The trail is cold
During 2017, 120 peer-reviewed papers published in scientific journals linked historical and modern climate change to variations in solar activity and related cosmic rays.
The computer models linking carbon emissions to climate change continue to be challenged despite the threats and arrogant dismissals of the anthropogenic global warming (AGW) establishment.
The solar irradiance theory of climate change holds that climate cools when there is less solar activity, i.e. sunspots and flares. It warms up when that activity increases. Furthermore, there are long measurable periods defining centuries as solar maximums or solar minimums. Scientists who subscribe to the solar irradiance theory dismiss carbon dioxide as the principle driver of climate change. They point to inconsistent correlation between historical carbon dioxide levels and actual warmth.
Earth’s climate tends toward cold. There have been far more periods of solar minimums than solar maximums. We could be facing a Little Ice Age, a period of substantially cooler climate that lasts several centuries. We are now approaching the end of what is called the Modern Maximum, which reached its peak from 1940-2000. Before this relatively rare period of high solar activity, with cosmic rays contributing to powerful, warm El Ninos, the planet emerged from the last great Grand Minima, the Little Ice Age (LIA), which lasted from approximately 1500-1860. The Maunder Minimum of 1640-1720 was the period of least solar activity. The Dalton Minimum, 1790-1820, was the last distinct minimum. The LIA was so powerful that 1816 is called the Year Without a Summer, as Europe stayed cold the entire year.
This cool climate changed history. Why was Valley Forge so cold, and the Delaware River full of ice floes when Washington crossed it? Little Ice Age. Why did Marie Antoinette have to tell the peasants they could eat cake? LIA destroyed the grain crops. Why the potato famine in Ireland? LIA caused the blight.
The Medieval Warm Period (approximately 1100 to 1640 AD) that preceded the LIA was the warmest in modern history but had very low levels of carbon dioxide (+/-270 PPM). Before that, the Dark Ages were cool, but the Roman Empire was hot. Cyclical solar activity is measured from the present day to 12,000 years before. The first cycle, the Epic Holocene Maximum, is what birthed human civilization. All of human history is contained in the present Holocene Era which will last until the next deep Ice Age.
Solar irradiance proponents predict we are heading into a pronounced cold cycle, with temperatures decreasing by 0.5C-0.7C. As solar activity in the Modern Maximum slows down, it is expected that a yet unnamed Minima will direct climate change. We should notice measurable cooling by 2030, and it will last through most of the rest of the 21st century, perhaps longer.
Climate change is a very new science. The proponents of AGW quickly politicized their thesis and promoted AGW as the only correct analysis. Their main strategy was an anti-growth policy of relentless but pointless sustainability. Continued wealth creation for adaptability and infrastructure development is a superior strategy to sustainable austerity.
Scientific theories should be falsifiable, but climate science can’t be because the scale is so vast. Until now. If the Earth continues to warm this century, AGW is more correct. If the Earth cools, however, solar irradiance will take its place as the primary theory of climate change. We should start thinking about how to prepare for the possibility of a colder planet. Cold weather is actually more dangerous to human flourishing than hot weather is. The science is definitely not settled.