Biggest climate threat to crops: Cold, dry weather, not warming

We've always considered the solar activity cycle of about 30 years, peak to peak, as the dominant driver of Planet Earth's climate. Now and for the next 30-plus years, NOAA projections indicate a decline in solar energy emissions similar to the "quiet sun" between 1800 and 1835.

July 29, 2021 Classic climatologists have always observed that over eons of climate changes, it's the cold periods which generate hunger and revolutions. In contrast, eras of global warming typically germinate abundant crops, favorable technological growth and rising populations. 

Changes in atmospheric carbon dioxide content — when examined closely over thousands of years — often follow warming periods instead of preceding and "causing" them. 

This week, Maylasian scientist Dr. Willie Soon warned in an interview: "What we predict is that the next 20 to 30 years will be cold. So it will be a very interesting thing for the IPCC to confront." (The IPPC refers to the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.)

Soon expects that the sun's weakened energy emissions will persist until around 2050. Such a decline in sunspot cycle peaks has happened before; most recently from 1800 through 1835. Current NOAA projections of solar activity are based on previous behavior of the solar cycle, extending back to the first recorded sunspot counts near 1750.

Willie Wei-Hock Soon is an astrophysicist and aerospace engineer employed as a part-time researcher at the Solar and Stellar Physics Division of the Harvard–Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. The global-warming — er, climate change — acolytes mock Soon as a "climate change denier" because he discounts human-generated carbon dioxide emissions as the main climate controller.

You can do your own analysis by reviewing past and present cycles of "solar cycle progression" on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) website at this link

On the sunspot cycle chart, you'll see plots of monthly sunspot numbers, including a solid line of smoothed data which makes the trends more clear. Sunspots are massive geomagnetic storms visible from earth. They radiate surges of energy, which NOAA's instruments detect and record. These radio flux variations are proxies for the sun's total radiated energy hitting our planet. During times of low solar storm activity, Earth receives less solar radiation. This variation, reasons Dr. Soon, explains almost all of the variations in climate over long periods.

In addition to the regular cycle swings of about 30 years, the long-term sunspot record reveals stretches where several cycle peaks are unusually low. As you look at the live chart online, the extended display of cycles back to 1750 shows three very low peaks between 1800 and 1835. This type of solar behavior has begun to repeat, with a low smoothed peak of about 112 monthly sunspots in May 2014 and a similar shallow peak which NOAA predicts for September 2025. The implication: Perhaps the next 30 years will bring a replay of the chilling years of 1800-1835.

American weather records were fragmentary then, but British weather watchers kept careful observations in this era. Historians at the website www.weatherwebdotnet compiled newspaper, government and personal accounts of weather in the British Isles from 1800 to 1849, which overlaps the solar low from 1800 to 1835. The descriptions chronicle multiple weather extremes. The Thames River estuary froze solid at London in several of these years. The season of 1816 became known as "The Year Without a Summer," as the decade of wintery weather was amplified that summer by an eruption of the Tambora, East Indies volcano which blasted ash into global atmospheric circulation.

We encourage you to visit the www.weatherwebdotnet compilation of weather reports... it may well be a "forecast" of what the U.S. Midwest will encounter in our next decade.

See the link just above to view the current NOAA chart on solar activity. This is a screen capture from the NOAA site.