By Ghost of John Brown -
I've been threatening to move to Texas for the last couple of years, a thought that excites some of my critics no doubt. Sure they have lower taxes and the business environment is better, and while those are compelling reasons, the one thing that Texas has over Illinois is zero chance of glaciers any time soon. While I'm not actually predicting glaciers, it is hard not to believe that if you are going to stay here in Illinois, or at least northern Illinois, investment in a snow-blower would be a wise decision. This time at least, it isn't Mike Madigan's fault - it's the sun.
Our sun, like many other things, works on cycles - a point that most computer models don't deal with very well. While few truly understand why, our sun works on a 22 year solar cycle. The solar cycle can be observed by viewing the number of sun spots. Fortunately for us, centuries ago, astronomers first in the far east and then in Europe starting paying attention to sun spots and recording their presence, so we have an idea of the cycle and historic implications. Basically, the higher number of sun spots, the higher irradiance (think energy) coming from the sun. Even though Al Gore would like you to believe that the tail pipe of your SUV causes the planet to heat up, it is actually this big ball of fire in the sky which is the real culprit.
Side note: Ever wonder how big the sun is compared to the earth? If you pretended that the earth was a marble and you had a marble bag the size of the sun, you could fit approximately 960,000 earth's inside the sun.
Back to the solar cycle. Currently, we are in Solar Cycle 24. Most estimates say that the peak of Solar Cycle 24 will occur in either 2012 or 2013, so get all the warmth you can bask in while you can. That will put the peak of Solar Cycle 25 approximately in 2025. Here is the rub. We can fairly accurately predict the next Solar Cycle, and if the estimates of the next Solar Cycle is correct, it will be the weakest in centuries.
Within the sun, there is what's called the Great Conveyor Belt, which is a circulating current of hot plasma. The rate of movement of the Great Conveyor Belt forecasts the sun spot activity in the next Solar Cycle. The trouble is that the Conveyor Belt has slowed to, pardon the pun, glacial speeds.
If the predictions, which have been made by three separate investigative teams pan out to be correct, the amplitude of Solar Cycle 25 will be the lowest in centuries, or almost non-existent. So how does that relate to global temperatures? See the image below:
Source - Watt's up with That.
As you can see from the graph above, the amplitude of Solar Cycles corresponds with significant events in our history. The Little Ice Age was a period of time when temperatures across the northern hemisphere plunged. The Little Ice age corresponded with the Irish Potato Famine and the River Thames in London freezing over.
For more information, click here for an excellent article from the Daily Mail in the UK.
So much for rising oceans and polar bears dying off. If the predictions are true, you folks that decide to stay behind here in Illinois could have your own polar bear for a pet.
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