Archive for December, 2010
A Dalton Minimum

They used to say that when America catches a cold the world sneezes. But what happens if the world catches a cold, if it gets colder?

What’s Up With That has an excellent post suggesting we might be in for colder times:

A Dalton Minimum Repeat is Shaping Up: The sun went spotless yesterday (19 December 2010), the first time in quite awhile… The Dalton Minimum was a period of low solar activity, named after the English meteorologist John Dalton, lasting from about 1790 to 1830.[1] Like the Maunder Minimum and Spörer Minimum, the Dalton Minimum coincided with a period of lower-than-average global temperatures. The Oberlach Station in Germany, for example, experienced a 2.0°C decline over 20 years.[2] The Year Without a Summer, in 1816, also occurred during the Dalton Minimum.

The possibility of a Maunder minimum used to be the major concern. The Dalton minimum is not as bad. The following chart from the article illustrates the number of sunspots over the last 400 years. The good news is that we appear to have moved from being concerned with a Maunder Minimum to a Dalton Minimum. The latter is associated with a cold period rather than a little ice age.

There are numerous charts in the original post and I will leave it to interested readers to follow the link to examine the science in more detail. As is often the way with many of the better sites, the comments make fascinating reading. I tended to agree with this one:

Robert M says:

December 20, 2010 at 12:46 am

I believe if there is a 2c drop it could be disaster for humanity especially if the warmies and watermelons get what they want and world governments are blindsided by the cold.

I am of the mind that we need to start seeing a significant drop in temperatures for the sake of humanity. For all the damage this would do (crops would suffer, millions would die of starvation and cold-related deaths) it would pale besides the damage our corrupt leaders and the UN would inflict on us. We have already seen deaths from starvation due to tax-subsidised farmers growing biofuel instead of food (pushing food prices through the roof). We have already seen masses of jobs lost as once-free businesses fail to compete with the tax-funded green industry. We have already seen energy bills sky-rocket. We have already seen an entire section of the population – i.e. those who know that scepticism in science is an essential element – stigmatised by our own political representatives as “climate deniers” (Gordon Brown used the term on many occasions during his short, unelected period in office, as does Obama, as do most of the unelected EU, as do most of the unelected UN). We have already seen Government-produced propaganda targeted towards children, designed to scare them and if necessary to turn them against their sceptical parents. This is showing no signs of stopping, despite the complete failure of alarmists to prove their corrupt hypothesis. If anything, the more evidence that mounts against them (i.e. that the recent warming is part of a natural cycle, and is nothing remotely unusual), the more totalitarian they become.

So again, I say bring on the cold.

However, it all depends on just how cold and for just how long. A short relatively mild cold snap is just what we need to force people to face reality. That there is more than man to climate change. But cold periods are bad for humanity. They coincide with the collapse of civilizations and hard times. People struggle to keep warm and grow food. Prosperity fades. This can be contrasted to our recent warm period. Warm periods are associated with the flourishing of humanity. Our crops grow and the surplus enables people to work as artisans or artists. They are times of prosperity and plenty. No wonder the Greens with their love of a simple impoverished life are so against a warmer world.

There is more chance of global coldening than warming inducing a collapse in living standards. Please note that I refer to global warming induced dire straights as opposed to global warming policies induced dire straights. The latter have been enormously damaging. The destruction of national treasure and ongoing impoverishment of people through higher energy prices is absolutely indefensible. That it has largely been propagated by the left of the political spectrum demonstrates yet again just how sick they are. Imagine taxing initiative, energy and drive. Sick of subsidizing those who do nothing the left are focusing on directly penalizing those who do something. As if a do nothing economy can support any semblance of a decent standard of living.

It is not as is people can sunstitute other products for energy. If you want to read at night you need light. If you want to keep your house warm or cool you need heating or air conditioning. If you want to access food you need transportation. All of these require energy. Increasing the cost of them will decrease the amount of money available for other things. Energy is often a necessity. Other products get dropped when its price rises. The quantitative easing in the US and UK have been and will continue to be reflected in the price of power. It will fluctuate, but over time will rise. This means everyones existing stock of money or existing income just became worth less. I hope you are getting good returns on your investments or large pay rises to compensate. The investment bankers certainly are.

But back to the comments, another mentions that it will be some months before we know if the snow is going to remain through the summer. If it does it will increase the planet’s reflectivity, with the snow reflecting sunlight back into space and reducing the amount of warming it produces. If this happens then global cooling should really kick in. With that in mind this comment becomes alarming:

Australia swaps summer for Christmas snow: AFP – Snow fell in Australia on Monday, as the usual hot and summery December weather was replaced in parts by icy gusts sweeping up from the Southern Ocean, giving the country a taste of a white Christmas.

Snow has fallen in parts of east coast states New South Wales and Victoria, leaving ski resorts — some of which are usually snow-free at this time of year — with dumps of up to 10 centimetres (four inches)… Lovius said such an amount of snow was unusual for early December, normally the peak of the wildflower season in the New South Wales mountain region.

Hopefully it will melt before it reflect too much sunlight back into space.

There is nothing particularly new about the relationship between sunspots and temperature. It has been known about for a long time. In economics classes at school I was taught about Jevons and his belief that sunspot numbers were correlated with crop yields and the economy:

Sun-Spots and Commercial Crises: I HAVE been repeatedly told by men who have good opportunity of hearing current opinions, that they who theorise about the relations of sun-spots, rainfall, famines, and commercial crises are supposed to be jesting, or at the best romancing. I am, of course, responsible only for a small part of what has been put forth on this subject, but so far as I am concerned in the matter, I beg leave to affirm that I never was more in earnest, and that after some further careful inquiry, I am perfectly convinced that these decennial crises do depend upon meteorological variations of like period, which again depend, in all probability, upon cosmical variations of which we have evidence in the frequency of sun-spots, auroras, and magnetic perturbations. I believe that I have, in fact, found the missing link required to complete the first outline of the evidence. (W. Stanley Jevons, 1879)

It made sense then and it still does. Something impacts upon the sun and this manifests itself in sunspots and something that affects the earth’s climate. Jupiter and electromagnetic fields have been mentioned as one possibility. I’m a simple economist and can’t really commit to anything at this stage. I am maintaining an open and skeptical mind. It is a shame more of our policy makers did not do the same. That said, the post has interesting chart on the sun’s magnetic field activity:

If the sun’s magnetic strength does drive temperature change then there are grounds for concern:

And make no mistake. There are solid grounds for believing in the effects of the sun on climate. Our understanding of the science behind climate change may finally be catching up with Jevons:

A NOT-SO-QUIET SOLAR SURPRISE: Scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research and elsewhere have discovered that Earth was bombarded last year (2008) with high levels of solar energy at a time when the Sun was in an unusually quiet phase and sunspots had virtually disappeared…. Gibson and colleagues studied another solar phenomenon: discharges of high-speed streams of energy within the solar wind that carry turbulent magnetic fields out into the solar system. Comparing the current solar minimum with measurements during the last minimum in 1996, the researchers found that even though the sunspots were the lowest they have been in 75 years, the Sun’s electromagnetic impact on the outer reaches of the atmosphere was three times greater.

and:

Researchers Say Sun Cycle Alters Earth’s Climate: The team first confirmed an earlier theory, that the slight increase in solar energy during the peak production of sunspots is absorbed by stratospheric ozone. The energy warms the air in the stratosphere over the tropics, where sunlight is most intense, while also stimulating the production of additional ozone there that absorbs even more solar energy. Since the stratosphere warms unevenly, with the most pronounced warming occurring at lower latitudes, stratospheric winds are altered and, through a chain of interconnected processes, end up strengthening tropical precipitation.

At the same time, the increased sunlight at solar maximum causes a slight warming of ocean surface waters across the subtropical Pacific, where Sun-blocking clouds are normally scarce. That small amount of extra heat leads to more evaporation, producing additional water vapor. In turn, the moisture is carried by trade winds to the normally rainy areas of the western tropical Pacific, fueling heavier rains and reinforcing the effects of the stratospheric mechanism.

The top-down influence of the stratosphere and the bottom-up influence of the ocean work together to intensify this loop and strengthen the trade winds. As more sunshine hits drier areas, these changes reinforce each other, leading to less clouds in the subtropics, allowing even more sunlight to reach the surface, and producing a positive feedback loop that further magnifies the climate response.

Naturally the climate change alarmists models do not have variations in the Sun’s output driving climate on earth. Doing so would limit their ability to blame human CO2 output. Without being able to blame developed capitalist countries they will not be able to implement global income redistribution. The left-green house of cards collapses along with their funding and ability to expropriate the wealth of others through climate change “abatement” policies.

Accepting climate is driven by something other than people also removes from traders a potential revenue stream comprising part of the value of everything anyone does. It is a component of everything anyone does, because activity takes energy. And with a carbon trading scheme part of the money used to obtain the right to do something will be secured by traders. We can expect the vested interests and their useful idiots to fight tooth an nail to prevent this outcome. They care not how much ordinary people are harmed so long as they get the opportunity to take billions or even trillions of dollars from them. Without human Co2 driven climate change and carbon trading the likes of Goldman Sachs will be poorer, the people of the world as a whole far richer. I know whose side I am on, how about you?

There is also some Wikileaks material on the Copenhagen conference:

Check out The Guardian‘s coverage of other WikiLeaks climate cables:

The alternative climate proposal that has developing countries outraged E.U. president says Cancún climate talks are doomed, How the U.S. used spies and threats to get support for the Copenhagen Accord More details on how the U.S. squelched opposition to the Copenhagen Accord.

Skulduggery and bribery integral to the Copenhagen process. Who would have thought it? Companies do it to governments to obtain mandated green targets, so why should governments not do it to each other? The global green initiative is simply a stinking corrupt destroyer of value. Those enriched by the Green cause are on the side of evil. They stand against progress and if they get their way will sentence our children to a miserable impoverished existence.  How conflicted must the Guardian have felt? They can stick the boot into America, but only at the cost of portraying the UN global gabfests for what they actually are – denying their outcomes of even the fig leaf of legitimacy.

We are well past the point where some of the global warming profiteers and their willing enablers should have been tarred and feathered. Treasure spent on green dreams is money not available to save lives, feed people or otherwise enhance well-being.

 
A Great Depression

This made sense to me:

Guest Post: Underneath the Happy Talk, Is This As Bad as the Great Depression? So even though the government’s spending on the “war” on the economic crisis dwarfs the amount spent on the New Deal, our economy is still stuck in the mud.

Given that the government has done so much, but we are still mired in a situation which in many ways is comparable to the Great Depression, it is not a very radical statement to say that the government is doing the wrong things to address the downturn.

I hope that the economy recovers. But the above comparisons are worrisome, indeed.

The whole post is worth looking at.

 
Financial cesspit

Just added this interview to the site’s economics video page:

INET’s Interview with Charles Ferguson, the Director of “Inside Job” hat tip Jesse’s Cafe Americain

It looks like the documentary is worth watching.

Reality always wins. Papering over the financial cesspit in the US simply allows the noxious brew to fester out of site. The Obama administration is embedding crony capitalism as the modus operandi of the US.  As they say, the first step is acknowledging you have a problem. The first step is necessary step for alcoholics and debtoholics alike, both at the individual and national level. Having your government and much of your economy captured by vested interests is a problem. A big problem. Fix it people. Apply the law and lock up law breakers. Irrespective of which financial institution they work for.

It is hard top overestimate the extent of Fraud in the US as is clear from this guest post on Naked Capitalism:

Double Dip In Housing Largely Caused By Failure to Prosecute Mortgage Fraud: For those who doubt that fraud is rampant in the mortgage paperwork mess, see thisthisthis,this,this andthis.

There are obviously other factors responsible for the softening housing market, such as the end of government stimulus programs regarding housing, and poor employment conditions. But as I’ve pointed out early and often, these problems are all interrelated.   See Another Nobel Economist Says We Have to Prosecute Fraud Or Else the Economy Won’t Recover.

If that does not do it for you, check out the category on The Big Picture, from which this comment is taken:

Impossible Foreclosure: Never Late on a Payment: Post bailout, the giant banks have become too large to manage themselves… How else can BoA threaten foreclosure proceeding with on a house that never missed a mortgage payment; indeed, the owners were NEVER late on any mortgage payments! There was never a risk of default, or delinquency. And yet, BoA is automatically generating foreclosure notices (which no one at BOA can figure out how or why).

The obvious answer is the illegal processing of foreclosures. When lawyers, bank executives and there outside contractors are paid to violate the law, the local State Attorney General needs to prosecute these felons. Where Lawyers perjure themselves, swearing they have verified, reviewed and confirmed foreclosure files they never so much have looked at, they need to be disbarred.

Its called the rule of law, and its long past time we actually enforced it.

Applying the rule of law. What a novel suggestion. Or does that only apply to the little people, when it works against them?