Have you ever noticed how quiet the world gets during a snowfall? Not a howling blizzard that freezes your ears off and robs you of your breath. Just a nice, soft gentle snowfall.
Here in the Northeast, we have a saying during winter: “Is it cold enough for you?” The answer of course, is yes, it’s cold. It’s too cold. It’s way too cold. Of course, cold is a relative term. In Florida, 55 degrees F is “too cold”. In Philadelphia, 20 degrees might be “too cold”.
In Southern California, they don’t even know what cold is, being in a Mediterranean-style climate. Fairbanks, Alaska, is experiencing a relatively warm period. Today’s high temperature is supposed to reach 31 degrees. That’s pretty warm for Alaska in January. Meanwhile, in Fargo, N.D., the high today will be 3 degrees; the low, -2. But it will be even colder tonight in Burlington, Vt.: -11 degrees, with a high of 6. But Minneapolis, Minn., gets today’s “Is it cold enough for you?” award with a high of -4 degrees and a low of -7. Only Montreal, Canada, has a colder low (in terms of the civilized places of the world) of -13.
It’s not like we’ve never known cold before. It’s just been awhile; pretty much along the lines of the sunspot cycle. The last Super Blizzard was in January 1996, with northern New Jersey receiving between 20 and 30 inches of snow. We’ve had a number of technical blizzards but they were minor in comparison. The snow has to come up to your car door for Super Blizzard status. These latest snowstorms we have didn’t even come up to my hubcaps.
People remember the Blizzard of February 1978, which primarily affected Long Island. But 1996 was the real whopper for the Garden State. That was 18 years ago, the year I moved into my condo. I hadn’t moved in yet, luckily.
According to solarscience.msfc.nasa.gov, we’ve experienced a high sunspot cycle, but the forecast indicates that the sunspots are disappearing, cooling down again, which means we’ll be cooling down. Although the Climate Changers will claim victory, sunspots run in cycles of about 11 years. They have nothing to do with man, or the ozone layer, or minnows (whose legal protection is causing a drought in California’s San Fernando Valley).
Solarscience tells us:
“In 1610, shortly after viewing the sun with his new telescope, Galileo Galilei (or was it Thomas Harriot?) made the first European observations of Sunspots. Continuous daily observations were started at the Zurich Observatory in 1849 and earlier observations have been used to extend the records back to 1610. The sunspot number is calculated by first counting the number of sunspot groups and then the number of individual sunspots.
“The ‘sunspot number’ is then given by the sum of the number of individual sunspots and ten times the number of groups. Since most sunspot groups have, on average, about ten spots, this formula for counting sunspots gives reliable numbers even when the observing conditions are less than ideal and small spots are hard to see. Monthly averages (updated monthly) of the sunspot numbers (181 kb JPEG image), (307 kb pdf-file), (62 kb text file) show that the number of sunspots visible on the sun waxes and wanes with an approximate 11-year cycle.
“(Note: there are actually at least two ‘official’ sunspot numbers reported. The International Sunspot Number is compiled by the Solar Influences Data Analysis Center in Belgium. The NOAA sunspot number is compiled by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The numbers tabulated in spot_num.txt are the monthly averages (SSN) and standard deviation (DEV) derived from the International Sunspot Numbers)
The Maunder Minimum
“Early records of sunspots indicate that the Sun went through a period of inactivity in the late 17th Century. Very few sunspots were seen on the Sun from about 1645 to 1715 (38 kb JPEG image). Although the observations were not as extensive as in later years, the Sun was in fact well observed during this time and this lack of sunspots is well documented. This period of solar inactivity also corresponds to a climatic period called the “Little Ice Age” when rivers that are normally ice-free froze and snow fields remained year-round at lower altitudes. There is evidence that the Sun has had similar periods of inactivity in the more distant past. The connection between solar activity and terrestrial climate is an area of on-going research.
“Detailed observations of sunspots have been obtained by the Royal Greenwich Observatory since 1874. These observations include information on the sizes and positions of sunspots as well as their numbers. These data show that sunspots do not appear at random over the surface of the sun but are concentrated in two latitude bands on either side of the equator. A butterfly diagram (142 kb GIF image) (184 kb pdf-file) (updated monthly) showing the positions of the spots for each rotation of the sun since May 1874 shows that these bands first form at mid-latitudes, widen, and then move toward the equator as each cycle progresses.
The Greenwich Sunspot Data
“The Royal Greenwich Observatory data has been appended with data obtained by the US Air Force Solar Optical Observing Network since 1977. This newer data has been reformatted to conform to the older Greenwich data and both are available in a local directory of ASCII files. Each file contains records for a given year with individual records providing information on the daily observations of active regions
Sunspot Cycle Predictions
“MSFC Solar Physics Branch members Wilson, Hathaway, and Reichmann have studied the sunspot record for characteristic behavior that might help in predicting future sunspot activity. Our current predictions of solar activity for the next few years can be found at this link. Although sunspots themselves produce only minor effects on solar emissions, the magnetic activity that accompanies the sunspots can produce dramatic changes in the ultraviolet and soft x-ray emission levels. These changes over the solar cycle have important consequences for the Earth’s upper atmosphere.”
Meanwhile, National Review and its columnist Mark Steyn are fighting a lawsuit against them brought by Dr. Michael Mann, of “Hockey Stick” fame, a theory from the late 1990s which holds that global warming is due to man-made activities, including the production of CO2 which is caused by breathing.
Steyn mocked Dr. Mann on his website and Mann countered with a “SLAAP” which stands for “Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation”, or as a couple of professors from the University of Denver called it in their book, SLAPPs: Getting Sued for Speaking Out.
As of this date, anti-SLAAP laws have been enacted in 28 states, Washington, D.C., and one territory. Steyn says that the suit, and the ensuing legislation to put a stop to such lawsuits (in which defendants are also barred from criticizing judges), has received no attention from the Media. Even the National Review, he says, has remained mute on the subject, on advice from counsel.
“If you are only a print subscriber (as opposed to an Internet reader), you will have no idea that National Review is in the midst of a big free-speech battle,” Steyn notes, “on one of the critical public-policy issues of our time. There have been no cover stories, no investigative journalism, and no eviscerating editorials. NR runs specialized blogs on both legal matters and climate change, yet they too have been all but entirely silent. I assume, from this lonely outpost on NR’s wilder shores, that back at head office they take the view that it’s best not to say anything while this matter works its way through the courts. In other words, a law explicitly intended to prevent litigious bullies from forcing their victims to withdraw from ‘public participation’ has resulted in the defendants themselves voluntarily withdrawing from ‘public participation.’
Have you noticed how cold and silent the world has become since the inception of political correctness back in the 1990s? Very different from the howling protests of the 1960s when “students” burned draft cards, bras, cities, and the American flag in the summers and blizzards regularly dumped heavy mounds of snow on the Northeast in the winters? If you were alive back then, you remember those very hot summers and very cold winters.
In the winter of our political arena, the temperature has very nearly reached absolute zero, the point when activity even on the molecular level ceases. This phenomenon is absolutely man-made and Progressively driven. When national columnists like Mark Steyn are sued for challenging conventional scientific “wisdom” in a country where it should be the height of summer, you know we are being taken back to the Winter of 1816. A volcano had erupted in the Pacific that year that spread a cloud around the Earth, blocking out the sunshine for full year.
They experienced snowstorms in June. Crops were ruined from Europe to North America. Settlers began moving farther West, not because of Manifest Destiny, but because they’re crops in Western New York State had failed. They said it was the year without a summer.
The year before, the conqueror Napoleon had been defeated at Waterloo. But the autocrats of Germany were just gearing up in that 25 years for a half century of war that would send thousands and thousands of Germans to America, where their sons, who were needed to help work the land, wouldn’t be impressed into The Kaiser’s (that’s German for “Caesar”) military.
No one needed a scientific doctorate to know why the crops had failed or that the European monarchies were corrupt and omnipotent. There was no government bail-out for the farmers and no exemptions for the poor from the Germany army. They simply came into the fields and dragged you off. The British raided American ships in the same fashion, in order to fight a naval war against their own country.
In the America of the time, you could vote out corrupt politicians. You could go right to the town square, without a permit, and speak your mind. You could write to the local newspaper or print your own, if they didn’t hold with your political view and refuse to print your letters. You could start your own business; you could speak for or against a war; you could debate the scientists of the day; you could experiment on your own without needing a university to confirm your work (as long as you kept good notes explaining your procedures and methods).
In America, the pen was mightier than the sword. Today, the pen has been replaced by the computer keyboard and the computer has been frozen by a government that has made free speech a one-way street, particularly for professional Conservative writers like Steyn and magazines like National Review. There isn’t just a chill on free speech.
We’ve just entered a new “Little Ice Age.”