to draw your own conclusions.

Off/topic:
Their 'cosmic disaster' playlist is fascinating and makes for some interesting connections.
However, be forwarned it is a rather terrifiying concept and series of videos - not for the faint of heart!

Also sorta off-topic (but a fascinating and well done video that is in support of plasma cosmology theory), check this one out:
  Episode 2 Symbols of an Alien Sky: The Lightning Scarred Planet, Mars
  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tRV1e5_tB6Y
 
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One of the struggles with data coming from so far back is that we don't have a lot of context for it. The data may come from NASA, but NASA was founded in 1958. 60 years ago. We only have global weather data from 1880 onward. Only about 150 years. Now — that is not to say we don't have a lot of information for times before that. We can inspect CO2 levels in ice, organic material deposits in fossils, and all sorts of indirect data. Indirect — that's a very key word.

The last time we know weather affected crops in a substantial manner was the Little Ice Age, some time between 1500-1800. Or was it 1300-1800? We're not really sure. People didn't write things down too well back then and they often spoke in riddles. It might have been caused by solar radiation cycles. Well, maybe it was volcanoes. The earth's orbital wobble could have deviated from a comet for a bit. Or maybe it was just the result of a bunch of people dying from the plague. Or maybe it was more people living in northern latitudes. We don't really know. A lot of context was lost.

I listened to about half of that YouTube earlier today and well... who knows? I don't think he provides any evidence compelling enough for me to change my life. At the same time, he could be right. What I do agree with is the need to be resilient to change. Weather is incredibly variable, and changing more and more by the day. We do know that for certain. We do not know which way our climate is headed, but it is for sure changing in dramatic ways. So I kind of look at this way: it doesn't matter if he's right or not. Practicing ways to be more resilient to changing climate is a good way to spend your time.
 
Chris Kott
pollinator
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I'll see if I can find the article, but I seem to remember several sources, including, if I remember correctly, one of the books on the Columbian Exchange, either 1492 or 1493, suggesting that the Virgin Field Epidemics that resulted from European contact in 1492 caused such severe disruption in plains management systems in North America that they succeeded to closed-canopy forests in the century following contact, causing massive CO2 draw-down and a resultant drop in global temperatures.

There are actually seven suggested causes, starting back in the 1300s, including orbital variations, solar and volcanic activity, effects on ocean circulation, increases and/or decreases in human population and activities, along with the inherent variability of climate. Wikipedia has a pretty good summary: Little Ice Age.

I know we can look at all this, be fatalistic, and decide that there's nothing in it to inform our life choices. And on the personal level, you might be right, unless you're personally in a position to assist in the planting of hundreds or thousands of trees, and encourage others to do the same, and to nurture them as far along as possible. But I like to think that there will be people to plant those trees, and to encourage protected seagrass ecosystems, and rehabilitate and spread mangrove swamps. And yes, help the transition of the permafrost, which is happening whether we like it or not, into a diverse and stable ecological form that perhaps still traps the bulk of its methane and sequesters carbon. And yes, the likely transition of boreal forest to something more like boreal/temperate hardwood transitional forest ecosystems, where applicable, so that however the climate swings, we have species in place that will thrive.

So if we're in the middle of the next ice age, I just hope we can fix things to pre-industrial levels before it starts to warm up again, or I think we'll really be in trouble. We've been in a heat warning for over a week now, with nighttime temperatures not falling below 20 C and daytime temps exceeding 30 C, and feeling at times like 40 C+ with the humidity. And I live in Toronto. And I wish I could say that this year is an anomaly, but we know it isn't, nor is this decade.

-CK
 
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