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Ice-Age 1: There’s a Mini-Ice Age Coming? Good Timing!

By: Dr. Ricky Rood, 6:01 PM GMT on July 23, 2015

Ice-Age 1: There’s a Mini-Ice Age Coming? Good Timing!

Back in 2012, I wrote a blog about an article in the Daily Mail stating that global warming stopped 16 years ago. That blog I wrote at the request of a friend in banking who was giving a talk on the importance of investing in mitigation and adaptation of climate change. They were expecting audience or media protestations based on that article. That article was one of several items that inserted the warming hiatus distraction in, not only, our language, but into the politically-based efforts at disrupting climate-change policy, and, as I suggested in the previous blog, into our research agenda.

The Daily Mail is, once again, holding out bait, reporting scientists warning of a mini-Ice Age. I want to explore this article in a number of ways, and I want to see if we can think about how to manage the influence of the article. I realize that the best way to manage the influence might be to ignore it, but I don’t expect that ignoring it will be totally successful.

There are a number of threads of ideas that I want to follow. These include:

- The scientific merits of the journal article that makes the prediction of solar activity

- The ability to infer what this may or may not mean about the Earth’s climate

- The uncertainty of observations of sunspot activity relative to the uncertainty of climate observations

- The uncertainty of models and predictions of sunspot activity relative to the uncertainty of models and predictions of climate change

- The coverage of this journal article by the Daily Mail as a ploy to build and sustain doubt in the public discussion of climate change

- The tactics used in reporting the journal article to place it as an instrument to support doubt

- The credibility of information and knowledge sources

- The role of the Daily Mail article and the journal paper in the bring me a rock game

In the end, I would like to have a knowledge-based assessment of where this work should be placed in the climate-change discussion and an analysis of how the article plays out in the public discussion. I quite specifically look to an objective survey of the “political” role the article plays.

Towards this end, there are a couple of special features I want to bring forward.

First, I have asked two of my colleagues who are both researchers and teachers of space weather and solar physics to write blogs about the journal article as well as the Daily Mail article. They are Mike Liemohn and Aaron Ridley. I will be posting entries from them over the next week or two.

Second, I would like my community of readers and commenters to help track the influence of this article by helping to collect where the article gets posted as well as how the scientific community responds to the article, with refutations or endorsements. Maybe mail links to my wunderground blog mail, that would serve as a bit of an abuse filter. But also, figure out a way to collect and share in the comments. Perhaps in BaltimoreBrian’s lists.

Third, it would be nice for the community to fill in the gaps. For example, what is the relation of this Daily Mail story to the buildup to the Paris Climate meeting? Or how does additional carbon dioxide today influence how we analyze a decline in sunspots?

We’ll see. This could be boom or bust. If it works, I could imagine an article somewhere outside of this blog space, and that would be pretty cool.


Just as a point of reference. Today, 20150723, the Daily Mail article on scientists warning of a mini-Ice Age, was posted on 20150710, has 149k shares and 1.7 k comments. At the top of the page, there is a link to "25 Celebs You Forgot Committed Horrible Crimes." At the bottom of the page there is a link to "20 Stars Who Are Aging Terribly."

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The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.