Will there be a Mini Ice age in 2030? … Nope. 3


imrs.php-2If you are plugged into the media, then you will have seen stories popping up about a a mini Ice age in 2030 and of course we get the usual qualifiers … “scientists predict” … so it just must be true.

You can find the story in Wired, CNN, and many other outlets including the Daily Mail (anything you find in the Daily Mail these days is an immediate red flag that you need to be highly skeptical).

So who exactly is promoting this idea, what is the source?

Luckily not all of the media swallow every crackpot idea going without applying any critical thinking, and so the Washington Post quite effectively debunks this claim. They explain …

The ice age idea got rolling last week when researcher Valentina Zharkova, a professor of mathematics at Northumbria University in England, presented some of her recent research into solar variations at the Royal Astronomical Society’s National Astronomy Meeting in Wales. The presentation was based on a study she had published last year in the Astrophysical Journal, which presented a technique for understanding variations in solar radiation and made some predictions about how this radiation will change in the near future. Most notably, the research predicts that between 2030 and 2040, solar activity should drop significantly, leading to a condition known as a “solar minimum.”

… The reason, she says, is her belief that the sun is a bigger influence on earthly climate than the effects of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. “I am not convinced with the arguments of the group promoting global warming of an anthropogenic nature,” Zharkova says, adding that she would need to examine more research before she could take a clear stance on anthropogenic climate change

So basically …

  • She has a mathematical model that can be used to predict solar cycles and that model predicts that there will be a solar minimum in 2030-40
  • She is skeptical about everything proposed by climate change scientists, and instead “believes” (for no scientifically verified reason) that solar activity is the true cause of global warming, and also at the same time happily admits that she has not actually looked at any climate research.

So what do Climate Researchers think of this claim?

I suspect you can guess.

it isn’t being embraced by many climate scientists, who argue that anthropogenic global warming — brought on by a human outpouring of greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere — will far outweigh any climate effects that might be caused by the sun. As far as the solar variations go, “The effect is a drop in the bucket, a barely detectable blip, on the overall warming trajectory we can expect over the next several decades from greenhouse warming,” said Michael Mann, distinguished professor of meteorology at Pennsylvania State University, in an e-mail to The Washington Post.

Additionally, her “belief”, is not something that nobody has ever considered, and has actually been looked into quite extensively. In 2011 Georg Feulner, deputy chair of the Earth system analysis research domain at the Potsdam Institute on Climate Change Research, published a paper on this very topic that concludes …

The current exceptionally long minimum of solar activity has led to the suggestion that the Sun might experience a new grand minimum in the next decades, a prolonged period of low activity similar to the Maunder minimum in the late 17th century. The Maunder minimum is connected to the Little Ice Age, a time of markedly lower temperatures, in particular in the Northern hemisphere. Here we use a coupled climate model to explore the effect of a 21st‐century grand minimum on future global temperatures, finding a moderate temperature offset of no more than −0.3°C in the year 2100 relative to a scenario with solar activity similar to recent decades. This temperature decrease is much smaller than the warming expected from anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions by the end of the century

… and yes, while Ms Zharkova does indeed cite the mini ice-age in the 17th century as verification for her claim, it should also be noted that there is another 2011 paper that concludes that the cooling that took place then was very much down to volcanic activity and not solar activity.

In Summary

“Scientists Says” … (insert claim that is way outside a field of expertise) … and the media runs with it as “truth” because not only did a scientist say it, but it also makes a rather juicy headline.

Meanwhile, the scientists who are experts in this specific field examine the claim and do not find it to be credible.

In many ways this is perhaps not really an article about climate science at all, but is instead about the observation that many media outlets have dumped their science writers in order to cut costs, and so they end up promoting ideas that don’t really withstand any critical analysis.


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3 thoughts on “Will there be a Mini Ice age in 2030? … Nope.

  • Richard

    Critical thinking would involve having all of the supposed facts and then determining which if any of them have any bearing or truth in the argument before weighing judgement. You cite one article from the Immensely scientific and absolutely infallible Washington post which in turn cited one professor of meteorology (also known as “uneducated guessing” in scientific fields) and then decide to pick and choose what to print from Zharkovas research which btw was done with in conjunction with several “real” scientists in the field of astrophysics. There are several astrophysicists and geophysicists from MIT, Cambridge, NASA, Russian space federation, Australian astrophysicists etc. who have all come to the same conclusion as Zharkova independently, but you would have us listen to one meteorologist (the same class of scientist who struts around in a skirt on the weather channel) and claim his superior knowledge and scientific rigor. Skeptical science indeed… People should be skeptical of your pseudoscientific skepticism. Explain the last 20 years of global cooling. It was warmer between 1915 and 1940 than it is now, before man made effects could have been produced. And just because 2015 was the warmest year in the last decade doesn’t change the longstanding trend, with severe changes come severe swings.

    • Daniel

      //Immensely scientific and absolutely infallible Washington post which in turn cited one professor of meteorology (also known as “uneducated guessing” in scientific fields)

      Pseudoscience is when you use ad hominem like you did.

      //Zharkovas research which btw was done with in conjunction with several “real” scientists in the field of astrophysics

      Pseudoscience is when you use argument from authority like you did.

      //There are several astrophysicists and geophysicists from MIT, Cambridge, NASA, Russian space federation, Australian astrophysicists etc. who have all come to the same conclusion as Zharkova independently

      Pseudoscience is when you say that something a group of scientists say is true only because they are a group of scientists, not actually going through what they actually said, or even who are these scientists.

      //one meteorologist (the same class of scientist who struts around in a skirt on the weather channel)

      Pseudoscience is when you use ad hominen again and again.

      //It was warmer between 1915 and 1940 than it is now. Explain the last 20 years of global cooling.

      Pseudoscience is not stating your sources. I see no warmer temperature in this graph by NOAA: http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/service/global/global-land-ocean-mntp-anom/201401-201412.png

      Pseudoscience is pretending that weather and clima are the same thing, and questioning clima tendency because the weather is going up and down.

      Weather varies constantly while clima has a tendency. Weather goes up and down, but the overall tendency is unquestionable: Earth is warming up.

      Pseudoscience is look at this graph https://ourchangingclimate.files.wordpress.com/2010/03/global_temp_yearly_cherrypick.png

      Instead of looking at this one https://ourchangingclimate.files.wordpress.com/2010/03/global_temp_yearly_2.png

      And most of all, pseudoscience is making an unsubstantiated claim that a drop in the sun’s activity has more influence in Earth’s clima than greenhouse effect. You see, no one is questioning Zharkova’s model for predicting sun’s activity (or all these other scientists you claim reached the same conclusion). What is being said is that her leap to “that means Earth will cool down” is a non sequitur, because what influences clima the most is greenhouse effect.

      Just look at Venus. Mercury is closer to the sun but Venus is warmer. Why? Because of the greenhouse effect in Venus, which is absent in Mercury. And what causes this greenhouse effect in Venus? CO2. The same CO2 we are throwing everyday into Earth’s atmosphere.