By Rich Kozlovich
In 1989 the American Council on Science and Health (ACSH) released a documentary called, Big Fears, Little Risks. This was very well received by the pesticide application, distribution and manufacturing industries. Back in those days I always “knew” where our industry stood. We “knew” that what we did was saving lives and protecting property with pesticides. Overall, people in agricultural “knew” that they were saving lives by feeding the world by growing and protecting their crops with herbicides, insecticides, fungicides and chemical fertilizers. We “knew” that the activists were wrong and needed to be stood up to and needed to be challenged. Somehow that has all changed. It was subtle and insidious, but greenies now infest our industries, and many times in positions of responsibility.
Many of these people, fresh out of school, “knew” that pesticides were evil and needed to be eliminated. They “knew” that IPM was the answer...for a while. When that didn’t eliminate pesticides, then they “knew” that we needed to start performing “sustainable” pest control that was “green", terms that are so indefinable that they can be defined and redefined to meet any new criteria the greenies want. They apparently accept every irrational scare promoted by the greenies. Whether it is asthma, endocrine disruption, cancer, or a host of other scares, they seem to embrace them and promote the idea that they are true.
Recently I attended a recertification class where the speaker presented slides that showed the whole list of irrational, theoretical scares promoted by the greenies. I challenged this as unscientific. He and I have had this conversation before, and even though he agreed with everything that I said…..the slide remains part of the training. Why?
It came as quite a shock to me when I came to the realization that there already was a cadre of greenies within the industry, hiding right in our midst, out in the open. As a result; things have certainly changed philosophically in pest control.
The real question is this; has reality changed? Do we really need to "go green"? What does it really mean? Have we protected society for over sixty years or do we really believe that we been killing society and the environment? If we are doing so many bad things, why then are more people living longer healthier lives than ever before. Do we really believe that getting rid of pesticides won't have seriously negative consequences? Why do we really “need” to go green?
I have been told by people that should know better that, “everyone knows what IPM is”! Really? Then why are there so many definitions? Why do state legislative bodies require that someone provide them with a definition for IPM? We have lost sight of reality in order to become acceptable to the activists and their latest philosophical flavor of the day, and that flavor being “green”.
I always remembered the film, Big Fears, Little Risks, and I wanted to get a copy so that I could harvest some of the quotes from men like Bruce Ames for an article I was working on. I sent out a request to a large number of people who might still have a copy. Some said that they would look and if they still had it they would send it to me. One finally did; I would like to thank Ted Bruesch of Lipha Tech for his generosity. A number of people in my network informed me that I could download it from the ACSH web site. That was embarrassing, since I am a member and didn’t know it was there.
Well, twenty years has gone by and it seems that the irrational thinking is greater than ever. I will be sixty three soon and I have watched the world changing in ways that I would have never dreamed possible. I see people being washed back and forth with every new philosophical flavor of the day like the waves of the sea being dashed against the rocks by the wind. I feel more and more like the voice in the wilderness. Big Fears, Little Risks was roundly praised in 1989. I really think that it would be a good time for everyone to review this documentary once again. We can never return to Camelot, but it would be nice to remember who we used to be; because if we fail to recognize who we were, how can be realize who we will become? Or more important; who we should become!
Saturday, April 25, 2009
By Rich Kozlovich
Mr. Marusek has shown a remarkable ability to find historical references in old records and American literature to show that it is the sun’s cycles that is impacting the Earth’s climate; not anything done by man, and certainly not CO2.
The Ohio River is one of America’s mighty rivers. The river is 981 miles (1,579 km) long and carries the largest volume of water of any tributary of the Mississippi River. In spots the river is almost a mile wide. In the days leading up to the Civil War, it was a physical boundary that separated the free states (e.g. Indiana, Ohio, Illinois) from the slave states (e.g. Kentucky, West Virginia).
Harriet Beecher Stowe lived in Cincinnati, Ohio from 1832 to 1850. In 1851, she wrote “Uncle Tom’s Cabin”. Her life in Ohio was intertwined in this book.
In “Uncle Tom’s Cabin”, Eliza was a young light skinned mulatto slave living in an estate in Kentucky. She had a son, little Harry. One night she overheard a conversation between her master and his wife. Her only son had been sold and the papers were signed and delivered. Before noon the next day a brutal trader (Mr. Haley) would pick him up and steal him away. She went back to her cabin, took her son in her arms and fled. This was a dangerous proposition. If caught, she would most likely be put to death, as an example.
“The frosty ground creaked beneath her feet, and she trembled at the sound; every quaking leaf and fluttering shadow sent the blood backward to her heart, and quickened her footsteps. She wondered within herself at the strength that seemed to be come upon her; for she felt the weight of her boy as if it had been a feather, and every flutter of fear seemed to increase the supernatural power that bore her on, while from her pale lips burst forth, in frequent ejaculations, the prayer to a Friend above - ‘Lord, help! Lord, save me!”
She arrived at the shores of the mighty Ohio river an hour before sunset. “It was now early spring, and the river was swollen and turbulent; great cakes of floating ice were swinging heavily to and fro in the turbid waters. Owing to the peculiar form of the shore on the Kentucky side, the land bending far out into the water, the ice had been lodged and detained in great quantities, and the narrow channel which swept round the bend was full of ice, piled one cake over another, thus forming a temporary barrier to the descending ice, which lodged, and formed a great, undulating raft, filling up the whole river, and extending almost to the Ohio shore.”
Eliza stood in shock. Her planned escape was by ferry-boat. But the ice dashed those dreams apart. “The boats has stopped running.” She temporarily took shelter in a little tavern. Later as the dusk of twilight set in, she was discovered. “Her room opened by the side door to the river. She caught her child, and sprang down the steps towards it. The (slave) trader caught a full glimpse of her, just as she was disappearing down the bank; and throwing himself from his horse, and calling loudly on Sam and Andy (plantation slaves), he was after her like a hound after a deer. In that dizzy moment her feet to her scarce seemed to touch the ground, and a moment brought her to the water’s edge. Right on behind they came and, nerved with strength such as God gives only to the desperate, with one wild cry and flying leap, she vaulted sheer over the turbid current by the shore, on to the raft of ice beyond. It was a desperate leap - impossible to anything but madness and despair.”
“The huge green fragment of ice on which she alighted pitched and creaked as her weight came on it, but she staid there not a moment. With wild cries and desperate energy she leaped to another and still another cake; - stumbling - leaping - slipping- springing upwards again! Her shoes are gone - her stockings cut from her feet - while blood marked every step; but she saw nothing, felt nothing, till dimly, as in a dream, she saw the Ohio side, and a man helping her up the bank.” This was how Eliza carrying her son snatched freedom from utter disaster.
We are transitioning into Solar Cycle (SC) 24 and the sun has become fairly quiet. During most of the last century (SC 16-23) the sun has been in a “Grand Maxima”. As a result the Earth has experienced warming. But with SC 24 the sun is again changing states. From the peak year 1998, the lower Troposphere temperatures globally have already fallen around 1/2 degree Celsius. This is despite the fact that during that same time period, atmospheric carbon dioxide has risen 5% from 367 ppm to 386 ppm. Several solar scientist are predicting the sun will slide into a “Dalton Minimum” event in SC 25, about a decade from now. If that happens, the Earth will experience some bitterly cold winters for several decades. “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” was written shortly after the “Dalton Minimum” (1790-1830) came to a close. At the time the book was written, the earth had become a little warmer. If the sun again goes quiet and fall into another “Dalton Minimum”, then we will once again see the mighty Ohio River freeze solid in the winter.
Sunday, April 19, 2009
In the 1800’s there was no greater showman than P.T. Barnum. His flair for the extravagant dazzled the crowds. His museum in New York City was a “combination of zoo, museum, lecture hall, wax museum, theater and freak show. Barnum noticed that people were lingering too long at his exhibits. He posted signs indicating "This Way to the Egress". Not knowing that "Egress" was another word for "Exit", people followed the signs to what they assumed was a fascinating exhibit...and ended up outside”. If they weren’t done seeing what they wanted to see….they had to pay again.
I couldn't help but chuckle and shake my head at the thought of those who are directly responsible for this plague of bedbugs now wanting to find a solution through this big public relations fest. What better way to deflect attention away from the real perpetrators of this mess, themselves. P.T. Barnum would have been truly impressed with this trompe l'oeil!
I followed Pete Grasso's Blog comments about this "summit", and kudos to Pete who did an excellent job. Separate breakout groups were created on the second day to outline suggestions as to what should be done in five categories:
• ResearchPete listed the suggestions recognizing that there was bound to be some duplication. There were; but even the duplicates were slightly different. Here is the breakdown as I saw it, although some could slop over into other categories, and someone could have easily created sub-categories while organizing the suggestions, I wanted to simplify it, not complicate it further.
• Role of Government
• Consumer Education and Communication
• Pest Management Professional's (PMP) Education and Training
• Role of Property Owners and Property Managers
There were 34 suggestions that would expand the bureaucracy at every level of government, expand training and licensure requirements and potentially mandate IPM. There were 15 for expanded public information and who should be doing it, 10 for grant money for the professional grant chasers, 5 that would shift the blame, and 9 that actual had some worth, however….. no one blamed EPA. Oh yes, there was one who wanted to do this again and one who wanted to do this regularly. I have "condensed" the suggestions for the 34 regulatory expansion suggestions into some type of logical order as to what would occur if these "ideas" were to be implemented.
The government needs to recognize bed bugs as a public health pest. Then the government needs to form an inter-agency task force to address bed bugs, involving all levels of government with a definition of each level’s role, with a joint task force made up of the Environmental Protection Agency and The Center for Disease Control to better coordinate these agencies and levels of government.When organized in this manner...it almost sounds rational… even to me. The reality is this; the EPA started this whole mess in 1972 when is was created by Richard Nixon with the intent of banning DDT, irrespective of the fact that they didn’t have the science to justify it, which William Doyle Ruckelshaus himself admitted when he acknowledged that it was a political decision, not a science based one. Technically, it didn’t much matter as we had a host of products in our armory to defeat just about every pest that attacks man and his environment. Philosophically it was devastating because DDT’s ban has been the basis for every rationale that attempts to justify the elimination of all pesticides and for every action taken by the greenies in and out of government ever since.
They will then create a tracking system for better data from PMP feedback which will be the basis to justify the creation of a national bed bug foundation where professional pest controllers can report infestations to help create, and have access to a confidential database, and allow (or require) self-policing by PMPs to report misinformation, misapplication and the use of illegal products.
This will also act as a multi-agency Web site as a clearinghouse of bed bug information under the auspices of the EPA who will take the leadership role for all stakeholder parties; who will then form a committee or panel to explore adopting best practices and guidelines for the pest management industry drawing from previously developed materials.
They in turn will require states to set sanitary guidelines specifically for bed bugs and require that all local governments have consistent message/rules within local governments in line with nationwide training standards which will allow for a legislative bridge based on education, including legislation for disposal of infested bedding . In this way best practices can be harmonized and implemented over different jurisdictions.
In order for this to work at every level, voluntary standards should be established, or if necessary, imposed at a national level for accreditation for bed bug specialists, implement pesticide applicator certification for bed bugs, requiring a separate licensing for bed bug treatment, with continuing and specialized education opportunities for PMPs.
No pest controller will be allowed to treat for bedbugs without a certification program for professional pest controllers. This should be monitored by the National Pest Management Association who will provide training at all levels and create a separate, more stringent Quality Pro program that can initiate IPM standards, which should be mandated as soon as possible. All this will help people find qualified PMPs, which shall be encouraged through public education through an outreach program and corresponding web site which will be designed and maintained by the EPA and will carry standardized fact sheets with realistic treatment definitions that will support and promote Integrated Pest Management (IPM). The EPA will review bed bug efficacy protocols and report the results. This will then in turn create a need to hold mini bed bug summits in EPA regions.
Unfortunately, no one seemed to get the message then, and we amazingly can’t seem to get it now. The goal of the greenies and their acolytes at EPA is the elimination of pesticides. Fraudulent science, the invalid interpretation of science and theoretical health scares was used at EPA under Carol Browner in 1996 to justify the Food Quality Protection Act; that is how we lost chlorpyriphos and a host of other products that had been used safely for decades. That certainly should have been a huge wakeup call! It wasn’t for large number of pest controllers or for those in leadership positions around the country. IPM became the mantra leading up to “green” pest control within the industry.
What would have happened if it turned out the bedbugs were very real vectors for disease? Currently it is believed that they are not, but we do know that there are a host of vectors out there that only pesticides protect us from. If we continue down this path we aren’t just going to have “quality of life” issues, such as allergic reactions, and infections from scratching the bitten area; we are going to start having body counts. We need to stop this nonsense about “bedbug summits” as if this is going to fix anything.
The fact of the matter is that the structural pest control industry already knows how to kill bedbugs. We don't need specialized training, certification and licensure. This is a singular issue with a two -fold solution.
I. WE NEED CHEMISTRY THAT WORKS!
a. Place the blame for this problem at the feet of those responsible, the EPA and the green movement
b. Return products that work or generate new ones
Everything else is window dressing, misdirection and activity as a substitute for accomplishment. Of the 9 common sense suggestions, two were for the return of old products and easier registration for new ones. Currently it costs about three hundred million dollars (that is $300,000,000) to bring a pesticide to market and structural pest control doesn’t use enough (anywhere near enough) to justify that cost and the patents only last so long. I have been told that they last for seven years and others have said that they last twenty. I don’t know which is correct, but either way….they have to sell an awful lot of pesticide to make up that R&D money.
That leaves these solutions; return products or change the labels of current products. All of that other costly, intrusive and ineffectual claptrap will be unnecessary. However, I do not believe that will happen if we do not fix the blame for this plague right where it belongs. We need to point the finger of blame right at the EPA. We need to expose their irrational and misanthropic regulations along with the irrational and misanthropic actions of the greenies that drive and support them.
Saturday, April 18, 2009
By Wendell Krossa Apr 18, 2009
All life is built from carbon. All life depends on carbon for its existence and functioning. “All living things, starting at the cellular level which is common to all life, is based on carbon compounds, including the DNA that carry the gene sequences of the genetic codes. Of the trillions of cells in the human body, there is not one of them that is not made of carbon.”
There is only one source of carbon for all life- CO2 in the atmosphere. Plants absorb CO2 from the atmosphere (“they consume almost entirely carbon dioxide for food”- www.bydesign.com) and process it into carbohydrates for the animal kingdom. We get our food from this chain of CO2/carbon processing. “The only gateway through which carbon can enter the food chain to enable the biosphere to exist is through the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. There is no other way. It all starts with CO2 in the atmosphere. The entire chain of life starts with plants absorbing this entirely natural, colorless, odorless, absolutely non-toxic aerial gas called CO2…more than 90 % of the dry matter of plants is simply processed CO2. Whether it is a cow eating grass or humans eating cows, all are eating- and being fuelled- by processed CO2” (Brinsmead, The Vindication of Carbon).
Recent levels of CO2 in the atmosphere have been unprecedented and dangerously low. Plant growth shuts down at 200 ppm (parts per million in the atmosphere). Plant life is stressed and unhealthy at such low levels. Life evolved over the past 500 million years at levels of CO2 that were on average a more healthy 1500 ppm (see paleo-climate graphs at sites such as Geocraft.com). A dangerous upper limit of CO2 in the atmosphere would be from 5,000 to 10,000 ppm. We are in no danger of approaching these high levels. Our atmosphere is currently “CO2 deprived”.
Plants and crops are healthier at higher levels of CO2 than are currently present in our atmosphere (now 386 ppm). They produce significantly more biomass, and are able to cope better with such natural vagaries as drought, heat, and cold. “More CO2 makes plants more resistant to extreme weather conditions…and this expands the habitat of many plants…and enhances agricultural productivity…and helps tropical rainforests”. Animals also survive better with more plant life. The small increase in CO2 over the past century has significantly greened the earth and this has increased populations in the animal kingdom. It has also enhanced the impacts of the Green Revolution with notably increased crop production which has helped to feed the poor.
Higher levels of CO2 in the atmosphere are more normal and natural.
CO2 is not a pollutant but is a rare gas (1 molecule to every 3,000 molecules of the atmosphere) that is the essential food of all life. “All plants and animals are growing and living on a rare gas”. And while there are other potential pollutants associated with fossil fuel use, CO2 and carbon are not among them.
CO2 does not cause dangerous global warming. Rising levels of CO2 follow warming periods and do not precede or cause warming periods. CO2 does not cause dangerous global warming. Rising levels of CO2 follow warming periods and do not precede or cause warming periods.
CO2 does not cause dangerous global warming. Rising levels of CO2 follow warming periods and do not precede or cause warming periods. See the Vostok Ice Core research. Oceans, which hold 90 times the CO2 that is in the atmosphere, release CO2 as they warm and this increases atmospheric CO2 levels. The CO2 increases tend to lag behind warming periods by about 800 years.
Oceans, which hold 90 times the CO2 that is in the atmosphere, release CO2 as they warm and this increases atmospheric CO2 levels. The CO2 increases tend to lag behind warming periods by about 800 years.
CO2 is a tiny part of the greenhouse gases and the greenhouse effect.
The warming effect of CO2 gets lost among other much larger natural climate drivers. Human emissions of CO2 are even tinier (1 part per 100,000 parts of the atmosphere) and a human fingerprint causing warming is even more lost among natural influences. The human contribution to climate warming, if it were statistically detectable, would amount to nothing more than “a fart in a hurricane”. Natural climate drivers with strong, clear correlations to warming/cooling periods include cosmic rays (see Henrik Svensmark’s The Chilling Stars), solar flare cycles, related cloud cover, ocean current decadal oscillations (changing current patterns), earth’s 100,000 year wobble, and others.
CO2 levels have been as high as 7,000 ppm in the past and no dangerous global warming occurred. During the Late Ordovician Period (some 400 million years ago) CO2 levels were 4,400 ppm and Earth was as cold as it is now. Note also that Earth has been cooling since 2002 despite the fact that CO2 emissions have been increasing. “There is no valid correlation between CO2 emissions and global warming”, concludes geophysicist Norm Kalmanovitch.
Therefore, there is no scientific reason for us to worry about contributing to increasing CO2 levels. We do not need to reduce our carbon footprint. We do not need to reduce CO2 levels in the atmosphere or decarbonize our economies. As the 31,000 plus scientists who signed the the Protest Petition have stated, “There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gases is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere and disruption of the Earth’s climate. Moreover, there is substantial scientific evidence that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide produce many beneficial effects upon the natural plant and animal environments of the Earth”
To demonize carbon/CO2, as environmentalists have done, is to demonize life itself. This is ridiculous hysteria and entirely unscientific. The only way to fully understand this anti-carbon movement is to recognize that it is ideologically-driven extremism now gone utterly mad. Its real goal is to slow, halt, and even reverse economic growth and development and it uses carbon as a proxy to fight growth and the human enterprise. But the Green movement in demonizing carbon has become anti-green, anti-life, and anti-nature.
Wendell Krossa firstname.lastname@example.org
Friday, April 10, 2009
This appeared as an email from geologist Paul Driessen [email@example.com] on the web site Greenie Watch. I have received permission from both Mr. Driessen and Mr. Ray to repint anything they write. I thank them both once again. RK
Regarding the recent AP story about UN climate talks stalling over emission cuts by rich countries:
I am astonished at how casually activists, bureaucrats and politicians toss out these carbon dioxide reduction targets – as though cutting US (or EU, Canadian, Australian, et cetera) emissions by some essentially random amount by 2020 or 2050 is actually within the realm of possibility. Unless we assume major technological advancements … and even if we accept the risk of widespread social and economic upheaval … these targets land somewhere along the spectrum of fanciful, absurd, irresponsible and disastrous.
The group of 130 developing countries wants a 40% reduction from 1990 levels by 2020. A faction of this group wants a 45% cut by 2020. President Obama wants to slash US CO2 emissions by 80% below 1990 levels by 2050. Earlier congressional proposals talked about 60% cuts by 2050. Greenpeace and other Climate Armageddonites insist that the world must get global CO2 levels well below 450 ppm (0.045% of the Earth’s atmosphere) by 2050 or earlier, despite expanding emissions from China and India – which means “guilty” developed nations must slash their emissions by some 90% by that date.
To illustrate the absurdity of these demands, one need only look at US carbon dioxide emissions data assembled by the Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, for the years 1800 through 2004. The following summary shows how far back in time the United States would have to travel, to achieve these various emission targets.
40% below 1990 levels = CO2 emission levels last seen in 1957
45% below 1990 = 1951
60% below 1990 = 1929 or 1940 (emissions fell during the intervening years of the Great Depression)
80% below 1990 = 1905
90% below 1990 = 1897
Barring major technological breakthroughs, a massive shift to nuclear power – or blanketing America’s wild, scenic, desert, grassland, agricultural and coastal areas with hundreds of thousands of wind turbines and solar arrays – the only way I see to achieve these goals is via enormous reductions in industrial output, air and auto transportation, food production, internet server use, heating and air conditioning, and living standards. (Right now, the United States is 85% dependent on hydrocarbon energy, and twenty states get 60-98% of their electricity from coal. The repercussions of cutting off access to that energy – or pricing it out of reach of poor families, small businesses and manufacturers – would be intolerable and immoral. And let’s not forget that every wind and solar “farm” needs CO2-producing natural gas-fired generators for backup.)
Perhaps millions of Americans would be willing to go part way along this route if Al Gore, James Hansen, Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, John and Teresa Kerry, Henry Waxman, Nick Rahall and every warming alarmist environmental group would lead the way – beginning right now – by slashing their (private) jet travel, limousines, mansions, 78-degree White House offices, Bali and Bonn excursions, and big-carbon-footprint eco-lobbying offices. And perhaps millions of Africans would be content to continue living in poverty and deprivation – when elite eco-activists move into their own electricity-free, disease-ridden huts. But until then, I don’t foresee a citizens’ stampede to the lifestyles of 50 to 110 years ago.
As my grandmother always told me, “The only good thing about the ‘good old days’ is that they’re gone.” She grew up doing backbreaking labor on a Wisconsin farmstead, and didn’t have running water, indoor bathrooms or electricity until after she was married. I think her perspective is much more valuable than that of the climate alarm activists just mentioned.
Somehow I don’t see any of them adopting the lifestyle of the deprived and unfamous. They have no business imposing it on anyone else, especially by telling impoverished Africans (et cetera) that they must continue living “indigenous” lifestyles, to save the planet.
This is where the hysteria about “runaway global warming” and “catastrophic sea level rise” has taken us.
Before we head any further down this path, we (and our putative leaders) need to take a long, cold, honest look at scientific, energy and economic realities … our planet’s history of climate change … the absence of global warming over the past decade, even as CO2 levels continued to climb … the views and findings of 700-plus climate scientists who do not agree with the IPCC Summaries for Policy Makers … the enormous adverse impacts associated with biofuels … the speculative worst-case scenarios conjured up by abjectly unreliable computer models … the allegations, headlines and special effects that substitute for actual evidence in many circles … and the unwillingness of too many climate alarmists to engage in debate or even valid peer review with climate realists and skeptics.
Only then will we have anything remotely approaching ethical, responsible, reality-based policies on energy, economic, health, living standards and developmental issues that right now are governed far too much by an unsupported assumption that catastrophic, anthropogenic, CO2-driven global warming threatens our planet.
Friday, April 3, 2009
James A. Marusek
2 April 2009
The sun has gone very quiet as it transitions to Solar Cycle 24. The Ap index is a proxy measurement for the intensity of solar magnetic activity as it alters the geomagnetic field on Earth. Anthony Watts (meteorologist) referred to it as the common yardstick for solar magnetic activity. The Ap index for February and for March is "5" a slight uptick from the three consecutive months of "4's" (November 2008 - January 2009). An Ap index of "4" is the lowest recorded number since measurements began in January 1932. This solar minimum has a long ways to go before it can be declared officially over.
As of the end of March, the cumulative number of spotless days (days without sunspots) is now at 586 days. The transitions into Solar Cycles (SC16-23), referred to as recent solar cycles minimums, averaged 362 cumulative spotless days. Those minimums ranged from 227 - 568 spotless days. Since the current transition now exceeds 568 spotless days, it is becoming clear that sun has undergone a state change. It is now evident that the Grand Maxima state that has persisted during most of the 20th century has come to an abrupt end.
The old solar cycles (SC 10-15) averaged 797 spotless days, over twice that of the recent solar cycles. Those solar minimums ranged from 406 - 1028 spotless days.
An increase in the number of cumulative spotless days during a solar minimum correlates to a reduction in the number of sunspots over the entire solar cycle. The old solar cycles overall produced 38% fewer sunspots than the recent solar cycles.
We are now at a crossroad. Two paths lie before us. Both are marked with a signpost that reads “Danger”! Down one path lies monstrous solar storms. Down the other path lies several decades of crushing cold temperatures and global famine.
If either of these threats materializes, this nation will be hit blind-sighted. Both are related to the current state of the sun. The sun has been in a “Grand Maxima” for most of the past century. This has accounted for much of the natural warming the earth has experienced. But as evident in this solar minimum, the sun is changing states. It might (1) revert to the old solar cycles or (2) the sun might go even quieter into a “Dalton Minimum” or a Grand Minima such as the “Maunder Minimum”. It is still a little early to predict which way it will swing. Each of these two possibilities holds a great threat to our nation.
(1) Reverting to the “Old” Cycles (Solar Cycles 10-15)
Since the old solar cycles produced fewer sunspots, one might draw the conclusion that we will be entering a period of reduced solar storms. But this is not true. It is quite the opposite. The old solar cycles produced very intense solar storms. The greatest solar storm in modern time known as the Carrington flare of 1-2 September 1859 occurred in Solar Cycle 10. In addition to the Carrington flare, several other massive solar storms occurred during the old solar cycles. These massive solar storms occurred on 12 October 1859, 4 February 1872, 17-18 November 1882, 30 March 1894, 31 October 1903, 25 September 1909 and 13-16 May 1921. How can this be? This is because the old solar cycles produced massive sunspots. It was like the magnetic field energy was still there and had to still be released but during a shorter time interval, so the sunspots exploded in size and power.
If a solar storm of the magnitude of the Carrington flare were to occur today, the effect on our modern technologically dependent society would be grave. Of these, the greatest threat would lie in the loss of stable electrical power. A massive solar storm could destroy many of the large custom Extra High Voltage (EHV) powert ransformer in the United States. These items are unique, costly (around $10 million each) and have manufacture lead time of a year or more for replacement. In 2007, I described the effects from a massive solar storm in Solar Storm Threat Analysis. I also laid out a civil defense plan for major solar storms called The Solar Storm Disaster Preparedness Plan. In 2008, the National Research Council took up the subject holding a public workshop to define the solar storm threat. Their finding (which mirrored mine) were published in a report titled Severe Space Weather Events Understanding Societal and Economic Impacts. In their findings, their bottom line was if a massive solar storm struck the United States today “it would result in large-scale blackouts affecting more than 130 million people and would expose more than 350 major transformers to the risk of permanent damage”. Imagine the effect of a total power blackout for months/years on 100 million people in the U.S. along with many millions across the globe. The report then goes on to say “Historically large storms have a potential to cause power grid blackouts and transformer damage of unprecedented proportions, long-term blackouts, and lengthy restoration times, and chronic shortages for multiple years are possible.”
(2) The Sun slipping quietly towards a Dalton Minimum or even a Grand Minima such as a Maunder Minimum.
Climate change is primarily driven by nature. It has been true in the days of my father and his father and all those that came before us. Because of science, not junk science, we have slowly uncovered some of the fundamental mysteries of nature. Our Milky Way galaxy is awash with cosmic rays. These are high speed charged particles that originate from exploding stars. Because they are charged, their travel is strongly influenced by magnetic fields. Our sun produces a magnetic field wrapped in the solar winds that extends to the edges of our solar system.
This field deflects many of the cosmic rays away from Earth. But when the sun goes quiet(minimal sunspots), this field collapses inward allowing high energy cosmic rays to penetrate deeper into our solar system. As a result, far greater numbers collide with Earth and penetrate down into the lower atmosphere where they ionize small particles of moisture (humidity) forming them into water droplets that become clouds. Low level clouds reflect sunlight back into space. An increase in Earth's cloud cover produce a global drop in temperature.
If the sun becomes quieter than the old solar cycles, producing more than 1028 spotless days,then we might slip into a Dalton Minimum or maybe even a Grand Minima such as the Maunder Minimum. This solar state will last for decades. Several solar scientist have predicted this will begin in Solar Cycle 25, about a decade from now. But a few have predicted this will occur now in Solar Cycle 24. A quiet sun will cause temperatures globally to take a nose-dive. We will experience temperatures that we have not seen in over 200 years, during the time of the early pioneers.
Temperatures are already falling. Satellites provide generally the most accurate atmospheric temperature measurements covering the entire globe. From the peak year 1998, the lower Troposphere temperatures globally have fallen around 1/2 degree Celsius due to the quiet sun. This is despite the fact that during that same time period, atmospheric carbon dioxide (at Mauna Loa) has risen 5% from 367 ppm to 386 ppm. The main threat from a “Dalton Minimum” or “Maunder Minimum” event is famine and starvation (affecting millions or hundreds of millions worldwide) due to shortened growing seasons and harsher weather. In the past, in addition to great famines, this cold harsh weather has also lead to major epidemics.
A taste of the cold weather due to a quiet sun.
Evidence of the Mississippi River, Ohio River, Allegheny River, Delaware River and Hudson River freezing and of very harsh winters.
Recent periods of quiet sun were the Dalton Minimum (1790-1830 A.D.), the Maunder Minimum (1645-1715 A.D.) and the Spörer Minimum (1420 to 1570 A.D.). The Maunder Minimum and Spörer Minimum were solar Grand Minima and each were individually referred to as the Little Ice Age.
A few decades after the Dalton Minimum
In the spring Eliza, a slave, carrying her young son, fled from Kentucky by crossing the Ohio River on foot. The river was “swollen and turbulent, great cakes of floating ice were swinging heavily to and fro in the turbid waters.” She leaped from one chunk of ice to the next until she reached freedom on the Ohio shore. [Source: Uncle Tomʼs Cabin. Harriet Beecher Stowe lived in Cincinnati, Ohio from 1832 to 1850. In 1851, she wrote “Uncle Tomʼs Cabin”. Her life in Ohio was intertwined in this work of fiction.]
During the Dalton Minimum
The Hudson River at the New York Harbor froze, enabling people to walk across the ice from Manhattan to Staten Island. The Hudson froze over completely during particularly brutal winter of 1779/1780, when the surface was solid for five weeks straight and the British rolled cannons over the ice. In 1821, taverns were constructed in the middle of the river to offer warmth and refreshment to pedestrians.
During the Dalton Minimum
Early settlers routinely waited till winter to cross the frozen Mississippi river in their wagon trains. In 1799, George Frederick Bollinger led a group of early pioneers from North Carolina to establish early settlements in Missouri. They hoped to cross their largest obstacle, the Mississippi River, on the ice, frozen solid in mid-winter. They arrived on the east bank of the Mississippi river opposite St. Genevieve in late December, pitched camp and explored potential river crossings. St. Genevieve is located about a hundred miles downstream from St. Louis. Daily the thickness of the ice was measured and then on December 31, a chopped hole in the ice indicated thickness well over two feet. The next day the settlers successfully drove their heavy loaded wagons across the river. [Source: “The Bollinger Migration to the Louisiana Territory”, part of "Bollinger Collection" compiled by Orena Bollinger in 1984.]
During the Dalton MinimumFrom 1803 to 1806, Captains Lewis and Clark lead a transcontinental expedition to explore the greater Northwest. During the winter of 1804/1805, the explorers set up a winter base camp near the Big Knife River near what is today the town of Bismarck, North Dakota. The winter was bitterly cold. There were 6 days with temperatures of -30oF or lower. These occurred in 1804 on December 12 (-38 degrees F), December 17 (-45 degrees F), December 18 (-32 degrees F), in 1805 on January 10 (-40 degrees F), January 11 (-38 degrees F), and January 13 (-34 degrees F). Compare this to the current low temperatures of Bismarck, North Dakota in which only one day in the past decade fell below -30 degrees F. On January 15, 2009 the temperature fell to -44 degrees F. [Sources: (1) The Journals of the Expedition under the Command of Captains Lewis and Clark, (2) Weather Underground for Bismarck, ND]
Between the Dalton Minimum and the Maunder Minimum
December 1776 was a desperate time for George Washington and the American Revolution. During the night of December 25, Washington led his small Continental army of 2,400 troops from Pennsylvania across the Delaware River made dangerous and barely navigable by huge chunks of ice. Once across they launched a surprise attack on the Britain's Hessian mercenaries at Trenton, New Jersey, capturing 1,000 prisoners and seizing muskets, powder, and artillery.
Between the Dalton Minimum and the Maunder Minimum
In Boston, Massachusetts on February 22, 1772, Anna, a young school girl, writes in her diary “Since about the middle of December, we have had till this week, a series of cold and stormy weather - every snow storm (of which we have had abundance) except the first, ended with rain, by which means the snow was so hardened that the strong gales at northwest soon turned it, and all above ground to ice.” In some streets about town this mixture of ice and snow is 5 feet thick. On March 11, she writes that the snow is now 7 feet deep in some places around her house[Source: “Diary of a Boston School Girl” written by Anna Green Winslow from 1771-1773, edited by Alice Morse Earle in 1894.]
Between the Dalton Minimum and the Maunder Minimum
Just before the opening battles of the French and Indian War in December 1753, George Washington, then 21 years old, crossed the Allegheny River. In their first attempt, Washington and a guide used a raft to cross the ice-choked river and this ended in disaster as Washington was knocked overboard in deep water and saved himself only by catching the raft as it swept by. The severe cold that night froze their clothes and the guide's fingers. The river also froze, however, allowing them to walk across on the ice the next morning. Soon they reached the safety of an English trader's settlement.
During the Maunder Minimum
During the Great Frost of (1683–1684) in England, the River Thames was completely frozen for two months, the ice was 11 inches thick at London. Sea ice was reported along the coasts of southeast England, and ice prevented the use of many harbors. The sea froze, so that ice formed for a time between Dover and Calais, joining England and France. The Thames was recorded to have frozen over at London during the years: 1649, 1655, 1663, 1666, 1667, 1684, 1695, 1709, and 1716.
During the Little Ice Age, growing seasons in England and Continental Europe generally became short and unreliable, which led to shortages and famine. These hardships were nothing compared to the more northerly countries: Glaciers advanced rapidly in Greenland, Iceland, Scandinavia and North America, making vast tracts of land uninhabitable. The Arctic pack ice extended so far south that several reports describe Eskimos landing their kayaks in Scotland. Finlandʼs population fell by one third, Icelandʼs by half, the Viking colonies in Greenland were abandoned atogether, as were many Inuit communities.
During the Spörer Minimum
By 1518, early explorers made significant progress in probing and surveying the New orld. They described North America as a “land of frozen seas, horrid, barren and scarcely habitable for cold”. “In the New World, cold predominates. The rigor of the frigid zone extends over half of those regions which should be temperate by their position. Countries where the grape and the fig should ripen, are buried under snow one half of the year; and lands situated in the same parallel with the most fertile and best cultivated provinces in Europe, are chilled with perpetual frosts, which almost destroy the power of vegetation.” [Source: The History of the Discovery and Settlement of America by William Robertson, 1826]