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James Marusek’s Little Ice Age Theory

June 3, 2016

By Paul Homewood






James Marusek has sent me his latest paper, Little Ice Age Theory.


Excerpts below:




The sun is undergoing a state change. It is possible that we may be at the cusp of the next Little Ice Age. For several centuries the relationship between periods of quiet sun and a prolonged brutal cold climate on Earth (referred to as Little Ice Ages) have been recognized. But the exact mechanisms behind this relationship have remained a mystery. We exist in an age of scientific enlightenment, equipped with modern tools to measure subtle changes with great precision. Therefore it is important to try and come to grips with these natural climatic drivers and mold the evolution of theories that describe the mechanisms behind Little Ice Ages.


The sun changes over time. There are decadal periods when the sun is very active magnetically, producing many sunspots. These periods are referred to as Solar Grand Maxima. And then there are periods when the sun is very weak producing few sunspot. These periods are called Solar Grand Minima. Solar Grand Minima correspond to dark cold glooming periods called Little Ice Ages. And there are states in-between. During most of the 20th century, the sun was in a Solar Grand Maxima. But that came to an abrupt end beginning in July 2000. The sun produced 6 massive explosions in rapid succession. Each of these explosions produced solar proton events with a proton flux greater than 10,000 pfu @ >10 MeV. These occurred in July 2000, November 2000, September 2001, two in November 2001, and a final one in October 2003. And there hasn’t been any of this magnitude since. Then the sun produced one of the weakest solar minimums since the Ap Index was first recorded (beginning in 1932). The current solar cycle (Solar Cycle 24) is very weak. Not quite weak enough to be called a Solar Grand Minima but very close. It is analogous to a period referred to as a ‘Dalton Minimum’.


As we transitioned from a Grand Solar Maxima, which typified the 20th century to a magnetically quiet solar period similar to a Dalton Minimum (~1798-1823 A.D.), it gave us the opportunity to observe the changes in solar parameters across this transition.


I propose two mechanisms primarily responsible for Little Ice Age climatic conditions. These two components are Cloud Theory and Wind Theory. At the core of Cloud Theory are galactic cosmic rays (GCRs) and at the core of Wind Theory are diamond dust ice crystals. During Little Ice Ages, there is an increase of low level clouds that cause a general global cooling and an alteration of the jet streams that drives cold air from upper latitudes deep into the mid latitude regions.


Little Ice Age conditions are defined not only by colder temperatures but also by a shift in the patterns of wind streams. They produce long-lasting locked wind stream patterns responsible for great floods and great droughts. They also affect the cycle of seasons producing great irregularity and crop failures. Altered wind streams impacts the development of massive storms and hurricanes. These Little Ice Age conditions in the past caused poor crop yields, famines, major epidemics, mass migration, war, and major political upheavals.




Solar Cycle Sunspots are dark spots that appear on the surface of the sun. They are the location of intense magnetic activity and they are the sites of very violent explosions that produce solar storms.


The sun goes through a cycle lasting approximately 11 years. It starts at a solar minimum when there are very few sunspots and builds to a solar maximum when hundreds of sunspots are present on the surface of the sun and then returns back to a solar quiet minimum. This cycle is called a solar cycle. We are currently within Solar Cycle 24, so named because it is the 24th consecutive cycle that astronomers have observed. The first documented cycle began in March 1755.


Some solar cycles produce a high number of sunspots. Other solar cycles produce low numbers. When a group of cycles occur together with high number of sunspots, this is referred to as a solar Grand Maxima. When a group of cycles occur with minimal sunspots, this is referred to as a solar Grand Minima. Usoskin details the reconstruction of solar activity during the Holocene period from 10,000 B.C. to the present.1 Refer to Figure 2. The red areas on the graph denote energetic solar Grand Maxima states. The blue areas denote quiet solar Grand Minima states.


The reconstructions indicate that the overall level of solar activity since the middle of the 20th century stands amongst the highest of the past 10,000 years. This time period was a very strong Grand Maxima. Typically these Grand Maxima’s are short-lived lasting in the order of 50 years. The reconstruction also reveals Grand Minima epochs of suppressed activity, of varying durations have occurred repeatedly over that time span. A solar Grand Minima is defined as a period when the (smoothed) sunspot number is less than 15 during at least two consecutive decades. The sun spends about 17 percent of the time in a Grand Minima state. Examples of recent extremely quiet solar Grand Minima are the Maunder Minimum (about 1645-1715 A.D.) and Spörer Minimum (about 1420-1570 A.D.)


Impact 2016 3 Figure 2. Sunspot activity throughout the Holocene. Blue and red areas denote grand minima and maxima, respectively. The entire series is spread out over two panels for better visibility.


The paper then goes on to discuss cloud and wind theories.

The link to the full paper is below:



  1. June 3, 2016 5:46 pm

    Consider also the length of a solar cycle. The average is said to be around 11.1 years, but in the last 100 years or so most cycles have been shorter.

    If it’s true that shorter cycles tend to have higher intensity and longer (> 11.1y) cycles tend to have lower intensity, then cycle 24 – which is widely expected to be quite a long one – could be the first of a new trend, offsetting (so to speak) the recent past trend which led to some warming.

    Various people have predicted that, but obviously until it happens – or not – it’s open to question.

  2. June 3, 2016 5:49 pm

    This covers similar ground:

    and provides a more coherent overview.

    • 00Le_Gin00 permalink
      June 3, 2016 6:28 pm

      The implication being that this paper doesn’t…?

      • June 3, 2016 6:34 pm

        I don’t think it does.
        Though the general gist of it is on the right track it doesn’t (IMHO) set out a logical train of causation and is overly complex with too many loose ends.

  3. June 3, 2016 5:57 pm

    Reblogged this on Tallbloke's Talkshop and commented:
    James Marusek’s paper says: I propose two mechanisms primarily responsible for Little Ice Age climatic conditions. These two components are Cloud Theory and Wind Theory.

    Thanks to Paul Homewood for bringing this to our attention.

  4. June 3, 2016 7:03 pm

    I really liked the article.

    The Grand Maxima of the 20th century looks like it got higher than everything but one period during the timespan covered by the graphs.

    CO2 or Grand Maxima? Looks like CO2 has a competitor for the cause of the warming we have seen.

    And now the Solar Maxima is going away, but the CO2 percentage keeps growing. That ought to tell us something in the future, depending on which way the temperature goes.

  5. Keitho permalink
    June 3, 2016 7:08 pm

    Do we need to put the warmists to the sword for denying us warmth?

    • June 3, 2016 7:36 pm

      No… just take away their blankets…. they won’t need them since it is is supposed to be warmer 🙂 and they shouldn’t mind…

  6. June 3, 2016 9:10 pm

    OK, read the paper.

    Good collection of history, and nice summary of atmospheric operation.

    I think they layer too much causality on one effect, ice crystals. Sure, they matter. Nice new idea to me. But many other things also matter. Lunar tidal slowing of the Gulf Stream being a big one. (Why while Europe froze, they list 2 giant hurricanes in the Caribbean. .. hurricanes need warm water. As the Gulf Stream flow slows, Europe freezes and Florida stays warm.)

    Also Stephen Wilde covers the mechanism of meridional flow formation with better causality attribution.

    I also found some of the causality on minor things a bit backward, like the polar vortex causing the the air flow to the poles when in fact it is the flow of the air that forms the vortex (it doesn’t just pop up from nothing). Hot equators and cold poles make more air flow makes strong vortex makes cold air outflows makes frozen winters makes… Things need a start, a causality chain, and a logical result. Two points do not make a causality chain… But nothing too bad.

    Overall, a nice paper, but a bit to focused on just one idea.

  7. June 3, 2016 9:51 pm

    Not lot of people know that an equation I wrote nearly 13 years ago (published January 8th 2004) predicted the SC24 peak amplitude accurately to the first decimal point (sounds like an ‘incredible coincidence’). Do remember that even 2-3 years later the NASA’s top experts were predicting strongest cycle ever.
    Wish to verify? you are welcome, all details are here

    • June 4, 2016 5:24 am

      Vuk, I remember your original formula also predicted a large cycle 24. Then when it was obviously going to be a low cycle your revised your formula. FAIL….

      • June 4, 2016 2:54 pm

        High Geoff
        Long time now, nice to hear from you.
        You may have as they say ‘misremembered’
        This link shows date of publication
        follow pdf link a bit further down on that page, you will also see that .pdf link shows 0401, denoting year (2004) and month (01) of publication.
        than follow what is said here:
        Have a nice weekend.

      • June 4, 2016 4:58 pm

        Hi again Geoff
        I can see you are not back, perhaps you realised your mistake, but when you do perhaps you would be so kind and acknowledge it.
        Dr. Svalgaard use to make similar comments, but ones he did go and verify, he went silent, after a bit of prodding he didn’t bother to apologise, just commented:
        “you could be right but for wrong reason”.
        I hope you will not need any ‘prodding’ but go strait to the document, check the facts and report back, rather than rely on fading memory.

  8. dearieme permalink
    June 3, 2016 11:31 pm

    But the Global Warmmongers already espouse Cloudy Theory and Windy Theory.

    • Mjw permalink
      June 4, 2016 11:25 pm

      Reading between the lines are you suggesting their thinking is cloudy and they issue nothing but wind.

  9. June 4, 2016 3:21 am

    An interesting essay, but perhaps some more meat on the bones needed. The diamond dust idea needs to be backed up with some solid published literature.

    My comments to follow in multiple parts:

    The current solar cycle (Solar Cycle 24) is very weak. Not quite weak enough to be called a Solar Grand Minima but very close. It is analogous to a period referred to as a ‘Dalton Minimum’.

    Two things, don’t make the same mistake as Usoskin et al, their graph has grand minima too low and needs to be re scaled to include Dalton type events.

    And SC5 during the Dalton was measured differently to how it is done today. If we use a similar method as Wolf used SC24 looks lower than SC5.

    The new Svalgaard review of the current counting method tries to fix some of the shortfall, but fails to fully allow for the Waldmeier discontinuation.

  10. Graham Naisbitt permalink
    June 4, 2016 9:17 am

    Professor James Lovelock, author of Gaia, on Wind Turbines…. “they are almost useless as a source of energy. It would take 1,000 square miles of countryside to provide enough land for a 1 gigawatt wind-energy source. The wind blows only 25 per cent of the time at the right speed to generate electricity; therefore this monster would need the back-up of a near full-sized fossil fuel power station to supply electricity whenever the wind blew too much or too little.”

    “A wind farm of twenty 1 MW turbines requires over 10,000 tonnes of concrete. It would require 200 of these wind farms covering an area the size of Dartmoor to equal the constant power output of a single coal-fired or nuclear power station. Even more absurd, a full-sized nuclear or coal-fired power station would have to be built for each of these monster wind farms to back up the turbines for the 75 per cent of time when the wind was either too high or too low. As if this were not enough to damn wind energy, the construction of a 1 GW wind farm would use a quantity of concrete, 2 million tons, sufficient to build a town to 100,000 people living in 30,000 homes; making and using that quantity of concrete would release about 1 million tons of carbon dioxide into the air.”

    In my own view, we no longer have Government, we have management and, that being the case, we require professional managers to run the country, not politicians devoid of joined-up thinking.

  11. carbonclarity permalink
    June 4, 2016 9:19 am

    How does this relate to Piers Corbyn’s ideas at Weather Action? His solar-lunar theory also links changes in solar activity and planetary configurations to climate, and says that we are entering another little ice age. Incidentally, I have found his predictions have had mixed success, but sufficiently right on many occasions to be impressive (to the point that I have paid money as a subscriber). There are not many other people who actually make money from being a climate sceptic.

  12. Jack Dawkins permalink
    June 4, 2016 10:16 am

    This paper confirms what Piers Corbyn at has been basing his (pretty accurate) forecasts on for some time.

    From Piers’ website:

    “The Models used by the Met Office and UN’s Climate Committee (the IPCC) show CO2 levels have no effect on the Jet Stream or extremes which come from the Wild Jet stream changes they fail to predict.

    It is standard meteorology that the recent wild weather extremes and contrasts follow from the wild Jet Stream behaviour.

    Wild Jet Stream (Mini-Ice-Age) behaviout was and is regularly predicted by Piers Corbyn’s Solar-Lunar approach and is nothing to do with CO2.”

  13. June 6, 2016 11:09 pm

    My memory is good Vuk, and perhaps around longer than most here. Your 2004 paper makes no reference to SC24. I remember clearly your equation in the forums at the time before SC24 was about to begin predicting a high cycle for SC24. Then you discovered an “error” in your formula and revised it when it was obvious that SC24 was going to be low. I usually don’t agree too much with Svalgaard, but he is right on this occasion. Your equation is meaningless and just an exercise in curve fitting (that doesn’t fit too well).

    If your equation was good it would pick up the timing and depth of all grand minima across the Holocene (as the Neptune, Uranus, Saturn and Jupiter model does). Until that time comes you are just wasting all of our time propping up your own ego.

    On another issue, there is no point comparing your changed prediction to the SILSO sunspot count for SC24. Even the Svalgaard revision is too high and does not allow enough for the Waldmeier Discontinuation. The revised SC24 count only has a “discount” of around 12% where is should be closer to 20% to allow for the Waldmeier error.

    • June 7, 2016 2:37 pm

      to put it politely, you are making-up few things there.
      Before the paper was finally published, it was rejected at least couple of times, it contained clear references to Jupiter-Saturn orbital details as well as extrapolations to 2050, for each of three graphs. Eventually, I decided to email details to solar scientist Dr. Joan Feynman (yes, sister of Richard, and we still occasionally exchange emails) of NASA-JPL who offered useful and detailed advise on publishing.
      All references to planetary orbits and the extrapolations to future cycles contradicting the NASA’s and consensus view at the time, were dropped, and hey-presto the paper got published.
      Once paper was published it was ‘cast in stone’ nothing could be altered (paper was published in 2004, the SC24 started in 2009), despite bogus claim you repeated.

      Currently updated graph with SC24 data shows both the old Wolf and the new Svalgaard SSN, whether we like it or not the new SILSO data is a now accepted international standard.
      Geoff, what you may remember or may not remember or for that mater anyone’s sour grapes, are none of my business, the facts are in the paper itself, and that is the only thing that counts. I had enough of similar nonsense from Dr, Svalgaard since 2008, but even he had to admit defeat, and didn’t dispute my claim in the last couple of years, including my most recent post from only few days ago
      but he still does ‘troll’ my comments regularly, as anyone can see from the above WUWT thread.
      I wish you all success in whatever you are doing, but sadly here and now we part our ways.

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