The Latest on the Double-Dynamo Solar Model, and Dr. Zharkova’s Predictions of a Grand Minimum by Stephanie Osborne


The Latest on the Double-Dynamo Solar Model, and Dr. Zharkova’s Predictions of a Grand Minimum By Stephanie Osborn


A couple of weeks back, Michael Z. Williamson tagged me on Facebook with a link to a poorly-explained article ( ) discussing Dr. Valentina Zharkova’s latest presentation for the Global Warming Policy Foundation, a more balanced climate-discussion group. Unfortunately, there were many misconceptions in the original report, and it was confusing and frightening a great many people (e.g. the report claimed that she said the next extended minimum would run 400 years instead of about 30). So here’s a link to JUST her presentation: As a consequence of all the confusion, however, I made an offer to dig through her most recent work and try to properly explain what Zharkova was proposing. This is essentially that explanation.

Dr. Zharkova et al. are responsible for the new double-dynamo model of solar activity that came out in 2015. That basic model alone was excellently done, replicating some 97% of what was seen in the actual solar cycle data. Unfortunately, it failed at that remaining 3%, and that included a good many of the extended minima in recorded solar history. In the intervening couple of years, it seems she has been hard at work expanding on the model. Here’s one of the intervening papers, where her team adds onto the original model (which I’d said at the time needed doing, to more adequately pick up on the extended minima):

Now Dr. Zharkova has come out with more information and an enhanced solar dynamo model. Her team proposed the aforementioned double-dynamo solar model back in 2015, a model which contained one dynamo in the upper layers of the Sun, and another in the deeper layers. Each one of these was a basic magnetic dipole, but we knew at the time it was not a perfect fit to observations, and I remember discussions in which I said it was good, but there would be more components needed before the model would adequately ‘predict’ all the known extended solar minima. Zharkova has now done so, by incorporating an additional quadrupole magnetic component, likely arising out of the Coriolis-affected convection currents within the Sun, which would generate a kind of toroidal (doughnut-shaped) structure in the convection zone. This updated model now predicts extended minima rather well, and it is becoming obvious that there are several periodicities of variability, which sometimes ‘interfere’ constructively, and sometimes destructively, generating ‘beat’ modes. It is during the destructive interference that the extended minima occur.

There have been many periodicities suggested over the years, but Zharkova’s research confirms what appear to be three principal periods. They are as follows:

  • The standard magnetic cycle = ~22 yrs;
  • The Gleissberg cycle = ~90-110 yrs, avg. 100 yrs;
  • The ‘Grand’ cycle = ~350-400 yrs.

(NOTE: the typical 11-year sunspot cycle is actually only half of the full cycle; sunspots are magnetic and usually dipolar in nature. They often occur in pairs, with one spot the north pole, the other the south; even when only a single spot occurs, one side will be N, the other S. The polarity is reversed in the southern hemisphere relative to the northern, and at the end of a single sunspot cycle, the sunspot polarity – as well as that of the whole Sun – flips, often in a very convoluted fashion. It therefore takes two full sunspot cycles before the magnetic field is back in the same orientation, and thus the true period is 22 years.)

As for a quick explanation of quadrupoles, it’s a hard concept to grasp for anybody, even people trained in the subject. But FWIW, let’s try this, by way of building an image for you:

The Earth’s magnetic field is a dipole — two poles, N/S. This is because Earth is largely a rigid body. You got a semi-solid nickel-iron core that’s already magnetized and rotating, so you get a dipole, and that’s just sorta the way it falls out — hard and fast and simple. Big bar magnet.

The Sun, on the other hand, is a big ball of plasma, rotating on its axis. Now ‘plasma’ is just a fancy way of saying ‘ionized gas.’ Which means that it is effectively a current, since it’s rotating. And currents generate magnetic fields.

BUT, because it’s NOT a rigid body, each one of those gas particles follows Kepler’s Laws of orbital motion independently of all the other gas particles, resulting in something scientists call “differential rotation.” This means that the particles deep inside don’t rotate at the same speed as those near the “surface,” and the particles near the poles don’t rotate at the same speed as those near the equator.

This in turn means that those magnetic fields get all hosed up pretty quick. In fact, a simple way of explaining a sunspot is that they’re “snarls” in the magnetic field lines that have gradually worked their way to the surface.

So if you think of all those snarled lines of magnetic force, and realize that one end of each line is a N pole and the other end of each line is a S pole, then you can have a lotta ends, and a lotta poles.

Anyway, here’s a link to the Wikipedia article, which has some relatively easy-to-grasp images:

So. Back to the overall solar model. Two dipole dynamos, and a quadrupole toroidal component.

This means that we have two slightly out-of-phase dipole dynamos, with periods around 22 years (but they do not have the SAME periods, which means that they slowly move in and out of phase over time, like windshield wiper blades that are out of synch), PLUS a quadrupole wave arising from the inner dipole dynamo (and the Coriolis’ed convection current gyres coming from it) generating a roughly 100-year periodicity. Combining the beat effect from these three results in the ‘Grand’ period of ~350-400 yrs.

Zharkova’s model is supported not only by sunspot numbers and solar activity, but by other solar-studies fields: magnetohydrodynamics and helioseismology. In fact, the resulting data plots from these fields are so close to Zharkova’s model predictions, that the model could as well be based on either of those. So this model is not functioning in isolation from related science, but is in fact harmonizing quite well with it.

The Dalton extended minimum (1790-1830) is evidently an example of a Gleissberg minimum, while the deep and protracted Maunder minimum (1645-1715) was the previous ‘Grand’ minimum. It has been roughly 350 years since the onset of the Maunder minimum, and a bit over 200 years since the Dalton minimum began. Zharkova et al. also noted a moderate Gleissberg minimum in the earliest part of the 20th century, as well, so the periodicity for that cycle seems to be holding.

The gist of the matter is that all three main cycles are entering minimum phase, beginning with the end of this current solar cycle (Cycle 24). Cycle 25 will be even lower than 24, with 26 being very nearly flat-lined. Cycle 27 will begin to show a few signs of life, then there will be a gradual rise to full activity over several more solar cycles, even as the last three cycles have slowly decreased in levels. This means that the bottom of the extended, or ‘Grand’ minimum (to use Zharkova’s terminology), should run from ~2020 to ~2053. (NO, it will NOT last 400 years like some are reporting – that is the overall length of the Grand cycle, not the predicted length of the minimum.)

In terms of atmospheric interaction, certainly the majority of the solar radiation peaks in the visible range, and that changes little, and the atmosphere is largely transparent to it. Once it strikes a solid object, however, the photon’s energy is absorbed, and later re-radiated as infrared (IR), which the atmosphere largely blocks (at least in certain frequency windows), so it does not all radiate off into space at night. This is why things like rocks and masonry tend to feel warmer at night, and what helps drive the trade winds along shorelines – the temperature differential arising from the differing light absorption/IR re-radiation of water versus land.

But it turns out that, unlike visible light, higher-energy photons have a fairly strong correlation with the solar cycle; this includes ultraviolet (UV) and X-ray, most notably extreme UV or EUV, which borders the X-ray regime. Much of this photonic radiation is generated in the inner solar corona, because the corona’s activity strongly follows overall solar activity; much of the rest is produced during solar flares – which are PART OF solar activity. More, unlike visible light, this frequency regime is ENTIRELY absorbed in the upper atmosphere (exosphere, thermosphere, ionosphere). So during high solar activity, the EUV and X-ray radiation hitting Earth has 100% of its energy injected into the atmosphere. During low solar activity, there is considerably less energy from this high-frequency regime being injected into the atmosphere – according to NASA research I dug up in the course of researching her papers and presentation, it may completely bottom out – as in, essentially zero energy from EUV etc.

But that isn’t the only way this might affect Earth’s atmosphere. It turns out that the solar wind/corona effects shield the inner solar system from cosmic rays, which are very high energy particles coming in from cosmological sources, such as supernovae, quasars, pulsars, etc. As solar activity diminishes, the solar wind decreases in effect, and the cosmic ray flux (‘flux’ is a measure of number of units per square area, e.g. number of cosmic ray particles per square meter) increases. BUT we know that cosmic rays tend to hit atmosphere and ‘cascade’ – generate a shower of particles, rather like a branching domino effect – and this, in turn, tends to create condensation nuclei around which clouds can form. (In fact, our first cosmic ray detectors were so-called ‘cloud chambers’ where the formation of condensation clouds depicts the track of the particle.) As a result, increasing cosmic ray fluxes are apt to generate increased cloud cover; increased cloud cover will then block visible light from reaching Earth’s surface and adding energy to the overall system. And cosmic ray flux can vary by as much as 50% with solar variation.

Well, then. So. What effects are being seen as a result of these two items?

Well, the undeniable INCREASE in cosmic ray flux has been followed for some years. And it’s pretty much worldwide. (

And the outer layers of the atmosphere have already cooled, according to researchers at NASA’s Langley Research Center. ( (Original journal article: According to Langley researchers, we are on the verge of seeing “a Space Age record” for a cold thermosphere (though possibly they don’t expect it to be connected to the rest of the atmosphere, according to some reports?).

So far, Zharkova appears to be batting 1.000.

According to her research of the correlation with the Maunder minimum (the previous Grand minimum), temperatures dropped by about 0.1%, or about 1.3°C, or some 2.34°F. Granted, the Maunder minimum lasted about 70-80 years, as opposed to the estimated 30-some-odd that Zharkova is predicting, so it might not be THAT deep a delta. But if it really drops a significant amount (and remember, we’ve had that annoying ‘warming plateau’ going on through the last couple of solar cycles, which cycles have been steadily decreasing in activity; certain groups want really bad for THAT to go away), then it WILL still be noticeable. And possibly unpleasant.

There’s one other factor that she looks at in her presentation, that isn’t related to the dynamos inside the Sun but DOES affect the solar irradiance (power per unit area coming from the Sun). The irradiance is following the Zharkova team’s curves, regardless of what the human civilization does – it’s falling out completely separately. And it is varying.

NOTE: solar irradiance used to be called the ‘solar constant.’ But astronomers discovered it was NOT constant, and stopped using the term. Climate models often still use it, however, and do not take into account the variability of the solar irradiance, which is small, but distinct and measurable. Instead, they use a fixed value – a true constant. So of course their models do not have any effects of solar variability.

That ‘other factor’ which affects solar irradiance is what might be termed ‘barycentric wobble,’ and appears to be one of the things confusing many of the reporters, who are interpreting it as a change in orbit of either the Earth or the Sun…when it is neither.

See, one of the ways we look for exoplanets in other stellar systems is to look for the very small wobble in proper motion (aka movement through the galaxy) of the star, which is caused by the gravitational tug of the orbiting planet(s). And our planets do the same thing to the Sun. (The barycenter is the effective center of mass of two co-orbiting objects – a binary system – and it is the point about which those objects orbit, no matter how big the objects. The barycenter itself remains essentially stationary relative to the objects, however; in the case of a translating system, the barycenter travels in a straight line, with the objects orbiting around it.) In the case of most of the inner planets, the barycenter lies deep inside the Sun. But Jupiter is massive enough that the barycenter lies roughly 50,000km (~31,000mi) above the photosphere, and the other gas giant planets would have barycenters with the Sun that are substantially displaced from the center of the Sun, too. So the Sun has a reasonably-sized ‘wobble,’ and this movement can bring it marginally closer to Earth at certain points in the orbit.

As a consequence, if in orbiting the barycenter, the Sun moves closer to Earth’s perihelion (closest approach to the Sun in our elliptical orbit), then we would expect to be ever so slightly warmer near perihelion, and cooler near aphelion (farthest distance from the Sun in orbit). It so happens that the perihelion occurs about 2 weeks after the Northern Hemisphere winter solstice, and aphelion occurs about 2 weeks after the Northern Hemisphere summer solstice. This would mean that the Northern Hemisphere’s summers would be marginally warmer than ‘normal,’ and likewise the Southern Hemisphere’s winters would be marginally less cold. Six months later, the Northern Hemisphere’s winters would be slightly cooler, and the Southern Hemisphere’s summers would also be slightly less hot. Then, as the wobble finishes its cycle, the Sun would move away from the perihelion region and closer to the aphelion region, and the opposite would occur. And this is all a function of orbital mechanics, and has nothing to do at all with anything humanity may or may not do. It is not a large factor, and it is vastly outweighed by the overall magnetic cycle variability (it’s something like only 0.05 times the magnetic cycle variability effects), but it is there, and it is apparently showing up in the irradiance data.

This is NOT, let me reiterate, a change in Earth’s orbit, nor is it a change in the Sun’s motion – this has been going on ever since the solar system has been here. But we are only now getting good enough with our observations and modeling to observe its effects and take them into account.

Zharkova indicates she is not done with the dynamo model; she intends to continue refining it, adding terms to the mathematical model as needed as she and her team explore additional non-visible light regimes (notably X-ray, gamma ray, infrared, microwave, and radio). This will likely result in an excellent solar activity predictive tool. It all makes a great deal of sense to me, and it is the first time that a model has ever accurately predicted such long-range activity. I plan on catching up on her publications to this point, and keeping an eye out for future papers updating the model; I fully expect that she is onto something very important. I’m looking forward to seeing what she comes up with next.


(For background information on solar activity and its variability, which is the basis of this little guest blog, let me recommend an ebook I wrote a couple of years ago, called The Weather Out There Is Frightful: )


~ Stephanie Osborn


250 thoughts on “The Latest on the Double-Dynamo Solar Model, and Dr. Zharkova’s Predictions of a Grand Minimum by Stephanie Osborne

  1. From an old comment over at Ace’s place:

    If only there were some… natural explanation for falling and rising temperatures.

    Such a hypothetical source of warming would have to be massive, however. On the order of magnitude of our own Sun.

  2. Good post.
    It provides a much clearer explanation of this solar modeling than the previous article.
    Straightforward and without any hype. I like it.
    I wish other science reporting was this well done.

    1. Thank you. I worked really hard on this one, digging into Zharkova’s recent papers, her hour-and-a-half-long presentation, and such like, to grasp the concepts and compile this particular explanation.

      1. Thanks. I was just wondering what your thoughts were on this the other day. Might have been Ice Age Now it or WUWT, her work was mentioned (it was the panicked 400 years of cold, so if not an IAN post, a wuwt commenter). I knew you would have a clearer picture for us.
        That said, this is not happy making.

        1. I have gathered that the owner of WUWT has issues with her, so it was most likely not there. I was offered a guest blog there by one of the webadmins, and in fact submitted one, but the owner refused it due to that. I thought that was a bit silly; you may not like her personally, but as far as I can see, her science is definitely worth sitting up and taking notice of.

          1. I sorta recall that. That’s why I think it was a commenter, if it was there I saw it. IAN is a bit too Chicken Little to often. But one can sort wheat from chaff.

            1. I was seriously considering going back to Alaska, where I was raised and still have a lot of family. Makes me glad I decided on Kentucky instead, even if it’s not going to be as warm here as I thought.

              1. Well, that would depend on where in Alaska. Far south should still be not so bad in that Pacific Northwest rain forest kinda way. Nome or Fairbanks, on the other hand . . .

                1. My family is mostly in Tok; I was raised just outside of Delta Junction. Went to college in Sitka, and considered buying property outside of Wrangell, but would have needed a boat to get around and youngest autistic daughter isn’t afraid of water and can’t swim (not that anyone can swim for long in water that cold).

                  1. Spent the summer of ’89 shuttling between DJ & Tok chasing forest fires (well, OK, the helicopter upon which I was working as a mechanic did, I pretty much hung out around the airfields). Great country & good people but I wouldn’t want to ‘winter over’, and I grew up in Minnesota . . .

                    1. Believe it or not, the winters aren’t really that bad as long as you are prepared (proper shelter and clothing). But I was getting a little tired of seven months of snow on the ground. I like to be able to grow things. And I wasn’t too thrilled with getting eaten alive by mosquitoes, white soxs, no-see-ums, and black flies during the best of the good weather, either. There wasn’t much of the year when you could be outside working in the garden without wearing bug dope.

                    2. Oh, yeah, proper clothing, etc. can prepare you for the cold; it’s the many hours of darkness in mid-winter that would likely do me in. When I was a Tad I read London & Service and had visions of going to Alaska and carving my own empire out of the wilderness. Then I went and got citified. The fella who ran the fire camp in DJ had done that, and invited my pilot & me out for dinner at his place a couple of times. ‘Course his team of trusty Huskies was a VW minibus* and his axe, saw, and adze were mostly chainsaws and Honda generator-powered tools, but the idea was much the same and hat’s off to him. Just not, by choice, for me anymore.

                      *Yes, actually he *did* also have a team of Huskies.

      2. Stephanie are you part of the plasma cosmology group who says the big bang never happened, and plasma filaments and currents can explain a lot of cosmology and astronomy phenomenon?

  3. Thank you. I’ve been following this from the historical climatology side since the early 2000s, and this clarifies some things.

    1. I hear you. I’ve been following it for a very long time, too — several decades. My graduate work was in spotted variable stars, so it kind of slides right in there.

      1. I believe this is the most sexy thing I’ve ever read on the internet. The “spotted variable stars” part not the potential innuendo.

  4. A very lucid explanation. Unfortunately, it doesn’t answer one big question I have about AGW skepticism: If warming is not happening, then why am I seeing evidence that it is?

    Mind you, I’m not talking about the studies of ice cores and tree rings and whatnot that the AGW disciples love to spew. I’m talking about everyday evidence that anyone can see, such as birds and animals – especially birds! – changing their range in a way that is consistent with a general warming of climate. Any New England birder can tell you that some southern birds that were never seen here thirty years ago are now common, while some birds that were once common are now worth writing home about, because they don’t usually come this far south anymore.

    I don’t accept the AGW doomsday scenarios myself… but the birds are telling me that something is going on with climate, and it looks much more like warming than like cooling.

    1. The general AGW skeptic position is “warming is happening, but mankind’s CO2 contributions are having only a minimal effect, and it’s not warming as fast as the climate models are predicting it would”. So the birds changing their range, etc., is perfectly in line with what the AGW skeptic position would predict.

      (There’s another factor that goes into this sometimes, which is “… but warming isn’t happening as fast as they tell you it is”. This gets into the urban heat island effect, and how many climate stations are located near built-up areas and are thus measuring higher temps than the real global average. That one explains why surface temperature measurements show greater warming than measurements in the upper atmosphere.)

      1. Much this. Realize that the “in-betweens” of the extended minima, if we assume there is causation connecting solar activity to terrestrial atm (as there almost certainly HAS to be, given we are already seeing the atm effects, as stated), then we assume cooling during/around the extended minima, so there has to be warming coming out of.

        In fact, Zharkova’s own charts depicted things like the Roman Warming Period, the Medieval Warming Period, the Modern Warm Period, and more.

        Personally, I’m seeing those animal patterns starting to change back, though…

        1. Anecdata: tomato season is getting shorter and people are having to plant northern hybrids for sweet corn and tomatoes down here. We’re not down to 90 day corn, but there are some adjustments being made for fewer heating-degree days. This has been a multi year process, going back 4-5 years or so.

      2. Six potential issues that would have to be addressed in order to start persuading AGW skeptics.
        1. AGW policy recommendations do not match a realistic assessment of actions necessary if human specific CO2 emissions absolutely have to be reduced. It is more practically feasible for the first world to exterminate the second and third than the reverse. Ergo, doing the death and misery impact analysis from economic harm of policies eventually suggests exterminating the populations of India and China.
        2. Part of the relevant engineering (the appropriate field for impacts on human welfare) problem solving process is a tradeoff of making simplifying assumptions to model unsolveably complex real world phenomena that do not lose essential details. Crude assumptions may be valid when trying to predict a crude detail or a moderate detail crudely. Humans are a relatively fine subtle detail, and AGW models appear to use some very crude assumptions.
        3. Where this sort of modeling is concern, both the assumptions and models need to be audited by outside eyes. Yes, large datasets, but validity cannot simply be assumed. Refusal to retain and turn over data is a legitimate warning sign.
        4. At this scale, with the appropriate level of crudity assumed for temperature, temperature measurements for even current temperatures might be less temperature measurement and more temperature statistical approximation even for current temperatures. This means that historical temperature data must be statistically valid, and the errors limit the fineness of valid predictions. .1 degrees per year may be LOL. (This is before pedantry about interior of the earth, and definitions of surface. Atmosphere necessarily has the least thermal ‘inertia’. Water has much more, and there is a lot of it. We don’t exactly have a lot of historical temperature data for water far beneath the earth.)
        5. Stephanie has covered the solar assumptions.
        6. The climate models seem like they should be using numerical schemes to solve Navier-Stokes. Over in engineering, this is CFD and is in the process of replacing some very expensive experimental work. But those are applications with a lot of similar experimental work. It seems like it might be very difficult to do a lot of experimental work duplicating the geometry and gravity field of an atmosphere. Absent that work, well, there is a lot of fluid mechanics theory that is fairly young. When you’ve looked at how recently Prandtl established boundary layer theory, or how significant some of the solutions published in the 1960s are, you are open to the possibility that we have missed a trick.

        1. One other element. Any forecast that relies on multi-decadal economic forecasts cannot be taken seriously. Even short term economic forecasts are of limited utility, long range forecasts are a joke. As an example, I received a copy of Daniel Yergin’s “Energy Future” (or something like that title), as a graduation gift in 1976. The forecasts of the state of energy markets even a decade later are no where near reality – the estimates of what they would be like today read like alternative history. The proposed methodology for shale oil extraction in the 70s was “in situ” (as opposed to mining the stuff like oil sands) which can be loosely described as burning some of the trapped oil to break up the shale structure and allow for extraction. The costs were almost an order of magnitude higher than hydraulic fracturing. The errors go on and on.

          Coming of age during the oil crisis of the late 70s has convinced me of the utter worthlessness of this kind of long-range “visionary” forecasting. I debated energy policy in high school, so I spent a lot of time researching and talking about public policy solutions to the impending global oil shortages that NEVER HAPPENED. What happened in stead were the emergence of any number of technologies that no one at the time even realized were possible, while demand changed in ways no one predicted.

          in reality, we have no idea what large chunks of our economy are going to look like in 2050, much less 2100. A little humility is called for please – we cannot solve our grandchildren’s problems, we don’t even know what they will be. Let’s just do the best we can to pass on a functioning economy and leave them to do the same.

        2. 7) The practice of “norming” recorded historical data with the model, and then deliberately destroying the original dataset, is not something that inspires or bespeaks confidence.

          8) There’s a good reason that Dr. Mann is so litigious with respect to people calling him a fraud.
          His first published paper was on how tree rings make a poor proxy for paleotemperature, because increasing temperature or increasing levels of CO2 both tend to expressed the same way in tree growth.
          Then he made his famous hockey stick graph, where he used tree ring data as a proxy to argue that global warming was directly tied to increasing levels of atmospheric CO2.
          Even setting aside justified criticisms of cherry picking (2 trees? Really?) and statistical analysis (plugging a random number generator into his formula caused a logarithmic plot on over half of iterations) it’s not a good look.

          1. (7 is why I cached my data sets when I bought them and have a disclaimer in my non-fiction book about reproducibility with the currently available data. I will send my copies to anyone who wants one, but I have yet to be asked.

    2. I was reading someone’s comment recently that the area where citrus can be grown in Florida has moved significantly south from where it used to be (clear up to the Georgia coast at one time). That might be an indicator of things going in the other direction.

      1. Oh yes, and given that for many years my husband and I regularly drove down to Orlando to vacay, I can state this for a fact. There used to be many and massive citrus groves in central Florida, and the Florida Turnpike from Ocala to Orlando drove through the middle of them. Then the “warming plateau” started, and Florida started to get hard freezes that extended well down the peninsula. Now every one of those citrus groves along the Turnpike has vanished, or if not vanished, been essentially abandoned to the wild, because it became unprofitable to risk growing citrus fruit “so far north.” Many were outrightly cut down; sometimes the piping for the water sprays (used not only to water the crops, but to spray freezing water on the fruit to protect it from freezing TOO hard) were removed, and sometimes you can still see them standing in empty fields. Meanwhile, I saw lots of active groves on several jaunts into south Florida.

          1. Yes, and my friends in south Florida were complaining about the “cold” weather the last few nights, as well. Not freezing, not down there, but I have been down there when light jackets were needed, yes. (I usually went in February, FWIW. This is a bit early for it. Heck, it’s a bit early for it here in north Alabama where I live. But we’re having it.)

            1. In fairness, “light jacket” weather in Florida usually happens when the temperature plummets below 70.

              1. When I was in the MN National Guard, every February I’d hop a C-130 to Fla. for a long weekend. Heading to the beach in shorts, t-shirt and flip-flops, I’d get some very strange looks from the locals wrapped up in their parkas (OK, stretching just a leeetle bit . . .).

                1. 22 years ago took kid to Disney World & drove over to Kennedy* (hey if one is flying in from Oregon, one takes in as much as possible). Weather was “horrible”, if pouring rain/wind, in the mid-70’s, was horrible. Think we might have had on light vests (very light, & just me – not into wet t-shirts in public, just saying), but other than that ran around shorts & sandals. Got a bit chilly where the Kennedy tour bus stopped for us tourists to see the Atlantic … even the alligators were hiding out.

                  * The “Rocket Gardens” have a number of smaller unmanned space rockets, some built by General Dynamics, that hubby’s dad worked on.

                  1. Up here in HSV, we call it the rocket park, ’cause we have one too.

                    And I may remember that year; the hubby and I call it “The year El Nino Came to DisneyWorld.” We were there in December, and it was cold and wet. We had to wear coats with slicker ponchos over top of them, and the parks had knit gloves and headbands available for sale. There were several years running, there, that we had cold wet visits. (For some years, before I retired, we did Disney during the Christmas season as part of our personal celebrations. Now we can’t really afford the time or the money, and my handicap has grown severe enough to make it hard for me to get around without renting a scooter, which makes it even more pricey.) The bad thing about it was, it was so humid that even if you wore a poncho, you tended to get condensation underneath it, so you were wet — or at least very damp — even so…and then you got cold, ’cause your clothes and skin were damp. One year it was so bad, I swore my skin was growing fungi. (Not really, but it felt like it oughta be.)

                    1. …But when we went, it was a lot colder than low 70s. If memory serves, I think the temps were closer to a high in the 50s. And windy. Which also meant that the temps first thing in the mornings and last thing at night, were in the 40s, or at least around 50. It was not really that much warmer than it was back home, and it was a lot wetter.

                    2. Yes. The humidity. We got off the plane, just had rained, but it wasn’t just then, temp supposedly 70 … we felt like we were walking into a wall … we’re from Oregon …

                      100% Humidity – it’s called rain & temp won’t go above maybe 65; maybe …
                      90 – 98% Humidity – well it happens. It’ll be “oh … it is 50 or 60’s & feels like 70”.
                      More like, when actually hot, 110 feels like 110, at least it is a dry heat.

                      I remember the first time I heard “Heat Index”. My response was “WTH is that?” Chill factor I know & understand but Heat Index? FWIW my introduction was such that I will never forget it.

            2. Back in my HS days our band marched in the Orange Bowl parade. One of the pre-parade events we had snow in the stands of the field competition we participated in. Winter of ’83-’84 when the hair on fire enviromentalists had just shut up about the coming ice age.

          2. I live on the East side of Orlando. As far as I can tell, the temp only got down to 39F where I live. I haven’t heard any reports of frost anywhere in the immediate area. I did hear they were forecasting for frost a ways further north from Orlando though.

          3. Meanwhile, up here in central MN, we’ve only bumped up to a high of 32ºF here maybe twice in the past two or three weeks. They’re promising highs up in the mid 30s over the weekend, but they’ve promised such before, too. All the while with very little snow so far, which isn’t a good thing, for several reasons. NC owes us some, I think.

        1. I remember watching the news as a kid and the citrus report being regularly reported and was that the reason my mother didn’t buy orange juice.

        2. Olives are reportedly not a cold-hardy crop. However, there are abandoned olive orchards west of Lancaster, California (about an hour north of L.A.)… which when I lived there, was getting January temps commonly below freezing, and occasionally down to -10F. These olive trees were mostly still alive, but far as I saw never produced a crop. These trees are over 50 years old and were planted in at least a couple waves maybe 10 years apart, so at some point must have been producing a sufficiently profitable crop to merit expanding the orchard.

          1. Corning is a bit south of Redding, though apparently it doesn’t usually get freezing temperatures. That’s where there’s a huge olive industry.

      2. We’re seeing cooling in our garden in southern Oregon. The previous owners grew a bit of corn around 1999, but 10 years later, no luck in the same plot. The strawberries they grew don’t happen. (OTOH, a huge strawberry nursery south of us is doing fine, but it’s in a different valley with a very different microclimate.) We grow zucchini and tomatoes, but we’re starting to see yields dropping. In both cases, we replenish the soil every year and grow the same varieties.

        1. You are rotating crop families, right? Not to say your observations aren’t correct, but if you plant the same thing in concurrent years, pests and fungi have a chance to get hold. Tomatoes, bell peppers, and other members of the nightshade family (yes) are one family, squash are another, and so on. Three year rotation pretty much guarantees that you won’t have soil-borne issues. (The things I picked up running a radio board for the local gardening show.)

          1. We run it a bit differently. Critters are an issue; grey squirrels for tomatoes, and ground squirrels for zucchini. I have a squirrel-proof greenhouse for tomatoes in pots and beds, and trap the the others to keep them out of the raised zucchini beds.

            We dump smaller pots (for tomatoes) every year and put in a triple mix: 1:1:1 super soil, steer manure, and virgin topsoil with a tiny bit of home compost (I’m still getting pH issues straight.) Raised beds and big pots (zucchini) get dug out a bit some years, and extensively other years. The bottom of those beds get the compost, with supersoil and steer manure tilled in.

            There are enough varieties of tomato to give us one good producer each year; Siletz was great a few years back, after that it was Siberias, while this season it was Siberias and Romas, though everything came in late.

            (We had to start a week late because June 1 was too cold for seedlings. Zucchini started slow then got better as it warmed up.)

            What I haven’t been doing is sterilizing the pots. Maybe this spring. I have one bed (one of 6 big beds) that’s in need of serious digout and soil replacement. We’ve tried other crops; slow growers are doomed, and green beans and carrots are too tasty for critters. We did chard one year, but I had to stop eating it due to medical issues. Sigh.

            1. Yes. Sterilize the pots and make sure you do that every year, because it’s easier to make sure the fungi get killed off. You probably don’t have clay soil like we do, but for anyone who does, pop a straw bale in there and it loosens up the soil marvelously (and you can plant in it right away; you don’t have to wait for it to rot.)

              1. We’re in the ancient lake/sea bed area in the Klamath Basin, downwind of the volcanoes. There’s a layer of shale that’s anywhere from surface-level to several feet down. The topsoil is a mix of pumice/obsidian sand with a bit of clay. It’s not a good idea to work it with bare hands; the sand bits are sharp. The garden area has the shale down far enough, but…

                We’ve found that plants directly in the ground are eaten quickly. Somebody told us that fava beans were critter proof and could be planted in the ground. Our critters never got the memo, but they got all the fava seedlings. I think they ate all but two daffodil bulbs that we got from Costco one year.

                So, greenhouse and raised beds. After I deal with 4-6 ground squirrels, the zucchini are safe. (Deer don’t like the foliage and never tried the fruit.)

      3. In the first 7-8 years after I moved down to Florida in 1975, there were some cold winters with hard freezes and light snow as far south as Ft Myers.
        Then winters started becoming milder and pretty much stayed so for 25-30 years. Lately it looks like the cold weather, while not as cold as 1977, has been reappearing.
        I think the disappearance of orange groves is more related to the Mediterranean fruit fly infestations, citrus canker, sweet orange scab, citrus greening disease and the Asian citrus psyllid which have lead to USDA quarantines. Citrus can’t leave Florida unless USDA inspected for all these & the required Federal license puts limits on where it can be shipped.

      4. I grew up outside of Lady Lake, Fl (now the site of the Villages). Our house was surrounded on three sides by orange groves. My really long bus ride took us through innumerable orange groves.
        Then, in the early 80’s, a couple of hard freezes killed a good number of the trees, followed by the medfly and citrus canker. A few years later, another big, hard freeze pretty much finished off what was left, including a lot of newly planted trees.
        A lot of citrus land was sold off to become retirement housing.

    3. I think maybe you’re taking an assumption as a constant; that animals never change their behavior for anything other than a climate change. What other reasons could their be for southern birds to expand their range northward?

      Well for one thing, bird feeders. Not only do they get an abundant food source through the winter, but they’re also where it’s a lot easier for people to see them, rather than an impenetrable thicket off in the woods somewhere.

      And expanding cities do create their own thermal oasis attracting those same animals with warmth, shelter, and food; in addition to visibility.

      I’m not saying that AGW is false. But I am saying there probably are many other explanations.

      1. My opinion is what little warming we caused is miniscule, and what we do change is things like humidity in DFW, or flooding on the Mississippi but the cure for those can’t be made to be Marx.

          1. the great grass desert
            2004, I did a satellite job at a then nearing 100 year old lady in Dallas and she complained about how humid things are now compared to when she was a young girl.
            I told her I had just spent 20 years in New Orleans and she laughed and said she guessed it was all in one’s perspectives.

      2. Those are good points. Birds explore and can easily expand their territories if they find food. Was just reminded of the ring-necked doves we had at our last place in Eastern Oregon. I looked them up in my ancient bird book inherited from my grandmother (the book is at least forty years old), and they had their range as being right around Los Angeles, where they’d escaped from being imported caged birds. But they’d obviously expanded their range a lot.

        1. Aggressive birds, too. They’ll stare down Steller’s Jays at our feeder, though it usually ends in a draw.

      3. “Well for one thing, bird feeders. Not only do they get an abundant food source through the winter, but they’re also where it’s a lot easier for people to see them, rather than an impenetrable thicket off in the woods somewhere. ”

        This explains common feeder birds, true. But it’s a bit harder to explain Red-bellied Woodpeckers this way. And it’s impossible to explain Mississippi Kites. They aren’t supposed to nest north of the Mid-Atlantic states, but there’s now at least one local breeding population of kites in New Hampshire. Then there are the seabirds: conventional science says Cory’s Shearwater prefers warmer waters, while the Great Shearwater likes it cool. Twenty years ago one almost never saw Cory’s Shearwaters north of Boston, while today they outnumber Great Shearwaters up into southern Maine waters.

        Nor are birds the only ones showing these changes. A consistent worry of fish & game agencies is the health of the moose herd. Moose always carry ticks, but in recent years the ticks have been getting worse. This appears to correlate with shorter, milder winters, because short, mild winters don’t kill as many ticks. The mushrooming numbers of ticks are literally sucking the life out of the moose.

        I’m not saying there isn’t another explanation for these changes. I’m just thinking that maybe a warming trend is in fact the most likely explanation for all of them happening at once.

        1. Just a note on the Red-Bellied. He’s also a feeder bird although he prefers suet to seed. But I have plenty at my suet station, and lots of folks here feed suet as well as seed to attract bug-eaters. I even had a Mockingbird eating suet yesterday, which I never see happen, but probably had something to do with the completely unseasonable foot of snow currently on the ground in Central Virginia.

        2. Yeah, I know about the Mississippi Kite, I drive through Newmarket almost every day on the way to work. And the ticks are just bad period, not just for the Moose. But tick abundance also requires things like small rodents and deer to push their numbers up. Deer population in NH has been increasing due to hunting restrictions such that the F&G dept has opened a second antlerless season is several of the southern zones in the state. Won’t help much because you still can’t hunt within 300 feet of a building; and Bambi doesn’t care if he’s sitting right under your living room window munching down your tulips.

          1. chased 5 out of the yard last night. Older doe, and 4 yearling does. One doe missing from the norm. No hunting in the city limits. They stay in a woodlot on the river a lot, and there are apple trees behind the house across the alley.
            Some of the San Marcos, Tx, ‘hoods have a deer problem and the residents whinge and whine about it, and things get dangerous come Rut, but they refuse to allow them to be hunted.

        3. We’ve been warming up after the Little Ice Age, and may be looking at a downturn. In the meantime bird population numbers have grown, habitat gets turned into subdivisions. Farms turn back into woods. Forests age, and with current forest management, there are plenty of dead trees to provide bugs and safe homes for woodpeckers.

          The hardest thing to admit it that there is no “normal” just a constantly changing world that _mostly_ stays inside a known range that allows predictions for agriculture, and doesn’t kill too many wild animals.

          The second hardest thing to admit is that *we don’t know* enough about the climate to predict out more than a few years even in general terms. Adding politics and government money to the mix and you increase the uncertainty.

      4. Bird feeders and urban heat islands, but probably more to the point, predator control… same reason we have so damn many deer. Yeah, urban birds get killed by urban cats, but that’s not a bad tradeoff for being protected from weasels, mink, foxes, skunks, raccoons, possums, raptors, etc, etc…

        …and so long as there are urban cats, urban birds are also protected from rats (which, absent cats, will exterminate birds in a hurry, cuz rats raid the nests. Seen it happen.)

    4. Viewing the observation from a scientific standpoint.

      1) Have you eliminated or at least considered all other potential causes of range expansion and retraction? (Bird feeders as someone mentioned, localized effects of cities and birdwatchers providing housing and habitat in areas that were not previously as hospitable, decrease in predators, such as more cats being indoor animals rather than ‘barn cats’ as were more common 30 years ago, and thus out hunting the birds. The new birds being more aggressive than the old and driving them back out of their range?)

      2) Have you cross-correlated your data (written sightings being given more weight than impressions.) with others? General trend of impressions is a good place to start, but it’s only a start. Do the actual numbers support or counter your impressions? If so where might the discrepancy come from?

      3) Are there other lines of evidence that are in support of your conclusion? What would you reasonably expect to ALSO change if the bird habit shifts are being driven by climate vs. other factors? (Plant species showing similar extensions of range, Are these things changing in the manner you’d expect for a climate driven change? If not what other factors might be affecting the Birds that would not manifest in the other areas?

      It’s really easy to go “I noticed a change, and therefore it must be…” but that’s only a starting point. It’s also only addressing ‘climate change.’

      Point number 1 is my major complaint with the “Anthropogenic”. The current models consider solar activity to be constant, as stated in this article it’s not. They do similar things with Volcanic activity and other earth-based factors. Basically they treat as constant the things most likely to affect the climate to a dramatic degree rather than trying to figure out what their effect is and provide an accurate picture of what goes into producing the climate changes. I also haven’t seen them try and take into account Malenkovich cycles which are higher order than the solar cycles that are discussed here. Until these are taken into consideration, any declaration of “Anthropogenic” is so much hot air.

      1. Yet still, you’d need at least decades of reliable data from many regions – gathered consistently – to be able to make a reliable analysis.

        1. Indeed, though a local analysis could give a head start on isolating local effects with an eye to broader surveys. Not a simple thing at all.

      2. Well, once you start seeing ice ages in the Precambrian and regular global patterns of inundation and exposure throughout geological history, it’s awfully hard to unsee them.

        Also, evangelizing warmists get pissy when you tell them that you hope they’re right, and offer to hold a bonfire of celebration with them in the face of the coming Ice Age.

      3. Same argument was being made with regard to migratory geese… they’re not going south for the winter anymore, must be global warming. Er, no… it correlates with cropland (there’s always some grain left on the ground after harvest) and farmers sometimes leaving an iffy field uncut as game bird habitat. And the geese are like… why fly so damn far when I can winter right here?

        Turns out the migration patterns of Canada geese are learned, not instinctive:

      4. Kinda overwhelmed with good counterpoints and unable to respond to them all in available time. But I did want to pull this out:

        “Viewing the observation from a scientific standpoint. ”

        Always a good idea.

        “2) Have you cross-correlated your data (written sightings being given more weight than impressions.) with others? General trend of impressions is a good place to start, but it’s only a start. Do the actual numbers support or counter your impressions?”

        Yes. First of all, birders talk to each other. A LOT. The items I noted above are ones that many birders have noticed. Second, serious birders keep records. Life lists, state lists, year lists, yard lists, state-by-year lists… at least one birder I know has been keeping records of his birding trips down to the day for more than twenty years. He can tell you the earliest month and day he’s ever seen a given species, the latest he ever saw one lingering, etc. He’d be the first to agree with me that species are changing their ranges in a way consistent with climatic warming, and other master-birders in this area would generally agree. To be sure, most of them believe wholeheartedly in AGW and that may skew their judgement, but then I don’t accept AGW, and I’m seeing the same trend in the data. The numbers don’t lie.

        In recent years the online service called “eBird” has become a central repository for bird sightings from all over the USA. Lots of birders use it to record their day-to-day sightings, and many longtime birders are busily entering all their old records into it whenever they have time. That database now contains an enormous collection of data on bird movements over time, and it would be quite interesting to run some analyses of the data and see what it shows. Sadly, no one seems to be doing that. Yet.

        1. The thing is… that shows the bird patterns are changing, but not WHY. Climate is one possible reason, but as someone else mentioned with Geese, until you start taking into consideration factors like crop land, deliberately created habitats, predator patterns. Re-introductions of predators into regions (Several of those programs started about the same time of the change you saw.)

          The point is WHY is the assumption that it must be climate treated with so little question? What other factors have been looked at? Under what circumstances would ‘this must be climate’ be falsified? (If it’s not falsifiable, it’s not scientific). It seems to boil down to ‘south birds are coming north more and north birds are not going south as much so it must be climate, point proved.”

          Full disclosure: I’m a geologist. My primary interest in birds is photographic and pest control. I am very fond of our owls and hawks. Long may the destroy the rodent population. (Now if only something would go after the skunks.) I don’t KNOW the answers to the questions I’m asking you, but they’re questions I’d want answered before putting any actual cause on the change in migration patterns. That bird database sounds like a good start for the bird patterns, and start looking for patterns between species. On ours, I know hawks like the farms and ranches. The mice are attracted to homes and harvests, and they make good hunting grounds for owls and raptors. How would that present in range data?

          1. Owls do go after skunks. Specifically Great Horned Owls. The spray simply doesn’t seem to bother them, unless it hits their eyes.

    5. There’s a seldom examined, deeply buried idea that people have- nature (climate, flora, fauna) is a static, unchanging, balanced thing, and only humans (and Western humans at that) can and do change that fixed balance. A thing that ties into the Rousseauian foolishness that nature/natural good, civilization bad.
      Even though it’s pretty obvious that Mother Nature is an uncaring b%&*h prone to some serious mood swings.

  5. I remember seeing a graph a few years ago that plotted all the various climate models and the 95% confidence interval their predictions, and the actual temperatures as measured. Most of them had already been proven wrong (the actual temperature had dropped below the bottom of the 95% confidence interval) at the time the graph was made; I think there was one model, the least “warmish” of them, that was still valid. (That is, its 95% interval still covered the actual temperature, though the actual temp was just barely inside the interval). If I could remember any details about that graph, I’d link to it. I wonder if anyone’s done such a graph with data as of 2018.

    1. I recall seeing a similar graph, if not the same. What was striking was the total number of models was, or nearly was enough to constitute a normal distribution and that the two, count ’em two models that were even close could be considered outliers.

      And the Climate Cabal was making major policy decisions based on this. Lately, they’ve said “But our modeling has improved so much since then”, and even though I’ve yet to see any evidence of that, my question is, well then why the f*ck were you guys making policy off of bad virtual data?

      Of course, that question is rhetorical.

      1. Yea! And what about the space ships? You didn’t say anything about the secret Governmental spaceships for when the Earth realizes that it’s core is really just strawberry ice cream and that whole magnetic field thing is a farce made up by the penguins because they are mad that we haven’t been sending them their carrots!!

      2. Dr. Zharkova’s ideas have been rejected by the scientific community as irrational. According to scientists at NASA, this morning’s unprecedented solar eclipse is no cause for alarm.

            1. “Good evening Mr. and Mrs. America, and all the ships at sea. FLASH!…”

              And Winchell was “before my time”… but I have explained to people that they might understand me if they assumed I had somehow just stepped out of the mid-late 1940’s. Swing it, Jackson!

      3. (I apologize for the confusion if you haven’t seen the best science fiction movie of the eighties or if, as is more likely, I am making a bad pun based on an incorrect pronunciation of Dr. Zharkov’s name.)

        1. Really, how many *here* would not have thought of Prof. Zarkov from Flash Gordon at least for a moment? At least if they had encountered such at all – hardly a sure thing nowadays.

        1. Carson Napier left for Mars (but ended up on Venus) via a rocket launched from Gaudalupe Island in 1934.

            1. Cousins, on their mother’s side.
              Family history says they’re directly descended from Christopher Columbus.

            1. It’s made of solid metal.
              It weighs a ton or two.
              You’ll really want to meet it.
              It wants to meet you too!

  6. Are we still expecting a magnetic reversal of poles here on Earth some time soon (for geologic meanings of the word “soon”) ?

    1. Different sorta subject, and not one I am especially versed in. Perhaps someone else can answer that better, but I think the geophysics answer is, “Not sure. Maybe. Wait and see.”

      1. Also please note that, while I used the Earth’s mag field as a solid bar magnet by way of illustration, part of the core is in fact semi-molten, so there IS a dynamo effect going on inside Earth as well; it’s just not quite the same as what’s happening in the Sun. I’m aware of this, but chose to simplify the illustration in favor of attempting the more complex illustration of a quadrupole. (Sometimes trying to detail EVERYthing just gets more complicated than it’s worth, for the purposes of illustration.)

        Here’s an article that might provide you more insight, and sure enough, the answer seems to be, “Not sure. Maybe. Wait and see.”

        1. While back I saw a presentation that involved a Large Amount Of Math that concluded… we have no effin’ idea, but we’re pretty sure not in the next 5000 years or so.

            1. Not really. According to what I’m seeing, the geological evidence indicates that even when the geomag field is fully down, the solar wind actually generates a magnetic field around Earth sufficient to protect it. It’s really fascinating how everything seems to work together.

      2. Poles flipping on Earth doesn’t happen on a regular cycle or doesn’t seem to, I know that much. I just remember some talk about it a few years ago, that variations in our magnetic field might mean that we were leading up to the poles reversing. I’ve not been *looking* but haven’t noticed anything since then. I sort of assume that it’s because there’s nothing humans can do about it and therefore it’s not politically useful to scare monger over it. I’m cynical that way. 🙂

        1. No problem; we just need some unmeltable stuff, make a boring machine out of it, and nuke the core to re-start…wait that was a movie; and an allegedly different problem.

            1. Both of these scenarios would disrupt the transportation tube that runs through the center of the earth from Engliand to Australia every shift change so that Brits can import their labor class without actually having to live with them.

              Oh… another movie.

              1. What about the secret tunnel between Washington, D.C. and the Vatican?

                Oh wait, that was a poorly spelled mimeographed screed…

          1. We watched that at the Geology Department’s “Bad Science Movie Night.” It’s fun watching profs throwing popcorn and booing.

                1. A waiter dropped a platter on Thanksgiving.
                  Markets are still reeling from the downfall of Turkey, the overthrow of Greece, and the destruction of China.

          1. I’m half Czech but I like 28 deg north a whole lot better than 90 deg north (or south)…

        2. The periodicity ranges from around 10k years to 50 million years… It’s not exactly predictable. One of the longer ones was in the middle of the cretaceous.

          1. Wait, 200 years, 10,000 years, to 50,000,000 years (2E2, 1E4, …., 5E7); what kind of cycle is that? Is that just random? A random number from 1 to ten multiplied by a random power of 10? That ain’t no kinda cycle that I can think of; just wait until the next comet comes by? the next time Saturn, Jupiter, and Neptune line up with Alpha Centauri and/or the Great Attractor?

            1. I think that’s kinda the point. The scientists studying that haven’t been ABLE to find a real periodicity. There IS some evidence, but not enough, that they may be caused by large impactors. However, it’s like flipping a coin — you have a 50/50 shot that it’ll end up the way it was before the impact. Which makes it hard to tell.

            2. There isn’t any regularity to it, which is kind of the point when it comes to the ‘we’re due’. The answer is, “Well….. actually.”

  7. This is becoming more and more relevant to my interests. Thank you. Does this mean that operating conditions for electrical equipment will be changing, and hence in the future electrical engineers will need to design equipment to subtly different criteria?

    1. In general: nope. Some sensitive things might need a bit more hardening – but that’s something that needs doing for a good many other reasons anyway. Doesn’t mean it’ll get done until after $EVENT (pick one..) screws things up so badly even politicians can comprehend a problem exists.

      1. Politicians don’t seem to be able to comprehend even something as simple as “If everybody drives electric cars, what they hell are we going to do with the batteries?”

        So, if some change in cosmic cnditions causes a lot of electronics to become door stops, I expect the conversation to go;

        Irate Congresscritter, “Why weren’t we warned!?!?”

        Scientific community, “We did warn you. You didn’t listen.”

        I.C. “TREASON!!!!!!!”

        1. I’d heard of plenty of warnings about the Y2K issue as early as the 1980’s… but it wasn’t important until the last minute – and the people who had warned early were then blamed by those who blew them off. Keep records.

          1. My first programming class back in 1980, the teacher said “use 2 digits for the date”. When I said “But that will be a problem when 200 comes along, he laughed and said “It’s a long way off. Someone will fix it.” I was one of those someones for a while.

            1. Way WAY back when, those two extra digits took up a lot of the available “space”. I don’t think that anyone even bothers to try to write tight code anymore, or remembers that it used to be important.

              1. I remember comp sci $girlfriend (back in the last century) bragged that her father had saved his company from buying new hardware by writing really good code.

                  1. Has something to do with the kind of mass production effects that saw hard drives go from $6,000 for 5 megabytes in 1982 to $60 for a terabyte……

                  2. And Moore’s Law doublings in the amount of program storage you can get on-chip in microcontrollers for cheap. Can only afford that programmer to optimize code if the labor can be spread over thousands of sold units.

            2. I’m just now reverting to write dates mm/dd/yy after getting in the habit of mm/dd/20yy for a loooong time.

              1. Never got in the habit of the short form. When the assets one tracts is in centuries … OTOH my first programming job, ’90, after getting the Computer degree was dealing with Y2K because of tree stand growth models. Company worked on 80 year rotations. Was already fudging locally because the company land had stands over 100 years old. Not that we were able to push it through, but the goal was to extend the rotation to 120 years. Tree farm was sold instead.

                1. Short form is handy when I’m writing date codes on batteries. AAs are a PITA for those on a more-or-less annual cycle, and AAA’s are worse. OTOH, “there’s a spreadsheet for that”.

                  Note to self; annual battery change was supposed to be early November. Time for the round tuit.

              2. Bah any programmer can tell you the proper order is YYYYMMDD so it self sorts!

                My dad started programming in the financial industry in the early 80’s. He just did 4 digit years from the start because they were dealing with 50 and 100 year contracts already so had stuff going both directions so well over a centuries span. Y2K wasn’t a problem for him 🙂

      1. The amazing thing is that the model is relatively simple for its accuracy. It’s nice when major effects can actually be predicted.

        Thanks for the work.

    1. I also thank you, Stephanie. It’s a gift to be able to take highly technical subjects and make them accessible to people who don’t have your education.

  8. It has been pointed out to me that, in describing the barycentric wobble effect, I may have inverted the seasonal effects. I apologize for the simplistic error; by the time I got to that point in the explanation (writing this took me an entire day, and that going back and referencing this or that paper or presentation, so by this point it was in the evening), I was rather tired and not as mentally sharp as I should have been. However, it still gets across the point, I think, which is that as the Sun “wobbles” near Earth’s perihelion or aphelion, a very small variance in irradiance will be observed as a result of the orbital mechanics.

    1. You pointed ’em out the way I remembered, but that could just be both of us Making Shit Up. 🙂 Still, a fine presentation of info everyone needs to know about.

      1. Well, I’m tired, I’ve been writing fairly intensely for the last week, and what I’m working on is the action/adventure part, not so much science, so I’m having a hard time shifting gears, for one thing. I remember writing that part and then thinking, ‘I need to go back and double-check I got the right hemispheres an’ junk’ and I thought I did, but I might not, and right now the brain ain’t cooperatin’ partly ’cause of the writing and partly ’cause the cat has decided for two days in a row that I needed to get up at normal-people time after I wrote into the wee sma’s the night before. (And BOY does he have a repertoire of ‘wake the humans up!’ tricks. Including but not at all limited to voluntary bulemia.)

        So okay, here’s the way it’s supposed to work.

        As the Sun orbits the barycenter, it can move marginally closer to the Earth’s perihelion. We hit perihelion in the first week of January. This means that NORMALLY, the northern hemisphere’s winter can be ever so slightly warmer than the southern hemi’s would be, six months later at aphelion.

        But if the Sun is closer at perihelion, then you can bump that up a bit more — so North Hemi has a not-as-cold as usual winter, and South Hemi has a hotter than usual summer (which are occurring at the same time). And this is because the lessened distance increases solar irradiance. Six months later, when Earth is at aphelion, the North Hemi has a not-quite-so hot as usual summer, and South Hemi has a colder than usual winter, because with the Sun shifted toward perihelion, the aphelion distance is bigger than usual — we’re farther away.

        Then, as the Sun goes on around in its orbit of the barycenter, it moves away from the perihelion and closer to the aphelion. This means that the farthest distance from the Sun in our orbit isn’t quite as far as average, it’s a little closer. So around the US Independence Day, we hit aphelion. But if the Sun is a little closer at that point, then North Hemi summers would be juuust a smidge hotter, and South Hemi winters would be juuuust a smidge not so cold. Six months later, North Hemi goes into winter, and it will be cooler than usual. Meanwhile, South Hemi goes into summer, and it’s not-quite-so hot as usual. Because decreased solar irradiance from inverse square law and increased distance.

        If that matches what I wrote up there ^ then I’m good. But I know this is correct.

        DANG can this get confusing though.

        *snort* And putting the cat out of the bedroom doesn’t do any good because he learned how to fairly rattle the door on its hinges when he was a wee fuzzball. Oh well. I’ll get some sleep eventually.

        Oy. I’mma go back to writing the novel now…

  9. The problem if there is a dip in world temperatures is that people and governments do not allot resources based on need. This is the most obvious failure of communism to expect people will be given resources based on their need. Real people are selfish, and that’s not a defect for organisms that wish to survive and reproduce.
    For example, wheat will grow a lot of places, but we don’t grow it just anywhere or everywhere we can. We grow it where the yield will produce enough income to justify the investment and risk to plant it, and competition keeps those margins mighty thin. When there is an abundance then the surplus may be sent off to buy influence with friendly states, but the core production is secure to those who can pay the bid price for it. If it’s out of your income range you eat something else or nothing. Nobody says – let’s plant less productive acreage and use the fuel and fertilizer to do it so there is a surplus to give away for sure. That capital is spent on more profitable ventures, so the price of wheat ends up being fairly even from all sources. With bulk transport most commodities have to compete globally now. If there is no surplus to send to places like Egypt then you have bread riots and overthrown governments. Neither are there huge stockpiles of grain because the storage is too significant an expense. In India if they have a good year wheat is piled in the open and bids and rats have their fill.
    Well, if the temperatures drop wheat – and everything else – will grow in all the WRONG PLACES. Under the control of other people across national boundaries. Then those inconvenient boundaries tend to be moved by force.
    As we saw recently with the US / China trade disagreement it doesn’t take much of a change in price before something like soybeans can’t be grown profitably and they are bought someplace else. Somebody gets the short end of the stick and doesn’t get to buy any for a season at least. A cooling would cause a price shift much bigger than any tariff change. Land prices would change radically too.
    That could lead to massive unrest. Just as an example – if the growing season in North America is shortened badly, expect talk of a border wall to be moot. They’ll be considering about annexing Mexico very quickly instead of walling them off.
    It’s only been a very short period of time historically that China had any food security at all. If a climate shift leaves them short of food you don’t want to see how they would solve that problem if you are a smaller neighbor.

    1. hmm. At work, they have had two allotments of Ethylene Glycol come from the supplier that turned out to be contaminated with Soybean oil (likely the feed stock to get the glycerine). I wonder if it was due to someone buying some and not being familiar with it fully? The supplier just packages it and passes it along, and for some uses it is fine as is, but in firefighting foams, it causes failures in fire testing (it will put out a fire fast enough to pass, barely, but loses out in preventing one coming back to life)

  10. I think Stephanie’s real science stuff makes Popular Science, Discovery, and Scientific America look lame.

      1. When you can take a complex, technical topic and explain it clearly, it looks so very easy.

        It isn’t.

        Good job.

          1. …That’s my Amazon Author Page. There’s some decent popular science books, where I do this same kinda explanation to various science topics from solar activity to the New Madrid fault zone to supervolcanos, and there’s also some pretty-good-if-I-do-say-so SF and SF/mystery in there.

            Cat food must be purchased. Please help the writer.

              1. Books in the Division One series, to date:
                1) Alpha and Omega
                2) A Small Medium At Large
                3) A Very UnCONventional Christmas
                4) Tour de Force
                5) Trojan Horse
                6) Texas Rangers
                7) Definition and Alignment
                8) Phantoms
                9) Head Games
                with more on the way.
                All are available in trade paperback, Kindle and Nook formats.

    1. Not familiar with PopSci, but Discovery always seemed rather … glossy of presentation of a lot of not much. And Scientific American of late (and a bit earlier, yes) has been described as “two lies in one title.”

    2. Well, yeah!

      I love the way the real progress on understanding climatology is happening —
      – in the 1970’s (?) there were articles about how warming/cooling cycles could be fit to the superposition of three more-or-less sinusoids — of roughly the same periodicies (as I recall) as Dr. Zharkova’s cycles. But this was just “what’s happening”, based on Fourier analysis.
      – NOW, we’re getting the “why is it happening”, which is the purpose of science, and proving the models with real data — as close to experimental science as you can come with such long-period processes.
      – Next, we’ll be able to do engineering based on real science, ‘tho it may take awhile to educate a new generation or two of policy-makers that we can and should. At that point, we should be able to foresee climate changes and build infrastructure & policy to fit reality … which would be a real nice change!

      Thanks for being a real & necessary part of that, Stephanie.

  11. Guys, let me throw something out here for a second. There seems to be a notion that I’m championing Zharkova’s work, that maybe I worked WITH her, etc. Note that there IS a “competing” team, working on a different model, and I AM aware of it.

    I don’t actually have a dog in that fight — I’m not a part of either team. I’ve just been watching the solar activity for a long time, and Zharkova’s team’s model is the first one I’ve seen that actually seems to fit the observational data.

    And I didn’t write this up so much to champion the model, as to respond to considerable confusion when Mike Williamson posted a link to an article purporting to explain Zharkova’s most recent presentation to a group I’d never heard of, called the GWPF. When I read the article, I could see why there was so much confusion, because it was typical of most “science reporting” of late, in that it was patently obvious that the writer didn’t actually understand the science, but thought he did. So I offered to go over the information and give a reasonable lay interpretation of a technical presentation and the most recent technical paper, in order to help folks understand what was being said. So I did, and posted it to Facebook. There were requests to blog it in more detail, and Sarah stepped up to offer a guest post. You just read it. (And I said as much at the beginning of the post.)

    So all I’m actually saying is, “Here’s this model, here’s the most recent version of same, it seems to fit observational data better than anything I’ve personally seen to date, here’s what she’s actually saying in normal-people-speak, and the model seems reasonable to me.” I do NOT agree with her on everything she’s saying; for one, she indicated the same temp drop for the forecast extended minimum as happened for the Maunder Minimum, when the Maunder Minimum was at least twice the length of the one being forecast. All other factors being equal, and assuming there IS causation and coupling, that doesn’t hold thermodynamic water — if the energy rate of change is the same for both, but the time over which it is applied is half that of the original event, you will not get to the same total temperature delta. (Yes, I just described an integral in lay terms.) There are a few other statements she’s made that I’m withholding judgement on, while I try to dredge up a little more information/background on exactly what she’s saying.

    Hopefully that helps clear up a few things.

    1. :(And I said as much at the beginning of the post.)

      Goes back to the ‘Reading Comprehension’ thread from a few days back . . .

  12. Thank you, Stephanie, as someone who grew up during the fear-mongering of the 60s, 70s, and 80s, if things where written as well as this back then, I might not be such a cynic now.

    1. Well, that’s exactly why I wrote this. The original article that triggered all this was saying things like “upcoming 400-year grand minimum” and stuff like that — that I KNEW made no sense, because I knew the science — and people were getting SCARED. And it was stupid. And so I was trying to explain it in comments here and there through the thread (it was on Facebook), and not everybody was reading the comments, or only reading part of them (’cause the thread quickly got really long), and so I finally just said, “Look, guys. Me astronomer/astrophysicist with background in spotted variable stars and much experience working space program. Lemme go off and have a look at what Zharkova is REALLY SAYING, in her OWN words, and come back and explain THAT, rather than folks trying to slog through this mess.” Everybody agreed, and commenting backed off on the thread, stopping fairly quickly, and I went off and reviewed papers and presentations and stuff, verifying through other sources anything I thought needed verification.

      Took me a couple weeks to gather up and slog through everything I felt needed looking at, and then I sat down and did a marathon all-day session to write up what became this blog post. So this is a VERY serious attempt to CALM people’s fears, not fearmonger — one I put some effort into doing. (And there are even some other articles on that model that I think I probably need to read — started on one of ’em already around trying to pen my next novel, which is what I do now, after retiring from the space program — but people were waiting with various degrees of anxiety for my explanation, so I didn’t want to delay it any longer. Those other articles are for MY understanding, and a quick perusal of abstracts told me I had what I needed in hand, so I set to writing the explanation. I can read the other stuff at my own leisure.)

      (Oh, and I grew up in the same timeframe. I remember the ‘disaster movie’ era too!)

      1. There was a second wave of disaster movies in, if I recall correctly, the ‘90’s. Mostly direct-to-video, but I think a few got released to theatres. The difference seemed to be that the disasters always required a Big Project to fix. The disasters in the ‘70’s wave just happened, and people survived or didn’t.

        Can’t say I watched any of them.

        1. I do remember a couple pairs of competing disaster movies from the 90s, yes; notably Volcano versus Dante’s Peak, and Deep Impact versus Armageddon. Oddly, the movies with the better science were the least successful, I think partly because the writing tended to evoke those “disaster movies of the week” from the 70s.

          For that matter, there have been a few of those in recent years, too. Makes me wonder if it’s a “twenty-year curse” or something! LOL It’s like fashion, I guess — what goes around, comes around.

          1. This is something I’ve noticed with little-girl-toys: the cycle is based on the childhood nostalgia of people who have money to spend. So I have little girls, and here are My Little Pony and Strawberry Shortcake coming out again, so I can buy them for my kids. My husband noticed much the same with boy-toys-I don’t know, about all I noticed of boy-toys is that my friends with brothers’ barbies all married GI Joe, and my girls’ barbies have done likewise.
            I’d guess that the movies without tie-ins run on a shorter cycle, but are aiming to catch people who watched them in their teens and are now old enough to afford to go to the theater.

          2. “20-year curse” is probably related to other 20-year cycles. Which when dealing with humans is generally a generational effect of the incoming group of people ignoring or completely disregarding the institutional knowledge of their elders.

        2. The first wave disaster movies, like Earthquake, Towering Inferno and Willard for you Millennials out there.

      2. I’ve seen people afraid that we are going to have glaciation clear down into Ohio again — that’s just nuts. I do think that the climate going into a Solar Minimum is going to cause problems, but I don’t think that the northern half of the United States is going to be buried under a thousand feet of ice. Difficult growing conditions for the crops usually grown there is going to be bad enough.

        1. Oh great Scot, no. NO ICE SHEETS. Winters could be longer, growing seasons could be shorter, overall temps might be lower. But it takes a VERY VERY LONG TIME (AS IN GEOLOGICAL TIMEFRAMES) to get ice sheets.

          1. Again, won’t happen — not from this. (Ice ages happen, but this ain’t gonna be one.)
            “Ice sheets form from partially melted snow that has accumulated over thousands of years. Each layer of snow slowly builds a thick and dense ice mass. Because the packed snow traps dust particles and gases, ice sheets contain an excellent historical record of Earth’s climate for researchers to analyze.”

            Yes, under special circumstances, glaciers can form fairly rapidly. But we’re looking at possibly 3, MAYBE 4 at the outside, decades of diminished energy from the Sun. If we do assume there is a coupling mechanism, that’s still not nearly long enough to even START forming an ice sheet. Even if the bad scientific reporting were correct, and the grand minimum was really going to last four centuries, it STILL wouldn’t be enough for a continental ice sheet to form.

            Nope. Just nope.

  13. (Oh, and I grew up in the same timeframe. I remember the ‘disaster movie’ era too!)
    It was finding Julian Simon “The Ultimate Resource” in my high school library started my path to skepticism and cynicism over every new chicken little.

      1. Those are no longer quite such an issue, having diluted the ‘killer’ gene by interbreeding with the indigenous bees. At least according to the last I read about it.

        1. Having worked for a beekeeper in SoCal less than 20 years ago… if you think the killer type has been diluted out, do I have a hive for you… main thing is the hybrids are not as cold-hardy as pure English bees, so a hard winter tends to cut back their range.

          1. I make no claims to bee expertise, nor did I say it was global. I said that was the situation as I understood it based on the last thing I read on the subject. I am not, nor have I ever been, an apiarist.

  14. Forget nuking the Moon. Nuke the Sun!

    Seriously, an extended chill won’t be TOO bad in Deep Southern Maryland. I’ve lived in this area for 45 years, and there have been several shifts in overall climate. What troubles me is that winter used to be over by mid-March. Now it persists well into April. And has been doing so for a good decade.

    And I LIKE convertibles. (Haven’t owned a non-convertible car since 1985)

  15. I love this article! I’ve been following solar cycle theory for a while, and have been reading the predictions of another little ice age. I had heard of Dr. Zharkova, but had never read her research until the article you referenced came out, and I remember thinking that 400 years seemed a bit much, so thank you for clarifying. What I love about solar cycle theory is that is observable and much more sound than the AGW hypothesis (I refuse to call it a theory because that is giving it too much credibility!) The arrogance of humans, as George Carlin so eloquently put it, is astounding, to think that we can have that much of an effect on a closed system of such grand scale. In the end, the earth is going to do what it does, and the sun what it does, and we will be inconsequential specks in history. Thanks again! Can’t wait to read more of Dr. Zharkova’s work (and your translation of it for those of us who are more than a few years past our science major days in college!)

  16. As others have noted, great post.

    i have done some frantic reading this morning and observe that (1) other commentators have pointed out that Zharkova’s work does not address the issue of global warming, (2) that, even if it did, a grand minimum would not mitigate, except in the most inconsequential way, the impact of global warming, and (3) therefore, the issue of global warming is independent of the implications of Zharkova’s work. That sentence, BTW, was overgeneralized.

    1. Honestly? 1) Because she’s a scientist and so is Stephanie and actual for real scientists don’t reason beyond their data. Politicians do. 2) This is reasoning beyond the data. 3) Nothing is truly independent of anything else.

    2. Zharkova’s work does not address the issue of global warming

      Duh. Talk about the third rail of scientific publishing these days. The religious fanatics of the church of anthropogenism immediately light on fire anyone who even obliquely publishes anything that directly contradicts their religious dogma, if it can even get accepted for publishing by the big journals. So real scientists doing real science write their hard-science papers in such a way that they very much leave any “SUVs-don’t-cause-any-warming-on-Mars” parts only implied, so those real scientists can say “Hey, put away the torches – you drew the conclusion that your nutball dogma is contradicted; I didn’t say anything about the science-proven guilt of the white males and the well known impact of their giant SUVs warming the polar regions of Europa. I just wrote up my computer models and showed how well they match historic data!” and keep their jobs.

      1. Oh geez, have you seen anything about that climate scientist from Washington that publicly opposed an extremely poorly written (in his opinion), pork laden, carbon credit bill in a blog post? And his boss is piling on the harassment of him, not letting him defend himself, and not even telling the doofus protesting students that no, a picture of pigs at a trough is not *racist*.

        The whole thing sounds utterly horrifying and he’s not even against carbon credits or against the warming consensus.

        At least according to the (somewhat alarmist) article I saw.

    3. If Zharkova’s work predicts accurately, there is no need to directly address AWG.

      If Zharkova’s work does not predict accurately, directly addressing AWG is pointless.

      As for relative scale versus Solar models, there are a range of AWG models. All the way from negligible, to an extreme one that I have just created for rhetorical purposes.

      1. AWG exists, and correlates with population density.
      2. The population concentration in the US are at an extremely delicate state, and the recent Honduran martyrdom caravans will be the straw that breaks the camel’s back, causing a thermal runaway event.
      3. The earth will melt, and then convert into a gas or plasma. Final temperatures will be so high that the sun explodes.

      We can be pretty confident that this is not an accurate model. The thermodynamics are poorly justified, and thermodynamics are something that we can be fairly confident accurately describe the world most of the time.

      Unless we have all the data for all the models, we cannot really say what the cut off point for plausible scale is.

  17. There’s one other factor, too, of unknown (to me, at least) magnitude of effect. This is that the earth’s orbit around the sun–and the barycenters of the solar system–is not a perfect circle; it’s elliptical. How does that distance from the sun harmonize with the other effects, and with what effect?
    Eric Hines

    1. That was exactly what I was discussing at the end of the blog post. The fact that the orbits are elliptical results in a perihelion and aphelion, or more generally periapsis and apoapsis, and as the Sun orbits the barycenter and the Earth orbits the barycenter, sometimes they are closer than the “average” periapsis, and sometimes they are farther; ditto for the apoapsis.

  18. krakatoa has exploded isnt it true that when a incoming ice age has started that earthquakes and volcanos increase yellowstone is already playing up too

    1. Your logic is flawed. That geologic activity always precedes an ice age does not mean that all geologic activity means an impending ice age.

      We’ve had volcanic activity and earthquakes aplenty without an ice age occurring. How many ice ages do you acknowledge within human history?

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