Little Ice Age Debunked

by Daniel Bailey
(Michigan, United States)

A Grand Solar Minimum Will Not Cause a Little Ice Age

A Grand Solar Minimum Will Not Cause a Little Ice Age

Given the recent nonsense in the media about the supposed impending "ice age" from an upcoming "Maunder Minimum", here's what the evidence has to say about that:

To sum up, a number of scientific studies have asked the question, "if the sun were to enter another extended quiet phase (a grand solar minimum), how would that impact global surface temperatures?"

Every study agrees, it would cause no more than 0.3°C cooling, which would only be enough to temporarily offset about a decade’s worth of human-caused global warming.



"Those hoping that the sun could save us from climate change look set for disappointment. The recent lapse in solar activity is not the beginning of a decades-long absence of sunspots – a dip that might have cooled the climate. Instead, it represents a shorter, less pronounced downturn that happens every century or so."

"According to the Gleissberg cycle, the next solar maximum – in about 2024 – will probably be a dud too, but then cycles will become more energetic once again, and any cooling effect the brief downturn has had on Earth's climate will also vanish."



Even if the sun got stuck in a permanent Maunder Minimum, the warming from our CO2 emissions will still warm our planet and continue to change our climate:
Thus if the sun remains “out”, i.e., stuck for a long period in the current solar minimum, it can offset only about 7 years of CO2 increase. The human-made greenhouse gas climate forcing is now relentlessly, monotonically, increasing at a rate that overwhelms variability of natural climate forcings. Unforced variability of global temperature is great, as shown in Figure 4, but the global temperature trend on decadal and longer time scales is now determined by the larger human-made climate forcing. Speculation that we may have entered a solar-driven long-term cooling trend must be dismissed as a pipe-dream.




Basically, even a Grand Solar Minimum would barely make a dent in human-caused global warming.



Per Gavin Schmidt at Real Climate:

It’s a 60% reduction in the magnitude of the solar cycle (not solar activity), and it’s not obviously terrible. It’s a statistical projection with no physics, so the extent to which it’s believable is unclear. The connection to a new ‘mini ice age’ is completely made up. That level of change in solar forcing is about -0.1W/m2, which would be made up in just 3 years of current CO2 concentration growth.


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