Tuesday, December 10, 2013

"The sun's activity is in free fall"

Interesting article from November 1, 2013 New Scientist:
The sun's activity is in free fall, according to a leading space physicist. But don't expect a little ice age. "Solar activity is declining very fast at the moment," Mike Lockwood, professor of space environmental physics at Reading University, UK, told New Scientist. "We estimate faster than at any time in the last 9300 years."
Lockwood and his colleagues are reassessing the chances of this decline continuing over decades to become the first "grand solar minimum" for four centuries. During a grand minimum the normal 11-year solar cycle is suppressed and the sun has virtually no sunspotsMovie Camera for several decades. This summer should have seen a peak in the number of sunspots, but it didn't happen.
The article acknowledges that this could cause cooling -- but insists that it would just counterbalance man-caused global warming.  I'm not seeing that at the moment.   Hmmm.  December 9, 2013 NBC News reports that Antarctica sets new record cold:
WASHINGTON — Feeling chilly? Here's cold comfort: You could be in East Antarctica, which according to new data set a record for soul-crushing cold.
Try 135.8 degrees Fahrenheit below zero; that's 93.2 degrees below zero Celsius, which sounds only slightly toastier. Better yet, don't try it. That's so cold scientists say it hurts to breathe.
A new look at NASA satellite data revealed that Earth set a new record for coldest temperature recorded. It happened in August 2010 when it hit -135.8 degrees. Then on July 31 of this year, it came close again: -135.3 degrees.
The Australian Alps have snow -- lots of it.  Remember: it is almost summer there, and the Australian Alps poke through 6600 feet above sea level.  From December 6, 2013 news.com.au:
UPDATE: A day after we posted images of fresh summer snow falling across the Australian Alps, we've updated our original story with new images that show the ground getting whiter... and whiter... and whiter.
Thredbo resort in new South Wales is now in the very unusual position of desperately needing its snow to melt. Thredbo has a huge mountain bike event this weekend but the course is currently snow-covered. Hopefully, forecast warmer tempreatures will take care of things.

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