Solar Activity Weakest In More Than A Century

solar activityThe current solar cycle is the 24th since 1755 when extensive recording of solar sunspot activity began and is the weakest in more than a century with the fewest sunspots since cycle 14 peaked in February 1906. –Paul Dorian, Vencore Weather, 31 October 2016

Get ready for the coldest winter since 2012. Most of China-but especially the northeast and northwest-is expected to feel a big chill this winter, thanks to a climate pattern in the Pacific Ocean called La Nina, meteorologists said on Monday. “Affected by a growing La Nina, the country’s average temperature this winter is forecast to be 0.5 degree (Celsius) lower than average,” said Zheng Fei, a researcher at the Institute of Atmospheric Physics of Chinese Academy of Sciences. –Zheng Jinran, China Daily, 31 October 2016

Climate change has been wrongly blamed for devastating coffee plantations, a study has found. Coffee leaf rust (CLR) caused coffee production in Colombia to fall by 40 per cent between 2008 and 2011. The decline was linked to the worst epidemic for several decades. A number of other coffee-producing countries in Central America and the Caribbean were also affected and hundreds of thousands of people lost their livelihoods. Some scientists linked the spread of the fungus to climate change because it thrives in higher temperatures and the moisture caused by increased rainfall. The International Coffee Organisation, an intergovernmental body of coffee exporting and importing countries, said in 2014: “Due to changing climatic patterns, the fungus is expanding to higher altitudes where coffee is grown.” Scientists at the University of Exeter took a different view. Their paper, published in the Royal Society journal Philosophical Transactions B, concluded: “We find no evidence for an overall trend in disease risk in coffee-growing regions of Colombia from 1990 to 2015, therefore, while weather conditions were more conducive to disease outbreaks from 2008 to 2011, we reject the climate change hypothesis.” –Ben Webster, The Times, 24 October 2016

Now and then new results appear that suggest that the idea of cosmic ray influence on clouds and terrestrial climate does not work. “Sun-clouds-climate connection takes a beating from CERN” is the latest news story which is based on a new paper from the CLOUD collaboration at CERN. This type of numerical modeling is by no means new, and neither is the result that ions in these models apparently do not affect cloud formation. We have known this for about 7 years. So why, in contrast to the above, do I think that the cosmic rays cloud idea is still viable? The reason is that we have tried to answer the same question (do ion-nucleated aerosols grow to CCN) without using models — and get very different results. –Henrik Svensmark, Global Warming Policy Forum, 30 October 2016

Ever since I first wrote in 2011 under the heading “The lights may go out in Germany even sooner than in Britain”, I have been noting that, for evidence of where our efforts to “decarbonise” our economy are taking us, we should look at Germany, which is even further down the track. An expert study there has recently caused a stir by calculating that by 2025 Germany’s “green energy transition”, such as its 26,000 windmills, will have cost £470 billion, or £22,500 for the average household. Another study by Dr John Constable of the Global Warming Policy Forum shows that in the same period, the additional annual sum we pay just for “green” electricity will almost have trebled, from less than £5 billion to nearly £14 billion, made up partly of subsidies but also in “ancillary” costs. The trouble is that, because all these projections still seem comfortably in the future (although 2030 is just over 13 years away), only the handful of those who have looked at the hard facts have any idea of where the mad dreams of our politicians are leading us. –Christopher Booker, The Sunday Telegraph, 31 October 2016

Professors usually spend about 3-6 months (sometimes longer) researching and writing a 25-page article to submit an article to an academic journal. And most experience a twinge of excitement when, months later, they open a letter informing them that their article has been accepted for publication, and will therefore be read by … an average of ten people. Yes, you read that correctly. The numbers reported by recent studies are pretty bleak: – 82 percent of articles published in the humanities are not even cited once.  Of those articles that are cited, only 20 percent have actually been read. Half of academic papers are never read by anyone other than their authors, peer reviewers, and journal editors. All of this is very unfortunate. Ideally, the great academic minds of a society should be put to work for the sake of building up that society and addressing its problems. Instead, most Western academics today are using their intellectual capital to answer questions that nobody’s asking on pages that nobody’s reading. What a waste.  –Daniel Lattier, Intellectual Takeover, 26 October 2016

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