James Marusek’s Little Ice Age Theory
By Paul Homewood
James Marusek has sent me his latest paper, Little Ice Age Theory.
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: