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Have we entered an era of global cooling?

By Tom Harris - posted Friday, 22 March 2024

With all the sound and fury about global warming, an important, and many scientists now assert, more likely scenario is usually ignored-the possibility of far more dangerous global cooling. It is more dangerous because many more people die due to the cold than the heat. A 2015 study in the British Medical journal The Lancet found that:

Cold weather kills 20 times as many people as hot weather, according to an international study analyzing over 74 million deaths in 384 locations across 13 countries.

Indeed, history shows that cold periods are far more hazardous than warm times. That is why geologists call past warm epochs "optimums" and cold times "dark ages." The plot of temperature versus time for Central Greenland below (used with the permission of the originator, petrophysicist Andy May) is a good illustration of the natural climate change we have seen over the past four thousand years and the related societal impacts. Note how cold periods coincided with hardships for humanity while, in most cases, warm periods were beneficial.


Yet cities such as Ottawa, Chicago, Detroit, Minneapolis, and Montreal, municipalities each of which experience cold weather, at times very cold, all essentially ignore the dangerous impacts of cooling in their climate change plans. Ottawa's Climate Change Master Plan is especially misguided. Despite the City's assertion that "Ottawa must be an energy-conscious city where people can live, work and play in all future climate conditions," cooling adaptation is entirely ignored. As I told the City of Ottawa Environment and Climate Change Committee in my April 18, 2023 testimony:

As the seventh coldest capital city in the world, it is irresponsible for Ottawa to only prepare for warming when cooling is far more dangerous and, some scientists say, more likely. It would be like going camping in an area known to be infested with black bears and mosquitos and only planning for the mosquitos. Yes, the bugs can drive you crazy, but the bears can kill you. Similarly, heat in Ottawa is not fatal except for the elderly and other vulnerable citizens, people we need to protect. But everyone can die when it is minus 30 with no heat.

In my articles of past weeks, I have written about the new theory of cosmoclimatology-how phenomena in space, especially changes in the output of the Sun, affect the climate on Earth. While it is scientifically interesting to learn about what drove climate change in the past, what really matters from a public policy perspective is what this research can tell us about climate change in the future. This then helps us make sensible decisions about where we should focus our efforts to ensure future generations are well-prepared for whatever nature throws at us next.

As I explained in previously, Earthly temperature trends apparently follow in accordance with solar cycles. This should seriously concern councillors from all of these cities since leading solar researchers are convinced that we are headed for a Grand Solar Minimum by about the year 2070 when the Sun may be at its weakest in the past 300 years. This could result in significant global cooling, which these municipalities must prepare for.

The first time I heard about the coming Grand Solar Minimum was at The Heartland Institute's Fourth International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC-4) that took place in May 2010 in Chicago. In that important conference, Dr. Habibullo Abdussamatov, a Russian expert in solar terrestrial physics, head of the Space Research Laboratory of the Pulkovo Observatory in St. Petersburg and, later, the 2013 gold medal winner from the European Scientific-Industrial Chamber, gave a presentation titled, "THE SUN DICTATES THE CLIMATE." Abdussamatov explained that:


Natural bicentennial variations in the average annual values of the TSI [Total Solar Irradiance, the amount of solar energy reaching the top of Earth's atmosphere] caused by cyclic variations in the radius of the Sun together with secondary feedback effects led to 18 Little Ice Ages, established within the last 7,500 years. Every time the TSI experienced its peak (up to 0.2%) a global warming began with a time lag of 15+/-6 years defined by thermal inertia of the Ocean (despite the absence of anthropogenic influence [i.e., climate changed caused by humans]) and each deep bicentennial descent in the TSI caused a Little Ice Age.

Amazingly, Abdussamatov said that the Sun's radius varies by up to 250 km during the familiar 11-year sunspot cycle (we are just starting cycle 25 now) and up to 700 km during the bicentennial, or 200-year cycle. And this greatly influences solar output. Specifically, when the Sun was very weak, every 200 years or so, the Earth went into a Little Ice Age. He explained that such research enables scientists to study how TSI has changed in past centuries and even millennia and determine how it correlates with past climate on Earth and so what the future holds as these cycles continue.

Frighteningly, we are nearing a Grand Solar Minimum right now, a time period when many of the cycles of the Sun hit rock bottom. Abdussamatov predicted a deep minimum in TSI about 2042 and "a deep global temperature minimum about 2055 – 2060. The last time the Sun was this weak, the Earth was in a particularly cold phase of the most recent Little Ice Age that lasted from about 1350 – 1850, a period ofgreat misery for people around the world.

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About the Author

Tom Harris is an Ottawa-based mechanical engineer and Executive Director of the International Climate Science Coalition.

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