The Ice Age Cometh
While most evidence suggests that failing to reduce carbon emissions will lead to a drastic upsurge in global temperatures, the dawning of an ice age may be the last thing on most expert’s minds.
However, one leading geophysicist has claimed that it is not the warming of the earth we should be worrying about.
Phil Chapman, who was the first Australian NASA astronaut, told The Australian newspaper there is strong evidence that a global chill may be on the way, having a far more devastating effect on the planet than global warming.
The four leading agencies that track Earth’s temperature all reported that it had cooled by about 0.7C in 2007. This, along with more anecdotal evidence, suggests to Chapman that we may have problems on the way.
“This is the fastest temperature change in the instrumental record.” He said. “It snowed in Baghdad for the first time in centuries, winter in China was simply terrible and the extent of the Antarctic sea ice was the greatest since 1770.” “If the temperatures do not recover soon we can assume that global warming is over.”
So what is causing the dip in temperature? Chapman’s concerns are based around sunspots.
A sunspot is an area of the sun’s surface that is distinctly cooler than the rest. When observed, the area shows up as a darker spot. The appearance of sunspots usually run in 11-year cycles, with the latest expected to begin in March of last year. However, the cycle has failed to materialise.
It is the absence of these sunspots that Chapman feels may be the problem. When there is plenty of sunspot activity, a solar field protects the Earth from cosmic rays, cutting cloud formation. When the field is weak — during periods of low sunspot activity — the rays can penetrate into the lower atmosphere and cloud cover increases, cooling the surface of the earth.
The last time this happened, the weather suffered greatly, as Chapman explains: “The previous time a cycle was delayed was the Dalton Minimum, an especially cold period that lasted several decades from 1790. Northern winters became ferocious.”
While the link between the absence of sunspots and the recent cooling of the earth can be described as casual at best, the effects would be a major cause for concern to Chapman.
“If the cooling continued for 20 years, by 2027 most advanced nations would have ceased to exist, vanishing under the ice. The rest of the world would be faced with a catastrophe beyond imagining.” He said. “My guess is that we will see significant cooling rather than warming in coming decades.”
Tim Rollo, an Australian climate change campaigner has accused Phil Chapman of “cherry-picking” data to further his argument.
“The comparison (of the earth’s temperature in 2007 with previous years) has about as much bearing on climate science as whether this Monday happened to be cooler than last. “ said Rollo.” If Chapman had applied the same methodology to March of 2007 and 2008, he would find that the warming trend has returned.”
Tags: Ice Age , Climate Change , Global Warming
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