Thursday, 7 July 2016

Biting Winters

Global Warming Shamanism

It's been a remarkably warm winter in NZ so far.  Records have been broken, we are told--in a data-set stretching back to 1919.  Dark mutterings have been heard again about the horror of global warming about to descend upon us all.  The buzzings of the global warming doomsters have just begun to rise up again--and then this:
Winter is finally starting to bite. The whole country froze yesterday morning, and this morning again will be chilly.  MetService meteorologist Emma Blades said it wouldn't be quite as cold tonight but would still be bitter, particularly in the central and upper North Island.  In many parts of the country, temperatures are expected to slip below zero.  Blades said: "The North Island's looking very cold. In the South Island it's not as cold because there is more cloud around today."
Unusually, New Zealand's holiday hot-spot of the Coromandel was expected to be the coldest part of the country overnight with -2C.  Plenty of frost is forecast for Whitianga. Waikato is forecast to be cold and frosty. Hamiltonians are in for morning temperatures of -1C.  Much of Northland was expected to drop to 3 or 4C and Auckland would drop to 6C before dawn this morning.  [NZ Herald]
 Then overnight, like a smooth, hissing serpent, the meme changes from the threats of global warming, to the horrors of climate change.  All of a sssssudden, cold temperatures "demonstrate" global warming, only this time in the guise of climate change.  Cold temperatures really mean global warming, don't you know.

But, then, from left field comes another message.  The quiescence of the sun.
 You may not have noticed but our sun has gone as blank as a cue ball. As in, it's lost its spots. Meteorologist and sun-watcher Paul Dorian's latest report said the sun had gone "completely blank" for the second time in a month.  "The blank sun is a sign that the next solar minimum is approaching and there will be an increasing number of spotless days over the next few years.  Here is the blank sun:

Here is the "normal" sun:

Solar flares and activity all over the place. Photo / NASA

Then we read this:
There are consequences of a sun without spots, not least for astronauts who face the risk of having their DNA "shattered" by cosmic rays, whose potency surges during periods of solar weakness.  According to Mr Dorian, cosmic rays surge into the inner solar system "with relative ease" during periods of solar minimum.  "Solar wind decreases and sun's magnetic field weakens during solar minimums making it easier for cosmic rays to reach the Earth," he explains.
"This is a more dangerous time for astronauts as the increase in potent cosmic rays can easily shatter a strand of human DNA. Also, during years of lower sunspot number, the sun's extreme ultraviolet radiation (EUV) drops and the Earth's upper atmosphere cools and contracts. [Emphasis, ours.]
We wonder if the Thames will freeze over once again?

1 comment:

bethyada said...

I agree with your post but the 2 pictures are not the same kind of photograph of the sun. The second is with a special filter. As they are not comparable, someone who disagrees with you may dismiss this. The first picture with black spots would be better.