Why a Warming World Could Turn Cold

Sun and Earth Moving in Opposite Directions?

January 19, 2018
Sunspot Cycles

A few months ago, I discussed the challenges that forced me to modify the methodology that I use in making the long-range weather forecasts for The Old Farmer’s Almanac.

The two primary challenges were that (1) increasingly, over the past two decades, the actual weather has been warmer than that forecast by our traditional forecast methodology, and (2) we are in a period of low solar activity that is cooling Earth, thereby offsetting some of that warming.

I offered that the fact that solar activity (the driver of the Almanac’s long-range forecasts) in recent years has suggested that temperatures should have been relatively cool represents strong evidence that there is some other factor causing warming, which would most likely be the increase in greenhouse gasses caused by human activities.

Further, I cautioned that “I do expect that solar activity over the next 15 to perhaps 50 years will remain low. And if I am correct, this will keep Earth’s temperatures cooler than they would otherwise be, although still continuing a general year-to-year warming trend. Then, once solar activity returns to near-normal levels, temperatures would jump significantly higher—perhaps on the order of one to two degrees F.”


Since I wrote those words, solar researchers have raised similar concerns. Recent research, led by Valentina Zharkova at the UK’s Northumbria University, predicted rapidly decreasing magnetic waves for the three solar cycles from 2021 to about 2054. According to her model, solar activity as expressed by sunspots and solar flares will be reduced by as much as 60 percent during this period.

Leading solar researcher Javaraiah Javaraiah of the Indian Institute of Astrophysics, in a paper published in the journal Solar Physics in November 2017, agreed, predicting that cycles 25 and 26 would be weaker than cycle 24, which was the weakest cycle in more than 100 years.

According to Zharkova: “In cycle 26, the two waves exactly mirror each other, peaking at the same time but in opposite hemispheres of the Sun. We predict that this will lead to the properties of a ‘Maunder Minimum.’”

The Maunder Minimum was the period from about 1645 to 1715, when sunspots and related solar activity were practically nonexistent and there was a time of unusually cold weather in much of the world. 

Zharkova expressed the same concern that we did, when she stated, “I hope that global warning will be overridden by this effect, giving humankind and Earth 30 years to sort out our pollution. The downward impact on global warming will last until the 2050s, when the Sun’s two magnetic waves become active again.”

Find the long-range forecasts in this year’s edition of The Old Farmer’s Almanac.

Reader Comments

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Weather temps on last week of March 20018

Planning an outside party evening of March 31


A great job by the Almanac staff on this issue. Yes, the earth is definitely warming and 2017 becomes another year of above average temperatures. But the Almanac is the only source I know talking about the effect low sunspot activity is likely to have to temporarily offset some of the warming. Fascinating stuff and thank you.

The first report of a warming period was in 1964

A fellow in Urbana, IL went through local temperature records covering 1914-1964. These temps had been measured 3 feet down in the soil and the air temp by the local university. He found a 1.4F increase in average temperatures. It has continued through today.
The excess CO2 in the atmosphere will exacerbate this warming trend in the next 100 years, causing the temp to increase more than normal.
So the overall warming is a normal cycle but the warming will be increased by CO2 blocking the normal radiation of heat from the earth into space.

Really?? The "deep state" is DIRECTING hurricanes??

I cannot believe the level of tripe I am reading in this comments section! From rad this and next level that and the "deep state" sending hurricanes to specific places and directing weather catastrophes to California! Get a job, buy a book, and try educating yourself instead of wallowing in whatever nonsense you are buying into on Facebook. You've done nothing but enrich Mark Zuckerberg, that little weasel.

End time

Everything that's happening, has got to come to pass,yes we as a whole do make some things worse,but the bible has to full fill,Jesus is soon to come !!!

Sun spots

So "global warming" but it won't get warmer! Cool. Nothing like continuing the bullshit even though it is a tool to scare ignorant masses into global wealth redistribution and socialism.

cool Sun, warm Earth

The Editors's picture

It is a tricky concept but the idea is that a “quiet” Sun, one with little sunspot activity tends to result in cooler conditions on Earth than a “busy” Sun, one with many sunspots and warmer conditions on Earth. (Sunspots are magnetic storms on the surface of the Sun and the core aspect of our weather forecasts.) So, the theory expressed above is that while the Sun is quiet (now), the greenhouse gases are building up in our atmosphere, warming it/us/the climate (now). When the Sun’s quiet period is over in a couple of decades or so and sunspot activity returns, the heat created by sunspots will, effectively, merge with the increased heat of greenhouse gases. … and global temps get boosted for several years (or decades)…until the Sun quiets down again.

See the chart: the red spikes of Maunder Min show a quiet, or cool period;  the blue spikes represent active sunspot periods, with increased heat on Earth. (We’ll admit that “red” usually means hot and “blue” usually indicates cool, but not this time; we did not create the chart and it is a very well-known/used representation.) Hope this helps.

Climate change

There exists a very extensive fossil record of the past 50,000 years of life in the Los Angeles basin, at the George C. Page Museum, in Los Angeles. Along with the bones of the megafauna, that we are all familiar with, excavators at the Rancho LaBrea Project and at salvage digs around the area (due to the construction of the Metro subway) have been finding and cataloging the small life of the past as well. Fossil remains of fish, reptiles, amphibians, and even pollen grains and plant material have been recorded. The importance of these items is that they are a record of the area as it was because these are the fossils of what lived in the basin during that time, not what may have wandered into the tar pits while "passing through". What these fossils have shown is that for at least the past 50,000 years the Los Angeles Basin has become drier and warmer. Long before the advent of humans and the internal combustion engine. This shows a natural cycle of warming and cooling that has been going on for, well . . . forever. Does this get us off the hook for climate change? Yes and no. My belief is while we are in a natural cycle we still may be exacerbating the situation and if we can reduce those annoying fumes that make my eyes water when in the city then why not do it? Just do not believe that you will ever stop climate change, we puny humans are not that powerful.

Basin has

natural cycles

The Editors's picture

That’s the matter in a nutshell. It about cyclical patterns. Thanks for sharing.


Michael, you need to get "with the times". Geo-enginering has more to do with the weather these days , that sunspot activity or traditional weather cycles. HAARP and the use of nex-rad radar, is used by the "Deep state" to direct hurricanes and the Gulf Stream, as well as create the extreme weather conditions in California. Chemtrails have nothing to do with global warming, but all to do with dumbing down the population with aluminum, barium , and strontium.The fires in Northern California were caused by directed energy weapons (DEW), not lightning.Hopefuly more people will understand this causality, and demand changes, before we drift into dementia from ionic aluminum particulate inhalation from chemtrails.

Global warming

With all due respect, this article is rubbish. There are several weather forecasters that base their forecasts on past weather. Amazingly, they are very accurate based on analogues of past years. Their forecasts have nothing whatsoever to do with global warming. The climate has been changing for millions of years. This is nothing but the "progressives" attempting to continue their manipulation and control over the population.


Cooling is offsetting fictional warming ? Please tell it to the lemmings . This makes no sense and is geared to the hand wringers.

Wealth redistribution and Socialism

Nailed it.

Crazy paranoid climate change deniers!

The wackadoodles are out in force! The only people who deny that mankinds cumulative activities are affecting the Earth's climate are the ignorant or ones with a political agenda. It's science, people! It's not a socialist plot to take your money, your guns and your women. Jeez, spare me your mindless, politically driven hysteria.

It's about the science...but

I like the science part, the problem is, I, like most ordinary people, have not seen the data, so I cannot tell you what I believe. The ignorant need to be educated, and confidence in the integrity of the data reclaimed. I see youtube videos of adjusted data (fake?) vs raw with no explanation as to the adjustment. A full chain-of-explanation needs to be provided, and i worry that the ease of using computer guys to create/adjust data is not being appropriately reviewed by climate science and sensor engineering people, and peer reviewed by other related science disciplines. Government, policy, industry, Climategate, competing interests just add to the confusion (I can never believe a politician who tries to talk about science, or claims to have invented the internet). Bias needs to be removed from the research as Nobel author D Kahneman in 'Thinking Fast and Slow' indicates -he has "yet to meet a successful scientist who lacks the ability to exaggerate" - to do this we need good quality data, and a good amount of it, and processes to filter bias.

I think a well-vetted systems-level view needs to be implemented that recognizes the earth is a very very large and complicated system, lots of inputs involved, always more to be known, inclusive of various science disciplines, adding to it new technologies as they go online. I saw on C-SPAN NASA pitching funding requests for Spaceweather, certainly this has to be a positive thing and only shows there is always more to learn.

It's About the Science...But

I am quite late to the game in these comments, but just came across this article today while searching this topic because of a radio show I listened to on my way to work at 3:30 am CST. I am a life-long lover of all things space-related since the age of 5 when I was glued to a 7" black and white TV watching the first moon landing. But I digress.

I confess to much frustration with those who continue to insist that climate change is anything more than man-made. I want to shake them and ask if they have forgotten ANYTHING they learned in junior high school regarding evolution and the dinosaurs. Yes, I know that is very simplistic, but you can break this down to BE very simplistic. Simply put, the Earth's climate has gone through periods where there were no ice caps on either pole, the seas were much higher, the temperatures were much warmer, and shallow inland seas covered much more of the surface of the Earth. The oxygen level was much higher, as well, leading to the development of huge insects, and ultimately of huge dinosaurs. Then the asteroid/comet struck in what is now part of Mexico, wiping out all of the dinosaurs and throwing the Earth into a sort of nuclear winter for tens of thousands of years. My point is, the Earth has gone through untold numbers of cycles of hot and cold long before mankind was here, and it will continue to do so long after we are gone. Yes, I have no doubt we are exacerbating the problem. However, for any political party to DARE suggest the United States has sole responsibility to fix the problem is inexcusable, when Asian countries are simply not called to account for their reprehensible pollution problems.


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